Sunday, October 21, 2012

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga seeks a Digital Archivist

I love job postings that emphasize the importance of professional development . . . .

If you're an experienced archivist who's comfortable with preserving and providing access to born-digital, digitized, and analog materials and would like to live in a mid-sized Southern city that is home to several colleges and universities, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga may have a job for you:
Reporting to the Head of Special Collections and University Archives, the Digital Archivist plays a leadership role in the development, planning, promotion, delivery, and evaluation of digital initiatives involving Special Collections materials and services.

Specific responsibilities include:
  • Arrange, process, catalog, preserve, and make accessible to the public born and/or converted digital archives and special collections materials though the acquisition, appraisal, description, management, and preservation of such records with historical, evidential, research, or administrative value to the University.
  • Plan, schedule, implement, and document standards, policies and best practices related to digital collections, metadata and schema, workflow, and oversee the quality control of digital work.
  • Participates in the creation of documentation, finding aids, and web guides for print and digital collections.
  • Participate in the active management and preservation of a wide array of types of collections, including but not limited to university records and websites, manuscripts and personal papers,
    faculty research datasets, and scholarly publications.
  • Participate in the development of the University’s institutional repository.
  • Promote Special Collections and University Archives materials and services to the campus community through online finding aids, exhibits, special events, and outreach activities, and providing collection access to a global community.
  • Participate in other duties in Special Collections such as guiding interns and student assistants, assisting with donors, and monitoring the Special Collections Reading Room.
  • In addition, this position will collaborate with other library departments on digital projects, has responsibility for regular reference desk work (approximately 1‐2 hours per week), collection
  • development in assigned subject areas, outreach activities, committee assignments and other library-wide efforts.
Required Qualifications
  • Master's degree from an ALA‐accredited program.
  • Knowledge of archival and digital theory and practice in managing, preserving, and providing access to digital objects in an academic library setting.
  • Knowledge of preservation planning for print and electronic materials, including the creation of preservation policies, procedures, and a disaster recovery plan.
  • Knowledge of emerging trends in digital technologies as they relate to archival and preservation practices, and the ability to effectively use current technologies, acquire new technological skills, and resolve problems in a resourceful and timely manner.
  • Knowledge of web archiving, working with born digital personal papers or university records, and issues related to working with large and complex research data sets and related collections.
  • Knowledge of digital content standards, cataloging and metadata standards and schema such as MARC, XML, EAD, Dublin Core, METS, MODS, LCSH, MeSH, TGM I, NAF, AAT, as well as authority records, AACR2 and RDA; and classification schema such as LCC and NLMC.
  • Proven experience in managing digital collections, digital scanning, image editing, and/or webpage design, and managing format conversion.
  • Proven experience using a digital asset management system (e.g. Content Pro, CONTENTdm, DSpace).
  • Ability to promote the use of the department's collections to university faculty, students, other members of the scholarly community, and the general public and experience incorporating primary source research in the curriculum and outreach.
    Demonstrated experience as a successful project manager and the ability to organize, prioritize work and manage time.
  • Possess a positive attitude and the ability to be flexible, future‐oriented in a dynamic team oriented environment.
  • Strong writing and oral communication skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills evidenced by the ability to work cooperatively and maintain effective working relationships with colleagues, faculty, staff and students.
  • Possess strong customer focus, a passion for the profession, and a deep commitment to service and outreach in an academic community 
  • Preparation and commitment to conduct independent scholarship consistent with a tenure-track faculty appointment.
  • Commitment to engage in continuing professional development.
UTC Librarians are expected to participate in library‐wide and system‐wide planning, University governance and service, and to be professionally active.

Desirable Qualifications
  • Experience in collection development, instruction, and reference desk experience for an academic library.
  • Demonstrated experience with repository platforms (e.g., Fedora, DSpace).
  • Knowledge of copyright, intellectual property and privacy laws as they relate to published and unpublished materials.
  • Archives experience in an academic setting.
The minimum salary for this position is $43,500.  Review of applications will begin on 5 November and will continue until the position is filled.  For more information about the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, employee benefits, and detailed application instructions, consult the position description.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Rollins College is searching for a Digital Archivist

If you have theoretical and practical knowledge of electronic records management and digital preservation, solid project management skills, a desire for a tenure-track position at a liberal arts institution, and live or would like to live in the Orlando, Florida area, Rollins College may have a job for you:
Rollins College is looking for a service-oriented library archivist to help with the design, development and implementation of a digital archive and record management program at Rollins College. Reporting to the Head of Archives & Special Collections and collaborating with the Collections & Systems Department, the Digital Archivist will play a key role in collecting, organizing, and making accessible digital resources relating to the history of the institution.

