Associate Director, Digital Research Systems and Strategies

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Created: December 2, 2021



The Art Institute of Chicago shares its singular collections with our city and the world. We collect, care for, and interpret works of art across time, cultures, geographies, and identities, centering the vision of artists and makers. We recognize that all art is made in a particular context, demanding continual, dynamic reconsideration in the present. We are a place of gathering; we foster the exchange of ideas and inspire an expansive, inclusive understanding of human creativity.  

Position Summary


A hub for scholarship and training, the Art Institute Research Center brings together the museum’s Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, the Art Institute of Chicago Archives, and the department of Academic Engagement and Research with the aim of fostering engagement and access to the Art Institute of Chicago’s rich educational and research offerings.


The Art Institute Research Center seeks an inventive, collaborative professional for the role of Associate Director, Digital Research Systems and Strategies. Reporting to the Executive Director, and working in close partnership with the Directors of the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries and the Art Institute of Chicago Archives, this position is responsible for advising on, deploying, and maintaining user-centered systems that facilitate search, discovery, delivery, and digital preservation of Research Center resources. Collaborating with colleagues across the three Research Center areas, and with the museum’s departments of Information Services, Collections and Loans, and Experience Design, the successful candidate will lead efforts to optimize technologies for access and discovery and improve interoperability between systems.


Systems support*: Manages and guides the development, deployment, evaluation, and preservation of the Libraries' digital collections and content. Serves as the Administrator for the Ex Libris Alma/Primo/Rialto Integrated Library System (ILS), ILLiad Interlibrary Loan (ILL) System, Springshare, and other vendor-owned and hosted systems. Monitors web-based services. Advises on and manages technology solutions for the Archives’ CONTENTdm digital collection software and Preservica digital preservation software. Provides essential support to test and manage configuration, system upgrades, migrations, and troubleshooting of software and hardware.

Research Center support*: Trains Research Center staff on systems and provides advice on problem-solving. Delivers digital library technologies instruction sessions, and creates instructional material. Works with colleagues to maintain equipment, providing support to staff and patrons as needed. Develops staff-facing intranet and advises on the accessibility and operability of public-facing web pages. Gathers and reports statistics and data from Research Center systems to support decision-making related to departmental services.

Collaboration*: Determines technology projects in need of external support, drafts RFPs, evaluates submissions, and recommends solutions. Makes budget recommendations and works with vendors. Engages with local, regional, national, and international partners for collaborative digital collection building and access initiatives. Liaise with museum teams who administer NetX, the repository for image assets, and CITI, the museum’s art collection management software.

Manage metadata: The ideal candidate would be able to contribute to the creation of metadata and explore established metadata vocabularies to advise on the accessibility of library and archives assets; assist in batch uploading and records management, particularly where specialized technologies are required, as in our partnerships with OCLC, Northwestern University, Chicago Collections Consortium, and the Getty Research Institute.


  • Masters in Library Science from an ALA-accredited institution or equivalent degree required, with 2-5 years of professional experience.
  • ExLibris Alma and Primo certification and demonstrated experience managing an integrated library system, required.
  • Familiarity with current metadata and cataloging standards and processes, and other library technology standards and protocols, including FRBR, Z39.50, RDA, OAI-PMH, EXproxy, or other remote access and authentication software.
  • A solid foundation of HTML, CSS, and Javascript.
  • Ability to effectively explain technical issues and solutions to a diverse community of stakeholders, and interest in user-centered design.
  • Thrives on learning and learns quickly. Dedicated to self-improvement and professional development. Takes advantage of various resources to self-educate.
  • Background in the visual arts and experience providing access to digital resources are highly desirable.


  • Prolonged periods working at a desk on a computer; must be able to remain in a stationary position 80% of the time.
  • Occasionally moves about inside the office to access file cabinets, office machinery, etc.
  • Occasionally ascends/descends a ladder to access library stacks.
  • Constantly operates a computer and other office productivity machinery, such as a copy machine, scanners, and printer.
  • Occasionally lifts a maximum of 25 lbs to move computers, scanners, and other equipment.
  • Occasionally positions self to maintain equipment, including under and behind desks.


We offer a competitive, comprehensive benefits package:

  • 5+ weeks of paid time off
  • Paid holidays (up to 14 days)
  • Medical, dental, and vision insurance
  • Generous parental, caregiver, and medical leave benefits
  • Competitive retirement plan (up to 9% matching contribution)
  • Tuition remission and Tuition Exchange Program
  • Great employee discounts
  • Complimentary general admission to participating cultural institutions

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Vaccination Expectation

Becoming vaccinated against COVID-19 is the most important contribution we as individuals can make to ensure our own safety and the safety of our museum and school community. All employees must complete an attestation and provide proof of their vaccination status, or request a medical or religious exemption within the first week of employment.

The Art Institute of Chicago is an equal opportunity, equal access employer fully committed to achieving a diverse and inclusive workplace. We believe in a staff culture that benefits from a wide range of experience, backgrounds, and career paths, and we encourage nontraditional candidates to apply.


Published: Friday, December 3, 2021 00:16 UTC

Last updated: Friday, December 3, 2021 00:16 UTC