LC Labs Letter: April 2021

April 2021

LC LABS LETTER
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 labs.loc.gov.

 

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.

 

Curio

  • 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 loc.gov 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 //updates.loc.gov/accounts/USLOC/subscriber/new?topic_id=USLOC_182

For more information about LC Labs, visit us at https://labs.loc.gov/

Questions? Contact LC Labs at [email protected]

That’s a wrap! 2020 Staff Innovator detail comes to a close

A reflection on the 2020 Staff Innovator detail from an LC Labs team member, shared in the hopes that some of the lessons we learned from this cross-institutional partnership may be applicable to other institutions and interesting to our readers! 

LC for Robots in Action: using the API to access the Federal Theatre Project collection

The following is a guest post by Derek Miller, Harvard University, and Elizabeth Brown, a reference librarian in the Main Reading Room at the Library of Congress. In it, they discuss how Brown helped Miller access LC for Robots resources that helped him gain enhanced access to Library of Congress digital collections used in his research.

Analyzing the Born-Digital Archive

Kathleen O’Neill is a 2020 Staff Innovator with LC Labs and a Senior Archivist in the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress. In this post, she discusses her analysis of the various file formats in the Manuscript Division’s born-digital holdings.

Citizen DJ at the virtual National Book Festival

This post was originally featured on the Minerva’s Kaleidoscope blog for kids and families. We’re excited and grateful to be able to re-share about this opportunity to experience Citizen DJ at the virtual National Book Festival next week!

Metaphors for Understanding Born Digital Collection Access: Part III

Kathleen O’Neill is currently serving as one of two Staff Innovators at the Library of Congress. Their 2020 project, Born Digital Access Now!, explores existing pathways for accessing born digital materials in the Manuscript Division. In this series of blog posts, Kathleen describes the complexities of gaining access to born digital materials through the lens of three different metaphors. Up first was “Media Format, or, Have Fun Storming the Castle!” The second blog post discussed “Legacy File Formats and Operating Systems or Lost in Translation.” This is the third and final post in the series and Kathleen carefully explains the process of emulation and makes it feel less like “strange magic.”

Metaphors for Understanding Born Digital Collection Access: Part II

Kathleen O’Neill is currently serving as one of two Staff Innovators at the Library of Congress. Their 2020 project, Born Digital Access Now!, explores existing pathways for accessing born digital materials in the Manuscript Division. In this series of blog posts, Kathleen describes the complexities of gaining access to born digital materials even before they reach researchers. This is the second post in the series and focuses on legacy file formats through the metaphor of being “lost in translation.”

Metaphors for Understanding Born Digital Collection Access: Part I

The following is a guest post by Senior Archivist Kathleen O’Neill. Kathleen and her colleague Chad Conrady are currently working on a project called Born Digital Access Now! as the 2020 Staff Innovators in LC Labs. Their first blog post introduces the project, which aims to provide greater access to born digital materials held in the Manuscript Division, in greater detail. Today’s post is the first in a series of three blog posts in which Kathleen will discuss different challenges or barriers to born digital collection access through the lens of three different metaphors. Up first is: “Media Format, or, Have Fun Storming the Castle!”