Library of Congress Attempts to Adapt to the Digital User

Although it’s no Bibliotech, the Library of Congress is making some changes of its own as it attempts to better serve the digital user.

The library has switched almost completely to an online catalog, with the index cards of yesteryear serving as a history lesson for visiting school children. More changes are underway in the physical location, with proposed mergers of several reading rooms into the building’s Main Reading Room to better serve readers and researchers who have grown accustomed to the internet’s ‘one stop shop’ mode of access.

The library is also working to enhance their website and digital tools to serve users who may only be interested in online resources. There are plans to work toward a more user-friendly site for people who access the majority of their content on smart phones, tablets, and other devices.

Inevitably, there has been some distension, even from within the library’s staff. The proposed changes have highlighted the tension between preserving and maintaining existing resources while adapting to online researching and cataloging. It will be interesting to see how users and patrons react as the online initiatives roll out.




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2 responses to “Library of Congress Attempts to Adapt to the Digital User

  1. This is really good thing, once the online catalog is complete then anyone will be able to get the information they need without having to come all the way to DC. Out of state research will be a lot easier.

  2. rlennis3

    I think this is a step in the right direction. Being able to access resources online seems like common sense if its possible, why wouldn’t you? And as jattanasio points out, it doesn’t make sense to have to go to the library to get the even information. Even if you were across the street it would make more sense to just get it online. That said, I hope they don’t become to reliant on technology. I hope they continue to keep hard copies of all their text and not scan them and get rid of them. If you ever had a computer crash then you know how detrimental it is to lose all your information and time consuming to get your information back, if at all. Now, I sure the library of Congress would get the best technology possible and keep plenty of back ups but still something could happen and everything might be lost.

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