LC Labs Letter: December 2022

December 2022

News from the Library of Congress Labs Team

Announcing the LC Labs Data Sandbox

As readers may remember from the editor’s issue on data and libraries, LC Labs has provided access to the Library’s collections in a machine-readable form since our inception.

With support from the Mellon Foundation, the Computing Cultural Heritage in the Cloud grant has allowed our team to advance these efforts, which began with the resources shared on the LC for Robots page, into a new experimental sandbox space for sharing data packages.

Specifically, the grant team designed the space to host three derivative data packages used in the CCHC Data Jam, an invitation-only event in October 2022 at which outside experts gave their input on what it was like to computationally access and engage with large Library of Congress collections datasets using cloud services. Read more about how we designed these data packages and made them publicly available in this detailed process post on the Signal Blog.


Hearing from Users: Computing Cultural Heritage in the Cloud Data Jam 

The Computing Cultural Heritage in the Cloud initiative pilots ways to combine cutting-edge technology and the collections of the largest library in the world, to support digital research at scale.

The CCHC team has continually taken a user-centered approach to meeting our grant goals of recommending service models, cost implications, and technical affordances of providing access to cultural heritage collections as data in cloud-based environments. First, we hosted a cohort of research fellows whose work required them to analyze LC collections at scale. The CCHC Data Jam was our second round of public user engagement, with heavier emphasis on understanding specific details about the technical set up of cloud-based storage environments and computational access pathways.

The Data Jam participants were experienced data wranglers from all over the world, all of whom were knowledgeable about the complexities of cultural heritage data. In a short, time-bound engagement, they recorded their feedback in real time and as authentically as possible. Now, anyone can watch these impressive feedback presentations via the event recording on For a written summary of event highlights, check out this post recapping the event on the Signal Blog.


How CCHC connects to Labs’ experiments with machine learning

In this end-of-year reflection, Sr. Innovation Specialist Meghan Ferriter shares how the Computing Cultural Heritage in the Cloud initiative is tightly coupled with the multifaceted explorations that are the hallmark of LC Labs work, and, specifically, our investigation of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI).

Check out her post on the Signal Blog for a lucid explanation of how Labs experiments inform one another and how we build upon their outcomes in creative and iterative approaches.


  • ICYMI: new collections made their way online since our last issue in September! Check out the Thanksgiving and Fall editions of What’s New on

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Grounding iterative experimentation with LC Labs: CCHC and Machine Learning

Across the last five years, LC Labs experiments have integrated sundry perspectives and disciplines to connect people, practice, and history; from making collections more legible and discoverable through volunteer crowdsourcing efforts with Beyond Words and By the People, to developing frameworks for ethically engaging people when adopting machine learning with Humans in the Loop, to […]

Even More Fun with File Formats!

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Do volunteer transcriptions improve search and discovery in

Today’s guest post is from Abby Shelton, a Digital Collections Specialist and By the People Community Manager in the Digital Content Management Section at the Library of Congress. How do people use crowdsourced transcriptions? Do they drive increased traffic and engagement to our digital collections? What kinds of activity do transcriptions of handwritten documents facilitate? […]

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

Interested in learning more about what’s new in the Library of Congress’ digital collections? The Signal now shares 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 […]

Celebrating Four Years of By the People

Today’s guest post is from Abby Shelton, a Digital Collections Specialist and By the People Community Manager in the Digital Content Management Section at the Library of Congress. Happy fourth birthday to By the People! To celebrate we are highlighting some of the best parts of the last year. Interested in our previous anniversary posts? Check out […]

Performing Arts in the Coronavirus Web Archive: Part 4

This post was originally written by Melissa Wertheimer, a Music Reference Specialist at the Library of Congress, for In the Muse: Performing Arts Blog. In Part 1 of this series, I walked readers through Coronavirus Web Archive items within the theme of financial relief efforts in the performing arts. Part 2 of this series highlighted collection items related to medical and public health […]