As brought up by our discussion leader, our current economic situation has made funding for libraries difficult and how to fund or continue funding the DPLA is a very good question. With cuts being made just about everywhere, where will the funding come from? Despite the confined budget, the federal government should be a participant in the funding. From the Darton article, it seems that other national digital libraries receive a large portion of their funding from their government. By going out to Europeana, it appears that a majority of its funding comes from the EU. With other countries governments being major supporters of their national libraries, the US federal government should become a major contributor in the DPLA project. Also, their support would allow the project to remain true to what it was initially intended to do, allow the public to receive better access to knowledge. If private organizations are helping fund the project, they may sway the project away from its intentions. For example, if a large organization is contributing a lot of money to the project, they may place stipulations on their funding to benefit them. It seems that for the project to remain true to its goals that the majority of funding should come from the federal government or other sources that do not have an agenda of their own.
In regards to the project being redundant, I tend to disagree. Yes, there are other projects like this, such as Google Books and Hathi Trust but they are focused on books. The DPLA seems to want to offer more than just books online. It seems that they also want to offer archival material and other digital collections relating to our American heritage. In this respect they are doing more than and something different from Google Books or Hathi Trust. As a side note, I hope that DPLA does offer a lot of material related to our American heritage. I majored in history as an undergrad and I am especially interested in American history. By looking at the Europeana site, I hope that DPLA offers much of the same material.
Another issue that has me a little concerned is the issue of universal internet access. As Darton explained, the founding fathers had this idealized vision of allowing everyone to gain access to knowledge but in reality, only a few had access to this knowledge. He suggests that today it is different because everyone has access to the internet and the knowledge that brings. I agree with him that more people today have access to knowledge than in the 18th century but the poor still have a disadvantage. For example, poor are less likely to be able to afford access to the internet. These individuals can go the library to gain access but what if they live in a rural area. Many rural areas have a hard time gaining internet access or if they can gain access, they have a problem of gaining enough bandwidth to support the community needs, like Atlanta, Texas as stated by Peggy Rudd. I agree with Rudd and this problem is something to think about in regards to the DPLA.