Meet the 2020 Manuscripts Division Archival Resident

Name: Carolina Quezada Meneses

Educational background: I recently graduated from UCLA’s School of Information Studies with an MLIS, specializing in archival studies. As an undergraduate, I studied comparative literature and Spanish at Smith College.

Previous experience: I’ve been working in libraries and archives in different capacities for a number of years now. Most recently, I interned at the University of California, Irvine’s Special Collections & Archives (SCA). This was an enriching opportunity because I was able to build on previous experience processing born-digital materials — a skill set totally absent from my MLIS program’s curriculum. At SCA, I worked closely with the Assistant University Archivist to develop a new workflow for accessioning born-digital material. I also had the chance to help process a really interesting collection of interactive multimedia CD-ROMs by the feminist media artist, Christine Tamblyn. It was my first time thinking about how to best provide access to obsolete digital art.

Why I like archives/Professional interests: 

As the daughter of immigrants to this country, I’ve always felt a strong affinity to history and memory so it is no surprise that I was attracted to the profession from very early on. While studying comp lit as an undergrad, I focused on revivals of language and culture in post Franco Spain. Some of my classes ultimately led me to archival research, which inspired me to seek out internships in archives. At the Trisha Brown Dance Archive, I first encountered the challenges of preserving dance and embodied knowledge. 

This curiosity really informed my MLIS studies, which led me to think about how dance and performance is captured, usually video, which is itself ephemeral and unstable. I now see the problems facing digital preservation as an extension of the unique challenges with archiving a performance. I want to continue exploring this dilemma as an archivist and hopefully come up with new ideas to contribute to the profession.

Other interests: I love to cook and try new recipes. I’ve recently been cooking a lot from Falistin by the Palestinian chef, Sami Tamimi. I’m also really into running.

Looking forward to working on the following project(s) while at Princeton:

I’m really excited to do some reference work, which is not something I’ve had the chance to do in previous positions. I think it will especially be interesting to see how this is being done in these times. I’m also curious to learn how Special Collections has been approaching digital processing by helping with updating the digital processing guidelines. I’m also looking forward to working on a redescription project with the Inclusive Description Working Group.