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Guest Post: Kalan Eppley

My name is Kalan Eppley. I worked remotely on the European Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project through Summer 2021. When I first began helping Professor Comerford, I knew very little about the Jesuits and their work. By the time summer ended and I finished my work on the project, I could safely say that I definitely knew my fair share about the Jesuit Society and their accomplishments.

My first task was to fix the remaining errors with the author galleries and to make sure everything was uploaded correctly onto Digital Commons. This included correcting spelling errors, switching gallery images that had been mixed up, and trying to spruce up the look of the archive a bit by adding headers and a new index. Editing the gallery titles also allowed me to use the Latin minor I am working on (a rare opportunity). One of the most enjoyable parts of working on EJLPP was translating the many Latin titles to check for errors. I got to use what I’ve learned in Latin classes and actually contribute to something other than my translation homework. This also gave me a chance to get some experience with Medieval Latin, which I had never really worked with before. I was very happy to be able to contribute to the project by using my translation skills.

After the galleries were complete and everything looked all right in the online archive, I moved on to a previously unfinished task: writing biographies for the many Jesuit authors. This proved to be a more complicated job than I first thought, as many of the authors have similar (and multiple) names that tend to get confusing. Writing biographies for prominent Jesuits taught me about the process of joining the Society and what their professional careers usually looked like. Some were more exciting than others. I was particularly interested in the Jesuit astronomers, including Christopher Clavius and Giovanni Battista Riccioli. These men made amazing discoveries I already knew of, but before my work on EJLPP was unaware of their ties to the Jesuits. As I worked my way through the history of Jesuit mission work, I got a look at the bigger picture and was able to appreciate their constant efforts to spread their faith and charity.

I loved the social media part of the EJLPP as well. Running the Instagram page allowed me to learn a ton of interesting facts about the printers and authors that I would have not discovered if I wasn’t combing through every image to find material for a good post. I searched through all of the images Professor Comerford had taken several times to find bindings and pictures that I found interesting, and I hope that the followers did as well. During my search for pictures within the books and in my research efforts to understand them, I expanded my knowledge of printing and church history.

It was a pleasure to work with Professor Comerford and I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to help out. Tools like digital archives and social media are becoming increasingly important today, especially as we live through a pandemic and it is usually safer to access information online. I had a great time translating and Instagramming on behalf of EJLPP, and it was a wonderful opportunity to learn new things and contribute to the online archive.