Digital Initiatives Librarian

The job description for “Digital Initiatives Librarian” posted a week ago (April 19, 2013) at is almost within the scope of topics we have been discussing in this semester course. I would suppose that it is a typical example of what a master-level LIS candidate is expected.

The employer is University of San Diego whose digital library project seems to be in an incipient stage. The recruited librarian will assume the leadership role for the project.
This key person will participate in the whole life cycle, from feasibility study, to planning, to implementation, and eventually to evaluation. Furthermore, he or she needs to be an advocate for support from academic communities. In addition to digital projects, this librarian has to get involved in the legacy institution repository and scholarly communication programs.

To fulfill the duties, this librarian has to demonstrate the experiences and/or knowledge of digitization, preservation, software, metadata, project management, rights management, user experience, and evaluation/assessment. Two years of experiences in academic library, archives, or museum can be counted. The metadata standards they particularly pointed out are AACR2 and RDA. The only technical topic missing from our course discussions is publishing model.

Our discussion leader found a catch-22 about managerial requirement in recent graduates’ job seeking. In this specific job posting, I feel that project experiences in intern or volunteer jobs might be substituted because it does not require person management skill but the capabilities of planning, collaboration, and communication. Candidates can extract the managerial elements from the projects they worked on and explain how they contribute to them, though not necessarily directly responsible for. On the other hand, emerging technologies or standards just learned from schools could be advantageous to new graduates. In this example position, the employer is interested in candidates’ ability in trend analysis.

Choi and Rasmussen concluded in their article that the build and management of digital information (including metadata) are the core competence digital librarians need to display. Since the technologies are still rapidly evolving, the capacity to perform trend analysis is essential. Traditional managerial qualifications, however, are still highly demanded on digital librarianship. Their article particularly highlighted the skills of project management, interpersonal communication, and team works. By contrast, I am afraid the picture drawn by Tzoc and Millard might be a little misleading by emphasizing too much on programming and IT. There must be differences between information system specialists and digital “librarians.”

Job Posting

Detailed Description

Reporting to the University Librarian and working under the direction of the University Archivist/Special Collections Librarian, the Digital Initiatives Librarian is responsible for assisting librarians and faculty with digital projects and developing and managing the University’s institutional repository based in Copley Library.  He/she plans services and standards for digital projects and repository projects and prepares related workflow, long-term preservation and perpetual access documentation and procedures.  The Digital Initiatives Librarian serves as the primary advocate for support of sustainable scholarly communication presented and preserved in the institutional repository. The Digital Initiatives Librarian is expected to support locally created online journals, conference proceedings, electronic theses and dissertations, undergraduate literary journals, scientific data sets, born-digital documents, and other similar content.  He/she works closely with the library faculty and teaching faculty to identify and to advise on issues related to intellectual property and open access of scholarly output at the University.  He/she is responsible for devising, implementing, and leading outreach activities regarding promoting digital projects, the institutional repository and scholarly communication on campus. The Digital Initiatives Librarian must have the ability to work independently and as a team member to solve problems.  A strong commitment to service and user access to information is essential. This position serves as a liaison to one academic department.  This is a 12-month tenure-track library faculty position.


  • ALA-accredited MLS or MLIS degree
  • Capable of working with the University Archivist/Special Collections Librarian and the Collection Services and Metadata Librarian
  • Create and maintain workflows for transferring  and ingesting data into the repository
  • Experience working with an institutional repository platform/software
  • Experience with project management, digital projects, and institutional repository development
  • Knowledge of digitization policies, preservation strategies, and scanning practices
  • Knowledge of scholarly communication, intellectual property and rights management
  • Ability to document relevant policies, procedures, and local standards
  • Stay abreast of new digital project techniques and repository trends and best practices
  • Ability to effectively interact with audiences of diverse technological backgrounds
  • Ability to collaborate and work with library faculty and staff  as well as faculty in academic departments
  • Ability to work well individually and within a team in an evolving work environment
  • Strong oral and written communication skills and excellent presentation and interpersonal skills

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