Opening: Digital Archivist at NYPL

The New York Public Library’s Manuscripts and Archives Division (MSS) seeks an experienced archivist to lead its efforts to manage the Library’s existing born digital archival holdings and expand its capacity to collect electronic records.

Under the direction of the Assistant Director for Archives and Manuscripts, the Digital Archivist will establish the Library’s methods and procedures for the acquisition, preservation, description, and service of born digital archives and manuscripts.

About NYPL and the Manuscripts and Archives Division 

The New York Public Library holds approximately 50,000 linear feet of archival material in several curatorial units. The Manuscripts and Archives Division (MSS) is a curatorial unit of the Library, with over 30,000 linear feet of holdings, as well as the unit responsible for overseeing and coordinating archival activities throughout the Library and processing the archives collected by the Library for the Performing Arts. The Assistant Director for Archives and Manuscripts, who is the administrative head of MSS, also reviews all proposed archival acquisitions.

The Digital Archivist will be a member of Assistant Director’s management team, which also includes the Head of Archival Processing; the Manager who coordinates special projects, collection surveys, and movement of material; and the Assistant Curator who leads reference and outreach activities.

External Responsibilities

In collaboration with the MSS management team, NYPL curators, information technology staff, and archivists, as well as the archival community outside NYPL, the digital archivist will:

Establish a set of best practices for managing born digital material within archives held and acquired by NYPL:

  • identify and engage the resources (hardware, software, vendors, peer institutions) available to perform migration from (obsolete) media containing born digital material
  • develop (though hands on work and experimentation) and document procedures for the routine migration, description, and management of born digital archives during accessioning and/or processing
  • train archivists and curators as necessary
  • process archival collections with a substantial volume of born digital records
  • lead efforts to locate born digital material in previously processed archival collections and develop plans for their retrospective management

Enhance the Library’s capacity to responsibly acquire electronic records and personal papers:

  • evaluate proposed acquisitions with born digital components
  • develop and document techniques and procedures for acquiring electronic records directly from record creators, transferring them directly into the Library’s repository
  • coordinate acquisitions of electronic records, acting as a liaison between records creators and the Library’s curatorial, archival, and technical staff
  • when necessary and possible, work directly with records creators to advise on record keeping practices that will facilitate the eventual transfer of their archives
  • propose and investigate potential acquisitions

Advise the Library’s Repository team on the functional requirements for acquiring, preserving, and serving born digital archives.

Collaborate with the curatorial units serving archives and manuscripts to develop the means to provide access to born digital materials.

Initiate, write, and contribute to grant proposals as appropriate.

Contribute to broader discussions surrounding the management of digital assets, metadata, and the representation and service of digital and digitized archival materials.

Serve as the Division’s and the Library’s internal and external representative and authority on issues related to born digital archives.

External Qualifications

  • Masters degree in Library Science or Archival Enterprise/Studies or other relevant field.
  • At least three years experience working in an archival repository in a professional capacity, including experience working with born digital archival material
  • Strong command of archival theory and best practices, especially as they relate to the particular issues posed by electronic records. Background in records management preferred.
  • Familiarity and experience with disk imaging and email archiving tools and techniques preferred.
  • Knowledge of DACS.
  • Demonstrated familiarity with data structure standards relevant to the archival control of digital collection materials (EAD, Dublin Core, MODS, PREMIS);
  • Successfully demonstrated experience training staff preferred.
  • Project management experience
  • Excellent writing and editorial skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Knowledge of historical research methods, especially the use of archives
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently as well as collaboratively and to meet planned goals and deadlines.
  • Demonstrated ability to think creatively, then initiate and carry through innovative ideas
View the position description in its original location, or apply for the job online.

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