Today’s interview is with Jake Neuberger, an intern working on transcribing the Herencia: Centuries of Spanish Legal Documents crowdsourcing campaign at the Law Library of Congress. He will be a panelist in our upcoming Lunch & Learn Webinar: A Conversation with the Herencia Crowdsourcing Interns.
Describe your background
I was born and raised in southern Connecticut and have been fortunate enough to live in Washington, D.C., for most of my college career. I am very interested in international affairs, languages, and learning about cultures and histories different from my own. In my free time I like to run, listen to music, and watch shows. I am also very enthusiastic about how I can utilize my knowledge and experience to help others, whether through my academic, professional, or volunteer work.
What is your academic/professional history?
I am currently an undergraduate student completing my third year at the George Washington University. I am double-majoring in political science and international affairs and double-minoring in Spanish and Latin American languages, literatures and cultures, and sociocultural anthropology, with a concentration in contemporary cultures and societies. As a high school student, I did a number of important media internships and was able to assist in the archiving and captioning of photos for the organization Voices of September 11th, which are now part of the interactive exhibits at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City. In addition, I produced a video documenting the resiliency and strength of survivors and first responders after terrorist attacks and mass violence. I was also able to intern for a local non-profit that helped supply food to families in need as well as creating a video on their impact in the community. I have had the pleasure of volunteering throughout high school and college, recently volunteering over 300 hours my first year in college at a local preschool through the JumpStart program. Most recently, I was fortunate enough to intern in Congress this past spring, and now have the immense opportunity to work with the amazing staff at the Library of Congress on the Herencia crowdsourcing campaign.
How would you describe your job to other people?
My goal is to help transcribe and review documents, spread visibility about the Herencia campaign, and highlight all the amazing aspects of this collection. One example of this is the document review spreadsheet that I made to help coordinate intern review efforts, another is the researching of unique documents to help with future projects. In this way, my job is also to identify obstacles to transcription and review, and to help create pragmatic solutions so that documents can be accepted and made more readily available to the public for viewing and research.
Why did you want to work at the Library of Congress?
I wanted to work at the Library of Congress because I really appreciate its ability to reach out to the public and, through crowdsourcing projects like Herencia, create a learning-community that is friendly, engaging, and an overall joy to be a part of. Being able to document these collections and see the vast amount of material available for research was something that I really admired and wanted to contribute to.
What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library of Congress?
I feel one of the most interesting facts that I have learned about the Law Library of Congress is that it holds over 2.9 million primary and secondary legal documents spanning 240 jurisdictions around the world. Whether it’s having access to the constitutions and laws of Mexico following the U.S.-Mexican War, or election laws in Nigeria, the Law Library of Congress has a truly extensive and international collection.
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
I am really enthusiastic about learning languages and studied Mandarin throughout high school, in addition to Spanish, and was even fortunate enough to receive the Connecticut Seal of Biliteracy twice (I like to say I received the seal of tri-literacy) in Spanish and Mandarin. I unfortunately have not been able to continue my Mandarin studies, but I hope to get back to it and learn other languages as well!