Library of Congress Goes Web 2.0

I’ve been a big fan of the Library of Congress for several years. We’ve used many of their collections for writing and social studies projects. With more than 10 million primary sources, the resources that can enhance a lesson can be very overwhelming. A good place to begin is The Learning Page which includes a database of lesson plans and activities using various collections. Examples of units and lesson plans that I’ve been involved in using the American Memory Collections include the following:

The collections from the Library of Congress are vast. For anyone studying American History, they are essential resources. The challenge is to find the right resources to help in the study of a particular topic. There isn’t an effective way to search through the millions of pictures to access the appropriate group that illustrate a period in our culture. It takes a great deal of time and familiarity with how the Library organizes the collections to select the images. Students, particularly those in elementary school, or even the general public would find navigation impossible. Perhaps recognizing this, the staff at the Library offices have posted thousands of images to Flickr, the world’s most popular photo-sharing site. The plan is for the the Flickr community to tag, comment, and make notes on the images. Flickr users use 20 million unique tags to categorize the hundreds of millions of photographs on the site. That’s the idea. The Library wants us to go th the collections on Flickr, called Commons, and add information to the photographs to make them easier to find. The whole concept is amazingly innovative and I for one am looking forward to years to come, when every one of the 10 million images are tagged, commented on, and easier to find and use because of the contributions of the Flickr community.

Read more about this project on the Library of Congress Blog.

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