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Guest Post: Zaccheus McKibbens, EJLPP Intern, Fall 2023

Thanks to Zach's work, we have made more major strides on the Women Printworkers section of the project. Here's his post:

My name is Zaccheus Mckibbens. I am an up-and-coming senior graduating in 2024 and I've been able to spend the second half of my junior year helping with the European Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project. The goal of the section of the project on which I worked is to catalog and do research on printers from Europe with a strong focus on woman printers who often went uncredited in their contributions to print work. My goal as a future historian is to work in archival management and research so when the opportunity was offered to me to work on this project, I was very excited and more than honored to lend my services. Over the course of the semester, I would spend my time inputting names of print workers into a program called RootsMagic with a focus on those from the Low Countries, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Papal State. The layout of the program is friendly to newcomers, so it worked well for me and gave me a chance to build and create the skills I need for my future.

At the beginning of my work, I would spend time growing accustomed to the workings of the program and getting used to using Excel more often since I would be copying over information from previous interns to the RootsMagic system. It was nice to be able to build upon the great and detailed work from others before me so I had a basis for how my work should look as well. While doing all this I would also be navigating my very first internship which I went into with some worry but quickly was able to move past and become more comfortable with which showed improvement not only with my technical skills but also my conversational skills as well.

Halfway through the semester, I would experience some complications on my part as I was getting used to working in an internship with new responsibilities. I was able to grow past these complications with great assistance from Dr. Comerford who saw the potential I had and helped to make it possible. I would then spend the remainder of the semester putting in extra effort to help with the project and provide great service and would manage to put in over 300 new entries of printworkers into RootsMagic. Those estimated 300 would consist of print shop owners, wives, widows, children, siblings, and family connections across all of Europe.

After my time this semester working with Dr. Comerford, I have grown a lot in my skills and abilities and have become more efficient in the use of Excel along with growth in my communication skills with my peers. This opportunity has been extremely rewarding for me as well as being able to help shine a light on those who were often forgotten about. I hope that I will be able to continue working for the EJLPP if the opportunity is offered because I want to be able to continue to provide my services for a great project such as this one.

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