As the oldest institution of higher education in Florida, Rollins maintains a rich archive of the history of the college and of central Florida, and an impressive array of special collections. We already have a decade of experience in digitizing archival documents, managed using ContentDM, years of experience in creating online finding aids, most recently using Archon, and since 2009 we have maintained an institutional repository of faculty and student scholarship, using Digital Commons. The existing staff of one professional archivist/librarian, one support professional, and two student employees are excited to be joined by a digital archivist who can lead our efforts to collect, organize, and make accessible the born-digital documents and objects created by the Rollins community. Consult our website for more information on our Archives & Special Collections.

This is a tenure-track faculty position. Librarians with faculty status at Rollins College are expected to show a pattern of growth and development in librarianship, teaching, scholarship and service that is expected to continue throughout their career at Rollins. The successful candidate will, like all full-time librarians at Rollins, participate in reference service, instruction and liaison with academic departments.

MLS from an ALA-accredited library school or an equivalent degree, and working experience or significant coursework in archival science, records management, digital curating or digital preservation are required.

A second master’s in an academic discipline is preferred. Two or more years of experience in electronic record management or digital archives are strongly preferred.

The successful candidate will demonstrate most of the following knowledge, skills, and abilities: working knowledge of modern archival practices and understanding of digital record management; familiarity with standard principles and practices for item description/metadata; ability to effectively plan and manage projects from vision to evaluation; solid computer skills and the ability to learn new tools quickly; ability to communicate well orally and in writing; ability to interact with the public effectively and courteously; ability to work in a team environment and independently; an appreciation for the liberal arts and the role of the library in higher education; and the potential to present, publish, or otherwise contribute to the library/archival profession.
This job was posted on 5 October and applications will be accepted until the position is filled. The salary is "competitive." For more information and detailed application instructions, consult the position description.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Day of Digital Archives

Today is the second annual Day of Digital Archives, which seeks to:
raise awareness of digital archives among both users and managers. On this day, archivists, digital humanists, programmers, or anyone else creating, using, or managing digital archives are asked to devote some of their social media output (i.e. tweets, blog posts, youtube videos, etc.) to describing their work with digital archives. By collectively documenting what we do, we will be answering questions like: What are digital archives? Who uses them? How are they created and managed? Why are they important?
For me, this particular Day of Digital Archives was -- with the exception of this blog post -- completely devoid of digital archives.  I'm visiting my parents at the moment, and today has been more about talking with my mom and dad, driving around, buying food, and going through stuff (physical objects, not digital files or emotional issues) than anything else.  However, I do have a few minutes in which to dash off a quick post, so I'll outline the things that I've during the last five working days:
  • Since 2006, my repository, the New York State Archives, has been using OCLC's Heritrix-based Web Harvester to capture state government Web sites.  We've now documented three (!) gubernatorial transitions and a host of other changes in state government, so now is a good time to step back, assess what we've captured, and determine whether we should capture specific sites more frequently, less frequently, or at roughly the same rate, so a colleague and I have been sifting through a subset of our captured sites and preparing a draft report and recommendations. 
  • Our preservation copies of our Web captures are housed in OCLC's Digital Archive, and we're starting to explore the possibility of using the Digital Archive for remote storage of some of our other electronic records.  OCLC's Digital Archive documentation is pretty good, but it doesn't answer all of our questions, so earlier this week, one of my colleagues and I sat down for a conference call with an OCLC staffer.
  • I put together the first draft of a document that discusses the basics of electronic records disaster preparedness, particularly for small organizations that aren't likely to have full-fledged disaster preparedness or business continuity plans, and outlines how to salvage and stabilize damaged electronic media in the wake of a disaster.  Several colleagues are currently reviewing it.
That's what I did at the office.  I've also been focusing on a couple of extracurricular projects:
  • I coordinated the assembly of a session proposal for the 2013 joint annual meeting of the Council of State Archivists and the Society of American Archivists that focuses on records management and digital preservation in cloud computing environments.
  • My former colleague Jim Tammaro is now teaching an Advanced Archives Management course at SUNY Buffalo, and next Tuesday I'm speaking to his students about archival preservation of Web sites and social media content; in addition to various policy issues, I'm going to highlight Heritrix, HTTrack, and various other tools.  I began working on my slides and handouts several weekends ago, and I'll put the finishing touches on them tomorrow and Sunday.
  • At the upcoming Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) meeting in Richmond, Virginia, Paul Wester and Arian Ravanbaksh of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and I will be taking part in a session focusing on the recent Presidential Memorandum on Managing Government Records.  Paul and Arian will talk about the memorandum, which heavily stresses the need for appropriate management of federal electronic records, and NARA's efforts to provide advice and guidance to federal agencies seeking to comply with this directive.  I'll discuss the implications of the memorandum for state governments, and I devoted a couple of evenings to pulling together an initial outline and compiling background statistics re:  recent changes in state archives staffing levels in the MARAC region.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wyoming State Archives is looking for a Records Management Supervisor

