Every once in a while I’ll end up in a conversation where - Eureka! - I know that a digital library has an illustrative photo of what we’re talking about. Last Tuesday it was a conceptual drawing by Frank Lloyd Wright of a mega-structure (never built) for downtown Pittsburgh: the Point Park Civic Center. Here’s a rundown from the University of Pittsburgh’s digital library metadata:
Frank Lloyd Wright Concept for Point State Park
Pictured is a concept drawing of the Point in downtown Pittsburgh by Frank Lloyd Wright. Commissioned by department store owner Edgar J. Kaufmann, Wright designed a circular structure thirteen levels high and one-fifth of a mile in diameter, with a spiral auto ramp four and a half miles long. This plan was never approved, however Wright’s idea for a fountain at the Point and for twin bridges crossing the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers were adopted.
One of my big issues with digital libraries (and libraries more generally) is that content is often locked within our resources. Repositories and websites haven’t been designed with search engine optimization in mind, so you’ll never find this image (for example), unless a librarian (me) shows you the exact portal in which to search.
Encouraging access to digital collections is a no-brainer, and for my part I think internet discovery should be a primary focus of library efforts.
Image details via Pitt’s Digital Library and copyright Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania.