Follow us on Twitter or shoot us an email if you’re interested in any of our projects or sketches. All of our code is open source. Send a pull request on GitHub if you want to collaborate.
The Library Innovation Lab
The Reginald F. Lewis Law Center
1557 Massachusetts Avenue Map
Cambridge, MA 02138
We’re a dynamic group of thinkers and doers working to make libraries better by exploring the countless, dimly lit pathways that connect libraries to the larger world.
We focus our energy on a handful of large multi-year projects and a number of small projects we call sketches. Our large projects are ambitious undertakings that reflect our long-term mission and efforts. Sketches are experiments and provocations that are often driven by one or two folks in the Lab.
We’re stationed in the Harvard Law School Library and benefit greatly from the deep legal thinking and scholarship that surrounds us. We often approach library challenges using our law school library lens, but we work hard to make sure our local efforts have broad application. Libraries are universal.
Our group’s culture is freewheelin’ and open. We welcome new ideas and new collaborations. Let’s work together to make libraries better.
The people at the Lab.
JZ directs the Law School Library, co-created the Berkman Center, is an EFF board member, and is faculty in the Law School, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the Kennedy School.
Catherine has spent most of her career in the education space, first in development and later at a startup working with education users. In 2020 she graduated with an MLIS from CUNY, spending time during the program at public libraries and archives while focusing on information access and preservation. She now works primarily with academic users of H2O and perma.cc, supporting their efforts to more openly share and preserve their work.
Matteo has been building for the web for most of his career. He has had the opportunity to work with clients of all sizes on both sides of the Atlantic, from local nonprofits to Fortune 500 companies. He has joined LIL driven by a passion for the open web and a desire to explore different scaling challenges.
Becky was a student of physics and religion before becoming a faculty assistant in the Harvard SEAS Artificial Intelligence group. She moved on to support Harvard’s open-access policies at the Office for Scholarly Communication, where she got the bug for web development. She now spends most of her time working on Perma.cc, advocating for web accessibility, and assisting with other LIL projects.
Jack worked as an appellate litigator before coming to write code at LIL. His proudest case was Finch v. Commonwealth, which returned health insurance coverage to tens of thousands of Massachusetts immigrants — and now lives on at case.law, the American caselaw database Jack helps to run.
Jack has served as a board member of the ACLU of Massachusetts and as a fellow of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. He also teaches the Programming for Lawyers course at Harvard Law School.
Liza has been a software engineer and startup founder in the digital publishing and political tech spaces, most recently as the Engineering Director for the core infrastructure team at the Democratic National Committee. She has served as a board member for the International Digital Publishing Foundation and Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation, and co-chair of the W3C Digital Publishing Interest Group.
Michael has worked in software development in the startup, library, and education spaces for over 20 years. Most recently, he was the Director of Technology at the Digital Public Library of America. Previously, he worked as a data and analytics developer, architect, and engineering manager at ScribbleLive. Prior to that, Michael worked as a developer and architect on the repository and digital gallery teams at the New York Public Library, and built content management, online learning, and semantic metadata applications at Columbia University.
Harmony joins LIL with 20+ years of project management and event experience. While navigating city and state law complexity, she helped pioneer the mobile cocktail catering industry utilizing urban and local farm ingredients with sustainable practices. She has worked closely with organizations to cultivate events for a good cause, focusing on LGBTQIA++ rights, food justice and homelessness, youth safety, environmental and peace initiatives, reproductive freedom, deafness/communication disorder research and the arts. This passion for human rights has led her to LIL, where she enthusiastically works on efforts to advance and democratize open knowledge.
Rebecca has spent much of her career attempting to understand and improve the functionality of public service systems. In past roles, she built software and cloud infrastructure to deliver government services. Her projects included improving visibility into Medicaid and CHIP data and increasing educational equity with the Office of Head Start. She is eager to explore data stewardship in legal and library environments.
Sabelo has held academic appointments at the Berkman-Klein Center, Stanford’s Digital Civil Society Lab, and the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, researching the human rights implications of algorithmic technology on marginalized communities from global south perspectives. He has been developing software for over a decade, including natural language processing for African languages, open-source anti-censorship software, and content recommendation systems.
Clare’s true occupation is as a milliner, creating multiple hats for herself everywhere she goes. She’s worked in every department of a photography gallery, as the event coordinator/alumni liaison/substitute teacher at a small independent school, as the database maintainer/research assistant/calendar keeper for a group of innovation and management researchers, and now as the compost watchdog/vinyl cutter whisperer/side-project logistics manager at LIL. She also is the outreach and communications lead for Perma.cc and has an MLIS from Simmons University.
Ben has been a bookseller, an editorial assistant, and a cataloger, but the largest part of his work life has been as a reference librarian in a public library, where he was also a shop steward and treasurer of his local. Since then, he’s become a software developer, at first in support of Harvard’s open-access policies at the Office for Scholarly Communication; he now works on the infrastructure for all of LIL’s projects.
Sankalp Bhatnagar gained his first exposure to the work of legal design in a seminar on law, justice, and design at Harvard Law School, after which he taught and led efforts to advance this field and its directions at Northeastern University School of Law. He is joining the Library Innovation Lab as a research fellow for the academic year to carry out a project in partnership with NuLawLab, where he is a senior researcher and has previously been a research resident. Sankalp is designing a workbook of exercises for law students tasked with crafting and choosing between legal alternatives, which he envisions as a resource not only for future lawyers or judges, but innovators, upstanders, and leaders today.
Oren received his S.J.D. and LL.M. from Harvard Law School and LL.B. (magna cum laude) from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Before his graduate studies, he clerked for Justice (now Chief Justice) Esther Hayut of the Israeli Supreme Court and worked for three years as an assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel and Legislative Affairs in Israel’s Ministry of Justice. He also serves as a Global Hauser Post-doctoral fellow at NYU School of Law.
Molly is a researcher, writer, and software engineer. Before joining LIL she was an independent researcher focusing on issues in the cryptocurrency industry; prior to that she spent six years working on web software. Her interests also include free and open knowledge, Wikipedia, and digital identity, and she spends a lot of time thinking about how we could make the web a better place.