August 3, 2020
As a Library of Congress Junior Fellow, Emily Sienkiewicz '21 chose to work with the Library’s collection of World War 1 audio interviews. “With my previous campus internship with Dr. Caren Beilin's “Blackfishing the IUD” podcast, I'd had gained experience working with and creating transcripts for audio,” she said.
Emily Sienkiewicz ’21 has loved the Library of Congress since she visited it during a trip to Washington, D.C. when she was 13. This summer, though she’s not there in person, she’s contributing as a Junior Fellow to the Library’s important work.
Sienkiewicz and the other 39 junior fellows are working virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and from her home in Westfield, Mass., she has helped to digitize materials from the Library’s Veterans History Project.
She chose to work with the Library’s collection of World War 1 audio interviews. “Throughout my time at MCLA I've really enjoyed reading about and doing research about the era, so I saw it at a way to expand my content knowledge,” she said.
She transcribed 13 hours of audio for 23 recorded interviews, and created a website with digital representations of the collection, with a timeline, maps of veterans’ service locations, and a story map for one veteran, Frank Woodruff Buckles. “With my previous campus internship with Dr. Caren Beilin's “Blackfishing the IUD” podcast, I'd had gained experience working with and creating transcripts for audio,” she said. “That experience helped me realize that transcripts were a priority for my project in order to increase accessibility for the public.”
Though her internship was virtual, Sienkiewicz still was able to meet virtually with different departments twice a week, network with her cohort of fellows, and access career development opportunities. “My favorite part about working virtually was that I could work anywhere I wanted as long as I had a connection to the internet,” she said. “One day I even took a meeting standing in the middle of a river!”
An English major with a concentration in public relations and corporate communications, Sienkiewicz said this work appeals to her as a way to preserve the past, creating a way for future generations to understand historical and social context. “We're over a hundred years past the war's end and all the veterans have passed on, we don't have the ability to collect more memories,” she said. “What we can do though is ensure that the memories we have collected are well preserved. It was challenging for me to put in the time-consuming work of all the transcribing and analysis of each interview, but it was well worth it knowing that it increases the usability of the collections so that other people can have access to firsthand accounts of the war.”
See Sienkiewicz explain more about her project here: https://www.loc.gov/item/webcast-9291/
Learn more about the Library of Congress Junior Fellows at https://www.loc.gov/internships-and-fellowships/overview/junior-fellows-program/.
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