April 20, 2018 Librarian of Congress Announces New Director of Digital Strategy

Press Contact: Benny Seda-Galarza (202) 707-8732

Kate Zwaard is the director of digital strategy at the Library of Congress. Photo by Shawn Miller.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden today announced that she has appointed Kate Zwaard as the Library’s director of digital strategy, a position Hayden established to elevate the institution’s digital planning and drive envisioning and collaboration around digital initiatives.

 “When I think of the resources of the Library of Congress, married with the capabilities of today’s technology, the possibilities are almost limitless,” Hayden said. “This new role will drive the internal conversations and collaboration that will improve our ability to conduct traditional work efficiently and effectively and lead to whole new ways for users to experience the Library. We are thinking big.”

Zwaard previously was chief of the National Digital Initiatives division, where she established Library Labs and the new innovator-in-residence program, among other projects. She will continue to oversee those programs in her new role. She previously managed the team of software developers and systems engineers supporting the digital repository from 2011 through 2016. Before coming to the Library of Congress, she led the development team responsible for the digital preservation data architecture at the U.S. Government Publishing Office from 2002 through 2011.

“Our staff and collection are a national treasure,” Zwaard said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to collaborate with my colleagues to find ways to amplify their reach to Congress and the American people. We’ll be thinking creatively, using the good work that’s behind us, the staff expertise that we’ve developed and our friends and colleagues in other institutions as building blocks. Together we can achieve the Library’s vision of a user-focused agency that offers accessible, fun and meaningful experiences.”

The position is being created as the Library experiments across various divisions with new ways of applying technology to collections and services, such as using chat bots to assist Law Library patrons, applying the Story Maps platform to image collections and leveraging 3D printing to give students hands-on interaction with Library collections in the classroom.

Library Labs launched six months ago with a crowd-sourcing feature, Beyond Words, that invites the public to identify cartoons and photographs in historic newspapers and provide captions that will turn images into searchable data. The project recently logged 100,000 “tasks” resulting in more than 1,000 images being fully marked and transcribed by 2,700 volunteers.

Expanded crowd-sourcing efforts is among the projects expected to launch in the short term, including transcription of the Clara Barton and Branch Rickey collections, among others.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.

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PR 18-051
2018-04-20
ISSN 0731-3527