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An Interview with Eliza Friend, Herencia Crowdsourcing Intern

Eliza Friend, an intern working on transcribing the Herencia: Centuries of Spanish Legal Documents crowdsourcing campaign. [Photo provided by Eliza Friend]

Today’s interview is with Eliza Friend, an intern working on transcribing the Herencia: Centuries of Spanish Legal Documents crowdsourcing campaign at the Law Library of Congress.

Describe your background:

I am currently a freshman at Claremont McKenna College pursuing a degree in international relations and economics. I have lived all over the United States, but I am most recently from the Seattle Area in Washington State and, like most people that live up here, I love to spend time outdoors.

What is your academic/professional history?

I am currently studying Spanish and I studied Latin for a total of six years. As part of my college coursework, I have taken classes in American political theory, international politics, economics, and mathematics. My favorite of these classes is my international politics class, where we focus on applying the different paradigms of international relations to current political developments.

How would you describe your job to other people?

My day-to-day duties as a remote intern for the Herencia Campaign include reviewing and creating transcriptions of Spanish legal documents written in Spanish, Catalan, and Latin. These historical documents offer a unique lens into the governmental, ecclesiastical, and legal affairs of 17th century Spain and I get to be a part of making the entirely non-English collection accessible to the general public.

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

I applied for this internship because I saw it as an opportunity to put my knowledge of the Latin language to use, while also expanding my understanding of Spanish and European legal history. This internship offered an ideal combination of my strengths and interests. I find the documents fascinating and I am thrilled to be a part of the campaign to review and transcribe them.

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

The most interesting fact that I have learned is that during the War of 1812, the Library of Congress was burned down by the British Army. This was prior to the separate establishment of the Law Library of Congress, which would not come about until 1832. Though the fire destroyed 174 law titles, the Law Library of Congress is now the largest law library in the world and holds 2.9 million volumes.

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

I come from a family of basketball players, so my parents had me holding a basketball practically before I could walk. I love the sport and I am currently on my college basketball team.

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