Metadata Librarian for Distinctive Collections

Created: January 4, 2024


Metadata Librarian for Distinctive Collections (Mgmt 2, Library - Collections)


The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Libraries seeks for its Metadata Librarian for Distinctive Collections a creative and collaborative librarian who will play a key role in making discoverable and accessible the unique and rare holdings in MIT’s distinctive collections.


Reporting to the Lead Metadata Strategist, the Metadata Librarian for Distinctive Collections will lead, manage, and participate in the metadata workflows for distinctive collections in tangible and digital formats. They will create and edit metadata for rare books, MIT publications, images, audio, video, web resources, and other materials in MARC and non-MARC formats. They will embrace the values of equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice in working with people, collections, and systems, applying these principles to our metadata and discovery environments. They will supervise two staff and coordinate the work of others involved in metadata production and management for distinctive collections, providing coaching, leadership, and         development support. In collaboration with colleagues, they will contribute to projects related to collection management, digital collections, archival metadata, and the remediation and transformation of metadata. They will build working relationships with staff throughout the Libraries, fostering communication about distinctive collections metadata.


Through metadata creation and management, the Metadata Librarian for Distinctive Collections supports work that advances the Libraries’ vision of building platforms for the creation, discovery, use, dissemination, and preservation of knowledge that is fully open and equitably accessible. They will value innovation, exploring new and emerging technologies for metadata creation and management.



Metadata Creation and Management (45%)

·         Lead, manage, and participate in the metadata workflows for distinctive collections, including rare books, MIT publications, images, audio, video, web resources, and other digital and tangible materials in all formats.

·         Create original metadata records, and perform complex editing of metadata records, according to established national and international standards and best practices. Create, edit, and maintain authority records and provide authority control, in coordination with the Cataloging and Metadata Librarian.

·         Apply values of equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice to metadata and discovery through descriptive practices, remediation projects, and the ongoing evaluation of the discovery environment.

·         Contribute to projects related to collection management, digital collections, and archival metadata, in coordination with the Archival Processing Manager and other colleagues.

·         Make use of technologies such as scripting languages, server-side tools, and batch editing applications to create or curate metadata when appropriate.


·         Coordinate workflows and communication between metadata, acquisitions, and archival processing staff.

·         Create, review, communicate, and revise documentation for workflows and best practices; develop training materials.

·         Keep current on trends, standards, and best practices in metadata creation and management for distinctive collections across academic libraries, peer institutions, historical societies, and museums.


Staff Management, Development, and Support (35%)

·         Hire, supervise, train, assess, and/or coordinate the work of two service staff.

·         Provide coaching, leadership and development support for direct reports and other staff with interconnected and/or shared responsibilities.

·         Plan and run regular meetings for functions-based working groups related to metadata for distinctive collections, to learn new skills, share current situations, and collaborate on solutions.

·         Lead staff to collectively establish work goals, coordinate activities and projects, develop procedures, plan, and problem-solve.


Collaboration, Partnerships, and Outreach (20%)

·         Develop and champion collaborative working relationships with staff throughout the Libraries, including the Department of Distinctive Collections, Collections Strategists, Scholarly Communications and Collections Strategy, Digital Library Services, and others involved in collections and metadata activities.

·         Serve as a member of the Technical Services Leadership Team, as well as other groups in which perspective and leadership in distinctive collections metadata is needed.

·         Advise and educate Collections leadership and Libraries’ staff in policies, procedures, and tools involved in the production and management of metadata for distinctive collections, and contribute expertise to system-wide initiatives, task groups, and committees.

·         May provide public services assistance in the Department of Distinctive Collections.



·         Master’s degree in library/information science or relevant field.

·         At least three years of relevant experience.

·         Experience leading, managing, training, and inspiring staff.

·         In-depth understanding of and experience with cataloging and authority standards, including the following: RDA, DCRM, LCSH, LC classification, relevant encoding formats including MARC, Dublin Core, and standard authorities procedures.

·         Knowledge of current best practices for the description and management of rare books and special collections.

