Today’s interview is with Suneewan Creech. Suneewan is a legislative data specialist in the Congressional Research Service (CRS) of the Library of Congress. Before working in CRS, Suneewan worked in the Law Library of Congress. Read her original interview.
Describe your background.
I started my Library of Congress career as a contractor in the Law Library. I worked as a library technician while continuing my education by completing a paralegal degree. I enjoyed my job, which involved processing and preserving foreign legal materials and legislation collected from all over the world. I was exposed to many languages and also the complexity of legal publishing for each type of material. I had a great time in this position. I was able to utilize my background in Russian to process many Cyrillic materials, especially rare materials from the Imperial collection and Yudin library that we are fortunate to have.
Later I became a project manager overseeing the Acquisitions and Processing team. My work there was more challenging and I was involved in training quality technicians to understand how to maintain and update legal collections. In my last five years at the Law Library, I was a library staffer and worked directly for the Processing Section. I was a lead tech for legal workflow problem resolution and oversaw the inspection, or quality control, team and my former processing contract, as well as being a subject matter expert (SME) for acquisitions and related topics. I truly enjoyed working with law materials in such a diverse environment. I had a great working relationship with many colleagues and supervisors over the years.
How would you describe your job to other people?
As a legislative data specialist, my core responsibility is Data QC (quality control). I perform a quality control check over new data for Congress.gov early each morning. I make sure that new legislation and data that arrives from our partners (House, Senate, and Government Publishing Office) arrived complete and in a timely manner. When there is missing data or a discrepancy, I work with the operational team and developers in the Office of the Chief Information Officer to get the data corrected and displayed on Congress.gov. I am also on the front line answering questions and troubleshooting the data issues that are reported by our partners and from our site users. I am a primary editor for Data Anomalies in the Help center. I organize and maintain the known instances of unusual circumstances or metadata for users on this page. I participate in development testing and various team projects as needed.
What is your role in the development of Congress.gov?
I feel very lucky and proud to be part of the team and to see firsthand how each update, improvement, and new collection gets into production and presented on the website. Before the enhancements and new features are released, as an SME, I am involved in user acceptance testing. I create test cases and check the collection to make sure it is working the way it should be before the new release goes live. During the development stage of new releases, I contribute to testing in detail and make sure all parts are complete and correct, and communicate back to developers if mitigation is needed before they move on to production.
What is your favorite feature of Congress.gov?
There are several cool features that I like. I would say that my favorites are deep linking and share link from the bill texts, saved searches, member profile pages that now display the district map, and finding your member by address.
What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the legislative process while working on Congress.gov?
It is really fascinating how much work that everyone, including Library of Congress staff, interns, and staff in congressional offices, put together to process the legislation. I am learning a lot about how bills become law and how to keep up with the pre-law materials in the database. The most interesting fact is that it requires so much work behind the scenes from the developers and operational team who have to build and maintain an information system for users to be able to search and retrieve correct and timely data.
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
I don’t think I ever told anyone at work that I was a law school drop-out. I still have a passion for it, but I never wanted to be in a law office. Being around law books at the Law Library and the CRS Congress.gov team is very rewarding and compensates for my not having completed my degree.