CIO Judith Conklin has a tall task: migrating the world\u2019s largest library to the cloud.\nConklin, who was promoted from deputy CIO in September after former CIO Bernard Barton retired, is leading the Library of Congress\u2019 five-year digital transformation, which will see the institution migrating millions of books, historical collections, and congressional materials to a complex hybrid cloud environment. The move is part of a strategic IT plan launched in 2019 to digitize and make available much of the LOC\u2019s more than 170 million physical assets to the public from any device.\n[ Be sure to learn the secrets of highly effective digital transformations \u2014 and beware the 7 myths of digital transformation. | Get the latest on digital transformation by signing up for our CIO newsletters. ]\n\u201cAs the publishing world and library world in general goes more digital, the Library of Congress is going more digital,\u201d says Conklin, who oversees roughly 400 employees in the Office of the CIO, including around 200 contractors.\nThe Library of Congress \u2014 which is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill, the Madison, Adams, and Jefferson buildings \u2014 \u201cingests\u201d new physical and digital data and metadata continuously. While the goal isn\u2019t to digitize 100% of its materials, the transformation remains vast and complex, Conklin says. \u201cThere\u2019s data we\u2019ll keep on premises and then there are some that we want to gain the efficiencies \u2026 and elasticity \u2026 of the cloud,\u201d she adds.\nGeorge Westerman, a principal research scientist and senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, says the ambitious undertaking benefits all of society.\n\u201cIt\u2019s impressive how LOC is aiming to \u2018throw open the treasure chest\u2019 through digital, so it can make the library\u2019s diverse artifacts available to citizens, teachers, and innovators around the country without requiring them to come to DC,\u201d Westermen says.\nTransforming the Library of Congress\nThe LOC initially brought in Accenture to help plan its now complete data center transformation. This three-year effort involved moving more than 130 library IT systems and applications out of an \u201cobsolete\u201d data center in the Madison building to a state-of-the-art Tier III data center outside of Washington, DC, as well as to other data centers and cloud services managed by the library and connected via a multi-path WAN.\n Library of Congress\n\nJudith Conklin, CIO, Library of Congress\n\n\nWith this enterprise cloud environment in place, the library is now focusing on the Enterprise Copyright System (ECS) for the Copyright Office, the Integrated Research and Information System (IRIS) project for the Congressional Research Service (CRS), and various projects to improve how the library accepts, manages, and delivers collections material, including an audio-visual content management system and a new library content platform.\nThe ECS project, which assigned copyright data to one of the big cloud providers, though Conklin declined to specific which of the big three, will make the process of applying for copyrights easier and more transparent. \u201cMore and more people want to register their materials for copyright,\u201d says Conklin, making this a prime candidate for the scale and efficiency of the cloud.\nThe US Copyright Office, which comprises several divisions, including licensing recommendations and public records, relies on a mix of manual processes and those that have been automated through IT systems that must be modernized. Congress appropriated $60 million for this task and the library has a \u201cvery strict deadline\u201d for its completion, Conklin says. It is expected to go live in October 2024.\nConklin, who is revamping the library\u2019s project management procedures for the digital era, has also embarked on a five-year digital storage plan, which includes \u201cingesting\u201d or absorbing many \u201cborn digital\u201d collections that come into the library in digital format from a variety of sources, as well as digitized content from both houses of Congress.\nThe library has been storing digitized data for decades in traditional legacy systems, including many important historical documents and collections. Some digitized documents will remain on-premises, and not everything will be for public view.\n\u201cIt\u2019s not a goal to digitize 100% of our collections, and some people are dismayed by that,\u201d says Conklin, noting the library budget does not allow for an infinite digital data warehouse, though she noted that Congress is loosening up on making more data public following passage of a law two years ago.\nThe US Constitution, for example, will not be going up on the Library of Congress website, Conklin says. However, the library\u2019s digital transformation has had an impact on our understanding of the Constitution, as an in-house preservationist used spectral analysis of a digitized draft of the Constitution to uncover previously undiscovered edits.\n\u201cThey analyzed layer after layer of this draft copy of the Constitution and they say they found edits \u2026 to the Constitution that weren\u2019t known about,\u201d Conklin says, comparing the discovery to retroactively turning on track changes.\nThe library is also dabbling in experimental artificial intelligence technologies such as computer vision, machine learning, and applications that focus on audio clips and visual art, much of which is made available as open source software.\nBecause the data and metadata coming into the Library of Congress is never ending, the job of digital transformation will never really be done. \u201cThat\u2019s the struggle for every CIO,\u201d Conklin says.\nBut no doubt, the LOC is light years ahead of where it was when it started its digital transformation.