LC Labs Letter January 2020


A Monthly Roundup of News and Thoughts from the Library of Congress Labs Team

The Computing Cultural Heritage in the Cloud Project is HIRING!

Come join the Mellon-funded Computing Cultural Heritage in the Cloud Project as one of two digital scholarship specialists! The positions will be funded for three years and will assist four teams of researchers with accessing research collections through the cloud.

Apply here by January 31, 2020!

Connecting Collections as Data Conference & Call for Participation

SAVE THE DATE! May 4-6, 2020, LC Labs will host ‘Connecting Collections as Data: Transforming Communities, Sharing Knowledge, and Building Networks with International GLAM Labs.

LC Labs will host the International GLAM Labs network in North America for the first time to connect with the active Collections as Data and digital scholarship communities in the U.S. The meeting will be an opportunity  for participants to exchange strategies and methods for developing innovative services for diverse and varied audiences,  and to discuss the role of cultural heritage and research organizations in advancing digital transformation.

Brief proposals are sought from individuals and groups who are interested in contributing to the program. Submission will be accepted for: 1) 10 minute lighting talks (that may be grouped into themes), 2) panel proposals that address a single theme with 3 to 4 speakers and a facilitator, or 3) full or half day workshops, datathons, or other hands-on working session. Submit your proposal here by January 31, 2020.

LOC 3D: Library Collections Come to Life as 3D models!

Two physical objects from the Library of Congress collections are now available online as 3D models. See them for yourself here!

These models were created by staff from across the Library as part of a pilot to test the use of making 3D collections available to users. Staff were trained in photogrammetry, one of the technologies that makes web-viewable, digital models. In this blog post, Labs member Eileen talks more about learning these skills and being part of this diverse and cross-functional Library squad.

Please share this experiment widely and reach out to provide your feedback and/or user stories via email at [email protected].

2019 in Review

In this blog post on the Signal, Program Advisor Leah Weinryb-Grohsgal reflects on the Digital Strategy Directorate’s accomplishments in 2019. Highlights include introducing a new cohort of the Innovator in Residence program, winning a $1 million grant to test new modes of collection access, experimenting with the use of machine learning, and graduating By the People from an experiment to a program.


  • While in residence at the Kluge Center, Dr. Patrick Egan combined his background in technology and passion for Irish folk music in a digital humanities project that applied linked data approaches to the Irish traditional music materials at the American Folklife Center (AFC). Patrick shares about his process of undertaking this interdisciplinary work in this blog post.


  • The Library of Congress has named Jason Reynolds as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Learn more about him and his work in this Library of Congress resource guide.


Kate’s Corner
Notes from the Director of Digital Strategy

It’s New Year’s resolution time, a concept that I have never loved, since the resolutions seem to 1. not work, and 2. make people inspect only the things they don’t like about themselves.

This year, I’m instead focusing on habit and systems; you know, the slow and steadfast friends that gently lead you to brush your teeth and remind you of loved-ones’ birthdays, even after their buddies willpower and grit have over-trained at the gym and fallen asleep on the couch. My goals this year are to live healthier and connect more with colleagues and loved ones. I’ve enjoyed spending much of January thinking about ways to smooth my path. For example, to cook all of my veggies during the weekend for easy weekday meal making and scheduling coffee with folks in advance.

In the same way that I love caring for and helping other people, I can find pleasure in current Kate taking care of future Kate. I wish you the best luck in living your most happy and fulfilling life this year.

-Kate Zwaard


Introducing the Computing Cultural Heritage in the Cloud Project

With support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the LC Labs team will pilot ways to combine cutting edge technology and the collections of the largest library in the world, to support creative new uses of collections. This project will explore service models to support researchers accessing Library of Congress collections in the cloud, with findings shared throughout the 2 year project.

Inside, Inside Baseball: A Look at the Construction of the Dataset Featuring the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Library of Congress Digital Collections

This is a guest blog post by visiting scholar archivist Julia Hickey who is on a professional development assignment from the Defense Media Activity to the Library of Congress Labs team. Julia has been helping us prepare for and build out a visualization of collection data for our Inside Baseball event. This post was also […]

Digital Scholarship Resource Guide: Tools for Spatial Analysis (part 5 of 7)

This is part five in a seven part resource guide for digital scholarship by Samantha Herron, our 2017 Junior Fellow. Part one is available here, part two about making digital documents is here, part three is about tools to work with data, part four is all about doing text analysis, and today’s post is focused on spatial analysis. The full […]

Digital Scholarship Resource Guide: So now you have digital data… (part 3 of 7)

This is part three of our Digital Scholarship Research Guide created by Samantha Herron. See parts one about digital scholarship projects and two about how to create digital documents. So now you have digital data… Great! But what to do? Regardless of what your data are (sometimes it’s just pictures and documents and notes, sometimes […]

From Code to Colors: Working with the JSON API

The following is a guest post by Laura Wrubel, software development librarian with George Washington University Libraries, who has joined the Library of Congress Labs team during her research leave. The Library of Congress website has an API ( “application programming interface”) which delivers the content for each web page. What’s kind of exciting is […]

Digital Scholarship Resource Guide: Making Digital Resources, Part 2 of 7

This is part two in a seven part resource guide for digital scholarship by Samantha Herron, our 2017 Junior Fellow. Part one is available here, and the full guide is available as a PDF download.  Creating Digital Documents The first step in creating an electronic copy of an analog (non-digital) document is usually scanning it […]

New Year, New You: A Digital Scholarship Guide (in seven parts!)

To get 2018 going in a positive digital direction, we are releasing a guide for working with digital resources. Every Wednesday for the next seven weeks a new part of the guide will be released on The Signal. The guide covers what digital archives and digital humanities are trying to achieve, how to create digital documents, […]

Lowering barriers to using collections in an NDSR workshop with Shawn Averkamp

This is a guest post by Charlotte Kostelic, National Digital Stewardship Resident with the Library of Congress and Royal Collection Trust for the Georgian Papers Programme. Her project focuses on exploring ways to optimize access and use among related digital collections held at separate institutions. This work has included a comparative analysis of international metadata […]

Welcoming Laura Wrubel and exploring digital scholarship at the Library of Congress

In November, the LC Labs team welcomed Laura Wrubel as she kicked off her research leave in residence with the Library of Congress. Over the next 3 months, she’ll explore digital scholarship with our team and how it might be best supported. We checked in with her to learn more about her goals, background, and […]