Digital Archivist (Evanston, IL, USA)


  • Applications received by September 22, 2017 will receive first consideration
  • Reports to: Head of Archival Processing

Northwestern University Libraries seek a Digital Archivist to coordinate the accessioning, arrangement, and description of born-digital archival collection materials, including websites, in the Archival Processing unit, part of the Libraries’ Distinctive Collections workgroup. Along with Archival Processing, Distinctive Collections encompasses the Northwestern University Archives, Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies, Art Library, Music Library, and Transportation Library. Core responsibilities include collaborating with Distinctive Collections staff to acquire, appraise, describe, preserve, and provide access to born-digital records and resources. The Digital Archivist also works with the Head of Archival Processing and other colleagues to plan and execute workflows for the incorporation of born-digital and hybrid collections into the Libraries’ archival collection management system. He/she will also supervise the activities of interns and work study students. This position collaborates with the Head of Archival Processing in the planning and implementation of unit priorities.

Key responsibilities

  • Establish policies, plan workflows, and set priorities for processing born-digital archival collection materials, working collaboratively and responsively with Distinctive Collections staff, Repository and Digital Curation staff, and other key partners from across the Libraries.
  • Manage ingest of selected campus websites and other web content and born-digital materials transferred or donated by members of the university community or selected by curators and librarians.
  • Evaluate and implement specialized tools that characterize, describe, and/or transform born-digital content as needed.
  • Coordinate the transfer of digital materials from a variety of current and legacy media formats such as tapes, floppy disks, CDs, and hard drives, and implement mechanisms for ensuring the authenticity, preservation, and access of this material.
  • Develop processes for the routine acquisition, preservation, and access of born-digital materials given to Distinctive Collections units, including email, websites, social media, and other electronic records.
  • Arrange and describe archival and manuscript collections in both paper and digital format. Collections could be a combination of paper records, born-digital materials, audiovisual items, and objects.
  • Assist donors with the transfer of born-digital collections.
  • Collaborate with campus units working on related problems in digital records retention, and research data archiving.
  • Maintain and promote awareness and understanding of developments and trends in the field of digital preservation.
  • Supervise and train student assistants through effective communication and a fostering of shared goals that yields knowledge, productivity, and dependability.
  • Manage and promote the Libraries’ efforts to identify and preserve key university web content.
  • Serve as a member of relevant committees.
  • Represent the Libraries and the University through conference participation and other activities relevant to the profession and Northwestern.

Minimum qualifications

  • Graduate degree in librarianship or related field.
  • Extensive knowledge of current trends in digital preservation theory and standards and technologies that enable effective preservation of permanent digital records.
  • Knowledge of various methods of digital preservation, including the use of file packing formats and comprehensive software programs, as well as the OAIS reference model.
  • Ability to plan, coordinate, and implement effective programs, and complex projects and services.
  • Experience generating checksums, preservation metadata, and working with tools that verify file authenticity and tools that identify potentially restricted content.
  • Experience working with legacy media.
  • Knowledge of metadata schemas such as Dublin Core, METS, MODS, PREMIS, VRA core, and TEI
  • Record of professional engagement and contribution, such as research, publication, and involvement in pertinent professional and scholarly organizations.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Experience working with donors.

Minimum competencies

  • Ability to work in collaborative team-based environment
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Adaptable, ability to adjust to changing environment
  • Customer-focused

Preferred qualifications

  • Five years of progressively responsible experience in the field of digital archives and digital preservation.
  • Coursework in archives, digital curation, or digital preservation.
  • Experience with one or more of the following technologies: ArchivesSpace, Aeon, BitCurator, BagIt, Preservica.
  • Knowledge of electronic records management techniques and best practices.
  • Knowledge of current best practices related to copyright and access issues for born-digital collections.
  • Experience using web archiving applications.
  • Working knowledge of email archiving applications and workflows.
  • Working knowledge of historical research methodology, and strong grounding in social sciences or humanities.
  • Strong understanding of digital forensics tools and workflows; experience maintaining hardware and specialized equipment for access to legacy media (Kryoflux)

Northwestern University is a highly selective private university with campuses in Evanston and Chicago, Illinois and in Doha, Qatar. One of the leading private research libraries in the United States, Northwestern University Library serves the educational and information needs of the NU community as well as scholars around the world. Its collection contains more than 5 million volumes, a full array of digital resources, and collections of distinction in Africana, transportation, and 20th-century and contemporary music. Northwestern is a member of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA). See more information about University Libraries at:

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.

To Apply: Applications received by September 22, 2017 will receive first consideration. You can apply for the position here: