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An Interview with Katie Colson, Junior Fellow

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Today’s interview is with Katie Colson, a Junior Fellow working on metadata remediation for the Law Library of Congress blog, In Custodia Legis.

A headshot of Katie Colson with a tree and the brick wall of a building in a background.
Katie Colson. Photo by Katie Colson.

Describe your background.

I am originally from a small town in northern Idaho called Bonners Ferry. I am currently living in Urbana, Illinois, while I am a graduate student. My journey into the world of libraries began with a part-time job at the public library in Bonners Ferry during high school. I decided on a career in libraries while I was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English literature at the University of Idaho, and working at the university’s library. Since then, I have been delving further into the depths of the library field and finding my niche in knowledge organization work.

What is your academic/professional history?

I am a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and I have just completed the first year of my Master’s of Science in Library and Information Science degree. I decided to come to UIUC and start my degree to move up in the library world, and learn the skills I would need to help keep libraries moving into the future. Here at UIUC, I have been working on cataloging books for the rare book and manuscript library, and managing data for preservation services. I am also a part of projects looking into managing metadata for unique spaces, like Fab Labs. At the Library of Congress, I am excited to build my experience in managing and organizing resources and apply my current skills to a new area.

How would you describe your job to other people?

I ensure the resources of the In Custodia Legis blog are findable. I think of it as forming a web that creates connections and will lead people to new ideas and resources. Metadata, or data about data, is simple data describing a resource using a set of terms and properties that help translate the content and details of a resource. This means the resources can be searched easily and quickly assessed and found by the end user, and my job is to ensure the blog’s metadata works toward that goal.

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

I have wanted to work at the Library of Congress since I became serious about having a career in the library field. The Library has a large presence in the library professionals community, and I wanted to experience working there, and be a part of working for an institution with such influence. I jumped at the chance to work specifically on the blog of the Law Library of Congress, because the role of the blog is to share information from a prestigious platform and raise awareness of legal issues, topics, and histories. The work the blog is doing is something common to all libraries. Sharing information is something libraries are positioned to do well, and I want to help make that sharing happen!

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

I had not expected the Law Library’s blog to be as global as it is. I assumed it would solely focus on U.S. government law and topics, and it does include this, but the blog also deals with a wide variety of global topics. I am excited by the wider range, and I look forward to seeing how my work this summer can be beneficial to a global community.

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

I have been Smokey the Bear in a parade. I believe it was the 4th of July, and my father worked for the Forest Service and was part of organizing Smokey’s appearance, so when they needed someone to fill in, I volunteered! It was a lot of fun and I was proud to be a part of the campaign to prevent wildfires!

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