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Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and Imgur “Summer of Archives” Collaboration Gets By With a Little Help From NARA

by on August 8, 2014


Today’s post comes from Larry Shockley, student intern in the National Archives’ Digital Public Access Branch

On June 2, 2014, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) announced a partnership with Imgur called the “Summer of Archives.” This joint project is designed to combine historical images with modern technology in order to give new life and increased usage to historical images.

DPLA is an all-digital library that utilizes metadata and images from many institutions all over the world, the holdings of the National Archives have played a key role with the project.

In a series called “Forever Loops,” Imgur collected short moving image files (gifs) that are displayed as continuous loops. Although the gifs encompass a myriad of subject matter such as the Apollo 11 space missions, public service films designed to aid the war effort during WW II, and musical performances from Korean War era USO tours, all of the images from the series were obtained from the National Archives and Records Administration through the DPLA.

Images taken from the NASA-created film "The Time of Apollo", obtained by DPLA from NARA

Images taken from the NASA-created film “The Time of Apollo”, obtained by DPLA from NARA

As the DPLA collects millions of photographs, sound recordings and moving images from various sources from all over the United States, they greatly increase the distribution of these materials via social media applications and resources such as Facebook , Twitter, Tumbler, Flickr etc. As the DPLA/Imgur partnership has already shown, whenever a collaboration such as this takes place on such a vast scale, the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration are utilized in ways that appeal to a new generation.

Animated gif created from WW II era images taken from the cockpit of an American P-38 as it attacks Germany in 1945.

WW II era images taken from the cockpit of an American P-38 as it attacks Germany in 1945.

The DPLA/Imgur partnership is a great example of how historical images from NARA holdings can take on new image formats, like gifs. This is likely a trend that will continue to grow and evolve well into the future.


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