Thursday, April 6, 2017

New York State Archives seeks an Archives and Records Management Specialist 2

If you're an archivist or records manager who relishes the thought of working with lots of records creators and appraising a wide array of records, want to work for a large yet dynamic repository, isn't afraid of running into me on fairly regular basis, and would like to live and work in the historic Hudson Valley, the New York State Archives may have a job for you:
The New York State Education Department’s State Archives is seeking candidates to fill an Archives & Records Management Specialist 2 position within the State Archives’ Government Records Services program.  The Government Records Services Program provides archives and records management assistance and support to state agencies and local governments.  Duties of this position include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Provide advice, assistance and technical support to state agencies and local governments in the management of records and recordkeeping systems;
  • Develop and revise retention schedules for state agencies and local governments;
  • Conduct onsite appraisals of State and local government records to determine archival value and prepare reports of evaluations; and
  • Develop and present both online and onsite workshops on records management to state agencies and local governments.
MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: 
Reassignment:  One year of permanent competitive or 55b/c service as an Archives and Records Managements Specialist 2.
Section 52.6 Transfer:  One year of permanent competitive or 55b/c service in a title SG-16 or above deemed eligible to transfer under Section 52.6 of the Civil Service Law.
Provisional Appointment:  Candidates must have either 1) one year of permanent competitive or non-competitive 55b/c service as an Archives and Records Management Specialist 1; OR 2) master's degree in history, government, business or public administration, political science, American studies, library/information science, or archival administration AND two years of professional experience in which the majority of duties involved one or more of the following:
  1. Analyzing or appraising records and information systems to develop recordkeeping and/or records retention plans for an institution, governmental body, or corporation;
  2. Providing education, training, grant-in-aid, or direct technical assistance services in records management and/or archives administration for an institution, governmental body, or corporation;
  3. Developing or implementing guidelines, standards, policies and procedures concerning records   management and/or archives administration for an institution, governmental body, or corporation;
  4. Evaluating available information technology to support recordkeeping needs and requirements of an institution, governmental body, or corporation;
  5. Acquiring, controlling, preserving, making available, or promoting use of archival records, whether in electronic, paper, or other form for an institution, governmental body, or corporation.
PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS: Special consideration will be given to candidates who possess the following qualifications:
  • Demonstration of experience with core archival and records management practices including scheduling/appraisal, archival description and preservation, digital preservation and electronic records, and references services to a wide range of users including state and local government agencies, academics, educators, genealogists, local historians, and the general public. 
  • Experience with records management methods and techniques, especially in a government setting.
The starting salary for this position is $54,406 and, at least according to the current salary schedule, the salary will gradually increase to $69,182 based on annual performance advances. These figures are established by a collective bargaining agreement and are non-negotiable; they may also change slightly as a result of future contract negotiations. In addition, the State of New York offers a comprehensive array of retirement, health, and other benefits.

The deadline for applying for this position is 12 April 2017. For more information and application instructions, consult the job posting

Thursday, January 5, 2017

California State Archives is hiring a Deputy State Archivist

If you're a seasoned archivist or records manager who relishes the thought of putting your supervisory and administrative experience to good use, has at least some electronic records experience, lives or would like to live in northern California, and want to work with some great people, you may be the Golden State's next Deputy State Archivist. Details:
Department Information
The Secretary of State is seeking a full-time, permanent Staff Services Manager II [Deputy State Archivist]. Under the general direction of the Chief, Archives Division, the incumbent supervises and evaluates program activities of a staff of professional archivists, records management analysts, as well as records management staff, administrative staff, technicians, and support staff; assist in the formulation, implementation, and administration of archival and records management programs and planning; assists the Division Chief in the formulation of policy and procedures; oversees public relations and community programs; attends conferences, meetings and hearings; and work with the Division Chief to implement the mission of the Division. The position is located in downtown Sacramento, near Light Rail, K Street Mall, and other amenities.

