This week’s interview is with Geo Nikolov who is working at the Law Library of Congress for several months as an intern describing and creating metadata for a collection of Hispanic Legal Documents that span from the 15th to 19th centuries.
Describe your background.
My background is strongest in the humanities (language, literature, and culture). I was fortunate to have the opportunity to receive my learning at the source by studying abroad in Germany and Spain during high school (Lübeck, Germany), college (Bremen, Germany) and for my master’s (Málaga, Spain). I am also comfortable doing scholarly research in geoscience. Through a recent remote internship with the Law Library, as well as through my training in court interpretation, I have gained better familiarity with the U.S. legal system.
What is your academic/professional history?
I graduated with a B.Sc. in earth sciences from Dickinson College in 2014, with additional coursework in Spanish and German. Through a graduate linkage agreement, I was awarded a spot at the University of Málaga, which is located in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, Spain. There I completed my master’s degree in Spanish language and literature in 2015. My thesis examined Thomas Mann‘s reading of Don Quixote.
In the spring of 2016, I worked on the Handbook of Latin American Studies (HLAS) and the Archive of Hispanic Literature on Tape (AHLOT) as an intern of the Library of Congress Hispanic Division. In 2016, I also worked for an independent publisher/book distributor for a brief period. At present, I am gaining experience as a court interpreter with Maryland‘s courts.
How would you describe the work you do to other people?
I use subject terms and controlled vocabularies to describe the contents of legal briefs and other official documents from the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America, which are in the holdings of the Law Library of Congress. I also look up the translations and English equivalents of certain terms, and make sure to draw connections between certain subject headings (e.g., place names and personal names) as these are represented in various Spanish languages, including Castilian, Catalán and Aragonese. These documents are from the 15th – 19th centuries.
Why did you want to work in the Law Library of Congress?
I thought this project would be an interesting way to learn about how Spanish was and continues to be used in a legal setting and to become better acquainted with its prestigious tradition, alongside literary texts.
What is the most interesting fact you have learned about the Law Library of Congress?
The first books for the Law Library were personally selected by Chief Justice John Marshall, when it was formally established in 1832.
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
I published a poetry book titled Paseos marítimos in Málaga, Spain, and it is now part of the Library of Congress collection.