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America’s new ‘digital public library’ brings millions of documents online

• The RawStory.com
 A new “digital public library” set to launch this month aims to provide an alternative to Google for those looking for American cultural information online.

Visitors will be able to view, for example, letters penned by George Washington, a copy of the Declaration of Independence in the handwriting of Thomas Jefferson, and ambrotype and daguerreotype images of Abraham Lincoln.

The Digital Public Library of America site dp.la will launch April 18 with more than two million objects — including digital renderings of photos, books, manuscripts and other items from places such as the Smithsonian Institution, along with museums, libraries and historical institutions around the country.

“We are bringing together the richest of America’s archives and museums, and making them easily searchable for teachers, scholars, journalists and others,” said Dan Cohen, the DPLA executive director.

Thomas Jefferson’s 1790 letter accepting his appointment as secretary of state to Washington is among the documents. One can find Matthew Brady’s early Lincoln photographs and historical maps of the Americas from the David Rumsey Map Collection.

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