For those of you who don't know about it already, the Digital Public Library of America is a relatively new project that brings together the rich collections of libraries, archives, and museums from across the US (including Cornell), making them freely available to the world. It contains a range of materials on topics (including agriculture) of potential interest to Farm Hack and its users, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America’s heritage, to the efforts and data of science. The DPLA aims to make those riches more easily discovered and usable, serving as a platform enabling new and transformative uses of our digitized cultural heritage. The DPLA's application programming interface (API) and open data can be used by software developers, researchers, and others to create novel environments for learning, tools for discovery, and engaging apps. It's just waiting to be hacked and put to good use! A Tech Forum exists to help you get started.
Interesting side note: I had the pleasure of hosting one of DPLA's technical advisors, David Weinberger from the Harvard Library Innovation Lab, at Cornell last spring, He shared some of the fascinating insights from his book (deep breath taken): Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now that the Facts aren't the Facts, Experts are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room is the Room. He talks about the role of networks, and platforms like Farm Hack, in helping us make sense of all the data and information that is now available to us. In the Prologue he writes:
"as knowledge becomes networked, the smartest person in the room isn’t the person standing at the front lecturing us, and isn't the collective wisdom of those in the room. The smartest person in the room is the room itself: the network that joins the people and ideas in the room, and connects to those outside of it."