Follow This Blog: RSS feed
Neverending Search
Inside Neverending Search

LOC even more 2.0

Last January I blogged about the Library of Congress sharing its photographs on Flickr.  Those photos now boast more than 15 million views.

A lot more sharing is about to happen. 

The Library’s audio archives will soon be available on iTunes; its video will be available on YouTube.  And you will be able to find more stuff on Vimeo and BlipTV.   This means that searching their favorite portals, our learners will be able to discover a vast array of critical primary sources.

A March 25th news release promises:

New channels on the video and podcasting services will be devoted to Library content, including 100-year-old films from the Thomas Edison studio, book talks with contemporary authors, early industrial films from Westinghouse factories, first-person audio accounts of life in slavery, and inside looks into the Library’s fascinating holdings, including the rough draft of the Declaration of Independence and the contents of Lincoln’s pockets on the night of his assassination.

The Library has never been a 2.0 slouch. It’s been regularly growing more accessible and more interactive.

MyLOC currently allows registered users (you should register!) to build a personal collection of library objects, visit interactive exhibits and features, turn the pages of historical texts, access lesson plans based on primary sources, zoom into maps, and engage in such activities as rewriting the Declaration of Independence You may follow the Library though its RSS feeds, Tweets, blog, podcasts, and email updates

I discovered the extended media sharing shift through a press release from the General Services Administration (which is, BTW, itself followable on Twitter) last week. 

The release annouced the landmark agreement for sharing with the new media so many of us use on a daily basis:

WASHINGTON — Answering President Obama’s call to increase citizen participation in government, the U.S. General Services Administration is making it easier for federal agencies to use new media while meeting their legal requirements.

For the past six months, a coalition of agencies led by GSA has been working with new media providers to develop terms of service that can be agreed to by federal agencies. The new agreements resolve any legal concerns found in many standard terms and conditions that pose problems for federal agencies, such as liability limits, endorsements, freedom of information, and governing law.

Having these agreements in place will allow government to use free tools to dramatically increase access to information, offer education on government services and empower citizens with a voice in their government.

"We need to get official information out to sites where people are already visiting and encourage them to interact with their government," says GSA Acting Administrator Paul Prouty. “Millions of Americans visit new media sites every day. The new agreements make it easier for the government to provide official information to citizens via their method of choice.”
To date, GSA has signed agreements with Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo and, and is in discussions with many other providers that offer free new media services. Federal agencies that want to use these services to meet their mission can now choose to sign the same agreements.

GSA’s goal in this effort has been to negotiate terms of service agreements, for each provider, that can work for all federal agencies. The new media providers approached were open to GSA’s efforts but reluctant to expend resources negotiating separate no-cost agreements with dozens or hundreds of different agencies. With the agreements,  new media providers are able to work with GSA as its principal point of contact, making the process more efficient for the government and the providers.

“Several federal agencies helped to negotiate these agreements, so it’s hoped that other agencies will find the language acceptable,” says GSA acting Associate Administrator Martha Dorris.

GSA started with Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo and because these providers are representative of high volume and innovation on the Web. At the same time, GSA is eager to negotiate agreements with many additional providers. Twitter is also in the arsenal of GSA’s new media as GSA found its standard terms of service already compatible with federal usage.

“The vision of is to improve the public’s experience when engaging with the government, and these new era agreements will further empower agencies to use new media,” says Dorris. “GSA’s Office of Citizen Services is breaking new ground in support of our motto ‘Government Made Easy’ and improving the way the public and federal agencies communicate with each other.”


Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Giselle J says:

    Hi Joyce,

    Kathy Schrock referred you to me and sent me a link to your blog. I am a graduate student at Florida State University studying to become a School Library Media Specialist. I am currently taking the class LIS 5313 Design and Production of Media Resources. One of my assignments involves writing about an innovative way that a School Library Media Center is using some aspect of Web 2.0. I was thinking of writing about a media specialist’s innovative use of blogs in classroom instruction and/or curriculum integration.

    As part of my assignment, I need to interview a SLMS or someone closely involved with the creation/maintenance of the blog. Would you be able to help me? I could conduct the interview via phone or email.
    Please let me know. Thank you so much!


    > Giselle

  2. Marguerite DeWitt says:

    I’m glad to hear that the LOC is keeping up with today’s technology. This provides an effortless way to cross the curriculum and integrate technology into social studies lessons. It also makes it so easy to access a ton of primary sources, and take a sort of virtual field trip, which can be particularly advantageous in school districts that are too far away or do not have the budget to go on many field trips.

Speak Your Mind