This blog post is the fourth in a series that features the Connecting Communities Digital Initiative (CCDI) Junior Fellows from the Library’s 2022 Junior Fellows program. These posts highlight each fellow and the projects they developed. CCDI funded six interns in this year’s virtual 10-week program. CCDI is part of the Library’s Mellon-funded Of the People: Widening the Path initiative. This four-year program provides grants to individuals, organizations and institutions to create projects using the Library’s digital collections and that center one or more of the following groups: Black, Indigenous, Hispanic or Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and other communities of color. Learn more about CCDI here.
This summer, CCDI’s Junior Fellows used a range of Library collection materials and multimedia to develop narratives and explore concepts relating to the experiences of Persians, Japanese Americans, African Americans, and Mexican Americans. With the support of Library staff, each Fellow visualized their research in a Story Map, which was published by the Library.
In this interview post, Megan Bauerle, a 2022 CCDI Jr Fellow, shares her research interests, her internship experience, and more about her project, “From Camp to Campus: Japanese American Higher Education under WWII Incarceration.”
Tell us a little bit about your background. What led you to apply for a Library of Congress Junior Fellows internship?
I am a Junior at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, majoring in Economics with an East Asian Studies minor. I was excited to apply for a Junior Fellows Internship. I was especially drawn to the CCDI program because I am interested in researching and sharing Asian American history. I have always loved libraries as community centers, and the CCDI Junior Fellows program stood out to me as a way to research and share Asian American history while engaging in increasing community access at the Library of Congress.
What project did you work on this summer?
I worked on a Story Map on Japanese American higher education under WWII incarceration. The project features the Japanese-American Internment Camp Newspaper Digital Collection, which contains 29 newspaper titles in both English and Japanese, published from and by incarceration centers. In the newspapers, many articles talked about “Student Relocation,” a policy that allowed students to leave incarceration centers to attend a university or college. Newspapers were full of editorials, events, and student records related to “Student Relocation.” The project I created highlights different experiences with administrative barriers, community support, and success stories for Japanese American students. I am happy to have spent the summer on a digital project that focuses on an intersection of my interests in Asian American history and higher education access.
What did you learn about the Library that you didn’t know before you started your internship?
I learned so much about the Library, including the Library’s organizational structure as a federal agency, how to use Library resources online, and different departmental activities in the Library. As I searched through the Library’s digital collections, I found papers and photos in all areas of history. The Internships and Fellowships Program’s Professional Development Series meetings exposed me to different professional roles in the Library, from researchers to copyright lawyers. In the Digital Strategy Directorate, I learned about innovative ways to explore Library materials through LC Labs experiments. Some of my favorite collections and projects to look through were the World War II Rumor Project Collection and the Library of Colors Innovator-in-Residence tool.
For your internship, you worked with CCDI, which is part of the Of The People program. What does this program mean to you? What did you enjoy about working with CCDI?
CCDI means a lot to me because of the work the initiative is doing to transform the Library. Library resources contain so many materials relating to communities of color and I am happy to be a part of a program that centers these materials and the stories they tell.
At the CCDI Summer Fuse event, the CCDI Advisory Board panel emphasized important structural changes that could make the Library more accessible. I am glad to have had the opportunity to hear and be a part of this conversation.
Lastly, all of the people in the Junior Fellows program were so fun to work with!
What was it like to interact with the Library’s materials as an all-digital or remote user?
It was fun to use digitized Library materials because of the remote accessibility of the materials and the online tools that aided research. It was easy to go down a rabbit hole of random digital collections on the Library’s website. I used Library Research Guides, blog posts, and other Story Maps to help direct my search through the digital materials.
For my Story Map project, I used the built-in search optical character recognition (OCR) to find keywords in newspaper collections. OCR converts visual images of text into text that a computer can read. This makes it easier to search for keywords in documents like PDFs. Since OCR was applied to those newspaper collections, I was able to filter through thousands of articles and narrow down which papers had the information I needed. Despite not being in Washington D.C., I was able to use Library collections in a meaningful way.
For more information on Megan’s project, check out her Display Day project video here.
Interested in learning more about the CCDI Junior Fellows’ work? Visit the Library’s Story Maps page to view Story Maps created by this year’s Fellows and Library staff. To hear the Junior Fellows share about their projects in their own words, visit the 2022 Junior Fellow Display Day page.
Apply for a 2023 Junior Fellows Summer Internship
You can also work with CCDI as a Junior Fellow!
The Junior Fellows Program is an annual summer internship program for currently enrolled or recently graduated undergraduate or graduate students. Fellows have the opportunity to explore the Library of Congress’ digital and analog collections, while working directly with Library staff across the institution in a variety of fields, including: information technology, reference, preservation, and more.
Subscribe to the Of the People blog to be notified about the open application period for the 2023 Junior Fellows Summer Internship program. Stay tuned for more details on 2023 CCDI Junior Fellow activities!