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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An Introduction to Born Digital Collections at the Manuscript Division, or How to Cross the Equator

The following guest post by Josh Levy, Historian of Science and Technology in the Library’s Manuscript Division, is part two of a series. You can find Part 1 of the series, “Doing History with Born Digital Files: the Rhoda Métraux and Edward Lorenz Papers,” posted on The Signal. Archives can’t just collect physical objects anymore. […]

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a…derivative dataset!

This post describes a collaboration between LC Labs member Eileen J. Manchester and Peter DeCraene, the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow to answer the question: “what would it mean to treat a dataset as a primary source?”

Reflecting On a Year of Selected Datasets

Introduction The Selected Datasets Collection was publicly launched June 2020 as part of the Library’s ongoing efforts to support emerging data-driven styles of research. Since then, our initial offering of twenty datasets has grown to nearly 200 unique items, and we’ve continued to refine the technical workflows by which content is prepared and delivered to […]

Next Slide Please: 2021 Digital Strategy Summer Intern Design Sprint part I

This is an interview with Emily Zerrenner, Jodanna Domond, Luke Borland, and Darshni Patel, four of the seven students that joined our team during the summer of 2021. As a small group, they worked together to better understand the Library’s Web Archives with the needs of researchers and data visualization artists in mind.