ComPADRE began as a project to update and expand the Physical Sciences Resource Center, a web site developed and managed by Warren Hein, former Associate Executive Officer and Executive Officer of the AAPT. Some of the goals of this effort were to connect and collaborate with standards-based digital library projects then being developed, particularly the National Science Digital Library, and to build a dynamic, database-driven infrastructure for the PSRC resource collection.
The Physics Digital Library has been supported by the National Science Foundation under grants DUE-0026129, DUE-0532798, and DUE-0937836. The library was funded first as a resource collection in the NSDL and then as the Physics and Astronomy Pathway project, one of 13 central projects in the multi-disciplinary central library. ComPADRE was also supported by grant funding with partner projects through both the NSDL and other education programs. The library was also supported by a generous donation from the Physics Academic Software Publishing Organization.