Library Of Congress

Historical Photos in Web Archives Gain Vivid New Lives

In a similar move to harness the public’s knowledge about old photographs, the Library of Congress a year ago began adding photographs with no known restrictions to a Flickr service called the Commons. The Library of Congress started with 3,500 photos and adds 50 a week.

The project relies on Flickr’s ability to allow users to leave comments, below the picture or even within the picture to fill in the blanks. In a report assessing the project (conclusion: it has been a huge success) the library detailed the information that had been gleaned from Flickr users.

Full story in the New York Times

A Visit to the Library of Congress on the First Day of the 111th Congress

Yesterday, January 6, 2009, was the swearing in of the newly-elected members of the House and Senate on the Hill, and I was fortunate to be in attendance. [ed-my son works for a U.S. Congressman from Pennsylvania].

It was a marathon day of visiting the Nation's Capitol and the Capitol Building, along with the beautiful old Thomas Jefferson Building (the original home, photo below) of the Library of Congress. I attended a function in room LJ119 (appropriated named the "Librarian's Reception Room") and also saw the Main Reading Room and other portions of the magnificent Library. A few facts:

1. The LOC is the world's largest repository of knowledge and creativity with more than 142 million items in its collection.

2. The Library is spread over three buildings on Capitol Hill. The Thomas Jefferson Building (1897) is the original separate Library of Congress building; it was not named the Jefferson Building until 1980. The John Adams Building was built in 1938 and the James Madison Memorial Building was completed in 1981.

3. The Library is also the home of the U.S. Copyright Office and several other governmental archives.

4. The Library offers print materials in 470 languages.

-- Read More

Muslims Removed from AirTran Flight included an LOC Attorney

Along with the families of Atif Irfan, a tax attorney, and his brother Kashif Irfan, an anesthesiologist, employees at AirTran Airways at Reagan Airport outside Washington DC also removed a family friend, Abdul Aziz. Aziz is a Library of Congress attorney (according to LinkedIn, he is a "Legal Information Analyst at Library of Congress") who was coincidentally taking the same flight and had been seen talking with the family. Story from CNN.

Further analysis on this incident from Dan Gilgoff of U.S. News and World Report, whose article is entitled "Does Muslim Family Booted From Plane Strengthen Case for Religious Literacy?"

President-Elect Obama To Take Oath of Office On Lincoln-Inaugural Bible From Library of Congress

From the Library of Congress:

President-elect Barack Obama on Jan. 20, 2009, will take the oath of office on a Bible from the Library of Congress’ collections that is steeped in history — the same Bible upon which Abraham Lincoln swore March 4, 1861, to uphold the Constitution.

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Pictures from the Presidential Inauguration Committee

Day in the Life of a Library of Congress Chemist

DC-ist Blog has the 'photo of the day' from 'volcanpkw'

...who has pretty much the coolest job ever; she's a Research Chemist with the LoC and has been working with daguerreotypes for the past few days. She told us she's trying to figure out:

* What did 19th century photographers use as plate bases for their daugerreotypes?
* Can we tell what the tarnish is on his plates?
* Can we treat the tarnish without destorying the image?
* Do multiple sensitizations change particle size/distribution?
* How can we clean off organics (like bugs) without destroying the image?
* Can we use hyperspectral imaging to re-create what an almost-gone image once looked like by using UV and infrared light?

She's a Poet And Everyone Knows It

Today, mountain-biking Californian Kay Ryan becomes U.S. Poet Laureate, chosen by the Librarian of Congress to join a list that includes Robert Frost and Robert Penn Warren.

Video of the new Poet Laureate from NJ.com.

Rep. Frank Requests that Library of Congress Not Appeal Schroer Judgement

As was reported on LISNews last week, Diane Schroer, formerly David, was offered the job as a terrorism research analyst with the LOC’s Congressional Research Service but was later denied the position when she announced her plans to live as a woman. Judge Robinson ruled that the Library of Congress discriminated against Schroer.

The LOC has the opportunity now to appeal the court’s decision. Barney Frank’s (D-MA) letter was written to the Librarian of Congress, Dr. James Billington, who heads the library and initially announced its decision not to hire Schroer in 2005.

“I strongly urge you not to appeal,” wrote Frank. “I will be working with my congressional colleagues because it would be a great source of stress to us if you were to — as an institution that bears our name — appeal a decision that is plainly in the interest of fairness.” The library said that while it would not discuss the details of Frank’s letter, it was still considering its next, if any, course of action. Latest from The Hill.

Success: Diane Schroer and ACLU Win Sex Discrimination Suit Against LOC

New York Times: A former Army Special Forces commander passed over for a job as a terrorism analyst at the Library of Congress because he was changing genders won a discrimination lawsuit. Judge James Robinson of Federal District Court ruled that the Library of Congress had engaged in sex discrimination against Diane Schroer of Alexandria, Va., formerly known as David Schroer. The library was initially enthusiastic about the hire, Judge Robinson said in his decision, adding, “The library revoked the offer when it learned that a man named David intended to become, legally, culturally and physically, a woman named Diane.”

Schroer's case was first reported here on LISNews in 2005.

Mystery Store Proprietors to Reveal the Mysteries of Modern Publishing at the LOC

From Shelf-Awareness: Barbara Peters and Robert Rosenwald, owners of Poisoned Pen Books Bookstore and Poisoned Pen Press, Scottsdale, AZ, will be the featured speakers at the Library of Congress at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 7, at an event that is part of the Books & Beyond author series sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

The pair will address how book and print technology has developed; how electronic manuscript submissions, e-books, digital ink and wireless reading devices have affected the industry; digital rights management; the interplay of Web and print media; video trailers for books; the popularity of graphic novels and gaming based on books.

Excuse Me, How Do You Get to the Library of Congress?

Capitol Police arrested a driver on a street near the Library of Congress after he stopped to ask an officer for directions and a rifle was spotted in the vehicle. A search of the car also turned up a grenade, a pistol and several forms of ammunition, all unregistered. More from NYTimes.

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