Curator of Born-Digital Collections

Nashville, TN
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Created: August 7, 2017


Position Title: Curator of Born-Digital Collections
Classification: Librarian
Category: 402000 – Library Professional

Description: The Curator of Born-Digital Collections will lead the University Library’s curation, management, and preservation initiatives for born-digital materials in its three major special collections units: Biomedical Special Collections, Special Collections & University Archives, and the Television News Archive. The Curator of Born-Digital Collections manages the operations of the Television News Archive, the university library’s largest collection of born-digital materials.

The Curator of Born-Digital Collections works with library staff, faculty, and external donors to accession, curate, describe, and preserve collections of born-digital materials in multiple formats, including audiovisual formats. The Curator leads the implementation of BitCurator and other digital forensic and preservation tools. The Curator collaborates with the Office of Digital Scholarship to enrich born-digital collections with additional information, creating data visualizations, geospatial analyses, linked datasets, network analyses, and other derivative forms of data.

Reporting to the Associate University Librarian for Research and Learning, the Curator of Born-Digital Collections will assume a leadership role in reshaping Vanderbilt’s special collections program to meet the emerging needs of 21st century researchers.

Key Functions and Expected Performances:

  • Manage the Born-Digital Workflow of the Vanderbilt Television News Archive
    • Work with curators and metadata specialists in the Television News Archive to acquire, describe, and preserve television news programming;
    • Implement outsourcing workflows to improve the efficiency of the data collection, indexing, and abstracting processes;
    • Curate existing audiovisual and textual datasets, adding geospatial references, linking names to standard authorities and applying International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) standards as applicable;
    • Make available versioned datasets of born-digital content for nonprofit research and commercial purposes.
  • Lead the Curation and Preservation of Born-Digital Materials Across Special Collections
    • Consult with curators across special collections units about the acquisition, curation, description, and preservation of born-digital materials;
    • Implement BitCurator and train special collections staff in its use;
    • Develop and maintain a digital forensics lab in special collections;
    • Consult with leaders of the Cataloging, Metadata, and Preservation unit and the Library Digital Technology and Strategies unit about metadata and digital imaging standards and protocols.
  • Participate in Campus-Wide Activities
    • Coordinate with the Office of Scholarly Communications about copyright, fair use, open access/open source licensing for born-digital materials;
    • Collaborate with the Office of Digital Scholarship to offer tutorials, workshops, events, and other forms of training about the curation and preservation of born-digital materials;
    • Consult with other Vanderbilt departments and schools about the curation and preservation of born-digital materials.
  • Research and Development
    • Present and publish regularly about the curation of born-digital materials;
    • Evaluate the relevance of new technologies for digital forensics and digital preservation;
    • Apply for grants to support emerging areas of service and research related to born-digital collections.


Supervisory Responsibilities: The Curator of Born-Digital Collections will supervise staff members in the Vanderbilt Television News Archive.


  • Internal: Regular contact with members of the library staff, university administrators, faculty members, and students
  • External: Regular contact with digital curators and archivists at other universities and cultural institutions

Preferred Education, Skills, and Experiences: 

Education: Graduate degree in Library and Information Science or related discipline or equivalent experience. An additional Master or Doctoral degree in another academic discipline is preferred.

Job Related Skills: Experience with promoting digital scholarship in a university or other nonprofit setting; proven ability to manage co-workers in a collaborative, collegial style; balances research with “getting things done”; demonstrated enthusiasm for teaching and writing about digital scholarship. Preferred: Experience with implementing digital preservation standards for audiovisual files; knowledge of one or more programming languages, preferably Julia, Python, R or XQuery; background with linked data and the semantic web, including ability to write SPARQL queries; expertise with manipulating data in CSV, JSON, and XML formats.

Note: Applications received by September 1, 2017 will be given preference.