Today’s interview is with Julie McVey, a metadata technician working with the Digital Resources Division this summer on our digitization projects.
Describe your background.
I’m from a small town in Arkansas near Little Rock and moved to the D.C. area with my husband in fall 2014 for graduate school. I’ve always been passionate about history and culture, and was thrilled to move to America’s cultural and political center. I have been here for almost two years and will complete my graduate studies next spring.
What is your academic/professional history?
I have a bachelor’s degree in history and after graduating in 2011 I worked in a museum in Little Rock for three years. The museum, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, focuses on Arkansas’s African American history and culture. I worked in the collections and exhibitions department, first as assistant registrar and then as collections manager. During my time there I helped research and develop several wonderful exhibitions, including a large exhibit about the African American experience during the Civil War. I decided to attend graduate school to advance my career in cultural institutions, and I am currently a student at the University of Maryland in College Park, in the history and library science dual-master’s program.
How would you describe your job to other people?
I work with a team of volunteers to create and apply descriptive metadata (data about data) to Supreme Court decisions. Our work will render these records text-searchable and give users browsing capabilities, making them openly accessible to the public.
Why did you want to work at the Library of Congress?
Aside from being an amazing cultural institution that preserves history and culture from all over the world, the Library serves countless people in so many different ways every day. The Law Library itself has an amazing span of services. From digital projects like the ones I work on to serving scholars across the globe, this institution impacts people on every level, from the local to the international. I’m excited to be a part of an organization that serves an important purpose and to work with a diverse range of interesting and talented people.
What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library of Congress?
I’m amazed by all the diverse projects and people that work in the Law Library. I’m continually awed by the amount of information and expertise about any subject related to law that I can imagine (and even some I couldn’t!). The sheer amount of resources is also astounding; knowing that the shelf space for the Law Library covers nearly the equivalent of two football fields is very cool.
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
I love being outside and exploring the many beautiful landscapes around the D.C. area. Most recently I backpacked and camped in West Virginia along the North Fork Mountain ridgeline. My favorite part of the trip was Chimney Top, a rock formation along the cliffs, which has spectacular views of the West Virginia mountains!