What’s new online at the Library of Congress – Spring 2022

We thank our colleague Carlyn Osborn, who originally published this on The Signal blog, for allowing us to repost this entry.

Interested in learning more about what’s new in the Library of Congress’ digital collections? The Signal will now be sharing out semi-regularly about new additions to publicly-available digital collections and we can’t wait to show off all the hard work from our colleagues from across the Library. Read on for a sample of what’s been added recently and some of our favorite highlights. Visit here for previous updates.


What’s new on loc.gov?

St. Mark’s Poetry Project Audio Archive

Since its founding in 1966, the Poetry Project has been recognized by poets, and increasingly by scholars, as one of the most important poetry institutions in the country. The oldest independent literary center in the U.S., it has nurtured poets and poetic movements central to the evolution of post-War American poetry through a combination of live readings, performances, lectures, events, and workshops, in addition to literary and critical publications and an emerging writers program. Functioning as a small-press publishing nexus as well as the leading poetry performance space in the country, the Poetry Project has seen and heard nearly every notable American poet in the last fifty-five years.  This release of 420 recordings from the Poetry Project represents approximately 15% of that collection’s holdings at the Library of Congress. We will continue to release additional recordings to the public as we seek and obtain the necessary permissions.

East Florida Papers

This collection from the Manuscript Division consists primarily of the records (65,000 items; 190,918 images) of the Spanish colonial government of East Florida from 1784, when Spain regained the colony from Great Britain according to the terms of the Treaty of Paris, which settled the Revolutionary War, until 1821, when Spain ceded Florida to the United States after the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. The collection is largely in Spanish, with some in English. The digital scans were created from 175 reels of previously produced microfilm. The East Florida Papers include correspondence between Spanish officials in East Florida and their counterparts and superiors in Spain, Havana, West Florida, Louisiana, and Mexico, as well as with British and American officials. They document the internal administration of the colony, through financial, military, and legal records, including records relating to prisoners, the hospital, the church, shipping, and Indian affairs. The papers are also rich in detail about the lives of Floridians at every level of society. These people include the original Indian inhabitants, loyalists who escaped to British Florida during the American Revolution, enslaved people who fled plantations in Georgia and South Carolina for freedom in Spanish Florida, as well as many ordinary inhabitants of St. Augustine and other places in East Florida.

Hebraic Manuscripts

Work is underway to digitize all 230 of the African and Middle Eastern Division (Hebraic Section) manuscripts written in Hebrew and in cognate languages such as Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Persian, and Yiddish, and make them available on the library website, thanks to the generosity of the David Berg Foundation. In the meantime, the collection’s initial release provides online access to two unique manuscripts, the famous 15th- century Washington Haggadah, and an exquisite Order of Prayers before Retiring at Night from 18th-century Germany. These are representative of the different stages by which the library acquired its manuscripts: the spectacular Passover Haggadah known today as the Washington Haggadah (MS 181) was purchased in Mantua in 1902 by Ephraim Deinard, a noted bookdealer from Russia who traveled the world in search of Hebraica.  The second manuscript, the 18th-century Order of Prayers before Retiring at Night (MS 227), was acquired far more recently, in 2014. Watch this space: we anticipate that the full collection will be online by spring 2023!

Dun & Bradstreet Reference Book Collection

R.G. Dun & Company, now known as Dun & Bradstreet, was a credit reporting agency that published quarterly credit ratings on merchants, manufacturers, and traders in the United States and Canada, and provided ratings on an enterprise’s financial strength and ability to pay back debts. This was useful information for those interested in doing business with or lending money to a particular company. A detailed map of each state is included at the beginning of each state section, except for the District of Columbia and Delaware, which can be found on the map of Maryland. An individual company listing includes the business name, the company’s business type, financial strength, and credit rating, but does not include business owner names or addresses. These credit ratings focus primarily on manufacturing and retail, so establishments for lawyers, dentists, educators, doctors, and hairdressers are not included. This initial release of the Dun & Bradstreet Reference Book collection from Business Reference Services (Science, Technology & Business Division) contains 197 volumes of the Reference Book from 1900 to 1924, scanned from microfilm holdings.  The print volumes of the Reference Book are currently being digitized, and will be added to this presentation once complete.

Copyright Historical Record Books

The U.S. Copyright Office is governed by Title 17 of the United States Code, which requires the Register of Copyrights to maintain and provide public access to copyright records. This collection is a preview of a digitized version of the U.S. Copyright Office’s historical record books. The collection contains images of copyright applications and other records bound in books dating from 1870 to 1977. The collection offers a historically-important snapshot of the culture of the United States, primarily relating to copyrightable expression, authorship, and copyright ownership.  The collection will be made available online starting with the most recent volumes from 1977, proceeding through the Copyright Office’s internal administrative classification system in reverse chronological order. Images of record books will be added to this collection as they are digitized.

Collection updates and migrations

Motion Picture Copyright Descriptions

This month’s update to the recently-released Motion Picture Copyright Descriptions collection incorporates roughly 19,000 additional items, bringing the total number available online to nearly 25,000, and incorporating content through 1926.  The site will continue to be updated annually as materials pass into the public domain.

Military Legal Resources

Formerly available through the Federal Research Division website, this extensive collection from the Law Library of Congress includes material from the William Winthrop Memorial Library at the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School  in Charlottesville, Virginia. The presentation is divided into three categories to best highlight the type of material available: JAG Legal Center & School Materials, Historical Materials, and Military Law and Legislative History.

Selected Datasets

New versions of five dataset items were added to the Selected Datasets Collection. This includes a new copy of the Simple English Wikipedia and the Grand Comics Database, which was recently featured on The Signal.

Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress

The Frederick Douglass papers digital collection presentation has been updated with the integration of links to and from the collection’s EAD finding aid for digitized items, the inclusion of  JPEG2000 image files, enabling deep-zoom functionality and clipping ability in the loc.gov/resource page viewers and the generation of IIIF manifests, and minor edits to the collection framework.

New Open Access eBooks

Over 250 new open access titles added to the collection! Some highlights include books about linguistics including Linguistic influences on mathematical cognitionLanguage by mouth and by handLanguage and world. Part One : essays on the philosophy of Wittgenstein and Language and world. Part Two : signs, minds and actions. And check out the titles about environmentalism and ecology recently added to the collection, such as Terraforming : ecopolitical transformations and environmentalism in science fictionBiocultural diversity and indigenous ways of knowing : human ecology in the ArcticRailway Ecology, and Riverine Ecosystem Management : Science for Governing Towards a Sustainable Future.

Want to learn more about how the LC expanded its OA eBook collecting since 2020? Listen in to this Federal News Network interview with Rashi Joshi and Kristy Darby from this month!

Additions to the Library’s Web Archives

Over the past three months, the Web Archiving Team has added 1800+ items to its collections on loc.gov. The archives coming out of embargo include additions to over 60 collections and content spanning 76 countries and 52 languages. The most highly represented subjects in the new releases are government, European studies, science, music, political science, gender studies, racial justice, and history. Some of the highlights include:

The Coronavirus Web Archive was released with over 450 records that document the pandemic. The collection “aims to balance government, science, business and policy content with human stories that will give future historians a sense of how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the daily lives of individuals, families and communities.” Read more in this press release, and check out these examples of newly released content:

The LGBTQ+ Studies Web Archive added 45 records to its growing collection of over 350 records now available on loc.gov. The collection “documents LGBTQ+ history, scholarship, and culture in the United States and around the world” Examples of newly released content include:

The United States Congressional Web Archive has been updated to include the 115th Congress (2017-2018) and 116th Congress (2019-2020). Records were added for 252 members of the Senate and House of Representatives, contributing to the total of over 1400 records now available on loc.gov.

The Brazilian Environmental Policy Web Archive has been added to loc.gov . The archive “presents a sampling of municipal web-content produced between 2010 and 2021 – following Brazil’s inclusion as one of the five emerging ‘BRICS’ economies. This expanded economic growth has evolved from increased demand for the extraction of natural resources across the country making this archive an essential tool for researchers studying the progression of Brazilian environmental initiatives.”

The Bulgarian Political and Social Issues Web Archive and the Serbian Political and Social Issues Web Archive have been added to loc.gov. Both collections include “websites of politicians, political parties, non-governmental organizations, voluntary associations, and think tanks,” and address “topics such as the development of civil society, liberal democracy, peacebuilding, corruption, economic inequality, human and minority rights, marginalization of certain groups, and freedom of the press.”

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