Category Archives: Weblogs (Blogs)

Weblogs (Blogs)

Using Wayback Machine for Research | The Signal | Internet Archive | Library of Congress

October 26, 2012 by Butch Lazorchak

The following is a guest post by Nicholas Taylor, Information Technology Specialist for the Repository Development Group at the Library of Congress.

The 2006 Library of Congress website displayed in Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine

Prompted by questions from Library of Congress staff on how to more effectively use web archives to answer research questions, I recently gave a presentation on “Using Wayback Machine for Research” (PDF).

I thought that readers of The Signal might be interested in this topic as well. This post covers the outline of the presentation.

The Wayback Machine that many people are familiar with is the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. The Internet Archive is an NDIIPP partner and a Founding Member of the International Internet Preservation Consortium.

Their mission includes creating an archive of the entire public web; the Wayback Machine is the interface for accessing it. While the Internet Archive has been primarily responsible for the development of Wayback Machine, it is an open source project.

Internet Archive also devised the name “Wayback Machine;” it is a reference to The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show’s homophonous “WABAC” Machine, a time machine itself named in the convention of mid-century mainframe computers (e.g., ENIAC, UNIVAC, MANIAC, etc.). The contemporary Wayback Machine thus appropriately evokes both the idea of traveling back in time and powerful computing technology (necessary for web archiving).

Source: Using Wayback Machine for Research | The Signal

America on the Road: The Family Vacation by Car | Library of Congress Blog

July 26, 2021 by Neely Tucker

Alaska postcard in the 1950 travel journal of sociologist Rilma Oxley Buckman. Manuscript Division.

This is a guest post by Joshua Levy, a historian in the Manuscript Division.

In 1960, John Steinbeck set out on a months-long road trip to reacquaint himself with his country. He returned not with clear answers but with his head a “barrel of worms.”

The America he saw was too intertwined with how he felt in the moment, and with his own Americanness, to permit an objective account of the journey. “External reality,” he wrote, “has a way of being not so external after all.”

Pandemics aren’t the only reason Americans have found sanctuary in our homes, or the only anxious times we’ve itched to escape them. The American road trip was first popularized during the auto camping craze of the 1920s, with its devotion to freedom and communing with nature, but it was democratized after World War II.

The golden age of the American family vacation came during the very height of the Cold War. It was a time when, according to historian Susan Rugh, the family car became a “home on the road… a cocoon of domestic space” in which families could feel safe to explore their country.

Source: America on the Road: The Family Vacation by Car | Library of Congress Blog

Great Library Displays and How Effective They Are | book riot

By Lucas Maxwell, Jul 23, 2021

From article…

Creating great library displays can be tough, and I’ll admit that I’m not the best at it.

I’m not crafty or organised enough to ensure that my displays are rotated on a timely basis.

To sit and think of a display is really tricky in my opinion, as every time I try to make one I think that I’m failing at it and not doing as well as other people do.

Photo Credit: Emma Suffield

That’s where social media comes in. By using Twitter and Instagram, I feel you can find some pretty amazing library displays ideas that won’t take up too much time or kill your budget.

Source: Great Library Displays and How Effective They Are

Making Room in the Crowd: Library Teleworkers Transcribing in Extraordinary Times | The Signal | library of congress

Published July 20, 2021, by Trevor Owens

In today’s post, By the People community managers Carlyn Osborn, Lauren Algee, and Abby Shelton reflect back on changes in their program since March 2020. Launched in 2018, By the People is a volunteer engagement and collection enhancement program at the Library of Congress that invites the public to explore and transcribe documents on the Library’s website, When transcriptions are completed by volunteers, they are integrated back into the Library’s online catalog, where they become fully searchable and readable by accessibility technologies.

The title page of Patton’s earliest war diary, 1916, which documents his participation in the Mexican Punitive Expedition, organized to capture Pancho Villa. As a result of staff transcribers, this diary is now full text searchable.

Fifteen months ago, the By the People crowdsourced transcription program was in a different place.

We had launched fewer than a dozen campaigns representing 50,000 pages from the Library of Congress collection on, and recruited and registered around 12,000 volunteers. Compare this to July 2021, where we now have 24 campaigns representing over 500,000 pages, with 25,000 registered volunteers. As the Covid-19 pandemic unfolded in March and April 2020, activity on our site more than doubled and suddenly we were seeing demand for Library of Congress virtual volunteering like never before.

During this transformational and challenging time, we were also asked to introduce an entirely new user group to By the People: fellow Library of Congress staff. As our buildings largely closed to the public fifteen months ago, many staff (including us) transitioned to telework. For some Library of Congress staff, it was possible to do their normal work remotely, but for many, it was necessary to identify new kinds of remote projects. In this context, as an already 100% virtual program, we were able to provide safe opportunities for our colleagues who needed to rapidly shift to remote work.

Source: Making Room in the Crowd: Library Teleworkers Transcribing in Extraordinary Times | The Signal

New Flickr Album: A Corn-ucopia of Pictures | Picture This: Library of Congress Prints & Photos

July 15, 2021 by Barbara Orbach Natanson

The selection of pictures shared in our latest album posted on the photosharing site, Flickr, made me reflect not only on the strong associations in my own past between summer and corn on the cob, but also how fertile corn’s visual potential is.

In fact, corn has traditionally been a symbol of life and fertility, particularly among the native peoples of the Americas, so I was delighted to see how artists and designers realized corn’s ripe possibilities in a variety of contexts.

Possibly my favorite is this musically inclined fellow composed of corn cob, leaves, and tassels (a composition that simultaneously demonstrates the rich linguistic play the word corn offers–I didn’t appreciate until I read the description that he is playing the cornet!):

Source: New Flickr Album: A Corn-ucopia of Pictures | Picture This: Library of Congress Prints & Photos

‘Remember the Internet’: An Encyclopedia of Online Life – The Atlantic

How do we memorialize life online when it’s constantly disappearing?

by Kaitlyn Tiffany, March 22, 2021

Jim Steele / Popperfoto / Getty / Wikimedia / The Atlantic

For many of us, for better or for worse, the internet is home.

Our communities are here, because many of them could not exist any other way.

Superfans, shitposters, amateur experts, wiki nerds, grizzled forum moderators, obsessive sneaker enthusiasts, and hobbyists who spend a substantial amount of their time photographing vintage Furbies in human clothes, for example—the cultural and creative output of these communities is enormous and ever growing.

Source: ‘Remember the Internet’: An Encyclopedia of Online Life – The Atlantic