Digital Archivist

at Smith College (view profile)
Published April 26, 2024
Location Northampton, MA, Massachusetts
Category Academic  
Job Type Full-time  
Apply Here
Cover Letter Requirements Required
Minimum Compensation in Local Currency 64k
Hourly or Salary? Salary
Pay Grade 64-74k


Smith College Special Collections (SCSC) seeks a Digital Archivist to arrange, describe, and make accessible born digital and digitized collection materials stewarded across three unique repositories. The size, scope, and complexity of the materials is extraordinary for a liberal arts college and reflects a wide spectrum of subjects from the history of the Smith College to women’s activism via gender justice, the history of the book and book arts, with everything in between.

Situated within the robust SCSC Technical Services department, this position will work closely with all members of the unit, as well as with collection donors, to ensure the successful transfer, long term discoverability and accessibility of these unique materials in a variety of media formats, and including both new acquisitions and legacy holdings.

The Digital Archivist will join a dynamic group of colleagues in Special Collections who embrace an iterative work philosophy. We are always in the process of learning and improving, using creative solutions to complex problems, and being willing to challenge assumptions. Ability to pivot-to-improve is a value of our professional practice when based on assessment data, feedback, and experiential learning.

Essential Functions        
Digital archives activities (90%):     

  • The Digital Archivist will work closely with all members of Special Collections to process, arrange, describe, and make available unique born digital and digitized archival materials. In particular, this position will work closely with the Digital Preservation Archivist and the Accessioning Archivist to manage digital materials in incoming acquisitions; with the Collections Archivist to manage the backlog of digital materials in legacy collections; and with collections Stewards to appraise digital content in potential future acquisitions.
  • Coordinate the transfer of digital and digitized material from current and legacy media formats such as tapes, floppy disks, CDs, and hard drives, and use forensic and other tools to ensure authenticity, preservation, and access. May require working directly with donors.
  • With Technical Services staff, develop, implement and maintain policies, procedures, and workflows for the processing and ingest of digital archive materials; and for managing the digital storage environment, file integrity, access and control, metadata, and content of digital material.  
  • In collaboration with Public Services staff, facilitate patron- and preservation-driven digitization projects, including scanning and image post-processing, coordination with student workers and vendors, delivery of physical materials, and quality control of digitization outputs.
  • Coordinate Special Collection’s web archiving program, including selection of target websites in collaboration with collecting units, configuration of associated tools, and quality control of outputs.
  • Create DACS-compliant finding aids and add metadata for digital and digitized materials in Preservica and ArchivesSpace to facilitate preservation, retrieval, and access.
  • Train and assist staff and student workers with procedures relating to the transfer, arrangement and description born of digital and digitized material.
  • Provide specialized reference service for born-digital and digitized materials as needed.
  • May supervise student workers as needed.
  • May contribute to in-house audiovisual reformatting projects.  
  • May assist the Digital Preservation Archivist in asset migration, implementation, and ingest of special collections material using Preservica, Smith College’s digital preservation system.

Operational Support (10%):  

  • As a member of the Special Collections department, provide general operational support when and where needed: staff weekly hours in the reading room; provide reference support; participate actively in the shared decision making for Special Collections; perform related duties as assigned.

Other Functions        

  • Perform other duties as assigned by manager
  • All employees are expected to participate in the College's efforts to create a respectful, inclusive, and welcoming work environment.

Minimum Qualifications (knowledge, skills, education, experience, certifications, licenses)             

  • MLS or MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited program, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Digital Archives Specialist Certificate from the Society of American Archivists, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Minimum of two years of experience working in collection services and/or digitization services for archives, libraries, museums, and/or cultural heritage workspaces, inclusive of internships and relevant coursework.  
  • Familiarity with metadata standards, data structure standards, and models relevant to digital preservation and content description such as Dublin Core, PREMIS, METS, DACS, and similar.
  • Experience with disk imaging, digital forensics tools such as Forensic Toolkit or BitCurator, and/or digital preservation management software.   
  • Knowledge of digital preservation theory, standards, and best practices.   
  • Ability to work in a team-based environment as well as be self-motivated. 
  • Excellent interpersonal, problem solving, and analytical skills, and an ability to communicate effectively with technical and non-technical users.
  • Ability to adapt to, and thrive in, a quickly-changing work environment.
  • Experience working with individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Preferred Qualifications  

  • Knowledge of a wide range of computer storage media, file systems, software, and file formats
  • Familiarity with ArchivesSpace or other archival collections management software .
  • Familiarity with ePadd or other email preservation and discovery tools
  • Familiarity with Archive-It or other web archiving tools
  • Familiarity with Preservica, Islandora, or other digital preservation platforms
  • Familiarity with the configuration and operation of scanning equipment
  • Ability to responsibly handle and safeguard rare and fragile materials