The blogs of America’s treasure
Periodically, The Legal Genealogist disappears down a research rabbit hole.
Almost every time, that includes looking at one or more of the treasures held and served up to us by what my friend and colleague Pamela Boyer Sayre calls our National Treasure1 — the Library of Congress.
And — time after time after time — the lead I get to disappear down that particular rabbit hole comes from a reference in one of the LOC blogs.
Now that may sound a little … um … iffy. The LOC blogs. Like a disease, maybe… “The LOC blogs are coming to get you!”
Never fear. The only thing contagious about the LOC blogs is their enthusiasm for teaching all of their readers about neat things and our enthusiasm for learning about them.
Because, you see, the LOC blogs are the blogs of the Library of Congress, where librarians and archivists can strut their stuff online and share all kinds of information that, in the past, required a visit to the Nation’s Capital.
Now 17 in number, every last one of the LOC blogs has a subscription feature; you can have each new post delivered to your e-mail box, or you can send it to your online RSS reader. So there’s really no excuse for not adding these gems to your reading list.
And there’s bound to be one or more of those 17 that’s just right for you, no matter what your particular interests are, since they cover everything from music and art on one side to science and technology on the other. If you’re a teacher, there’s a LOC blog for you. A poet? Yep. Got you covered. Interested in digitization? That too. And — sigh of bliss here — one especially for us law geeks.
No matter what facet of life in America you might want to learn about, to see how you might add a tidbit here or there to your family history, take a gander through the LOC blogs, offering “Personal voices from the Library of Congress: compelling stories & fascinating facts,” You can see all 17 blogs on the LOC blogs entry page, but let me highlight a few that no genealogist should miss:
This is the main blog of the Library of Congress. It doesn’t have a description on its About page2 but posts cover a wide variety of topics and categories range from Abraham Lincoln to Washington DC, with a special category this year for World War I.
“In Custodia Legis is Latin for “in the custody of the law,” a nod to the fact that the Law Library of Congress is a custodian of law and legislation for both the nation and the world. Our team of bloggers covers current legal trends, developments and enhancements to Congress.gov, issues in collecting for the largest law library in the world, legal history and arcana and a range of international perspectives including New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Israel, Eritrea, China, and Mexico.”4
Rare Book Video – The Trial of Rep. Daniel Sickles for Shooting Philip Barton Key
Pic of the Week – A Look inside the Public Vault at the Congressional Cemetery
Remembering the Ancestors for Indigenous People’s Day
“The Picture This blog invites you to share our love of pictures and the stories they can tell. You’ll see special images that caught our eye and also learn about entire collections as we explore the vast holdings of the Prints and Photographs Division at the Library of Congress—more than 14.5 million photos, posters, cartoons, architectural designs, and historical and fine art prints.”5
“Inside Adams will point readers to the Library’s large and diverse collections of books, journals, prints, photographs, digital collections, finding aids, and Webcasts related to science, technology, and business. This blog will give us the opportunity to highlight the bibliographies, research guides, and special pages that have been developed by staff, as well as share the history, art, and architecture of the John Adams Building. Come with us on this journey Inside Adams.”6
“Welcome to the blog for the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress. The largest and most comprehensive cartographic collection in the world, the Geography and Map Division contains over six million maps in addition to a wide array of atlases, globes, raised relief models, archives, a vast collection of digital data and a GIS research center. Please join us as we reveal the world of geography by exploring the past, present, and future of maps and mapping.”7
“For centuries the stories of famous, infamous, and everyday people have filled the pages of newspapers while the pages of comic books are filled with the fantastic stories of superheroes and villains. Both provide us with a unique look into the past and how people interpreted the world around them. This blog highlights the amazing stories, both real and imaginary, that we find in our collections of newspapers and comic books.”8
“This blog of the U.S. Copyright Office explores a wide variety of copyright-related topics, including special project updates, interesting copyright court cases and case law, current copyright issues, current events, historical facts, copyright myths, trivia, communications about current and developing Office services, fun facts, and responses to copyright interest suggested by our customers.”10
There’s more of course — much more — in the LOC blogs.
Seventeen of the best blogs around — treasures of Our National Treasure.
- Pamela Boyer Sayre, “Our National Treasure: The Library of Congress,” presentation, NGS 2009 Conference, The Building of a Nation: From Roanoke to the West; CD recording, Jamb Tapes, Inc. (http://www.jamb-inc.com/documents/ngs-2009-raleigh.pdf : accessed 17 Jul 2012). ↩
- “About this Blog,” Library of Congress Blog (https://blogs.loc.gov/loc/ : accessed 29 Nov 2018). ↩
- You didn’t seriously think I’d put any other blog next, did you? ↩
- “About this Blog,” In Custodia Legis: Law Librarians of Congress (https://blogs.loc.gov/law/ : accessed 29 Nov 2018). ↩
- “About this Blog,” Picture This: Library of Congress Prints & Photos (https://blogs.loc.gov/picturethis/ : accessed 29 Nov 2018). ↩
- “About this Blog,” Inside Adams: Science, Technology & Business (https://blogs.loc.gov/inside_adams/ : accessed 29 Nov 2018). ↩
- “About this Blog,” Worlds Revealed: Geography & Maps at the Library of Congress (https://blogs.loc.gov/maps/ : accessed 29 Nov 2018). ↩
- “About this Blog,” Headlines & Heroes: Newspapers, Comics & More Fine Print (https://blogs.loc.gov/headlinesandheroes/ : accessed 29 Nov 2018). ↩
- You didn’t seriously think I was going to leave this one out, did you? ↩
- “About this Blog,” Copyright: Creativity at Work (https://blogs.loc.gov/copyright/ : accessed 29 Nov 2018). ↩