Library of Congress Announces New Chief of the Digital Innovation Lab

Photograph of Nicki Saylor, incoming Chief of the Digital Innovation Lab at the Library of Congress

Photograph of Nicki Saylor, incoming Chief of the Digital Innovation Lab at the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has appointed Nicole Saylor as the new Chief of the Digital Innovation Lab, a position established to lead the Library’s innovation with digital collections and to support its digital transformation.

The position, located in the Digital Strategy Directorate in the Office of the Chief Information Officer, is being created as the Library experiments with new ways of applying technology to collections and services.

“I’m delighted to have Nicki come aboard to manage the Digital Innovation Lab, a pioneering organization within the Library dedicated to experimentation and innovation,” said Kate Zwaard, the Library’s Director of Digital Strategy. “Nicki’s bold thinking and leadership will be critical as we explore new technologies and creative ways to share the Library’s treasures with Congress and the American people.”

Saylor brings to the role a wealth of experience leading digital innovation and connecting culture and collections. She previously served as Director of the Archive of Folk Culture at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, where she led a team dedicated to curating the nation’s oldest and largest archive of ethnographic documentation including folk songs, stories, and other creative expressions of people from diverse communities. From 2007 to 2012, she served as head of digital research and publishing at the University of Iowa Libraries, where she led the development of digital collections, library publishing services and collaborations with faculty on the design and implementation of digital scholarly research projects. She previously worked in a public library, a regional humanities center devoted to the languages and cultures of the Upper Midwest, and as a journalist at metropolitan newspapers throughout the Midwest. She holds a Master’s of Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Saylor will lead a team dedicated to exploring how the Library can use its collections to connect with researchers, artists, and members of the public in new ways. The Digital Innovation Lab, known as LC Labs, launched in 2017 and has since incubated popular initiatives including Citizen DJ, Newspaper Navigator, and By the People, as well as explorations into cloud computing, machine learning, and data visualization.

“I’m so pleased to join this dynamic and forward-thinking team,” said Saylor. “I am looking forward to leading the team’s work in advancing innovation to support the Library’s core mission of reaching a broad public.”

Through experimentation, research, and collaboration, LC Labs works to realize the Library’s vision that “all Americans are connected to the Library of Congress” by enabling the Library’s Digital Strategy. LC Labs is home to the Library of Congress Innovator in Residence Program; has nurtured experiments in machine learning and the use of collections as data; and incubated the Library’s popular crowdsourced transcription program By the People. Learn more and subscribe to the monthly LC Labs newsletter at labs.loc.gov.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.

2 Comments

  1. Michelle Novak
    June 4, 2021 at 2:08 pm

    Congratulations! If the last year of lockdown has taught us anything, it’s demonstrated how important digital access is. Innovation into increasing discoverability and access and developing sustainable investment strategies to improve digital access is a vital service and I look forward to the LOC’s leadership here.

  2. Brewster Kahle
    June 4, 2021 at 4:50 pm

    Congratulations, Nicki! The collections of LC are the best in the world.

    If the Internet Archive can be of any help, please let us know.

    -brewster
    Digital Librarian

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