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LC Labs Letter: March 2022

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March 2022

Monthly News from the Library of Congress Labs Team

Announcement for vendors in digital cultural heritage 

Attend the Digital Innovation Industry Day on April 6!

Do you work for an organization that plans, analyzes and prototypes innovative digital projects? Does your team use machine learning or other artificial intelligence methods to expand access, discovery, and use of digital cultural heritage collections? Are you interested in partnering with the Library of Congress on small-scale experiments?

Then come to the Library of Congress’ Industry Day next Wednesday, April 6 at 2 pm Eastern to learn about how the Library conducts business and upcoming opportunities for digital innovation contracts.

Additional details can be found on the published posting on, found here:

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Connecting with our cultural heritage peers at Smithsonian Digitization Conference

At last week’s virtual Smithsonian Digitization Conference, our team’s very own Senior Innovation Specialist Meghan Ferriter joined Smithsonian’s Mike Trizna, the Science Museum Group’s John Stack, and the Pratt Institute’s Elena Villaespesa to discuss how our institutions have connected with users and supported digital efforts during the pandemic.

In her presentation, Meghan shared stories from the Computing Cultural Heritage in the Cloud (CCHC) initiative’s network building and user-centered approaches from the Library’s Innovators in Residence. She also emphasized how we, the Labs team, have built cross-functional teams of colleagues and subject matter experts to explore how technologies can transform organizational practices. For example, subject matter expertise was incorporated from the start of the Humans in the Loop experiment to account for “the ease with which AI technologies abstract data from its cultural context,” as Meghan put it in her talk. If you’d like to read more about how this experiment connected humans and machines, check out this recent feature in the LC Magazine. 

Even before the pandemic, our team sought to solicit and incorporate the experiences and perspectives of all the people who had a role in our experiments. However the shift to remote work made it all the more imperative for the LC Labs team to learn new methods for including multiple voices and opinions in a virtual format. For example, our team gained experience using interactive exercises such Liberating Structures and developing co-creative workshops for identifying collections to be used in our experiments. We learned from our readers (like you!) who gave us valuable feedback on prototypes of Citizen DJ and Newspaper Navigator and we also engaged with our peers through the Collective Wisdom and Humans in the Loop professional workshops.

We know we have more learning ahead of us as we move into an increasingly hybrid future and look forward to doing even more to meet the Digital Strategy’s goal of connecting the Library of Congress and the American people.

Behind the scenes of the CCHC research cohort

Computing Cultural Heritage in the Cloud (CCHC) is an applied research initiative investigating the applications of cloud infrastructure to digitally-enabled scholarship and research. CCHC staff work closely with researchers and Library staff to learn about their experiences with cloud-based tools, research services, and large-scale usage of Library materials. Specifically, the work of the CCHC researchers – Lincoln Mullen, Lauren Tilton, and Andromeda Yelton – has tackled analyzing and browsing Library collection materials in exciting new ways.

From identifying biblical quotations, to exploring relationships among collection items, to making photographs easier to find with the help of computer vision, the CCHC team has learned that computational research offers many possibilities for deeper investigation and discovery. Check out this recent Signal blog post by Program Specialist Olivia Dorsey or an overview of the researchers’ work, their outcomes, challenges, and future plans.


Connecting Communities Digital Initiative

Get to know Marya McQuirter, CCDI Program Director

Connecting Communities Digital Initiative (CCDI) is a four-year program encouraging creative uses of the Library’s digital collections to center the histories, lives and experiences of Black, Indigenous and other communities of color.

In this interview on the Of the People blog, CCDI’s Director, Marya, shares more about how she got started using the Library’s collections, what attracted her to the Connecting Communities Digital Initiative (CCDI), and her connection to Washington, DC. Watch this space for updates on CCDI and don’t forget to subscribe for updates from the Of the People Blog!




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