Curator of Born Digital Special Collections (Revised Qualifications)

Nashville, TN
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Salary: 60,000-75,000
Created: November 17, 2023


Vanderbilt University and the Vanderbilt Libraries are in an exciting time of transformation. With new leadership at the Chancellor, Provost and University Librarian levels, the Libraries are re-envisioning the future of library services at Vanderbilt. Through radical collaboration, we seek to deepen student and faculty engagement with the libraries, equip students for life-long information proficiency, increase faculty research impact, create more opportunities for interdisciplinary experimentation, and optimize access to collections and resources, including marginalized and hidden histories and cultures.

The mission of the Vanderbilt Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) is to collect, preserve, and provide access to Vanderbilt University’s impressive collection of rare books, manuscripts, photographs, memorabilia, and institutional archives. The SCUA team supplies primary resource material to a variety of local, national, and international scholars.

We are seeking a Curator of Born Digital Special Collections to play a pivotal role building and sustaining this transformation to meet the emerging needs of 21st century researchers while expanding collections of born digital and digitized material. Reporting to the Associate Director for Digital Special Collections, the Curator of Born Digital Special Collections will lead the University libraries’ curation, management, and preservation of born digital materials in its Special Collections. The Curator will work with other SCUA subject matter curators, library staff, faculty, and external donors to accession, curate, describe, and preserve unique collections of born-digital materials in multiple formats. The Curator will lead the implementation and use of digital forensic and preservation tools in SCUA as well as a new Vanderbilt University Web-Archiving program with extensive collaboration with colleagues in Library Technology and Digital Services (LTDS) and other Library teams. The Curator will contribute to international efforts in digital preservation by being an active member of the Digital Preservation community. 

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Identifies, selects, and acquires born digital materials for the library's special collections, in consultation with subject matter curators in SCUA, donors and other stakeholders.
  • Collaborates with SCUA colleagues to develop policies, standards, and procedures for the accessioning, processing, and preservation of born digital materials in the special collection. 
  • Leads the development and implementation of a new Vanderbilt University web-archiving program, to create and curate a high quality and widely accessible web -archive of Vanderbilt University and other Nashville- and Tennessee-based websites.
  • Makes use of digital forensic and preservation tools and leads the development of innovative methods for preserving and giving access to these materials.
  • Leads the design, development and implementation of workflows and guidance to ensure the successful accessioning, processing, preservation, and access of born digital materials in the Vanderbilt Library Special Collections. In collaboration with subject matter curators and other library staff, leads the practical operation of those workflows as implemented on the Vanderbilt Library IT systems. Helps other SCUA curators, librarians, and others to follow the guidance and meet the born-digital standards efficiently and effectively. Ensures that hybrid and born digital collections are processed by SCUA so that both physical and born digital materials keep their integrity, authenticity, and archival bonds.
  • Works with metadata curators, librarians, and others to develop descriptive information to enhance discovery and access to born-digital special collections. 
  • Takes part in the international digital preservation community championing and using Vanderbilt University’s membership of groups and consortia including full membership in the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) and International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) Consortium.
  • Leads Vanderbilt’s contribution to digital preservation community initiatives.
  • Provides reference and research support to users of born digital materials.
  • Participates in the library's outreach and fundraising activities to promote the acquisition and use of born digital collections.


  • A master's degree in one of the following: library and information science (with a specialization in archival work), archival studies, a related field accredited by the relevant U.S. professional body or the international equivalent is required.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills are required.
  • Experience collaborating with colleagues and stakeholders is required.
  • Excellent organizational, analytical, and problem-solving skills are required.
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team is required.
  • Strong commitment to excellent user service is required.
  • High attention to detail is required.
  • Confidentiality in handling sensitive records is required.
  • Ability to set and meet deadlines for completing projects is required.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of born digital materials, including file formats, metadata, and preservation issues is preferred.
  • Familiarity with relevant standards and best practices for managing born digital materials in an archival context, (e.g., OAIS, NDSA, DPC RAM, PREMIS, RIC, DACS, and EAD) is preferred.
  • Familiarity with digital preservation tools and technologies (e.g., DROID, PRONOM, Bit-Curator, Preservica, Archivematica, JHOVE) is preferred.
  • Experience working with born digital collections in an academic library or archive is preferred.
  • Experience with ArchivesSpace for archival or specials collection cataloging is preferred.  
  • Familiarity with one or more programming languages (e.g., Python, Ruby) and scripting tools is preferred.
  • Experience with digital forensics and/or data recovery is preferred.
  • Familiarity with copyright and intellectual property issues related to born digital materials is preferred.
  • Working knowledge of intellectual property issues related to archives, libraries, and special collections and copyright issues associated with audio, video, print, and digital technologies is preferred.

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

At Vanderbilt University, we are intentional about and assume accountability for fostering advancement and respect for equity, diversity, and inclusion for all students, faculty, and staff. Our commitment to diversity makes us who we are. We have created a community that celebrates differences and lets individuality thrive. As part of this commitment, we actively value diversity in our workplace and learning environments as we seek to take advantage of the rich backgrounds and abilities of everyone. The diverse voices of Vanderbilt represent an invaluable resource for the University in its efforts to fulfill its mission and strive to be an example of excellence in higher education.

Vanderbilt University is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran, or any other characteristic protected by law.

 Please note, all candidates selected for an offer of employment are subject to pre-employment background checks, which may include but are not limited to, based on the role for which they have been selected: criminal history, education verification, social media review, motor vehicle records, credit history, and professional license verification.


Vanderbilt is a community of talented and diverse staff & faculty!

At Vanderbilt University , our work - regardless of title or role - is in service to an important and noble mission in which every member of our community serves in advancing knowledge and transforming lives on a daily basis. Located in Nashville, Tennessee, on a 330+ acre campus and arboretum dating back to 1873, Vanderbilt is proud to have been named as one of “America’s Best Large Employers” as well as a top employer in Tennessee and the Nashville metropolitan area by Forbes for several years running. We welcome those who are interested in learning and growing professionally with an employer that strives to create, foster and sustain opportunities as an employer of choice through:

  • Working and growing together as a community of communities... we are One Vanderbilt.
  • Providing a work environment where every staff and faculty member can be their authentic and best self, while providing the resources and opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Encouraging development, collaboration, and partnership both internally and externally while fostering the value that every member of the Vanderbilt community can lead and grow regardless of title or position.

We understand you have a choice when choosing where to work and pursue a career. We understand you are unique and have a story. We want to hear it. We encourage you to apply today so that you might become a part of our story.



Vanderbilt University has made the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff and our surrounding communities a top priority. As part of that commitment, the University may require employees to comply with any testing or health and safety measures which the University may require.

Last updated: Tuesday, November 28, 2023 21:58 UTC