October Innovator-in-Residence Update

Library of Congress Innovator-in-Residence, Jer Thorp, has started diving into the collections at the Library. We’ve rounded up some of his activities in October and how he is sharing his process in this post.

Jer has created a “text-based exploration of Library of Congress @librarycongress‘ MARC records, specifically of ~9M books & the names of their authors.” He started by asking what would happen if you and he were to wander the Library of Congress stacks and collect every book from a given year. After piling them up, what if you selected 40 titles at random to represent each year, then gathered the first names of the authors? What might you see in those names across time and space?

Now you can explore this thought experiment with Jer as he takes authors’ first names from MARC records and remixes them in glitch.

Screenshot of author first names from Library of Congress MARC records

Library of Names – an experiment extracting author first names from Library of Congress MARC records

You can find code for the front end and processing via this tweet from Jer.

Jer is sharing his work in several ways. First, he’s documenting his research and thoughts via Open Science Framework. You can dig into his wiki, activity, and tags on his Library of Congress Residency 2017/2018.

He has also created a Github repository of his code, data, and miscellanea related to his residency. You can comment and share your ideas with him there and via Twitter.

Earlier this month, we shared our experience touring Library of Congress divisions with Jer. Take a look at the collections we explored via this Twitter Moment. We visited with curators, reference librarians, and archives specialists from Manuscripts, Geography & Maps, Rare Books, Prints & Photographs, American Folklife Center, and Web Archiving.

Two men exploring subject files in the American Folklife Center Reading Room, Subject File drawer for "Gulf War - History of the World"

@LC_Labs Tweet from 06 October during American Folklife Center tour

 

Want to create something new with Library of Congress collections data? Download a cleaned MARC records data set for yourself from our LC for Robots page from the MARC Open-Access section. And if turning data into a thought experiment is your game, you might consider showcasing your skills in the Congressional Data Challenge (details here).

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