Library of Congress Opens Access

26 Jul

8470008043_c6a934b591_b.jpgThe Library of Congress recently made available 25 million digital records for materials published between 1968 and 2014. Before this occurred in May of this year, these records were only accessible through a paid subscription or individually. The Library is looking to researchers to use this information for, well, research – to explore, track and use this information in ways we can only fathom.

Librarians are excellent at collecting metadata, that is, data about data. We collect titles, authors, publishers, publication dates, subject headings and much more. Years ago this information could be found in a card catalog, but as computers became more mainstream, this information was moved into the digital world. But, without a paid subscription to a sharing service like OCLC, individual libraries have to catalog the same item… individually. Even though the Dewey Decimal Classification System and the Library of Congress Classification System will organize the information in a way that makes it easy to find… it’s a lot of work to catalog materials and with shared data, these materials reach the shelf and the public’s hand much more quickly.

Read through this article on PBS on ways these records can be used for research and learn more about this history of cataloging books. This may not be as quite as exciting as Shark Week, but for librarians and researchers alike, this much information that is now publicly available, is pretty phenomenal.

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