LC Labs Letter: May 2020


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

Our Projects 

Jamming with the Newspaper Navigator Dataset
On Thursday, May 7th, Innovator in Residence Ben Lee presented the Newspaper Navigator dataset containing over 100 million images extracted from the Chronicling America database using a machine learning algorithm. Over 130 participants tuned in remotely to get a sneak peek of this complete dataset now available on

Participants then had a chance to play with the data in a “data jam” portion of the event. Many people shared their creative uses of the images from the dataset on Twitter using #NewspaperNavigator. Check them out in the latest post on the Signal or become a “jammer” yourself! And if you make something, keep sharing with us @LC_Labs or by emailing us at [email protected]

For more information about the technical process underlying the project, check out Ben’s recently released white paper at

Citizen DJ in BETA
At the end of April, Innovator in Residence Brian Foo and LC Labs rolled out user testing of Citizen DJ, a new music-making and exploration tool launching later this summer. The project has already received attention from nearly 100,000 interested users in this phase of the process, and Brian continues to seek feedback on the tool’s beta version now available on Brian discusses in this blog post on the Signal, user feedback is a vital part of the design process. Please participate if you’re interested!

Junior Fellows Arriving Soon! 
The Digital Strategy Directorate will be hosting five remote Junior Fellows this summer, who will be working on creating a digital representation of a Library of Congress collection of their choice and re-imagining creative strategies for getting LC Labs resources into the hands of even more users.Thanks to the Library’s Internship And Fellowship Programs Office, which transitioned the internship to a virtual program, we’re able to host our Junior Fellows remotely this summer. Stay tuned to meet our 2020 Junior Fellows and explore the creative projects they design!


LC Labs in the News 

Several of our projects have recently been featured in the news. Here are some of the highlights:



  • Post-1900 public domain Sanborn maps for 25 more states are now online!
  • The papers of Presidents Andrew Johnson, Chester Arthur, and William McKinley are online for the first time! Check them out on // or our new mobile collections app.
  • In 1977, 14 fieldworkers from American Folklife Center set out to document arts in Chicago. This amazing new StoryMap uses interviews, music , photos and other materials as a pathway into the sights and sounds of the time!

LC Labs Letter: April 2020

LC LABS LETTER A Monthly Roundup of News and Thoughts from the Library of Congress Labs Team Editor’s Note As it did for many people across the country and all over the world, the month of March brought new ways of working and communicating and challenging, complex circumstances for the LC Labs team. We found […]

Innovator Brian Foo Incorporates “Citizen DJs” into Design Process

The following is a guest post by Innovator in Residence Brian Foo, creator of Citizen DJ. The Citizen DJ project invites the public to make music using the free-to-use audio and video collections from the Library of Congress. The project will feature online tools for exploring and remixing tens of thousands of sounds from a variety of collections ranging from music to government film to oral histories. 

Machine Learning + Libraries Summit: Event Summary now live!

The Machine Learning + Libraries Summit Event Summary is now available as a downloadable report on This document includes more detailed information about the conference proceedings. It broadly summarizes recurring themes of discussion and compiles the outputs of the small group activities.

Computing Cultural Heritage in the Cloud Quarterly Update

This is a guest post from LC Labs Senior Innovation Specialist Laurie Allen. This is the second post in a series where we are sharing experiences from the Andrew W. Mellon-funded Computing Cultural Heritage in the Cloud. The series began with an introductory post.  Learn about the grant on the experiments page, and see the […]

LC Labs Letter January 2020

LC LABS LETTER 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 […]

Library’s Collections Come to Life as 3D Models

The 3D Digital Modeling, Imaging, and Printing Working Group was created to explore the use of 3D technologies to expand access to the Library’s collections. In Fall 2019, the working group launched a pilot in which a limited selection of items from the online collections were 3D scanned and the 3D models made publicly available. In […]

LC Labs Letter: December 2019

LC LABS LETTER A Monthly Roundup of News and Thoughts from the Library of Congress Labs Team Keeping up with the Innovators This month, Brian Foo and Ben Lee came back to the Library to gather feedback from staff in the early stages of their project and to showcase working prototypes. Brian presented his project […]

Celebrating a year with By the People

Celebrating the 1 year anniversary of By the People, the Library of Congress crowdsourcing platform that engages volunteers to explore and connect to Library of Congress collections while enhancing searchability, readability, and research use of digitized collections. In the last year over 11,000 volunteers have registered and even more have contributed anonymously to complete transcription of over 31,000 digital collection pages, with 55,000 awaiting peer review.