Job Description and Duties
Administering the Division’s budget; formulates and implements Division policy and procedures; oversees public information activities that impact on the knowledge and understanding of the public affected by the programs of the Division; oversees development, implementation and promotion of automated systems that access archival information services and database; serves as security officer for the division and maintains the security manual; gathers information from staff relating to facility issues and concerns and contacts SOS-Business Services; Supervising and directing the work of archivists, records management analysts, records management staff, administrative staff, technicians and support staff; evaluating the performance of staff; reviewing monthly workload reports; directing difficult and complex historical research; recommending legislative proposals and reviewing proposed legislation relating to the Division; in the absence of the Division Chief, representing the Secretary of State at conferences, meetings, and legislative hearings on matters relating to the Division.

Special Requirements
Supplemental Questionnaire. The response to the Supplemental Questionnaire questions listed below shall be not more than two pages in length. Must be typed in Times New Roman or Arial font, 12-point, single spaced, and with margins set at one inch (1”) on each side. The response must clearly state the professional experience relevant to the Archives program area. Applications submitted without a Supplemental Questionnaire will not be considered.
  1. Describe a situation in which you took a lead role to identify and resolve a conflict within your organization. 
  2. Explain the essential principles and purpose of the management archival records. 
  3. Describe your knowledge and experience with managing, preserving and maintaining electronic records and other items of historical significance. 
  4. Share your knowledge and experience with supervising, coaching, mentoring, and directing other employees or teams. 
  5. Describe the key competencies and characteristics you find most critical for a successful leader then explain how you have demonstrated these competencies in your current role.
The application deadline is 20 January 2017. The successful candidate will earn between $6,005.00 - $7,462.00 per month, and the State of California offers a comprehensive suite of employee benefits.  If you have not already taken California's Staff Services Manager II civil service examination, you must demonstrate that you have applied to do so (the exam is offered continuously) when you submit your application. The successful candidate must attain a satisfactory score on this examination. For more information and application instructions, consult the position description.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

NASA seeks Chief Archivist

If you're comfortable working with paper and digital records, relish doing historical research as well as supporting the multi-faceted research of others, excel at editing draft publications, know or want to know a lot about the history of space exploration, and live or want to live in the Washington, DC area, the History Division of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) may have a really cool job waiting for you. Please note that the application deadline is 30 December 2016 (i.e., two days following the date of this posting), that the position is open only to U.S. citizens, and that the successful candidate must pass a background check.
Summary
The Archivist position serves as the lead for policy guidance on archival issues across the agency, reporting to the Chief Historian in the History Division within the Office of Communications. Provides historical archival and technical information to the aerospace field. The archivist is responsible for managing, maintaining, and enhancing the NASA Headquarters Historical Reference, the historical reference service available to NASA personnel, NASA-sponsored historical researchers, and researchers in other agencies, universities, the media and the general public.

Comments
This position may be filled at the GS-12 or GS-13 grade level.

The full performance level for this position is GS-13.

This position is being announced in conjunction with Merit Promotion vacancy announcement number HQ17C0041 [consult this posting if you are already employed by the federal government]. Current and former Federal employees, disabled Veterans, candidates with 3 or more years of active duty military service, and candidates eligible for special hiring authorities wishing to be considered under merit promotion procedures may apply to vacancy announcement HQ17C0041. Only one position will be filled as a result of these two vacancy announcements.

Please list your General Schedule (GS) equivalency on your resume for every federal position you have held.

To receive consideration, you must submit a resume and answer NASA-specific questions. The NASA questions appear after you submit your resume and are transferred to the NASA web site. If you successfully apply, USAJOBS will show your application status as 'Received'. If your status is 'Application Status Not Available', you have not successfully applied. Do not rely on a USAJOBS email to confirm successful application. Only an email from NASA confirms a successful application.

Duties
This position serves as Senior Archivist and Technical Information Specialist responsibility for the acquisition, analysis, indexing, updating, management, accessing, and retrieval of all materials in the NASA Historical Reference Collection. Responsible for the identification, evaluation, and description of all NASA Documents, including digital records, that may have historical value.

