The Library of Congress goes digital

CIO Judith Conklin discusses the ongoing cloud migration and digitization of the world’s largest library — a massive endeavor to make more of its 170 million assets available to all.

The Library of Congress goes digital
Magdalena Petrova

CIO Judith Conklin has a tall task: migrating the world’s largest library to the cloud.

Conklin, who was promoted from deputy CIO in September after former CIO Bernard Barton retired, is leading the Library of Congress’ 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’s more than 170 million physical assets to the public from any device.

“As the publishing world and library world in general goes more digital, the Library of Congress is going more digital,” says Conklin, who oversees roughly 400 employees in the Office of the CIO, including around 200 contractors.

The Library of Congress — which is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill, the Madison, Adams, and Jefferson buildings — “ingests” new physical and digital data and metadata continuously. While the goal isn’t to digitize 100% of its materials, the transformation remains vast and complex, Conklin says. “There’s data we’ll keep on premises and then there are some that we want to gain the efficiencies … and elasticity … of the cloud,” she adds.

George Westerman, a principal research scientist and senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, says the ambitious undertaking benefits all of society.

To continue reading this article register now

Download CIO's Roadmap Report: 5G in the Enterprise