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Interview with Samantha Seto, Digital Resources Division Intern

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Today’s interview is with Samantha Seto, who worked as an intern with the Digital Resources Division this past summer.

Samantha Seto standing in the great hall of the Library of Congress.
Samantha Seto, Digital Resources Division intern. Photo by Donna Sokol.

Describe your background.

I am from the suburbs of Florida–the beautiful lands of Tampa Palms. I grew up in a home on a cul-de-sac near a lake and woods filled with deer and evergreen trees. My father is a biology professor, a molecular oncology scientist at a cancer center, and works with postdoctoral scientists at the medical school. My mother is a school teacher in Arlington. I have a sister and an older brother. During my third year of college, my family moved to a little row house a short walk away from Georgetown and the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, District of Columbia.


What is your academic/professional history?

I graduated as salutatorian of my high school class. I have taken AP U.S. History, AP U.S. Government and Politics, and AP Comparative Government and Politics. I learned a great deal from these classes. I will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree from Johns Hopkins University in December of 2017. My degree is in writing seminars in addition to a minor in history of art. I have also taken a political science and history class. I am very interested in human rights, intellectual property law, international law, immigration law, and environmental & natural resources law. This has led me to consider pursuing a J.D. degree.


How would you describe your job to other people?

I work as a metadata intern. I review the United States Treaties and Other International Agreements. Volumes 19 and 20 are each about a thousand pages long. The treaties were signed in the mid-20th century (1968-1970). The treaties are agreements made between the United States of America and a foreign jurisdiction or jurisdictions. The primary language is English, yet I have translated parts of the writing in French and Spanish. Other languages in the treaties may include German, and Russian, among others. I find keywords in the historical treaties. I record the (1) type of treaty, which is either Bilateral or Multilateral; (2) page numbers in the volume; (3) countries;  (4) date of signing; (5) treaty name; (6) language; (7) TIAS reference; and (8) keywords. The resources that guide me are a series of vocabulary and jurisdictions lists.


Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?

I wished to work at the Law Library of Congress because I was interested in gaining legal experience that utilizes my writing and research skills. I have always been curious about library science. I love reading books, especially good fiction, stories, and novels. I guess my interest stems from the fond memories I have from when I was a little girl in elementary school going to Tropicana Field to compete in the Battle of the Books.

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world with over 164 million items. It is composed of an abundant supply of resources and collections of books that provide endless information. The Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, is the first female librarian who will serve for a ten-year term. I admire Dr. Hayden because she is a remarkable–an amazing role model who inspires me every day.

The Library of Congress is like a castle for learning. The Main Reading Room, in the Jefferson Building, has always fascinated me. I love the beauty of the architecture inside the Library of Congress. The mosaics on the ceiling, the Gutenberg Bible, the paintings that depict gods, the Corinthian columns, and putti make the library most aesthetically appealing. I love the classic authors including Shakespeare, Goethe, Homer, Milton, Dante, and others. I admire the three branches of knowledge: law, medicine, and theology. My dream is to study law. I am honored to work at the Law Library of Congress.


What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library?

The most interesting fact about the Library of Congress is that the U.S. Congress, which is the legislative branch of government, is greatly supported by the Law Library and Congressional Research Service. The Law Library works to serve Congress, other agencies of the federal government, and the public at large. The Law Library’s research may involve foreign law or international and comparative law. The library’s various specialists assist patrons with finding books and government or legal documents. I am very amazed at the many reading rooms available in the Library of Congress, as well. A few that I found interesting are the European Reading Room, U.S. Copyright Office, Geography & Map Reading Room, Manuscript Reading Room, Moving Image Research Center, Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room, Performing Arts Reading Room, Prints & Photographs Reading Room, Rare Book & Special Collections Reading Room, and there are still more.


What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?

I was born a twin. My sister’s name is Sarah. She graduated valedictorian of our high school class. When we were little, we both wanted to be graceful ballerinas. At the age of three, we began dancing at a studio. We have loved it ever since. Sarah has graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a B.A. degree in Psychological and Brain Sciences. I also have a relative named Rebecca Wörner who will receive a Master of Laws degree at Utrecht University. She is an alumnus of Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Rebecca studies environmental law and conducts legal research. She has worked for the Dutch Cabinet at the European Court of Auditors.

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