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New Online: A Redesigned Portal for Librarians and Archivists

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This is a guest post by Elizabeth Fulford, a librarian in the Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access (ABA) Directorate, and Susan Morris, special assistant to the ABA director.

The Library of Congress provides many resources to support information professionals worldwide. To streamline access to that content, we’ve redesigned our portal for librarians and archivists.

The new portal highlights the standard library functions of acquisitions, bibliographic access, preservation and public service, providing an overview of these activities at the Library and links to a wealth of content and documentation in each area. A new banner on the opening page features each of the four library functions and offers access to our most popular online catalogs and quick links to content for library professionals: the Library of Congress Classification Outline, BIBFRAME and MARC21.

Archives and manuscript collections encompass a wide variety of material types and subjects throughout the Library. With an emphasis on archival description—the dual process of cataloging for the LC Online Catalog and producing finding aids—this landing page focuses on the Encoded Archival Description (EAD) standard, easy access to a large body of finding aids for manuscript collections and a link to the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections.

A special section dedicated to resources for subject catalogers provides descriptions and pointers to controlled vocabularies and thesauruses used to categorize diverse library materials and collections in all formats. Free PDFs of Library of Congress subject headings documentation and access to literally hundreds of downloadable vocabularies and ontologies through are provided.

Also of interest to information professionals are the pages highlighting the many products and services the Library offers to librarians, including cataloging-related tools and resources, online reference support, duplication services, disaster-recovery resources and interlibrary loan.

Special outreach programs and festivals appear on the reading and literacy page. From the Center for the Book to the National Book Festival, these programs provide resources and support for teachers, authors, poets and reading enthusiasts worldwide.

The Library also acts as the “maintenance agency” for a large number of resource description, digital library, and metadata standards used by libraries, museums and many other organizations that organize and describe large bodies of materials. The revised standards landing page acts as a portal to over 20 standards and protocols the Library maintains.

A formerly separate site, the Library of Congress at the American Library Association (ALA), is now a part of the new portal. The Library offers presentations, demonstrations and consultations at its pavilion on the exhibit floor of every ALA conference—the annual ALA midwinter meeting and the ALA annual conference each summer. In addition, many Library managers and program staff make presentations at events during the ALA conferences. The ALA section of the portal provides information about the Library’s participation and schedules for presentations at the Library’s exhibit pavilion and conference meetings, as well as the semiannual “update” document that outlines the Library’s accomplishments and initiatives of interest to the library community.

We hope the redesigned portal helps you find the information you need as quickly as possible. Please let us know what you think in the comments section of this post!


  1. What’s wrong with Philadelphia Portal? Boston Portal? Pittsburgh Portal? Washington D.C. Portal?

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