Interested in learning more about what’s new in the Library of Congress’ digital collections? The Signal shares semi-regular updates of new additions to publicly available digital collections and we love showing off all the hard work of our colleagues from across the Library. Read on for a sample of what’s been added recently and some of our favorite highlights. Click here for previous updates.
What’s new on loc.gov?
The Africana Historic Postcard Collection, from the Library of Congress’ African and Middle Eastern Division, has significant value for researchers and students working on sub-Saharan Africa’s colonial life and cultural history. This first phased release of the collection includes approximately 1,200 postcards documenting representations of African life from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Most of the postcard imagery from the African colonies was taken by military and colonial officials, missionary workers and professional photographers, and it chronicles the transformation of cultural, political, and social landscapes in the African continent. Digitization of the rest of the collection (approximately 7,000 postcards in total) is ongoing.
During her lifetime, musicologist and collector Gisella Selden-Goth (1884-1975) amassed an extraordinary collection of holograph music manuscripts (that is, written in the composer’s own hand), including works by Bach, Chopin, Haydn, and Mozart. In 1963, she placed her collection on deposit with the Library of Congress. After her death in 1975, the manuscripts that were formally donated came to the Library of Congress and make up this digital collection. This digital collection contains all the holograph manuscripts, along with Selden-Goth’s personal Autographen album and a chronological register of her manuscript acquisitions dating from the first one she received as a gift in 1912 up to 1939, shortly after she left her home in Florence, Italy and brought her prized collection to the United States to keep it safe during World War II.
The Southeast Asian Rare Book Collection counts among its most unique items a collection of 71 bamboo slats and 6 cylinders from the island of Mindoro in the Philippines. These items are etched with either verse or prose in the Mangyan script—an Indic-derived writing system that pre-dates the arrival of the Spaniards in the Philippines and persists to the present. This collection was assembled between the years 1904 and 1939 as a result of the collaboration between Fletcher Gardner—a Contract Surgeon of the United States Army stationed at Bulalacao on Mindoro island from 1904-1905—and two brothers who lived on the island of Mindoro: Ildefenso Maliwanag and Eusebio Maliwanag. The bulk of the collection was written by three Mangyan authors: Luyon, Kabal, and Balik, and covers various topics, ranging from life under Spanish occupation of the Philippines to agriculture, education, and different stages of life, as well as ambahan, a form of poetry with seven-syllable lines and rhyming endings. The collection also includes three volumes entitled Indic Writings of the Mindoro Palawan Axis, which provided the transliterations and translations available in the digital presentation.
Collection updates and migrations
A Century of Lawmaking, one of the earliest and most important of the Library’s digital collections, has been migrated to loc.gov. The records of the Continental Congress, the Constitutional Convention, and the United States Congress make up a rich documentary history that tells the story of the construction of the nation and the development of the federal government and its role in the national life in the words of those who built our government. Some of the content originally presented via the American Memory presentation will be re-digitized and made available later on loc.gov, and additional materials will be migrated to congress.gov in the coming months.
Occupational Folklife Project updates:
- Agricultural Aviation: Crop Dusters in Rural America (AFC 2020/007)
- Fixing, Mending, Making New : North Carolina’s Repair Professionals (AFC 2020/009)
Foreign Legal Gazette updates:
A new version of the Simple English Wikipedia dataset was recently added to loc.gov. The By the People crowdsourced transcription program also released new transcription datasets for both the Mary Church Terrell Papers and the William A. Gladstone Afro-American military collection.
New Open Access eBooks
175 openly licensed e-books part of the Open Access Books collection were added to loc.gov, bringing the total to over 6,300! Some highlights include books about music, film, and literary history including Sounds from the other side: Afro-South Asian collaborations in black popular music, Allegro non troppo : Bruno Bozzetto’s animated music, and Panepiphanal world : James Joyce’s epiphanies (see below).
New materials in Chronicling America
In 2022, the Library of Congress digitized and began putting online a microfilm collection of scattered African American newspaper issues collected from across the country in 1947. In February 2023, we added over 2,400 more pages from Arkansas, California, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Washington, D.C. to this collection. Titles with a significant number of issues include the Oakland Sunshine and the Western Outlook from California; L’union from Louisiana; the Afro-American Advance from Minnesota; the Weekly Anglo-African from New York; the New Age from Oregon; the State Journal from Pennsylvania; the Leader and the National Leader from Washington, D.C (see below).
Additions to the Library’s Web Archives
Since our last edition, the Web Archiving Team has released over 780 new records. These new records include additions to over fifty web archive collections. Here are some highlights:
The Protests Against Racism Web Archive was released with over 200 records. The new web archive contains a selection of websites documenting protests and activism in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd – view the press release here. Examples of content in the collection include Justice for Big Floyd, Justice For Breonna, and Mothers Against Police Brutality.
The Food and Foodway Web Archive continues to grow, with eleven new records added to the collection, including sites that relate to food through a variety of lenses, including culture, science, history, policy, health, business, agriculture, and technology. Newly released archived content includes FoodAnthropology – Wisdom from the Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition, Inicio | Comedores Sociales de Puerto Rico, and CAN – Empowering Families to Build Thriving, Local Food Systems.
The Zine Web Archive also continues to grow, with six new records added. The web archive is part of the Library’s extensive holdings of zines in both physical and digital formats. New content in the web archive includes PAPER CUTS and The State of the Gay (see below). Additional captures will be added to these web archives as more content exits the one year embargo period.
Leave us any questions or comments below and keep an eye out for our next edition at the end of May 2023!