·         Experience creating and managing metadata for digital resources.

·         Positive service attitude, with demonstrated ability to work well with diverse groups of people; to productively handle relationships and conflicts; and to embrace the values of equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice in working with people, collections, and systems.

·         Excellent written and oral communication skills, including the ability to explain complex concepts to staff with differing levels of expertise.

·         Demonstrated ability to be flexible, embrace ambiguity, adapt to change and successfully work independently and collaboratively in a fast-paced, dynamic environment.

·         Ability to identify problems, think creatively, and carry out solutions independently or as part of a group or team, particularly when several priorities arise at the same time.


·         Ability to understand and evaluate new and emerging technologies, particularly those that could facilitate operational workflows.

·         Dedication to the value of innovation and experimentation and a desire to advance these values through this position.

·         Solid experience with library automation systems and tools, including OCLC, and the facility to learn and master new software, systems, and technology, and to generate reports and work with data.

·         Demonstrated experience with project planning and management and evidence of being able to bring complex projects through to completion.

·         Demonstrated awareness of professional trends and developments in metadata management.


We expect candidates to be stronger in some qualifications listed above than others; we are committed to helping our future colleague expand their skills, as well as learning from their areas of strength.



·         Basic understanding of acquisitions practices for distinctive collections and how they relate to metadata workflows and management.

·         Awareness of and/or experience with emerging metadata technologies such as Linked Open Data.

·         Experience using Ex Libris’ Alma library services platform.

·         Background or strong interest in the history of science, technology, or architecture.

·         Reading knowledge of one or more language(s) other than English.



This job is a pay grade 8 with the following range:




Actual salary will depend on qualifications and experience. MIT offers excellent benefits including a choice of health and retirement plans, a dental plan, tuition assistance, and fully subsidized MBTA passes for local bus and subway service. Flexible work arrangements, including flex-time and telecommuting, are considered for positions that meet established criteria. The MIT Libraries is a collegial and supportive working environment and fosters professional growth of staff with management training and travel funding for professional meetings.


Apply online via Applications must include a cover letter and resume. Priority will be given to applications received by January 19, 2024; position open until filled. MIT is strongly and actively committed to diversity within its community and particularly encourages applications from qualified women and minority candidates. Professionals who enthusiastically embrace the empathy, courage, self-reflection, and respect of a multi-cultural, diverse and inclusive workplace, and who strive to incorporate those values in their work and interactions are encouraged to apply. Please reach out to with any questions regarding this role.



The MIT Libraries support teaching, learning, and research across the Institute, with millions of resources, deep expertise, and five campus locations where our community consumes and creates knowledge. Our organization is on an exciting journey of transformation, pursuing a digital-first model for research


libraries and prioritizing an open scholarship agenda. We aim to exercise bold leadership in defining a model for research libraries in the future, with innovative spaces like the newly renovated Hayden Library and a focus on supporting data-intensive and computational research and learning.


We strive to do great things, powering the MIT community to solve complex problems in the service of humankind, and each member of our 154-person staff has a role to play in pursuing that vision. We’re constantly adapting to the rhythms of a changing world, and we welcome candidates who can help us do that in thoughtful and strategic ways that center our mission and values.


MIT Libraries is an environment that welcomes any body, any mind — including all genders — and particularly encourages applications from underrepresented minorities, women, disabled applicants, and veterans. Professionals who enthusiastically embrace the empathy, courage, self-reflection, and respect of a multicultural, diverse, and inclusive workplace and who strive to incorporate those values in their work and interactions are encouraged to apply.



Employment is contingent upon the completion of a satisfactory background check.



MIT sponsors visas only for certain academic and research positions. MIT does not sponsor the following individuals for employment-based visas or for exchange visitor visas: students; technical, administrative, library, or support staff members; individuals with inadequate funding, insurance, or credentials; or those whose particular visa history precludes sponsorship.


Published: Thursday, January 4, 2024 23:10 UTC

Last updated: Thursday, January 4, 2024 23:10 UTC