Library of Congress to enter digital era

WASHINGTON – Nearly all of the Library of Congress’ trove of books and documents will be available online as soon as spring, allowing people to explore the library’s exhibits on their devices and see files previously unavailable to the public at no cost.


“We’re displaying some things from 1864 that have not been seen before,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden during a Senate Administration Committee hearing Thursday.


Modernization will also address accessibility. Hayden said that the library is working with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, which is “completely rethinking how it delivers content to people with reading difficulties.”


Committee Chairman Sen. Roy Blunt emphasized the importance of preserving sensitive information stored in the Library.


“Cyber security concerns are always real,” said Blunt. “The benefits of more available information always have to be achieved with an understanding of the importance of protecting the intellectual property that deserves to be and should be protected.”


Library of Congress Chief Information Officer Bernard Barton Jr. assured Blunt that there has been significant progress in security.


U.S. Copyright Office Director Karyn Temple, whose agency oversaw the digitalization, said that they’re working with outside contractors, but everyone involved had federal security clearances.


Barton also assured the committee that toe modernization effort is on schedule and will not require any additional funding.


The committee discussed recent efforts to display oral histories of U.S. veterans and urged the Library officials to work on incorporating stories of Hispanics, Natives and other minorities.