Digital Archivist

New York City
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Created: June 4, 2014


The New York Public Library holds nearly 10,000 archival and manuscript collections comprising over 50,000 linear feet. These collections are distributed across several curatorial units in three research centers. They support the work of a world-wide readership of scholars, writers, artists, and other advanced researchers, as well as initiatives and exhibits undertaken by NYPL and other educational and cultural institutions. For more information about our collection see

The purpose of the Archives Unit (AU) is to support archival enterprise at NYPL by insuring that all archival collections are acquired, processed, and prepared for access according to best practices established internally at NYPL and externally in the archives, library, and preservation communities. The AU pursues these goals by informing the acquisition process through collaboration with curators, donors/sellers of archival collections, and Library Administrators, and by managing and performing all the work on archival and manuscript collections from their physical transfer to NYPL until they are ready to be served in the appropriate reading rooms. The unit also supports and contributes to other archival projects, such as collection moves and digitization. The Archives Unit not only responds to the needs of curatorial units and their collections, but actively seeks out and engages in partnerships and collaborations in the fields of archival management, description, preservation, and access.

Under the direction of the Head of the Archives Unit (AU), the Digital Archivist collaborates with curators, colleagues in the AU, donors, digital preservation staff, public service units, and NYPL staff that create and maintain access systems in order to evaluate possible acquisitions; acquire, accession, and transfer born digital material to preservation storage; stage materials for archival arrangement and description; and make materials accessible to researchers.
  • Solidify NYPL’s practices for managing born digital material within archival collections at NYPL:
    • identify and engage the resources (hardware, software, vendors, peer institutions) available to perform migration from (obsolete) media containing born digital material
    • oversee, maintain, and update procedures for the routine migration, description, and management of born digital archives during accessioning and/or processing
    • train and assist archivists and curators as necessary when working with digital media
    • oversee staff imaging media
    • 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 and 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
    • work directly with records creators to advise on record keeping practices that will facilitate the eventual transfer of their archives
  • Contribute to and inform Library-wide digital preservation initiatives
  • Collaborate with the curatorial units to devise and implement access to born digital materials
  • Initiate, write, and contribute to grant proposals as appropriate
  • Serve as the Library’s representative and authority on issues related to born digital archives by contributing to broader discussions within and outside NYPL concerning the management of digital assets, metadata, and the representation and service of digital and digitized archival materials
  • Collaborate and communicate actively with peer institutions and individuals in the field of digital archives and related activities.
  • 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 strongly preferred
  • 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
Evenings and weekends as required
Schedule subject to change

Last updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 23:43 UTC