Library of Congress Keynote (Day 2)

Speaker:  JoAnn Jenkins (COO, Library of Congress)

These kiosks installed in the Library of Congress are awesome (as shown by initial video):  Location-aware, personalized, builds/gets smarter as you go through the experience (barcode on passport), extend experience online, game (Knowledge Quest) – check it all out there (this is the online extension)

“Don’t use technology for the sake of using technology – use it to enhance experience.”

3 keys to LCE Program Success

  1. Visitor Engagement was core objective
  2. Interactive Technology engage and sustain a connection
  3. Internal environment conducive to adoption of new tech solutions

Introduce technologies of tomorrow to bring in a new audience, but maintain integrity of library/collection

Installed 60 kiosks – designed to address all users, from kindergarten to older, more experienced users , specifically of touch screen tech

“Remain on the content, not on the technology.”

Unmatched level of access to the collection items – can literally touch history

Now the curators can’t imagine these kiosks/this technology not being here…

WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) was used!  Silverlight, too.  Sharepoint – this is the largest use to date.  This was what we were working towards at my last agency, when building the IOOH software.  Great to hear. 

Over 105,000 users have registered via myLOC.  Over ½ of myLOC users in the library use the experience online – excellent extension of experience!

Knowledge Quest (incorporation of game) – success unlocks content, provides further level of visitor involvement, extends experience

All this required internal changes – past was driven by vision defined by individual department, silos – building the LCE required much more.  Created the centralized program management office – cross departmental, etc..”Team” approach including everyone.  This evolves every day.  For instance – IT research in looking at Barcode vs. RFID – studies by IT revealed that marble floors would interfere with RFID.

Created experience for first time that could greet visitors at front door, immerse them in many ways while inside, and allowed visitors to take experience home with them.


How long did it take to come up with the vision and draft scope and implement? 

The LOC celebrated 200th bday in 2000 and then, they talked about their audience.  At that time, they went out and did survey – what came back is that people loved the LOC, had no idea they could use it.  Then, they followed up and asked if you could see this, would you?  And overwhelmingly, it was yes. 

Over 60% of their audience is from K-12.  Dramatic shift of audience.  This is amazing. 

The LCE started in 2008.

Was there any 1 key lesson learned?  Anything you would have done differently?  Specifically to the tech?

One of the things that they had to do – tech was changing so rapidly as everything evolved.  Disney worked with them re: how you move crowds around and how tech is involved in that.  Curatorial staff deeply involved, too.  Using Microsoft Sharepoint was big discussion.  They constantly put together levels of review.  Just being mindful that tech is changing so rapidly.  Solutions being developed daily.

Some of the lessons when doing research with other institutions – one of the most important things – scalability was extremely important to success.  Right now, they only have 1,000 items that you can save/share.  The vision is to build your own Library of Congress so you can share/save many more.  The most important way to make it scalable was to make a CMS that would manage online & onsite experiences.  Completely seamless.

Did you have in-house team to do tech?

We had wonderful team at the library, but brought in 8-10 different companies to work with the team.

Then, they went into some tech speak – WPF wrapper.  Some Flash-based.  They used Flash & Silverlight both.  Interesting.

What project mgt methodology?

Brought in Sapient as primary consultant, served as PM.  Above that though, you have to have a person who can make decisions, buck stops there.  They have sole responsibility. (this was her)

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