May 10, 2005 Library of Congress Updates Web Site, Introduces New Material For Children
Top-Level Pages Made Fully Accessible, Easier to Use
Press Contact: John Sayers, Public Affairs (202) 707-9216
Public Contact: Kevin Novak, OSI (202) 707-2770
The Library of Congress has launched a top-level upgrade to the look and feel of its public Web site at www.loc.gov. The Library has also developed a version of its award-winning site for children for the child-safe Web domain sponsored by the Department of Commerce at www.americaslibrary.kids.us.
In the first week since the revised pages were launched, use of the new pages has risen dramatically, including increases of 23 percent (visitors page), 24 percent (kids and families page), 29 percent (researchers page), 40 percent (teachers page) and 183 percent (Webcasts).
Library of Congress Web Site Upgrade
The newly reorganized home page at www.loc.gov includes several audience-specific resource pages and three completely overhauled subsites highlighting the Library's poetry program, more than 600 audiovisual Webcasts and information on how members of the public can support the Library in its efforts.
Audience Pages. Six new or retooled pages contain links to the Library's vast resources specifically designed for the interests of kids and families, librarians, publishers, researchers, teachers and visitors to the Library in Washington, D.C.
Poetry. A new site collects the Library's considerable online resources related to poetry, including Webcasts of poetry readings from National Book Festivals, links to Library collections such as the papers of Walt Whitman, and information on past and current Poets Laureate, including Ted Kooser, winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in poetry.
Webcasts. Hundreds of speeches, lectures, readings, concerts, conferences and other audiovisual presentations that have taken place at the Library are now available in one central, easy-to-search location. The collection of broadcasts, featuring singer-songwriter John Prine, actor Christopher Reeve, statesmen George Shultz and Zbigniew Brzezinski, and esteemed scholars, authors and storytellers, grows each week.
Support. A new section encourages support by the private sector for the Library’s acquisitions and cultural and educational outreach programs.
Also, the American Folklife Center site at www.loc.gov/folklife/ has been redone to offer a new and distinct look and feel. In addition, several other pages and subsections have been updated, including a section of information about the Library itself, a calendar of events, Library contact information and a site map.
All of the new sections were redesigned for ease of use, and all are compatible with the federal Section 508 standards for accessibility (including the new "Accessibility" section). The team assembled to implement the upgrade included Library staff with extensive experience in library science, information architecture, human factors, audience analysis, graphic design and communications.
Although this upgrade includes only a few critical top-level pages out of more than 150,000 static Web pages on the site, the Library's Internet Operations Group (IOG) is developing requirements for a comprehensive overhaul of the Library's entire public Web presence in the next 18 to 24 months, which will be implemented by the Web Services Division of the Library's Office of Strategic Initiatives.
Comments on the new Web site are welcome at www.loc.gov/help/ask-contactus.html.
America's Library on kids.us Portal
In support of the Federal government's efforts to establish a child-friendly Internet space for kids under 13, the Library of Congress has launched www.americaslibrary.kids.us, which adapts content from its existing Web site for kids and families, "America's Library" (www.americaslibrary.gov).
The new version of site adds audio narration and multimedia imagery to tell the history of America through a series of fascinating stories, richly embellished with photographs, maps, prints and manuscripts from the Library's collections. A series of new games allows kids to design their own car (like designer Raymond Loewy, whose designs for the Studebaker Avanti are in the Library's collections), animate a cartoon, or play a word-search game based on Thomas Jefferson's drawing of a macaroni-making machine.
The child-safe Web portal is administered by NeuStar Inc., under a contract with the U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which was enabled by federal law to establish basic guidelines for content geared toward children under 13. NeuStar uses a combination of technology and human intervention to monitor kids.us Web sites to ensure that the content in kids.us is suitable for children as they “play, learn and surf” on the Web.