Digital Archivist

Two of the articles this week covered the technical skills and qualifications that are needed for digital librarian jobs. In order to best serve the users of the digital information environment, digital librarians must possess technological fluency and apply it within the traditional framework of library services.

The job description for a Digital Archivist at California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo (from 2012) is a perfect example of traditional and technical knowledge in the digital library. Part of the description reads, “…the incumbent will…provide leadership and coordination to explore, adapt and implement digital asset technologies in support of campus digital media collections, programs and services.”

Librarians are still serving their user communities, but to do so in a digital library the skills are expanded far beyond what we learn in graduate school. That’s not to say that I feel I have not been exposed to, and learned a lot of, technical knowledge during my coursework. I have. But the conundrum is that I don’t think it is enough after looking at quite a few job descriptions this week.

The position is looking for someone with strong collaborative skills as s/he will work “…with librarians, including the Digital Scholarship Services Librarian, information technologists, faculty and campus partners…”

Specific digital library-related skills include experience with a wide range of metadata standards, and CONTENTdm. Also required is knowledge of how copyright and open access is related to the “…curation and use of images and other digital assets.”

I did notice that the header is written as Required Qualifications/Specialized Skills. Should we expect library school curricula to teach specialized skills at a more in-depth, hands-on level? Perhaps that will come in the near future. The proliferation of digital libraries demands an educated and knowledgeable workforce, and I feel digital library specializations will become more prevalent in library programs.

I interviewed an Electronic Resources Librarian from Cal State at Fullerton last semester for Electronic Resource Licensing and Management. I asked her if it was even possible for a new graduate to know all of the technical job requirements for an ERM position. She strongly encouraged doing a practicum in this area. Not only will students gain hands-on experience, they will be able to network and make professional contacts.

 Digital Archivist – California Polytechnic State University

Position Description

Under the direction of the Director, Information Resources and Archives, and working closely with the Head, Special Collections and University Archives, the incumbent will lead the ongoing technical and programmatic development of digital university archives and special collections, and provide leadership and coordination to explore, adapt and implement digital asset technologies in support of campus digital media collections, programs and services.

This position will collaborate with librarians, including the Digital Scholarship Services Librarian, information technologists, faculty and campus partners to develop and implement the infrastructure, programs and services to support the use of digital media (images, video, and other rich media) in student and faculty research and the campus curriculum.

Required Qualifications / Specialized Skills

◦       MLS from an ALA accredited program, or comparable library experience with other related advanced subject degree.

◦       Minimum 2 years professional experience working in special collections, digital records management, digital humanities, or comparable educational or research field.

◦       Experience working with digital collections asset management platforms (preferably CONTENTdm).

◦       Experience with metadata standards for digital collections (Dublin Core, DACS, METS, MODS, EAD, VRA, RDA and MARC).

◦       Demonstrated ability to plan, implement and successfully complete projects.

◦       Knowledge of copyright and open access issues pertinent to the curation and use of images and other digital assets.

◦       Understanding of digital media trends and initiatives as they apply in an academic environment.

◦       Strong interpersonal skills, and excellent oral and written communication skills to communicate across a diverse population.

◦       Demonstrated ability to develop and foster effective working relationships within an academic environment.

◦       Demonstrated ability to work independently and collegially in a team setting.

◦       Demonstrated competency working with computer applications and the ability to learn new software applications.

Preferred Qualifications / Skills

  • Demonstrated experience working with a wide range of file formats (e.g. JPEG, JPEG2000, TIFF, MPEG, AVI, MOV).
  • Experience working with born digital or electronic records.
  • Familiarity with OAIS and TRAC/TDR Checklist models.
  • Experience applying knowledge of usability concepts.
  • Knowledge of the research and reference protocols associated with the use of archival materials.
  • Experience collaborating with faculty.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills.
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2 responses to “Digital Archivist

  1. I also took the Electronic Resource Licensing and Management last semester. When I interviewed with my vendor, he said that he got the experience required by the current job in his last job. So I think our job experience and volunteer experience are very important as a SLIS student. And I have asked the similar question to the supervisor of my practicum. She said that they will also pay attention to the applicant’s personality, because personality can not be trained.

  2. That’s interesting to know about personality. Employers aren’t judging only skills, knowledge and ability. I wonder if the personality requirement is because of all the collaboration involved, or something else. My ERM librarian interviewee said that there is so much to be learned on the job, which I agree with, but I have to get a job first.

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