Manages NASA's archival activities by collecting, appraising, arranging, accessioning, inventorying, recording, preserving, and archiving historical materials into the NASA Historical Reference Collection. Manages the physical and intellectual control over the holdings of the collection, ensures the coherency and optimal maintenance of the collection; ensuring ready access for researchers.

Provides expert policy guidance and recommendations on procedures relating research services, identification, analysis, evaluation, processing, description, indexing, preservation, storage, and retrieval of NASA historical documents for research and reference purposes. Collaborates with NASA Records Management officials in ensuring the historical collection, preservation, and the digital records process are in compliant with regulatory requirements, policies and procedures.

Conducts and manages comprehensive, retrospective, complex information, literature and data searches for NASA and other Federal officials, academic institutions, media, and private sector organizations, and the general public. Edits a variety of historical publications as required to include books, manuscripts, and professional journals and media articles. Represents NASA at aerospace information activities for ensuring the agency's collections and processes are in compliant and consistent with policies and procedures.
Job Requirements 
Key Requirements 
  • A one-year probationary period may be required
  • Applicants must possess at least a Bachelor's Degree or equivalent
  • Position subject to pre-employment background investigation
  • Position subject to a pre-employment drug test
  • Selectee must complete a financial disclosure statement
Qualifications
Applicant must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower grade, which has equipped the applicant with the particular competencies needed to successfully perform the duties of the position described above.

Specialized experience to qualify at the GS-12 grade level for this position includes:
  1. Manages the physical and intellectual control over the holdings of the agency's historical collection.
  2. Recommends edits for a variety of historical communications to include publications, books, manuscripts, and professional journal/media articles.
  3. Collaborates with management officials on ensuring the historical collection, preservation, and digital records are within regularity guidelines, policies and procedures.
Specialized experience to qualify at the GS-13 grade level for this position includes:
  1. Manages and provides policy guidance on digital and born-digital documents of historical value.
  2. Manages and provides expert policy guidance on the identification, evaluation, and description of all NASA's documents that has historical value, and serves as the Agency's authority in historical documentation matters.
  3. Edits a variety of historical communications to include publications, books, manuscripts, and professional journals/media articles.
Your resume must fully support how you meet the specialized experience in order to be found qualified for this position.
The salary range for this position is $77,490.00 to $119,794.00 per year, and the federal government offers employees a comprehensive suite of benefits. For more information about this position and application instructions, consult the position posting (or, if you are already employed by the federal government, the promotional posting). And remember: the application deadline is 30 December 2016.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

