Today, Microsoft Corp. and the Library of Congress made a joint announcement indicating that they have signed a cooperative agreement that will make the Library’s vast collection of historical artifacts available electronically. The joint technology innovation effort will expose the Library’s collections like never before, allowing immersive interactive experiences to bring the collections and exhibits to life both on-site and online on the upcoming myloc.gov web site.
Microsoft is pledging not only funding for the project, but also their software and technology expertise, and training and support services. With Microsoft’s support, the Library will thus be able to deliver their “New Visitors Experience” through a complex technology system, including rich Internet applications and interactive kiosks in the Jefferson Building.
Curt Kolcun, vice president of the Federal Division at Microsoft, said “This relationship between the Library and Microsoft will help citizens explore the Library’s — and our nation’s — treasure trove of historical memorabilia in unprecedented ways.”
Plans include new interactive galleries that will allow virtual hands-on interaction with important historical items such as the rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, the 1507 Waldseemuller world map that first used the word “America”, original volumes from Thomas Jefferson’s library, the Gutenburg Bible, and more. The Library also has plans for a new “Passport to Knowledge” with a unique bar code that will link to an online account. This “passport” will allow visitors to bookmark areas of interest that they can later access and explore at home or school from the myloc.gov website.
This new visitor experience at the Library of Congress, both onside and on the web, will be powered by Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 web content management software. The agreement is a part of a larger effort to transform public spaces in the Library to an experience that will allow the public to explore their collections in new and innovative ways. Thanks to Microsoft’s Silverlight technology, this is possible.
A sneak peek of what Microsoft and the Library of Congress have in store was launched on December 13 in the form of a new exhibition, “Exploring the Early Americas”. The new exhibit utilizes some of the new technology and experiences, with more enhancements and additions expected to debut in spring 2008.