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Toronto, Sep 26 (Canadian-Media): labs.loc.gov, a new online space -- launched by The Library of Congress (LOC) -- Sept 19 presents a changing selection of experiments, projects, events and resources to promote more creative use of the Library’s digital collections, media reports said.
Library of Congress. Image credit: Twitter handle
LOC, the world’s largest library, offers access to the creative record of the United States and extensive materials from around the world -- both on-site and online -- is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.
The new site, labs.loc.gov, will also reportedly feature a gallery of projects from data challenge winners and innovators-in-residence and blog posts and video presentations from leaders in the field.
“We already know the Library of Congress is the ultimate treasure chest, but with labs.loc.gov we are inviting explorers to help crack open digital discoveries and share the collections in new and innovative ways,” Media quoted Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress as saying. “Whether you’re tagging images from our digitized historic newspapers to help future visitors, or exploring the changing nature of democracy through the 25 million bibliographic records the Library recently made public, we are providing tools and inspiration that will lead to new uses and new ways of looking at the incredible materials here at the Library.”
Carla Hayden. Image credit: loc.ga
Digital collections of labs.loc.gov would reportedly facilitate users with great opportunities for exploration like experimental applications and crowdsourcing programs, and tutorials at every level of technical knowledge.
labs.loc.gov' s website 'Beyond Words' facilitates public to identify cartoons and photographs in historic newspapers and provide captions that will turn images into searchable data that leads researchers --through this crowdsourcing program -- to visualization, text analysis and other digital humanities techniques to discover new knowledge from Chronicling America—the Library’s large collection of historic American newspapers.
Beyond Words, a pilot project, assists the Library of Congress to learn more about what subsets of Library data researchers are interested in and to grow the Library’s capacity for crowdsourcing.
“What I like about crowdsourcing is it gives people a chance to discover hidden gems in the collection. You never know what you’ll find poking through old newspapers,” said Tong Wang, the IT specialist who created Beyond Words during a three-month pilot innovator-in-residence program.
Beyond Words will also generate public domain image galleries for scholarship and creative play. As this data set grows, educators, researchers and artists will be able to group image collections by time frame, such as identifying all historic cartoons appearing in World War I-era newspapers.
“We’re excited to see what happens when you bring together the largest collection of human knowledge ever assembled with the power of 21st-century technology,” said Kate Zwaard -- the chief of the Library’s National Digital Initiatives office, which manages the new website -- was quoted by the media as saying. “Every day, students, researchers, journalists and artists are using code and computation to derive new knowledge from library collections. With labs, we hope to create a community dedicated to using technology to expand what’s possible with the world’s creative and intellectual treasures.”
To maximize the potential for exploration of new ways of creative use of its digital collections, the Library has introduced industry standards for creation of application programming interfaces (APIs) to various digital collections.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)