Contact: Lisa Alexander, National Digital Library (202) 707-1904
Guy Lamolinara, Public Affairs (202) 707-9217
March 6, 1996
Library of Congress Launches On-Line Learning Page for Students and Educators
The National Digital Library (NDL) Program today launched an on-line gateway to its digitized collections specifically tailored to the needs of students and educators.
This new Learning Page can be accessed on the World Wide Web (Uniform Resource Locator: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/ndlpedu). The page offers organized help for searching the Library's primary resource collections that have been on-line since 1994.
The Learning Page is part of the Library's effort to reach a new constituency, the K-12 community, which is not served in its reading rooms.
Martha Dexter of the NDL Program's educational services area said, "We are eager to serve students and educators with free access to the Library's primary source materials of rare Americana. We also look forward to hearing from this new constituency with ideas on how best to meet their needs."
The Learning Page is a project of the NDL Program, which aims to digitize 5 million items by the year 2000, in collaboration with other major research institutions. Tens of thousands of items are already available on the Library's main homepage (http://www.loc.gov/).
The Learning Page offers new, education-related help in searching these collections categorized by the Events, Topics, People, Time and Places of American history. The Learning Page offers new pathways for teachers and students to learn about the history of America from the digitized versions of documents of the Continental Congress, turn-of-the-century films and Mathew Brady's Civil War photographs.
"Primary source materials from the Library of Congress add flesh and blood to the story of history," said Bernard Hollister, of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, Ill.
Educators know that history is much more than dates and facts. "The picture collections provide a visual history which engages sutdents in new ways," said Gwen Harrison, of Hammond Middle School in Alexandria, Va.
Most teachers, however, have little access to the primary sources that can make history come alive for students. Primary sources are the authentic documents, photographs and manuscripts that transform history into a well-told story. Through the Learning Page, students will have help accessing 29,000 photographs, 99 motion pictures, 5,900 documents and 59 sound recordings currently available on-line from the Library of Congress. Over the years, items will be continuously added to the on-line collections.
The Learning Page also features an e-mail gateway to a reference librarian and comment sections that support the exchange of ideas among educators and students. The page includes a tutorial on historical detection that encourages learners to solve a mystery using information found in the on- line collections. An Educator's Page offers files of teacher- generated project ideas for using the Library's historical collections in the classroom. Links to other history- and education-related Web sites for students and teachers have been included as well. The launch of the Learning Page coincides with the release of five digitized collections from the Library.
The Learning Page is made possible by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which is helping the Library identify educational uses of digitized materials to develop students' research skills and critical thinking.
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