Digital Projects and Metadata Assistant

at Northwestern University (view profile)
Published May 15, 2024
Location 1970 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL
Category Academic  
Job Type Full-time  
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Cover Letter Requirements Required
Education Requirements A bachelor’s degree or working towards a degree or the equivalent combination of education, training, and experience from which comparable skills can be acquired.
Minimum Compensation in Local Currency $24.01 hourly
Hourly or Salary? Hourly
Pay Grade The target budgeted minimum starting salary for this position is $24.01 hourly. Offers will be based on candidate experience and education, as well as equity within Northwestern University. This position is in a bargaining unit represented by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 73.


Position available to Non-librarians

Assists with digitization and born-digital workflows, long-term preservation of and access to a wide range of digital objects and provides support for digital projects from university and/or faculty collections that advance the teaching and research mission of Northwestern. Consults with the community to make digital objects accessible by generating metadata using AI and other tools for various library, faculty researcher or student-owned content including data sets and accompanying models, text, images, audio, and video.

Job Details


  • Enhances access to the library’s digital collections through creation of new descriptive metadata and transformation of existing metadata.
  • Provides input into and helps synthesize conversations with subject liaisons, faculty, staff and students to identify metadata needs.
  • Participates in ways to develop efficiencies in metadata creation through ML and AI.
  • Ensures the completeness and accuracy of materials descriptions and adheres to national and local standards for descriptive metadata in a variety of schemas and encodings.
  • Assigns metadata as appropriate from archival records and proofs this metadata for digital collections.
  • Intakes and analyzes faculty and library collections identified as candidates for digitization and/or ingestion into the digital repository.
  • Expedites collection requests for digitization and tracks order statuses through the workflow to completion.
  • Conducts independent research as needed to understand issues that may impact these workflows.
  • Creates inventories of materials in library and faculty-owned collections to prepare for digital reformatting or digital accessioning. This task involves making decisions about how to represent these complex objects online.
  • Assesses materials and flags them for review by preservation staff.
  • Coordinates pick up and drop off materials involving several departments of the libraries and/or faculty collections.
  • Contributes to the development of procedures to expand the scope and volume of digital objects submitted by the Northwestern community to the digital repository.
  • Creates and maintains documentation for metadata generation systems, including data dictionaries and use cases, and investigates new tools for use in metadata creation and transformation.
  • Tracks work in a project management system by entering and updating data about projects and/or jobs.
  • Participates in departmental and working group meetings, committees, task forces and special projects as needed.
  • Assists with basic departmental coverage and administrative tasks for the workgroup.
  • Assists with testing of systems that preserve and provide access to digital collections.
  • Responsible for checking department email and writing precise and well-organized emails to internal and external customers, such as staff and faculty.
  • Hires, trains, and supervises student assistants as needed.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications:

  • A bachelor’s degree or working towards a degree or the equivalent combination of education, training, and experience from which comparable skills can be acquired.
  • 5 years library experience or other relevant experience required with at least 3 years of cataloging and/or indexing experience in a library or similar cultural heritage institution using national descriptive metadata standards such as Resource Description and Access (RDA) or Encoded Archival Description (EAD).
  • Experience working with digital asset management systems and/or library service platforms, such as ContentDM, Extensis Portfolio, Samvera Hyrax, ExLibris Alma, ArchivesSpace, Aeon Atlas-Systems, Inc.
  • Experience working with project management approaches, digitization standards, and handling of rare materials and archives.

Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)

  • Displays strong attention to detail and ability to perform detailed work accurately while maintaining flexibility in handling variations in normal procedures.
  • Adaptability – Works effectively in an environment in which the parameters may change daily; adjusts behavior to meet the needs of different people and situations.
  • Collegiality - Being helpful, respectful, approachable and team-oriented, building strong working relationships and a positive work environment.
  • Communication – Balancing listening and talking, speaking and writing clearly and accurately, influencing others, and keeping others informed.
  • Computer Proficiency - Successfully uses multiple software programs independently. Software may include Microsoft Office, applications such as SharePoint, Word, Excel, and Access, email, web browsers, and library-specific resources and tools.
  • Quality – Achieving a high standard of excellence independently with work processes and outcomes.
  • Planning – Develops realistic plans, sets goals, aligns plans with company goals, plans for and manages resources, creates contingency plans, coordinates/cooperates with others.
  • Customer Service – Handles questions and concerns from library colleagues, communicates with colleagues across departments, handles service problems politely and efficiently, available for customers and colleagues, follows procedure to solve colleagues and library users, maintains pleasant and professional image.
  • Learning aptitude for emerging computational technologies and data skills that apply to librarianship and metadata practice.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience working with automated metadata practices, specifically AI/ML techniques.

Preferred Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities)

  • Knowledge of current digital preservation practices.