As a continuation of the D’Angelo Interview Series that we began last year, Scott Vanderlin took a moment to catch up with our Scholarship and Data Librarian, Thomas Drueke. Thomas shares highlights of his career to this point at the University of Chicago, his day-to-day life, and his interests outside of law librarianship.
How long have you been at the D’Angelo Law Library?
Since 2010. I worked the night shift in Circulation while I attended library school, and then I started as a librarian in 2014. So far today, I have been here for about 4 hours.
In the time you’ve worked in the law library, what is the most memorable event you’ve attended?
A faculty work-in-progress lunch where the Law School faculty overwhelmingly did not agree with the main premise of the visiting presenter’s research. They were not shy in their disagreement. It was pretty fascinating to listen to such sharp legal minds “in real time.”
What activities consume most of your time as a law librarian?
Developing and maintaining the Law School’s institutional repository, Chicago Unbound. Also, email.
What type of research do you enjoy doing the most?
Empirical legal research, especially the exploratory stages when you mess around with a dataset and see what kinds of questions it can answer. I am especially interested in natural language processing and text mining. Right now, I’m playing with Mallet, a Java-based machine learning package for applying statistical natural language processing algorithms and other machine learning applications to text. I’ve also been getting more proficient with R, especially its deep data visualization features.
What are some of your interests outside of law libraries?
My wife and I have two little kids (almost 4 and 4 months); they are pretty interesting. My main hobby is cooking (and reading about foodways and food science); I’m particularly fond of cooking with vegetables and beans. Wine and beer (and learning about them) are up there too. I really like watching hockey (and following hockey analytics). I love the St. Louis Cardinals (and pretty much anything from St. Louis). Surprisingly, I also like to read. (You don’t actually get to read books all day as a librarian.) Finally, I play cello and bass guitar and am a music fan, especially weirdo heavy metal.
What’s the best thing you watched, listened to, and/or drank recently?
Read: Near a Thousand Tables: A History of Food by Felipe Fernández-Armesto; HmmDaily.
Listened: Ion by Portal; Living Tomb by Ossuarium; Prelapsarium (or anything) by Krallice.
Watched: Future Man, Schitt’s Creek, Salt Fat Acid Heat (the book is incredible, too).
Drank: white Burgundy (Mâconnais is my favorite; Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon makes great stuff); Barossa Valley Shiraz; Portuguese reds; Funky Buddha Morning Wood (Bourbon Barrel-Aged, Imperial Maple Bacon Coffee Porter – I’m pretty done with huge “pastry” stouts/imperial porters, but this was outrageously good).