“These bibliographies would take months and even years to do,” stated Jennifer Harbster, head of the science reference part on the Library of Congress. “It wasn’t like you just found a title and put it in your bibliography. She would annotate it all.”
She additionally compiled bibliographies on general-interest matters, together with presidential inaugurations and whether or not a brand new decade or century is taken into account to start within the 12 months ending in zero or the 12 months ending in 1. Ms. Freitag, together with different authoritative sources, firmly believed that they start on the 1 — that the 21st century, for instance, began in 2001, not 2000, regardless of the numerous celebrations on the contrary.
As the third millennium loomed, she assembled a pamphlet, “Battle of the Centuries” (1995), with energetic quotations concerning the dispute over the ages.
“Bibliographic work may sound dull at first,” she instructed an inside Library of Congress publication, The Gazette, in 1990, “but it can really grow on you, to the extent of becoming a vice.”
Ms. Freitag spoke a number of languages and knew all the right accents to put on phrases — “all the unusual ones for whatever language she was writing in,” stated Brenda Corbin, the previous head librarian on the Naval Observatory. When computer systems first got here alongside, Ms. Corbin stated, Ms. Freitag “wasn’t happy” that they didn’t have accent marks, which meant that she couldn’t write accurately. “She was meticulous.”
Ms. Freitag usually helped researchers with their writing.
“She was one hell of a copy editor,” stated Mark Littmann, the previous longtime director of the Hansen Planetarium in Salt Lake City, who researched a few of his fashionable astronomy works (together with “Planets Beyond” and “Totality: Eclipses of the Sun”) on the Library of Congress.