Digital Archivist

at The HistoryMakers (view profile)
Location Chicago, Illinois
Date Posted July 14, 2019
Category Non-Profit
Job Type Full-time
Twitter Handle @TheHstryMakers ‏


The HistoryMakers seeks to hire a Digital Archivist to oversee the processing and maintenance of The HistoryMakers collection. The Digital Archivist will be responsible for the planning and implementation of preservation, cataloguing and records management systems for The HistoryMakers video collection, databases and paper records. The collection currently consists of 30,000 video assets, hundreds of thousands of files documenting the interview process, organizational records, special collections consisting of events, programs and education initiatives developed by The HistoryMakers as well as multiple FileMaker Pro databases documenting all of The HistoryMakers work.

The Digital Archivist will:

  • Process, arrange and catalog the current collection of videotaped and born digital oral history interviews(each interview averages 3-6 hours in length and send them to the Library of Congress, The HistoryMakers permanent repository;
  • Adhere to The HistoryMakers policies and procedures for managing born-digital materials for ingest, storage, preservation, organization, description, and access.
  • Manage The HistoryMakers digital collections in accordance with its already established metadata schema, controlled vocabularies, and exercise quality control of the software, equipment and metadata records.
  • Provide access to The HistoryMakers collection by creating finding aids, item descriptions and collection-level records to assist online researchers while maintaining controlled vocabularies and metadata standards in The HistoryMakers FileMaker databases and PBCore records;
  • Work to process the backlog of unprocessed materials and work to ensure that all collections in order to ensure the accessibility of The HistoryMakers archival collection. This includes maintaining the appropriate intellectual organization and digital storage structure, analyzing the intellectual content of the source material, and conducting historical research for the preparation of metadata descriptions.
  • Assist in obtaining internal and external grant funding for processing projects and making the collection accessible.
  • Attend conferences to exhibit The HistoryMakers Digital Archive and represent The HistoryMakers as well as present on panels about The HistoryMakers work, policies and procedures. Also, remain competent and current through self-directed professional reading, consulting with experts in the field and attending training and/or courses required by The HistoryMakers.


The ideal candidate will have a graduate degree in African American or American history, library science with a concentration in archival management, or other related field. The candidate must have 2-4 years prior experience working in an archive or library with video/AV material resources.

The candidate will have:

  • Work experience with FileMaker Pro and Oxygen
  • Knowledge of standards in moving-image cataloging and the creation of finding aids including knowledge of EAD and EAC-CFP;
  • Experience with videotape formats, in particular Beta cam SP, ¾’ and VHS tapes; and migrating collections using an encoding system like Samma Solo;
  • Strong project planning and time management skills;
  • Familiarity with computer databases (i.e. Microsoft Access, Excel and FileMaker) and basic office software;
  • Ability to work in close cooperation with The HistoryMakers Founder & President and our Consulting Archivist

Salary and Benefits

Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications. The HistoryMakers also offers a competitive benefits package that includes 403(b), PTO, health, vision and dental insurance, tuition reimbursement and school loan repayment assistance.

The HistoryMakers

The HistoryMakers, a 501(c) (3) national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, is dedicated to recording and preserving the personal histories of well-known and unsung African Americans. It is the largest video oral history archive of its kind, and the only massive attempt, since the WPA Slave Narratives of the 1930s, to record the African American experience by the first voice. In 2014, the Library of Congress became its permanent repository. The HistoryMakers Collection now numbers over 10,000 hours (3,100 interviews) of first person testimony recorded in over 413 cities and towns including international locations like Norway, the Caribbean, and Mexico. The earliest memory in the collection dates back to the 1700s.