Technical Services Archivist – Cornell University – Ithaca, NY

Cornell University Library’s Rare and Manuscript Collections seeks a Technical Services Archivist. Under the supervision of the Assistant Director for Technical Services, the Technical Services Archivist manages RMC’s efforts to accession, describe, preserve, and provide access to archival, manuscript, photographic, born-digital, and other non-print holdings in all formats. S/he oversees Cornell’s Encoded Archival Description (EAD) program, developing policies and procedures to expand access to and use of Cornell’s special collections in RMC, the Kheel Center, and elsewhere in the library. S/he is responsible for developing and implementing strategies, technologies, and standards that facilitate researcher access to RMC’s holdings, including potential application of new standards and technologies. The Technical Services Archivist supervises staff and students, plans and manages projects, collaborates with staff a nd departments throughout Cornell University Library, and participates actively within the broader special collections and archives community.

Duties and Responsibilities:

• Plan and manage archival processing projects by coordinating day-to-day operations and special projects, working collaboratively to establish priorities.
• Supervise a current staff consisting of three regular and project employees, in addition to student positions.
• Lead the Library’s EAD program, developing policies and procedures, and providing support and training for staff and students in RMC, the Kheel Center, and elsewhere in the library.
• Explore, propose, and implement new technologies in collaboration with RMC, Cornell, and/or external colleagues.
• Establish and employ metrics for archival processing in order to enhance discovery and use of RMC holdings and to aid in project management and grant planning.
• Oversee the development and maintenance of documentation for archival processing procedures.
• Process and catalog collections and items as time permits.
• Represent RMC within the Cornell archival and library community, both informally through communication and collaboration, and formally by serving on committees and working groups.
• Maintain an active presence in local and national professional archival organizations.

Required Qualifications:

• Master’s degree from an ALA-accredited program with a concentration in archives management, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
• Two years of relevant professional experience, preferably in academic archives.
• Experience arranging, describing, and preserving archival, manuscript, photographic, and other non-print materials, including experience processing large collections.
• Demonstrated knowledge of DACS, EAD, EAC-CPF, MARC, Library of Congress/PPC rules, authority control practices, as well as knowledge of emerging standards for description. Demonstrated knowledge of bibliographic and collection management systems.
• Demonstrated ability to plan, coordinate, and implement complex projects.
• Excellent interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills.
• Ability to work both independently and collaboratively with a variety of staff in a rapidly changing environment.

Preferred Qualifications:

• Supervisory experience.
• Experience with XSLT and programming languages (PHP, Perl, Python).
• Experience implementing policies, standards, and procedures in an archival or special collections setting.
• Experience implementing new technologies and other techniques to improve work processes.
• Knowledge of RDA, VRA, and other descriptive metadata standards.
• Background in history or a related discipline.
• Working knowledge of one or more foreign languages.
• Record of engagement with professional groups and activities and/or contributions to professional or scholarly literature.


The Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections is Cornell’s principal repository of rare books, manuscripts, and archival materials. The Division holds over 500,000 printed volumes, more than 80 million manuscripts, and another million photographs, paintings, prints, and other visual media. Among these are particularly strong collections of early photography, the history of science, human sexuality, witchcraft, the French Revolution, the Civil War and the abolitionist movement, Icelandic history and literature, architecture and planning, new media art, and musical movements such as Hip Hop and punk. The Division is also home to Cornell University’s Archives.

One of the leading academic research libraries in the United States, Cornell University Library is a highly valued partner in teaching, research and learning at the university. With an operating budget of over $58 million and a diverse and innovative staff of more than 400, the Library supports 2,700 faculty, 22,000 students and 94 PhD fields. Its world class collections, expert librarians, responsive services in physical and virtual library spaces inspire and nourish scholarship and learning.

Cornell University is an Ivy League comprehensive research university located in Ithaca in the scenic Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. The town and university offer a unique cosmopolitan and international atmosphere in a beautiful natural setting of waterfalls, gorges, and lakes.


Comprehensive benefits package including 22 vacation days, 11 paid holidays, health insurance, life insurance, and university retirement contributions (TIAA-CREF and other options), as well as exceptional work/life support programs. Professional travel funding available.

Application Procedure:

Review of applications will begin immediately. Preference will be given to applications received by November 19, 2015. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. To apply for this position, click here. Follow the instructions for online submission – only online submissions will be accepted. Please include a cover letter, resume, and the names, phone numbers, and addresses for three references. Salary will be competitive and commensurate with experience. Visa sponsorship is not available for this position.

Cornell University is an innovative Ivy League university and a great place to work. Our inclusive community of scholars, students and staff impart an uncommon sense of larger purpose and contribute creative ideas to further the university’s mission of teaching, discovery and engagement. Located in Ithaca, NY, Cornell’s far-flung global presence includes the medical college’s campuses on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and Doha, Qatar, as well as the new Cornell Tech campus to be built on Roosevelt Island in the heart of New York City.

Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We’re an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities.

About John Pell

John Pell is an assistant professor and librarian at Hunter College in New York City.

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