New York State Archives seeks an Archives and Records Management Specialist 2

If you're an archivist or records manager who has substantial technical skills and knowledge of various metadata standards, wants to work for a large yet dynamic repository, isn't afraid of collaborating with me every now and then, and would like to live and work in the historic Hudson Valley, the New York State Archives may have a job for you:
The New York State Archives is seeking to fill an Archives & Records Management Specialist (ARMS) 2 position within the Information Technology Services Unit.  The Information Technology Services Unit has responsibility for the development, integration, and support of all New York State Archives information systems.  Under the direction of an Archives and Records Management Specialist 3, duties of this position include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Participate in the evaluation, implementation and integration of standards based public access tools for archival records, including an encoded archival description based finding aid catalog, digital Collections, and name index;
  • Develop web content and features;
  • Support the development of the State Archives electronic records program;
  • Support the integration of records management systems with archival management systems;
  • Advise on the technical implementation of professional standards; and
  • Work with State Archives staff and vendors to identify and implement web based solutions.
MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:
Reassignment:  One year of permanent competitive or 55b/c service as an Archives and Records Management Specialist 2.
§52.6 Transfer: One year of permanent competitive or 55b/c service in a title SG-16 or above deemed eligible to transfer via §52.6 of the Civil Service Law.
Provisional Appointment: Candidates must have either 1) one year of permanent competitive or non-competitive 55b/c service as an Archives and Records Management Specialist 1 OR 2) a master's degree in history, government, business or public administration, political science, American studies, library/information science, or archival administration AND two years of professional experience in which the majority of duties involved one or more of the following:
  1. Analyzing or appraising records and information systems to develop recordkeeping and/or records retention plans for an institution, governmental body, or corporation;
  2. Providing education, training, grant-in-aid, or direct technical assistance services in records management and/or archives administration for an institution, governmental body, or corporation;
  3. Developing or implementing guidelines, standards, policies and procedures concerning records   management and/or archives administration for an institution, governmental body, or corporation;
  4. Evaluating available information technology to support recordkeeping needs and requirements of an institution, governmental body, or corporation;
  5. Acquiring, controlling, preserving, making available, or promoting use of archival records, whether in electronic, paper, or other form for an institution, governmental body, or corporation.
PERFERRED QUALIFICATIONS: Special consideration will be given to candidates who possess the following qualifications:
  • Participation in the implementation/maintenance of public access tools and/or records management systems.
  • Familiarity with systems designed to support access to archival records, such as ARCHON, Archivist’s Toolkit, CollectiveAccess, XTF, etc.
  • Participation in the implementation/maintenance of web content.
  • Knowledge and understanding of the standards used to provide access to and manage archival records including EAD, EAC and TEI.
  • Experience with core archival and records management practices including scheduling/appraisal; archival description and preservation; digital preservation and electronic records; references services.
  • Background on/or knowledge of emerging trends and best practices related to information technology and architecture in archival settings.
  • The ability to be adaptable, flexible and collaborative in a dynamic working environment.
The starting salary for this position is $53,339 and, at least according to the current salary schedule, the salary will gradually increase to $67,827 based on annual performance advances. These figures are established by a collective bargaining agreement and are non-negotiable; they may also change slightly following the next round of contract negotiations. In addition, the State of New York offers a comprehensive array of retirement, health, and other benefits.

The deadline for applying for this position is 20 October 2016. For more information and application instructions, consult the job posting.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

SAA day two: electronic records

Comb jellyfish at the Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, Georgia, 2 August 2016.
Even though I always make it a point -- at least when I'm paying my own way -- to attend a few Society of American Archivists conference sessions that have nothing to do with my current job responsibilities, I also seek out electronic records sessions that intrigue me or push me a little past my comfort zone. I attended two such sessions this morning: session 309, "DWG, RVT, BIM: A New Kind of Alphabet Soup, with a Lot More Heartburn," and session 409, "Working Together to Manage Digital Records: A Congressional Archives Perspective."

Thursday, August 4, 2016

SAA day one: diversity and inclusion

Atanta skyline, as seen from the steps of the Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, Georgia, 2 August 2016.
 As has often been the case in recent years, I'm attending the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists on my own dime. Doing so has some obvious drawbacks, but it does have one very real advantage: I don't feel obliged to limit myself to attending only those sessions that relate directly to my current job responsibilities. Instead, I seek out those sessions that align with my other archival interests or promise to illuminate how the profession is changing.

Today, I attended a plenary session and two program sessions that, in various ways, focused on the necessity of and challenges associated with creating institutions that are truly serve all of the communities that make up our pluralistic, stratified society and collections that reflect our varied, complex, and unequal history.

Monday, August 1, 2016

A spy in the archives

I began working on this post in May, put it aside, and figured I would get back to it once life stopped getting in my way. And now it has: I'm en route to the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists and am three hours into a five hour flight delay. What follows is by no means earth-shattering, but at least my to-do list is one item shorter.

