Visual Data Curation Fellow

San Francisco
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Created: November 19, 2014


In Collaboration with the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), the Internet Archive seeks an innovative, technologically savvy Visual Data Curation Fellow to work with our diverse team of archivists, computer scientists, digitization specialists, scholars and the public to advance data curation of our visual collections.  This fellowship requires both excellent technological skills and a deep understanding of the rich constellation of information that surrounds visual objects to enhance some of the world’s largest visual collections of film, video, images from texts, web images, historic software, and music-related images. The fellow will add his/her area expertise to every aspect of our collections work: identification, preparation and digitization of different types of data, merging disparate metadata sources and developing schema for enhanced descriptions, data mining, data transfer between institutions, outreach to external visual collections, and supporting scholars and filmmakers who utilize our collections.  We are building digital libraries of the future—and developing processes for users to discover, access, analyze and add their own material to our rich visual collections is a core part of our mission.

For 18 years the Internet Archive has been building a vast online library of our shared human culture. Our library now stands at 19 petabytes of data-- which includes over 3 million digitized books (900 million text pages), 430 billion web pages, 650,000 hours of television news and 500,000 software applications. Each day two million visitors use this library, making one of the world’s top 200 sites.  We work with institutions around the globe, scanning books on five continents and archiving web pages for 350 institutions, including the Library of Congress, Stanford University, Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Senate.  Internet Archive is also home to the Prelinger Archives, a collection of more than 6500 historic films and visual ephemera—the first and largest free repository of archival moving image materials available for unrestricted viewing, downloading and reuse.  Our collections support digital humanities initiatives such as Harvard University’s Digital Archive of Japan’s 2011 Disasters, curricula at University of Virginia, and are widely used by scholars, researchers and educators worldwide.  Our archivists and technologists present the Archive’s cutting edge work at conferences around the world, including recent talks at the 2014 Wolfram Data Summit, the European Research Council’s Alexandria Project, and re:publica, Europe’s leading conference on Internet and Society.   Each year we host the annual Library Leaders Forum for the senior leaders of key libraries to come together to tackle large, highly collaborative opportunities.

The Visual Data Curation Fellow will bring his/her training and understanding of the field to help the Internet Archive leverage our work in these key ways:  1) helping to develop workflows for documenting, archiving, and refining existing datasets for our film collections, especially a new donation of more than 7,000 rare educational films; 2) building partnerships with libraries, special collections and scholars to enhance discovery, access and use of our visual holdings; 3) developing use cases for these visual primary sources and relationships with user communities 4)  joining our team of computer scientists, user-interface designers and archivists who are building and testing the next generation of tools that will increase collection building by our users.

The Fellow will be based at the Internet Archive’s main headquarters in San Francisco, where computer scientists, film and book scanners, archivists, and our founder and Digital Librarian, Brewster Kahle, come together in a unique and dynamic culture.  Every Friday, guests from other libraries and universities, start-ups, Open Internet activists, and web pioneers gather with our entire staff for a communal lunch where everyone shares highlights of his/her work. Our open workspace is conducive to collaboration and information sharing, and weekly staff meetings include demonstrations of our newest digital technologies.  The Fellow will be supervised by Alexis Rossi, Director of Web Services, who currently manages all aspects of Internet Archive collections work for movies, audio, software, television and books, and runs the Wayback Machine and user access projects. The CLIR Data Curation Fellow will be mentored by Rick Prelinger, archivist, filmmaker, Internet Archive Board Member and currently Associate Professor of Film and Digital Media at University of California at Santa Cruz.

Within Internet Archive’s larger world, the CLIR Visual Curation Fellow will work directly with and alongside technology leaders including Brewster Kahle, as they develop big data initiatives, digital strategies, breakthrough technologies, user interface design and product development.  Few libraries in the world are working with as much culturally rich data and the opportunities to experiment with big data sets are unparalleled.  The CLIR Fellow will also have opportunities to participate in the Library Leaders Forum and other events that sit at the nexus of Silicon Valley technology and information sciences.

The successful candidate will have a PhD in Visual Studies, Film, Photography, or Library and Information Science--or a relevant discipline. The candidate must have a strong technical aptitude and be able to do basic coding and apply skills in data identification, data preparation, data ingest, and metadata generation.

Job Duties
  • Develop and implement workflows for film collections, including film identification, film preparation, data ingest, and metadata generation.
  • Be able to potentially work with a wide range of data formats—including all types of film, video, software, audio, web captures—to ensure adherence to leading practices of data curation.
  • Develop ongoing partnerships with libraries, special collections, scholars and researchers to enhance their understanding, discovery and use of the Internet Archive’s collections
  • Promote the Internet Archive’s Visual Collections through papers, blogs, presentations, and workshops
  • Work with multi-functional teams to design innovative ways to visualize and display our data
  • Participate in the strategic development, design and testing of a next-generation user interface and toolset for,
  • Conduct outreach to curators of special collections who might want to digitally preserve their visual collections within the Internet Archive

Required Knowledge and Skills
  • A PhD in a relevant field of Visual Studies, Film or Library and Information Sciences
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively and successfully in a team-based environment
  • Ability to blend visual expertise with technical expertise to develop best practices for visual collections
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Excellent work ethic and self-starter

Desired Knowledge and Skills
  • Strong facility with all forms of technology and software, especially databases
  • Demonstrated ability in software development with a proficiency in Python
  • Familiarity with metadata standards, including Dublin Core
  • Familiarity with diverse film formats, quality control of film transfers, and a basic understanding of digitization standards

Contract: Two years. Salary: $60,000 plus benefits. Also included: $6,000 travel stipend for travel expenses to nearby universities and other conferences. 

Position is from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2017.

Last updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 23:42 UTC