Senior Application Developer

Chicago, IL
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Created: August 15, 2017


Job ID: 9829

The Art Institute of Chicago is seeking a Senior Application Developer for a full-time, salaried position to support the ongoing development and maintenance of a Digital Asset Management System (DAMS) for the Museum collections.

The Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) is a world-renowned art museum housing one of the largest permanent collections in the United States. It is encyclopedic in nature with strong holdings across all media, all traditions and all ages. The Art Institute is particularly recognized for its extraordinary Impressionist, Modern, Contemporary, Asian and American collections, among other aspects of its holdings. 

The AIC Collections DAMS, named LAKE, was launched in Spring 2017.  LAKE is poised to become the Museum’s central repository for preserving, managing, accessing and publishing millions of digital assets related to the life cycle of all AIC collection items. LAKE will store very diverse kinds of digital assets and will be accessed by staff from over 25 departments with widely different access levels. LAKE is also meant to integrate with several existing applications and data sources as both a data provider and a data consumer.

LAKE is a groundbreaking effort by a major museum to embrace standards-based, community-driven open source software to build its core data repository. It is an exciting and challenging project requiring skilled, forward-thinking individuals with a strong commitment to its core values.




  1. Responsible for developing, maintaining, deploying, testing and documenting software related to LAKE which consists of a serving as the main data store; an based on Hydra; an -based integration framework; triplestore and Solr indexes; a Python ETL framework used to migrate and synchronize data from other systems; and a set of mirror systems (Fedora, Solr, IIIF server) specifically aimed at serving web-published data.
  2. Primarily focused on the Hydra front end and ETL scripts while also providing backup support for the other areas of the LAKE architecture.
  3. Prioritize work according to tickets assigned via a bug tracking system (Redmine), update these tickets as work progresses, and request feedback via the same ticketing system when needed.
  4. Review other developers' code, comment on commits and manage merging of pull requests and branches.
  5. Monitor the health and performance of systems on which LAKE runs, help to configure new systems, upgrade local software packages and apply security patches promptly.Coordinate these activities with the Network Services and systems administration staff.
  6. Provide realistic work estimates, deliver in a timely manner, collaborate with other team members on overlapping areas, and switch between different projects according to priorities.
  7. Dedicate time to researching new technologies and keeping abreast of current tools, best practices and patterns used in relevant technologies as well as in the Digital Humanities fields. Attendance to conferences and other events related to museum and repository technology is expected.
  8. Collaborate and initiate discussion with other team members on issues involving multiple areas of LAKE and other applications as needed.  Interaction with communities supporting upstream projects is also expected – if necessary, participating in interest groups and working groups on topics shared with other institutions.
  9. Maintain good working relationships with the Collections development team, other departments of the museum in order and occasionally with on or off-site contractors to identify and address system requirements.




Bachelors or Masters degree in a related field is required.

Primary requirements:

  • Working experience with Ruby on Rails, especially with complex gem stacks; previous experience with Hydra is ideal.
  • Working experience with Python (3.4 or higher).
  • Proficiency in Solr (5.5 or higher) query and schema language; SolrCloud administration a plus.
  • Thorough understanding of the HTTP protocol and REST API patterns.
  • Previous experience with large and complex data repositories a plus.
  • Experience with or ability to learn the IIIF protocol, Mirador, Universal Viewer, RDF, semantic stores and SPARQL is ideal.
  • Experience building functional, intuitive interfaces with HTML, CSS and JS frameworks (JQuery, Bootstrap) preferred.
  • Experience with configuring Apache httpd, Tomcat, Varnish cache, and other server systems is helpful.


Last updated: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 15:00 UTC