Heightening the Experience Heightening the Experience Photo by Chris Carlson, courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress

help people to understand what they are seeing and some of the symbolism around them."

That new understanding extends to Web visitors too. Images and interactive material similar to the library kiosks also are available online. In fact, there's more to be done on the Web at www.myloc.gov even if a visitor has already spent time at the library.

The Online Experience

Like on-site visitors, online visitors can look at and zoom in on exhibit photographs. In addition, they can view the original versions of historic documents and typewritten transcriptions.

Several interactive learning activities are available exclusively online, including games and activities that help children in grades three through 12 comprehend the displayed materials. Lesson plans for grade school educators are also available on the site.

In addition to the current offerings, Raymond said, the library will soon offer a "Passport to Knowledge" with a bar code that will allow users to create a personalized online collection.

"People can swipe the bar code on an exhibit or an artifact that they like," he said, "and it will build a Web site personalized for them on the back end where they can really create their own collections."

With their personalized collections, users can bookmark artifacts for further research, share with others or play a game called Knowledge Quest -- at the library or at the Web site -- that challenges visitors to solve riddles and puzzles associated with the bookmarked items.

According to Raymond, the Library of Congress Experience has been a hit with the younger generation of learners who visit the landmark library.

"We have an entire generation of people who have grown up not knowing a world without the Internet. They are used to this kind of interaction, and they've come to expect it," he said.

The Net generation gets more out of the interactive technology than from "dry, old textbooks," Raymond said.

"When you go through the Experience, you will see young people going right to the interactives and moving the documents and manipulating them, and it opens their eyes to the actual artifacts and history that is all around them."

To see video of the Library of Congress Experience, visit GTtv.