Today’s interview is with Courtney Kennedy, an intern working on transcribing the Herencia: Centuries of Spanish Legal Documents crowdsourcing campaign at the Law Library of Congress. She will be a panelist in our upcoming Lunch & Learn Webinar: A Conversation with the Herencia Crowdsourcing Interns.
Describe your background:
I am originally from Texas. I moved to Norman, Oklahoma in 2012 for a doctoral program. I have a background in Modern Latin America, U.S. foreign policy, and the American West. I spent many summers conducting dissertation research in archives, special collections, and libraries in Mexico and the United States, including at the Library of Congress. I currently work at my university’s library reference desk, where I help patrons locate and connect with resources and services. In addition to the reference desk, I teach library instruction sessions to freshmen and local high school students on how to develop good research skills. The instruction sessions tend to be incredibly fun! My life revolves around research, writing, and teaching.
What is your academic/professional history?
I have a doctorate in Latin American history. I will earn a masters of library and information science degree in May 2021.
How would you describe your job to other people?
My work with the Law Library is multifaceted. I review works that have already been transcribed to ensure that the transcriptions are accurate. I have started to transcribe documents, which requires attention to detail and patience. My research background is modern Mexico, so I started this internship with a basic understanding of colonial Spain. Herencia has helped to expand my understanding of Spanish legal history.
Why did you want to work at the Library of Congress?
The Library of Congress provides accurate and unbiased information as the people’s library. Crowdsourcing campaigns such as By the People allow researchers from around the world to access fascinating documents. As a researcher and a future information professional, I value what the Library of Congress stands for and what it provides to members of Congress and to the public.
What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library of Congress?
I had no idea until I started this internship that the Law Library had documents in languages other than English that go back to the 17th and 18th centuries. In addition, for historians, especially graduate students, gaining access to quality digital resources is immensely helpful since research can be conducted from anywhere.
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
I am an avid gardener. My favorite plants to grow are tomatoes, hot peppers, corn, okra, melons, spinach and kale, herbs – anything edible. It is very fulfilling to take tiny seeds, watch the plants grow, and make a meal from things you pulled out of your own garden.
Welcome to the Library, Courtney! It is certainly a fascinating collection you are working on, and I’m glad to see a fellow Texan (and a Mexicanist at that) made the cut for this internship.