If you're an experienced records manager who would like to live in a small Western city situated in a semi-arid climate, the Wyoming State Archives may have a job for you:
The successful applicant will enjoy a small town atmosphere only 90 miles from Denver, CO. In 2011, Cheyenne was named one of the 10 most "liveable" cities in America with no state income tax, clean air and water, a low crime rate, an average of 300 days of sunshine per year and nearby access to skiing, hiking, fishing and other outdoor activities. In addition to enjoying all that Wyoming has to offer, the successful candidate will join the State Archives during an exciting time as we start our digital records initiative. The Records Management Supervisor will manage the Records Management unit of the Wyoming State Archives; collaborate with the State Archivist on the implementation of a centralized repository for digital records created by state agencies; work with state agencies to facilitate the transfer of records to the state records center and digital repository; and promote the mission of the Records Management unit and the Wyoming State Archives.
  • Establish objectives and set priorities for the Records Management unit.
  • Evaluate the performance of the staff in the Records Management unit.
  • Conduct needs assessment and develop policies and procedures for all aspects of records management.
  • Develop strategies and administer programs relating to acquiring, preserving, managing and providing access to various records of the State of Wyoming in the state records center and digital repository.
  • Explain policies, procedures and practices to other agencies, concerned individuals and/or groups.
  • Coordinate records retention requirements for state and local government entities.
  • Lead the collection of statistics and the production of unit quarterly and annual reports.
  • Measure and document the effectiveness of the records management program and lead long and short range planning.
  • Assist with reference requests.
  • Maintain specialized record storage system(s).
  • Train representatives from other state agencies on the use of specialized record storage system(s).
  • Lead development of request for proposal (RFP) and contracts.
  • Serve as agency liaison for certain contracts and associated exchange of services between agency and contractor(s).
  • Assist in hardware and software acquisition and development purchases with regard to/for records and data management and installation of hardware and software
  • Knowledge of records management theories, principles and practices.
  • Knowledge of archival science theories, principles and practices.
  • Knowledge of governmental records systems.
  • Knowledge of principles and concepts of program management and project management.
  • Understanding of and skills in information technology.
  • Excellent communication skills
Preference will be given to applicants with a Master's degree in Library or Information Science PLUS three years of progressive work experience in Records and Data Management, INCLUDING two years of supervisory experience. Professional certification desirable (CRM, Information Certification, CDIA, and/or CA).
By my calculations, the hiring range for this position is $50,244-$59,100.

For more information and detailed application instructions, consult the position description.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Georgia Secretary of State seeks a State Records Manager

Yep, you read that right: Georgia's Office of the Secretary of State -- the very same Office of the Secretary of State that is planning to close the Georgia Archives and lay off seven of its ten remaining staffers at the end of this month -- is hiring a State Records Manager who will, among other things, be responsible for contributing to "the development and implementation of the state’s digital records center." 

