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Videoconferencing with the Library of Congress

Programs for Researchers

The Library of Congress offers interactive programs with reference and subject specialists to acquaint researchers with the resources on the Web site and how best to access them. Programs are appropriate for researchers, college/university faculty and students, librarians, and lifelong learners engaged in studies involving, geography, United States history and culture, local history, genealogy, world history and culture, foreign languages, and American literature.

Orientation to the Digital Library

Introduction to content areas and search systems on the Web site; includes demonstrations of the various search systems and multimedia content.

Demonstration of the characteristics of the various Library of Congress search systems and advanced search strategies to take advantage of these characteristics.

Saving and Displaying's Multimedia Resources (two-hour workshop only)
Practical tips and hands-on practice in downloading, saving, and displaying the Library's multimedia digital resources in your work.

Researching the Library's Digital Collections

Congress Past & Present: Searching the Early Congressional Documents and THOMAS
Overview of online holdings and search strategies for congressional records and legislation from 1774-1875 and 1973-2004.

Jumpstarts to Research:
One-hour programs providing an overview of multimedia resources and research strategies on various topics such as:

  • African American Sites in the Digital Collections
  • Local History and Genealogy
  • Poetry Resources at the Library of Congress
  • Music and Dance in American History
  • Presidential Papers at the Library of Congress
  • Women

(Note: Other topics may be requested. Use the Inquiry Form to submit your special request.)

Special Interest Programs

Gathering Community Stories
Gain a unique perspective on your community's history and cultural identity by gathering oral history interviews. This workshop introduces the layperson to the process of collecting oral histories and focuses on a critical phase of the process, the interview.

The Internet: Fact or Fiction; Web Site Evaluation Strategies
Learn to examine web sites and create evaluation criteria that make the World Wide Web the research tool it can be.

Library of Congress: Jefferson's Legacy to the Nation
Presentation on the history of the Library of Congress.

Maps As Historical Evidence
Maps are windows to the cultural, political, and physical world around us. They capture a space in time and define it according to parameters set by the mapmaker for an intended audience. Learn to explore historical maps and discover the surprises they yield.

"To Light Us to Freedom and Glory Again": Civil War Poetry With A Purpose
Poetry written during the Civil War was used as a vehicle for the individual to express opinions and attitudes. Using the Library of Congress's online collections, explore how poetry written by soldiers and citizenry from the North and the South helped unify citizens, inspire troops, memorialize the dead, and overcome the anger and resentment of both sides in the aftermath of the war.


All programs are free. We ask that you dial us, thus any connect charges are yours. We also require a technical check to be performed at least one week prior to the event.

Venues and Scheduling

Most programs are one-hour presentations. Depending on the topic, some can be two-hour interactive workshops if the requesting group has access to Internet-connected computers.

Programs may be scheduled Monday - Friday during normal working hours, Eastern time. Times are flexible and depend on Library staff availability, time zone differences, and varied work schedules across the country.

To request a program, complete the Inquiry form. You will be contacted within five business days to arrange the program's time, date, and technical equipment check, and to receive the necessary handouts for the program.

For more information, contact the Digital Reference Team via the Inquiries Form or 202/707-4158.

Technical Specifications Required

ISDN-based video conferencing capability compatible with the Polycom FX system.

For workshops, a computer lab setting with a presentation system viewable by participants; machine-to-participant ratio of 1:2 or 1:1.

Internet browsers should play multimedia files in American Memory. See American Memory Viewer Information at for information.

The Saving and Displaying's Multimedia Resources workshop requires graphics software that can crop and resize images in .gif, .jpg, and .tif (groups III and IV) formats. Many inexpensive software applications have these capabilities.

Your Role

  • Contact us via the Inquiry form to schedule a program.
  • Provide the Library with audience information (essential for program preparation).
  • Facilitate the presentation locally. Have extra support staff to assist in computer lab if used.
  • Create resources and handouts per Library instruction. If needed, download files for the program from the Library Web site prior to the event.
  • Schedule and conduct an equipment compatibility check no later than one week prior to the event.

Library of Congress's Role

  • Tailor the program to meet your needs and goals for your participants.
  • Provide a presenter(s) with expert knowledge in the topic.
  • Provide handouts for the host site to photocopy and distribute.
  • Facilitate the event, with co-facilitation by the host site.
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  The Library of Congress >> Especially for Researchers >> Virtual Programs & Services
  December 18, 2006
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