Instead of soaking up the sun in a traditional Spring Break getaway setting, UT iSchool students Laura Fry and Megan Martinsen participated in the ‘Horns on the Hill program by completing internships at the Law Library of Congress.
Fry and Martinsen created metadata for the historical Statutes at Large the Law Library of Congress has digitized and plans to make available on their website. The Statutes at Large is the official record of the Acts of Congress and concurrent resolutions passed by the U.S. Congress. The metadata project included identifying factors such as title and date but also more complex information like assigning keywords from a controlled vocabulary.
“This was a great chance to gain some experience and network in our field,” Fry said. “I was curious to meet the librarians and see their system for creating metadata for items and hopefully get some tips I could use in my current role. Since I’ve never been to Washington, D.C. before, I was thrilled for the opportunity to go to the mecca of libraries. They were so welcoming and happy to have us there.”
Along with working on the metadata project, the iSchool students attended staff meetings, met with the law librarian of Congress and took a private tour of the library.
Fry and Martinsen will continue to work on the project remotely from the iSchool for the rest of the semester.
“I've wanted to work at the Library of Congress since I first visited in the eighth grade,” Martinsen said. “So even if it was only for a week, it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I'm so grateful the iSchool worked to make this possible. It was an amazing experience and I would strongly recommend that students apply if it's available again next year.”
‘Horns on the Hill began during Spring Break of 2013. Earlier this year, Library of Congress Deputy Librarian David Mao posted several internship job opportunities at the Law Library even though they were not specifically targeted for a Spring Break timeframe. After some careful thought, Mao created the metadata project as a specific ‘Horns on the Hill Spring Break option.
“The Horns on the Hill internship program allows students to experience and contribute to the mission of the Library of Congress,” Mao said. “They have the opportunity to work with unparalleled collections and alongside the library’s information professionals. The library benefits from the students’ fresh outlook, knowledge and abilities. We look forward to continuing the relationship and carrying on the library’s tradition of working with communities to advance knowledge and creativity. Hook ‘em!”
UT iSchool students could apply for ‘Horns on the Hill through iCareers and by submitting a resume and cover letter to Mao and other Law Library of Congress representatives. After reviewing their applications and speaking to the candidates, Mao selected Fry and Martinsen for the internships.
“I am working on a master's degree and I think metadata is so important and getting more experience working with it is always a good idea,” Martinsen said. “I also really want to be a federal librarian so I am trying to spend my time learning as much about working as a librarian for the government as I can and this was an excellent opportunity for that.”
The results of Fry and Martinsen’s work will be available on the Law Library of Congress’ website in the near future.