An event planned for today to launch the new Digital Public Library of America has been postponed, due to the bombings in Boston earlier this week. But the ambitious online archive will go live as planned.
To see some of the 2.4 million archival materials going online today, you once would have had to go to a special collections room at a research library and don a pair of white cotton gloves.
As of 12pm eastern time today, you can just type dp.la into your browser.
“For the first time, ordinary people will be able to actually see material that had been kept behind closed doors and out of reach of the public,” says Robert Darnton, university librarian at Harvard. Its contributions to the digital library include the first daguerreotypes of the moon and scores from Mozart and Schubert.
The goal is a single portal to access digitized content from collections across the country, says David Ferriero, archivist of the United States, “which is going to have a huge impact on how researchers -- and anyone who’s curious -- goes about finding information in the future.”
Some librarians worry the new library could hurt traditional ones.
“We don’t want funders -- particularly folks at the state or local level -- to think that ‘oh now we have this big digital library in the cloud, we don’t need to support our public libraries,’” says Ken Wiggin, state librarian for Connecticut.
“We in the library field and all of our supporters have to do the very best we can to help the funders and decision makers understand that this is an enhancement and not a replacement for today’s library,” says Maureen Sullivan, president of the American Library Association.
Traditional libraries, Sullivan says, offer programs and services -- and an atmosphere -- you can’t get online.
Updated (9:00am EST): Union Pacific reports first-quarter revenues were up 3 percent, despite a drop in the amount of coal and grain the railroad shipped. According to UP's earnings report, which came out Thursday morning, revenues totaled $5.3 billion in the first quarter. The growth was attributed to higher shipments of chemicals, automotive products and intermodal containers.
The success of big companies like UP may tell us something about which industries are doing well. And with that in mind, here's a look at what's on board American trains, industrywide -- starting with coal. In 2011, it made up 43 percent of all U.S. rail freight, according to the Association of American Railroads.
But "coal shipments are down dramatically," says the group's CEO, Ed Hamberger.
He blames the crash on environmental regulations and competition from cheaper natural gas. Rail companies need to be "quick and nimble" to adapt, he says. And it looks like they are, according to Page Siplon, who runs the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics.
"Sand and oil and water from the fracking industry -- and all the products associated with it -- has become a new market for them," Siplon says.
And don't forget building supplies. There's more lumber on American trains thanks to the improved housing market.
Supply chain expert Mary Holcomb says the automotive industry is also speeding up.
"That's really a staple and a mainstay for the railroads," she says.
Car shipments will not close the coal gap completely. But they're up 21 percent this quarter compared to the same time two years ago.
Train shipments fell drastically during the recession, but started to recover in 2010 and have continued to grow year over year. The first quarter of 2013 was 5.3 percent higher than the first quarter of 2012.
Today Germany's parliament approved a $13 billion rescue package for Cyprus. The overwhelming yes vote came after a warning from Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble that if Cyprus was allowed to go bankrupt, other euro zone countries would be at risk.
The BBC's Steve Evans in Berlin joins Marketplace Morning Report host Jeremy Hobson to discuss the bailout and the mood in Europe.
As the day dawned, officials said an estimated 5 to 15 people were killed and more than 160 were wounded. It was feared those numbers might go higher. The cause of the fire that led to the explosion at a plant near Waco is under investigation.
That’s code for Samsung. Its new smartphone is out later this month. Blodget thinks the fantastically profitable iPhone is near the end of its life cycle. And the question, as always, is what’s Cupertino got next?
Some analysts whisper that Apple’s R&D folks are unprepared for a tech future of big data and artificially intelligence -- a hint of how unfashionable the company’s become, for now.
In the past five days, Apple's stock price has plunged from over $430 to $395, falling significantly yesterday when a key supplier issued a gloomy earnings forecast.
Over the past year, Apple's stock has had a bumpy ride. Since hitting a peak last fall, its value has slid by 40 percent.
If you were looking to buy a smartphone, what kind would you buy?
Several South American Presidents are gathering today for an emergency meeting today in Lima, Peru. They will be discussing the electoral victory of Nicolás Maduro in Venezeula. Maduro will be sworn in tomorrow, while the vote counts are being disputed.
Stephen Keppel, economics editor at Univision News, says the slim margin of victory could make it difficult for Maduro's government to achieve economic reforms.
"This will make it hard to impose big economic plans or to increase the nationalization of the economy," Keppel says. "Nicholas Maduro is no Hugo Chavez -- he doesn't have the charisma, his government won't have the same money that Chavez's had."
Venezuela is suffering from inflation, food shortages, lower oil revenues, and a government that is running out of money. Keppel says these economic struggles may diminish the country's role abroad.
"Chavez supported a number of countries in Latin America -- particularly Cuba and some other countries in Central America. That is going to decline under a Maduro presidency, partly because he doesn't have the same relationships, but also because his government won't have the same resources."
To hear more about the ongoing situation in Venezuela, click on the audio player above.