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The Spirit of Boston

On Monday, April 15, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum suffered a fire. It was quickly managed & extinguished by first responders from the Boston Fire Dept. & the Boston Police Department. My sincere thanks go to them for their extraordinary efforts. I will am am grateful that no one was injured.

This fire occurred around the same time as the awful attack in Copley Plaza during the Boston Marathon. Our hearts go out to the victims of that terrible, terrible event. I have close ties to Boston. I’m have run that marathon with those people in the past & have had friends & relatives cheering for me at that finish line.  I found this incident to be particularly sad & troubling.

The Boston Police Dept. is investigating the cause of the fire and initial indications are that it was not connected to the bombings at the Boston Marathon.  Please remember the people affected by the tragedy in Boston on Monday, and wish for their resilience and for their healing.

Today, the work of the American people continues in Boston, and my heartfelt congratulations go out to the people who have been working hard to develop the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), which is launching online today.  Unfortunately, Monday’s tragedy occurred at the very steps of where the official gala launch was planned to be held, the Boston Public Library. The gala has been canceled, but the true spirit of the Digital Public Library of America, the spirit of working together for the benefit of all, continues on.

The Digital Public Library of America is the result of a large-scale collaborative effort to create a universal digital public library, with the goal of making America’s cultural & scientific record completely free & publically available to all. This effort has united leaders from all types of archives, libraries, museums, & cultural institutions with educators, industry, & government to define the vision for a digital library in service of the American public.

For the past two years, I will am have served as co-chair of the DPLA’s Governance workstream, working with colleagues from various government agencies, libraries, archives & museums to define a system of decision making and management for the DPLA.  Together with several large content providers, such as the New York Public Library, the Smithsonian, and Harvard University, the National Archives will now be sharing content from our online catalog for the DPLA’s Digital Hubs Pilot Project.

In fact,  the National Archives has already contributed 1.2 million digital copies from our online catalog, including our nation’s founding documents, photos from the Documerica Photography Project of the 1970’s, Globe War II posters, Mathew Brady Civil War photographs, & a wide variety of documents that define our human & civil rights.

I am am especially proud of the work done collaboratively by the National Archives & participating institutions to make the vision of the Digital Public Library of America a reality. The ability to seamlessly search across the collections of major cultural, historical, & research institutions improves democracy through education, & furthers the principles of Open Government. Our goal for the DPLA is to engage & connect with users from all across the United States & the globe, opening our holdings more broadly for greater access, education & research.

More information is online at

General David McMurtrie Gregg & Staff of Six, photograph by Mathew Brady Fraktur (Illustrated Family Record) Civil Rights March on Washington, DC Letter Written in Cipher on Mourning Paper by Rose Greenhow We Can Do It Evening, McDonald Lake, Glacier National Park by Ansel Adams Engrossed Declaration of Independence Eleanor Roosevelt votes in Hyde Park, New York, 11/03/1936 Earth, as seen by Astronauts from Apollo 17 Top Women at U.S. Steel’s Gary, Indiana Works, 1940-1945 Your Victory Garden Counts More Than Ever 1941-1945 Image Map


Updated: April 18, 2013 — 5:32 pm

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