One of the things I love about being an archivist is talking with researchers about their interests and what they find in our records. My reference duties have brought me into contact with people who are incredibly gracious and enthusiastic, and I find their warmth and zeal contagious. At the same time, I'm always mindful that, as archival security experts frequently caution, researchers who seem eager to establish rapport and trust may have ulterior motives. Cases in point:
  • Barry Landau, who stole presidential and other documents from historical societies, university libraries, and government archives on the East Coast, brought cookies to one state historical society he and his accomplice repeatedly visited and gave cupcakes to the staff of the Maryland Historical Society shortly before he and his accomplice were caught stealing documents from the facility.
  • John Mark Tillman, who made a career of preying on antique dealers, museums, and archives throughout the Canadian Maritimes, was able to spirit documents out of the Dalhousie University Archives in part because he spent years winning the trust of the former chief archivist and becoming familiar with the repository's holdings and routines. Tillman was able to steal the keys to the facility's vault, duplicate them, and return them without being detected. He and his then-girlfriend entered the university library just before it closed, hid out in a women's restroom until the wee hours of the morning, and then entered the vault and stole letters written by George Washington, General James Wolfe, and other prominent people.
Landau and Tillman seem to have been driven by a mixture of greed, arrogance, and collecting impulses run amok. However, other thieves have been propelled by other drives.

In April of this year, the British Broadcasting Corporation announced that it had found in the archives of the Stasi, the intelligence and secret police agency of the former German Democratic Republic, a video recording of a speech that Harold Adrian Russell "Kim" Philby gave to Stasi officials in 1981. In it, Philby, a British double agent whose spying for the Soviets resulted in the deaths of Western agents and Central and Eastern European anticommunists, discusses his life and his work. Despite his upper-class background, Philby became a communist while at Cambridge University and was recruited by Soviet intelligence shortly afterward. After covering the Spanish Civil War for a London paper, he was hired by the Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6, and was initially charged with monitoring German espionage in Spain and Portugal.

Philby very quickly began funneling information to his Soviet handlers, and much of the information he provided came right out of the MI6 archives. How was he able to gain access to vast quantities of intelligence records without arousing suspicion? He befriended the man who was in charge of the organization's documents room:
I came to the point where, every two or three times a week, I'd meet him after office hours for drinks. He became a close friend, had full confidence [?] in me, and so I could ask for papers which had nothing to do with German espionage in Spain or Portugal, but which he would nevertheless send me as a friend whom he trusted . . . . Every evening, I left the office with a big briefcase full of reports which I had written myself, full of files taken out of the actual archives. I was to hand them to my Soviet contact in the evening. The next morning, I would get the files back, the contents having been photographed, and take them back early in the morning, and put the files back in their place. That I did regularly, year in, year out.
 (The above transcription is mine, and Philby's discussion of his relationship with this MI6 employee begins at 11:40 in this BBC Radio 4 broadcast.)

In retrospect, it seems easy to regard this records officer -- a former police officer with a serious drinking problem -- as a fool. However, Philby fooled everyone. His superiors thought him impressive, and many of his colleagues thought that he might one day become the agency's head. Moreover, as Philby's biographer has argued, MI6 traditionally regarded its operatives -- almost all of whom were recruited from the upper echelons of British society -- as being inherently trustworthy because they and their families all moved within the same social and professional circles. It wasn't until 1951, when two other MI6 agents who had been recruited by Soviet intelligence while studying at Cambridge defected to the Soviet Union, that the agency began coming to grips with the fact that having "the right sort" of background was no guarantee of loyalty. Philby, who was a close friend of both of these double agents, was rather gently investigated and forced to resign in 1955, but he was allowed to rejoin MI6 several years later. British authorities began closing in on him in earnest late 1962, but MI6 put a longtime friend in charge of the internal investigation and kept him under cursory surveillance. Philby slipped away and defected to the Soviet Union, where he lived until his death in 1988.


I am no expert on MI6's internal security procedures -- and if I were, I almost certainly wouldn't be blogging about it -- but I think it's safe to say that access to MI6's documents rooms -- and servers -- is now sharply limited and carefully scrutinized. However, even those of us who don't work in national security settings should never forget that a few of the kindly, supportive researchers we encounter are in fact seeking to exploit us and the records in our care. Records that either have intrinsic value or contain information that could be used to facilitate identity theft or other crimes abound in archives, and those of us who care for records have to ensure that our desire to be friendly and helpful never compromises our efforts to protect our collections and the restricted information found within them.