LC Labs Letter: April 2021

April 2021

A Monthly Roundup of News and Thoughts from the Library of Congress Labs Team

Our Projects

Talk back to history through Speculative Annotation (launching soon)

The 2021 Innovator in Residence project, Speculative Annotation, is launching soon! In a recent blog post, Innovator Courtney McClellan shared more about the artistic process behind curating the items selected for the annotation tool.

“One of the main things I’m looking for when selecting items whether they spark imagination and storytelling. Is there something curious for students to learn, discover and explore both through their own imaginations, but also through the context and history of the items?”

The goal of the project, according to McClellan, is to create an opportunity for users of the tool to talk back to history by engaging with the Library’s digital collections. The project is primarily targeted towards K-12 students and educators.

We can’t wait to share this exciting new project with you–stay tuned until this summer, when the application will be released on


Artifacts from the Archives…

A lot of our projects are actively under development. So in this month’s newsletter, we’re throwing it back to several resources from past projects that we really don’t want you to forget about.

Citizen DJ’s copyrights and ethics guide is specifically tailored to anyone who is interested in making music by sampling existing audio and video material from the Library of Congress and beyond.

3D model of Abraham Lincoln’s right hand could be yours–print your own by downloading the file and bringing it to your nearest available makerspace; check first with your local public library.

In 2019, a book about how to “Open a GLAM Lab,” was co-written by a group of 16 librarians, developers, archivists, curators and academics from around the world, including LC Labs staff, in only five days!

This free-to-use browser extension, which populates Chrome tabs with a new “free to use” photograph from the Library’s collections every time you open a new page or tab.

The Library’s API documentation which enables machine-readable access to the Library’s digital collections! If you’re an active user, email us at [email protected] with ideas for how documentation could be improved.



  • Our Digital Strategy Directorate colleague Cheryl Ingraham was recently interviewed about her role in supporting the Connecting Communities Digital Initiative as part of the Of the People program.
  • Ed Sperr, one of the winners of the 2018 LC Labs Congressional Data Challenge, recently created a tool to visualize term frequency in LC collections using the API. You can search for a term and see its frequency by publication year and type of material, and compare search terms to each other.
  • Have you seen the recent updates from our colleagues in the Digital Content Management section? These posts include an update on the section’s progress in the last three years and an interview with new By the People community manager Abby Shelton.

To subscribe to the monthly LC Labs Letter, visit //

For more information about LC Labs, visit us at

Questions? Contact LC Labs at [email protected]

Joining By the People: An interview with Abby Shelton

I’m thrilled to share that Abby Shelton has joined the Digital Content Management section as a new Digital Collections Specialist working as a community manager on the By the People Program. To that end, I’m also happy to share this interview as part of our occasional series where we learn more about the background, experience, and […]

Curating as Artistic Act: Selecting Items for Speculative Annotation

The following is a guest post by the 2021 Innovator in Residence Courtney McClellan, a research-based artist who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. With a subject focus on speech and civic engagement, McClellan works in a range of media including sculpture, performance, photography, and writing. Courtney’s Residency initiative “Speculative Annotation” will be an experimental browser-based application that […]