I honestly don't know what to make of this posting; the folks at Georgians Against Closing State Archives are equally flummoxed.  I do have a few suspicions.  The position description states that the person who takes this job will be "responsible for maintaining and expanding services at a fee-based records center and will help develop a business model to ensure the sustainability and appropriateness of the State Records Center and its services."  Someone's looking for some new sources of revenue!  I suppose that it's also possible that Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who stated yesterday that his office has had to divert resources to keep up with the citizenship checks that Georgia law now requires when anyone applies for or seeks to renew a professional license, is playing some sort of high-stakes game of chicken. 

The position description, which was posted yesterday, also indicates that the deadline for applying is next Thursday, which suggests to me that the Office of the Secretary of State hopes that the candidate pool will be very small -- and that it will be dominated by the Georgia Archives employees who received layoff notices last month.

In the interest of completeness, I'm posting the particulars below.  However, unless you're truly desperate for a job or already live in the Atlanta area and can live with the idea of working for an employer that has repeatedly laid off records professionals, you might want to think twice before applying for it.
Duties & Responsibilities
The State Records Manager plans, organizes, directs, implements, and evaluates statewide records management services on behalf of the Division of Archives and History. The position manages the State Records Center; ensures the proper storage, retention and destruction of state agency records; provides training in records management for state and local government agency personnel; applies appropriate technologies to the management of records; manages the Media Security Vault for state and local government agencies; assists with the preparation of retention schedule proposals to the State Records Committee; and assists with the development and implementation of the state’s digital records center.

The State Records Manager is responsible for maintaining and expanding services at a fee-based records center and will help develop a business model to ensure the sustainability and appropriateness of the State Records Center and its services. The State Records Manager position is a highly visible position with statewide influence on the direction of records management programs in Georgia that requires the ability to think strategically and innovatively, extensive knowledge of records management, and the ability to work well with colleagues, government employees, and elected officials.

 Minimum Training & Experience
 Completion of a Bachelor's degree in a related field from an accredited college or university AND three years of experience managing professional level staff in an Archival Institution or a Records Management program. OR Seven years of experience in an Archival Institution or a Records Management program, three years of which managing professional level staff.

Agency Specific Qualifications
A Master’s degree in a related field and two (2) years of relevant professional experience or a Bachelor’s degree in a related field and four (4) years of relevant professional experience in an Archival Institution or a Records Management program.

Supervisory Experience
Two (2) years experience at the management or administrative level involving direct supervision of professional staff and/or responsibility for a major program element.

Agency Specific Qualifications and/or Preferred Qualifications
Bachelor’s Degree in a relevant field and four years of professional experience related to the management of records, or Master’s Degree in Information Technology, Archival or Public Administration, Records & Information Management, Library Science (from ALA accredited program), or related field and two years of professional experience related to the management of records.
The salary range for this position is $50,000-$57,000.  For additional information and detailed application instructions, consult the position description.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"Little Boxes (in the Archives)"

In honor of American Archives Month, here's a sweet little parody of the folk song "Little Boxes" that transforms a critique of suburbia into a tongue-in-cheek portrayal of the work that archivists do and the little boxes ("there's a gray one and a gray one and a gray one and a gray one") into which they place paper records. I don't know who LettersFromTheAbyss is, but it's quite evident that he's either an archivist or someone who spends a lot of time around archivists.

Thanks to Nathan Tallman for drawing my attention to this charming little video.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Future of the Georgia Archives is still uncertain

Today is the first day of American Archives Month, and the news out of Georgia remains deeply worrisome.  Two weeks ago, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced that, in response to a directive to cut his agency's expenditures by 3 percent, the Georgia Archives will be closed to the public effective 1 November.  Shortly afterward, news that Kemp was planning to lay off 7 of the Georgia Archives' 10 employees ricocheted around various listservs and social media sites; appalling as this news is, it takes on added resonance when one remembers that that as recently as 2006, the Georgia Archives had a staff of 47.

A few days after Secretary Kemp made this announcement, Governor Nathan Deal raised the hopes of family historians, scholars, attorneys, land surveyors, scientists, and other users of the Georgia Archives when he stated that the Georgia Archives would remain open.  However, in Georgia the office of the Secretary of State and the office of Governor are constitutionally separate, and Governor Deal doesn't have the authority to rescind layoff notices issued by the Secretary of State or to dictate how the Secretary of State expends its allocated funds.  Secretary Kemp opted to make the Georgia Archives bear the entire brunt of the 3 percent budget cut; other divisions overseen by the Secretary of State will continue to operate as they did before the budget cut was announced.

