July 7, 2017 Library Hosts Event on Impact of Digital Collections as Data

Press Contact: Sheryl Cannady (202) 707-6456
Public Contact: Kate Zwaard (202) 707-5242
Website: Collections as Data Program
Request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or ADA@loc.gov

Building on the success of its “Collections as Data” symposium last year, the Library of Congress National Digital Initiatives (NDI) again will host a daylong symposium featuring a cadre of experts to explore the value of using digital collections and their impact on the public. The symposium—“Collections as Data: Impact”—will be held 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 25, in the Coolidge Auditorium on the first floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street, S.E., in Washington, D.C.

The event is free, but tickets are required, and there may be special restrictions. To secure tickets, visit this event-ticketing site. For a complete program of the day’s events, visit digitalpreservation.gov/meetings/asdata/impact.html. The event also will be livestreamed on the Library’s Facebook page at facebook.com/libraryofcongress and its YouTube site (with captions) at youtube.com/LibraryOfCongress.

The symposium will feature case studies and impact stories about the application of digital methods in analyzing and sharing collections. Presenters will share how using collections as data reactivates the holdings of libraries and other centers of history and art to make deeper connections to the communities they serve. The goal of the organizers is to spark the imagination of the public and demonstrate what is possible when freely available digital collections are combined with cutting-edge analysis, visualization and outreach tools.

“The Library of Congress and other libraries have been serving digital collections online for over a decade,” said NDI’s chief Kate Zwaard. “With modern computing power and the emergence of data-analysis tools, these digital collections can be explored more deeply and reveal more connections. By unleashing computation on the world’s biggest digital library, the knowledge and creativity contained in our collections become even more relevant. At this event we’re showcasing true leaders in the field of using digital collections and technology to advance collective understanding. We’re so excited to hear their stories and share them with our community.”

NDI was created to increase awareness of the Library’s digital innovations and develop new uses of its digital resources by enabling digital scholarship, creating fellowships for library technologists and serving as a catalyst for advances in interdisciplinary research and digital innovation. NDI is part of the Library’s National and International Outreach (NIO) division. “Part of the Library’s mission is to make its unique resources of greater benefit to Congress, the American people and the world,” said NIO’s director Jane McAuliffe. “We’re excited to host this event and eager to foster innovation for the benefit of increasing access and use of our digital collections.”

Among the symposium’s keynote speakers is Edward Ayers, the University of Richmond’s President Emeritus and Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities. President Barack Obama awarded him the National Humanities Medal in 2013 for his dedication to public history. He is a pioneer in digital scholarship and is currently co-host of the BackStory podcast. His talk is titled “History Between the Lines: Thinking about Collections as Data.”

Another featured speaker is Paul Ford, a journalist, programmer and co-founder of Postlight, a digital product studio in New York City. He is the author of a breakthrough piece, “What is Code,” revealing how computers, applications and software work. He will discuss “Unscroll: An Approach to Making New Things From Old Things.”

Other speakers include:

  • Sarah Hatton, contemporary Canadian artist, creator of Detachment
  • Stephen Robertson, director of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media and professor at George Mason University
  • Patrick Cronin and Thomas Neville, co-directors of THATCLASS
  • Jessie Daniels, professor at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY
  • Geoff Haines-Stiles, producer of “The Crowd and the Cloud” television series
  • Tahir Hemphill, multimedia artist and manager of the Rap Research Lab
  • Safiya U. Noble, professor of the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
  • Rachel Shorey and Jeremy Bowers at The New York Times’ Interactive News Department
  • Stephanie Stillo, curator of the Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection in the Library’s Rare Book and Special Collections Division

This is the second in the “Collections as Data” event series hosted by the Library of Congress. Last year’s event in the Coolidge Auditorium attracted a sold-out crowd and has been viewed more than 8,000 times on the Library’s YouTube channel. That event introduced the topic of collections as data and explored ethical issues around building and using digital collections. This year’s meeting will focus on stories of impact this work has on the public.

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PR 17-097
ISSN 0731-3527