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!

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. 

More Open eBooks: Routinizing Open Access eBook Workflows

This is a guest post by Kristy Darby, a Digital Collections Specialist in the Digital Content Management Section in Library Services. We are excited to share that anyone anywhere can now access a growing online collection of contemporary open access eBooks from the Library of Congress website. For example, you can now directly access books […]

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 […]

Resilience in the Commons: Acquiring and Preserving Open Access Latin American Monographs

Today’s guest post is from Charlotte Kostelic, a Digital Collections Specialist within the Digital Content Management Section of the Library of Congress. The move toward publishing research through open publishing models is growing internationally, but in Latin America, Open Access (OA) publishing is growing at a faster rate than elsewhere. Recent studies suggest 51-95% of […]

New Audio Digitization Performance Testing Guidelines and Software from FADGI

The following is a guest post by Kate Murray, organizer of the FADGI Audio-Visual Working Group and Digital Projects Coordinator at the Library of Congress. The Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative is pleased to announce the release of ADCTest, an open source software application designed to facilitate performance testing of analog-to-digital converters (ADC) used in […]

Women’s History Month Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

This is a guest post from Sarah Osborne Bender, Director of the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. I graduated from library school in 2001, just months after Wikipedia was launched. So as a freshly minted information professional, it is no surprise that I fell […]

Open Science Framework: Meeting Researchers Where They Are

This is a guest post by Megan Potterbusch, National Digital Stewardship resident at the Association of Research Libraries. Openly sharing research data, code and methodology are integral parts of open science. Whether due to disciplinary culture shifts or funder and publisher mandates, the general trend towards open science has been increasing in many research fields. […]