Digital Paxton Intern

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Created: March 12, 2016


The Library Company of Philadelphia seeks a Digital Humanities intern for the summer of 2016. The successful candidate will work on the Digital Paxton Project in early American history (described below) for four weeks during the summer, or a total of 140 hours (35 hours per week). The internship carries a stipend of $1,000. There are no benefits. The internship offers a chance to work on an exciting DH project at one of the nation’s leading research libraries. The intern will work with a project team comprised of the IT Manager, the Digital Collections Librarian, and an outside scholar. The Digital Paxton Project will ultimately create a web tool allowing scholars and educators free and open access to original pamphlets relating to the Native American-Colonial conflict in pre-Revolutionary Pennsylvania.

Project Description
It’s nearly 1764. The Seven Years’ War has ended but Native Americans defend territorial claims in the Pennsylvania-Ohio backcountry. Many white colonists respond violently to Native resistance. In Pennsylvania, a group of Scots-Irish Presbyterians, identified as the “Paxton Boys,” take the law into their own hands by killing a group of Christianized Indians at Conestoga Manor. What follows is a series of heated confrontations stretching from the Lancaster jailhouse to the streets of Philadelphia. While Benjamin Franklin negotiates a settlement with the Paxton leaders, popular opinion remains unsettled. Over the next year Paxton critics and apologists wage an intense public debate over issues ranging from colonial authority to the meaning of race, ethnicity, masculinity, and religious association in pre-Revolutionary Pennsylvania.

Today, the saga of the Paxton Boys Massacre is illustrated in dozens of pamphlets, political cartoons, and broadsides housed at both the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. These documents provide the basis for the Digital Paxton Project, which seeks to make much of the original historical material available with critical scholarly commentary and overviews.

Goals and Objectives
The Digital Paxton Project is part of the Library Company’s ongoing efforts to add compelling and ramifying digital content to its website. The Digital Paxton Project will allow an intern the opportunity to create a web tool in early American history that will assist students, educators, scholarly experts and independent researchers. The successful candidate will possess a basic understanding of digital libraries and digital humanities scholarship, a keen curiosity about Philadelphia history, and a desire to apply that knowledge and curiosity in a real world setting. The intern will work with team members on the best way to build and deploy the Digital Paxton website, facilitate the production of digital material, and attend local digital humanities events in the Philadelphia region to understand best practices in the field. The internship combines practical experience in the growing field of the Digital Humanities as well as broader experience working on a goal oriented project that revolves around deadlines, task negotiation, project management, and collaboration.

Minimum Requirements
• Demonstrated ability to enter metadata using a content management system.
• Proficiency with Google Drive (particularly Google Sheets).
• Willingness to learn and use different online publishing platforms.
• Ability to work on a Windows platform, including the use of Microsoft Office Suite software such as Outlook, Word and Excel.
• Familiarity with digital photography.
• Excellent analytical, oral, and written communication skills.
• Well-developed interpersonal skills.
• Demonstrated abilities to work collegially with staff, researchers, and colleagues.
• Ability to recognize own strengths and weaknesses and utilize constructive feedback to improve performance.
• Ability to both work independently and proactively seek assistance.

Preferred Skills
• Experience using a tag-based online publishing platform, particularly Scalar.
• Experience coding in HTML and CSS.
• Familiarity with digital imaging software such as Photoshop.
• Experience working with archives and manuscript materials in a variety of formats.
• Familiarity with a wide range of digital library standards and practices, such as digitization, digital preservation, standards for media content, metadata, controlled authorities, and user experience.
• Demonstrated experience designing and customizing user interfaces in content management systems.

About the Library Company
The Library Company of Philadelphia is an independent research library specializing in American history and culture from the 17th through the 19th centuries. Open to the public free of charge, the Library Company houses an extensive collection of rare books, manuscripts, broadsides, ephemera, prints, photographs, and works of art. Founded in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin, the Library Company is America’s oldest cultural institution and served as the Library of Congress from the Revolutionary War to 1800. The Library Company was the largest public library in America until the Civil War.

The Library Company of Philadelphia is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or protected Veteran status.

Please send resume and names of two references to Nicole Scalessa at by May 1. The search will continue until the position is filled.


Published: Saturday, March 12, 2016 18:59 UTC

Last updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 23:40 UTC