Georgia's legislature is ultimately responsible for approving the proposed budget cuts, but the next legislative session won't begin until January -- well after the layoffs go into effect.

As of 1 November, anyone seeking access to the holdings of the Georgia Archives will have to make an appointment in advance -- and might not be able to secure one in a timely manner.  At the time of this writing, the Web site of the Secretary of State indicates -- unsurprisingly -- that "the number of appointments could be limited based on the schedule of the remaining employees."

What a wretched state of affairs.  As noted above, the holdings of the Georgia Archives are used by a wide array of users.  Some are interested in the histories of their families.  Some are scientists trying to figure out how to best to reintroduce the American chestnut in Georgia.  Some are local historians conducting research in connection with the Civil War sesquicentennial -- and helping to pave the way for an influx of tourist dollars into the state's coffers.  Some are lawyers -- in many instances representing the State of Georgia or one of its local governments -- preparing for trial.  If they can't obtain the records they need in a timely manner, the state and its localities will likely be forced to enter into costly out of court settlements even if they are squarely in the right.

Moreover, reducing the staff of the Georgia Archives to a mere three people will have devastating effects.  There's simply no way three people can respond to more than a handful of inquiries at any given time.  Moreover, the Georgia Archives, which has already suffered crippling hemorrhages of expertise, is going to lose even more of its institutional knowledge.  We archivists struggle mightily to pour our knowledge of our holdings into finding aids, MARC records, and accession files, but as yet there's no substitute for deep familiarity with the content and quirks of one's own holdings.  This familiarity comes slowly and once lost it's incredibly hard to reconstruct. 

Finally, one can't help but wonder about the long-term effects of the closure and layoffs upon Georgia's historical record.  When people think of historical records, they think of linen or cotton paper bearing elaborate handwriting, ornately bound record books, and manuscript maps.  They don't think of the masses of paper records created ten years ago or the ever-increasing number of digital files that Georgia's state agencies and local governments create in the course of conducting the people's business.  However, some of these records are every bit as valuable as those record books and manuscript documents, and the Georgia Archives is responsible for working with records creators to identify records of enduring value, ensure that they are managed properly, and arrange for their eventual transfer to the archives.  There's simply no way that three people can simultaneously provide access to the existing holdings of the Georgia Archives, provide records management guidance to local governments and state agencies, and continue to take in new accessions of archival records and make them accessible to researchers.

(By the way, Georgia is not the only state affected by such challenges.  Last week, Kim Severson of the New York Times asserted in a must-read article that "an amalgam of recession-driven budget cuts and fast-moving technological changes could result in a black hole of [state] government information whose impact might not be understood for decades.")

In honor of American Archives Month, I encourage you to do the following:
  • Sign the online petition Leave Our State Archives Open to the Public.  You do not have to be a Georgia resident to do so.
  • "Like" the Facebook group Georgians Against Closing State Archives, which has been a consistently excellent source of up-to-date information about the impending closure and the struggle against it.  (It's also a great source of protest cartoons, among them the cartoon featured at the start of this post).
  • Check out the Web site of Friends of Georgia Archives and History, which has been instrumental in coordinating the campaign against the Georgia Archives' closure.  (Pay particular attention to the slideshow presentation outlining the importance of the Georgia Archives -- its clarity, coherence, and visual attractiveness make it a useful model for other advocacy efforts.)
  • If you're going to be in Atlanta on 3 October, attend the "Support the Archives / Save the Seven" rally that will be held in the State Capitol Rotunda at noon.
  • Write letters to Governor Deal and Secretary of State Kemp or call their offices and explain why you object to the closing of the Georgia Archives.  Letters and phone calls still mean a lot to politicians.  If you need some help composing your letter or preparing your comments, be sure to check out the action alert issued by the National Coalition for History.
  • If you're a Georgia resident, call or write your state senator and assembly representative.  All of Georgia's legislators serve two-year terms, and there's an election coming up in a few weeks.  Now really is the time to make your concerns known to them.  The Society of Georgia Archivists has put together a series of handy tips for legislative contacts.