Digital Public Library of America releases beta version of ‘all-new’ website

A few days ago, Library and Archives Canada announced a new search engine that the average person will find easy to use, and then yesterday the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) announced the beta for their all-new website that is “more user-centered than ever before.”

All in all, it appears online research sources for genealogists are getting better.

The layout of DPLA’s new website is attractive and well organized, and an improvement over the old layout.

The real test for genealogists, however, is the search engine.

To test the new website, I searched for “Mayard Massachusetts” where my Haire ancestors from Ireland settled in the 1880s. I ran surname searches as well.

I was disappointed to see the filter that allowed researchers to refine the search by date is not available. Fortunately, the absence of this date filter is temporary. In an almost immediate response to my tweeted question about the date filter, the director of technology at DPLA, Michael Della Bitta, said, “That feature is not in the beta at the moment, but will return prior to launch.” Good to know.

Frankly, right now, I find it just as easy, if not easier, to search on the old site than the new one. Perhaps I missed something about the new features that others noticed.

As with Library and Archives Canada, DPLA is asking for feedback. Judging by the response I received, they’re taking note.

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