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Library of Congress iPhone app offers 'virtual tours,' but no substitute for a visit

August 5, 2010 | 12:45 pm

Library-of-congressImagine software that can be loaded onto your phone providing you access to digital versions of everything in the Library of Congress, even when far away from the Beltway. It would be a sort of Google Books archive for the sensitive and historic documents there.

Well, this isn't that. But it has some pretty pictures.

The Library of Congress released an iPhone app (also works on the iPod Touch) last weekend, providing historical facts, photos and videos from within the building.

After loading it onto an Apple phone, users can poke around and take virtual, media-rich tours of parts of the library, including the old Thomas Jefferson Building.

The app's contents are by no means exhaustive. It was a pet project of three Library of Congress staffers who worked on it in between other duties, a spokesman told the blog ReadWriteWeb.

He also said they have no plans to continue adding content to the app, or create versions for other cellphone platforms. But hey, what can you really expect from a freebie?

-- Mark Milian

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Image: Library of Congress