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April 10, 2013, 2:33 p.m.

A network of libraries in the western United States known as the Mountain West Digital Library (part of the Digital Public Library of America) now has more than 60 partners. Today, the Knight Foundation talks with program director Sandra McIntyre about the power of shared cultural memory and the challenges of organizing — and safeguarding — such a collaboration.

I think there are going to be some challenges about explaining this to the American public—what does it mean? What does each word in Digital Public Library of America mean? How will people deal with new ways of knowledge creation in a responsible fashion—how will they grab on to this? People may just take it and shake it, and there might be some earthquakes going on about what it can be used for and who can co-opt it. But I think the groundwork has been laid very solidly. I don’t see that causing any real problems.

Other challenges? I don’t know. I think it’s a tremendously exciting time, and I have confidence that we have the right people involved and the right people leading the effort.

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