Today’s interview is with Teresa Kane, 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 currently a junior at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service, majoring in Culture and Politics. I took Spanish as my second language before passing the proficiency exam last year. I am originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, but I also spent part of my life in Maryland, so going to school here felt like coming home. In my free time, I like trying new restaurants with my friends and going to the National Mall on the weekends.
What is your academic/professional history?
Previously, I worked at the Georgetown Center for Social Justice as a coordinator for the After School Kids (ASK) Program. We worked with underprivileged youth from the D.C. area who strive to make a positive impact in their community by providing them with tutoring and mentoring services. I also served on CSJ’s Advisory Board for Student Organizations, supporting student leaders on campus with community-building initiatives and teaching financial responsibility. My concentration within the Culture and Politics major focuses on the relationship between politics and collective memory, and how it relates back to personal identity. I’ve taken classes on economics, political theory, anthropology, diplomacy, and immigration policy. My favorite class so far was my freshman year geography class where I got to learn about the relationship between politics and continental shelves.
How would you describe your job to other people?
As an Herencia intern, my job is to support the Library’s first crowdsourcing project on a collection that’s entirely non-English. On a day to day basis, I’m reviewing transcriptions completed by project volunteers and fellow interns, and completing some transcriptions of my own. The documents I review contain insights into the inner workings of the Spanish legal system, including disputes over jurisdiction between the Catholic church and state authorities. Through my position, I have been able to be a part of the amazing process of making this invaluable collection more accessible to the public while also learning more about legal culture from the 17th century.
Why did you want to work at the Library of Congress?
I wanted to work at the Library because I thought this was an amazing opportunity to support the largest library in the entire world, and I’m personally very interested in political history. This opportunity combines all of my interests, and I believe that information should be accessible to everyone, which the Herencia campaign has accomplished by not only being a crowdsourcing project, but also by making this collection available online. The Library plays an incredibly important role in preserving information and sharing it, and I feel fortunate for the opportunity to be a part of that.
What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library of Congress?
I was surprised to find out that the original Library was destroyed by the British in 1814. The Law Library was not a separate department at this point, and would not be until 1832. Thomas Jefferson offered to sell his personal collection of titles to Congress to help rebuild the Library, and that was approved the following year.
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
I took AP Calculus AB and AP Calculus BC in high school, and passed both of the exams, because I thought I would be a STEM major in college. Yet, here I am, at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service with a humanities-focused major, and I have not taken a single math class in three years.