Special Collections Cataloger – Harvard Library, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Harvard University

Special Collections Cataloger
Harvard College Library

Job Summary

Harvard Library seeks an innovative, collaborative, and motivated Special Collections Cataloger in Houghton Library. The incumbent will be responsible for providing original and complex copy cataloging for all printed materials following prescribed national standards. The incumbent will assist the Head of Rare Book Section to support the Houghton Library’s efforts to catalog, preserve, and provide access to books, serials, ephemera, and other printed holdings in a variety of formats across Houghton’s curatorial areas. Houghton Library’s collections range across the history of civilization with strengths in European and American history and literature and performing arts.

The position reports to the Head, Rare Books Section for Houghton Library. Houghton Library has recently joined with the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, Fine Arts Library, Harvard Film Archive, and Harvard University Archives to create Archives, Arts, and Special Collections of Harvard Library, a new administrative unit currently planning integrated approaches to technical services for archives and special collections across the portfolio.
Position Description

Duties & Responsibilities

• Performs original and complex copy cataloging of books, serials, ephemera, and other printed materials in various languages and subject areas, adhering to RDA, DCRM suite, or other standards as appropriate.
• Collaborates in the development, evaluation, and documentation of cataloging policies, procedures, and workflows.
• Participates in bibliographic remediation activities and projects to enhance description, address harmful and oppressive description, and facilitate discovery of library holdings.
• Participates in shelf-reading and retrospective conversion projects.
• Contributes to Houghton Library Public Services service point rotation.
• Maintains knowledge of current and emerging national and international standards for cataloging and metadata, including DCRM suite, RDA, LCSH, BIBFRAME, linked data, and other appropriate standards.
• Maintains an active presence in local and national professional organizations.
• Collaborate within the section and across other units and departments to ensure consistent metadata description to provide seamless access to the collections.
• Represents Houghton within the Harvard cataloging and library community, both informally through communication and collaboration, and formally by serving on committees and working groups.
• Travels to the Harvard Depository storage facility in Southborough as needed to perform inventory control and accessioning of large collections.
• Special projects and other duties as assigned.

Supervisory Responsibilities

• This position may supervise library assistants, student employees, and temporary staff.

Basic Qualifications

• M.L.S. from an ALA-accredited academic program required.
• Minimum of two years of extensive experience cataloging early to modern books, including other formats such as broadsides and graphics, in a research library setting.
• Demonstrated knowledge of cataloging standards and principles, including DCRM suite, RDA, LCSH, RBMS and AAT thesauri, LC-PCC rules and authority control practices.
• Demonstrated knowledge of integrated library systems (Ex Libris Alma preferred) and bibliographic utilities (OCLC Connexion).
• Reading knowledge of one or more non-English languages (preferably Latin, German or Russian).
• Must have a valid driver’s license.

Additional Qualifications and Skills

Demonstrated commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, belonging and anti-racism.

Demonstrated knowledge of current trends and issues in academic libraries, higher education, and relevant subject disciplines.

Demonstrated knowledge of descriptive bibliography.

Demonstrated high level of productivity and goal achievement.

Demonstrated ability to manage time and tasks independently and complete projects in a timely manner.

Familiarity with linked data models such as BIBFRAME.

Ability to identify basic preservation and conservation issues related to printed materials.

Ability to manage a broad variety of tasks in response to shifting priorities and changing constraints.

Ability to work both independently and collaboratively in a team environment and to interact effectively with a broad variety of personnel within and outside of the department.

Physical Requirements

• This position requires lifting and moving of materials weighing up to 40 pounds and pushing heavily loaded book trucks.
• Work is performed in an area with library materials that may contain allergens or irritants such as paper dust and/or mold.

Working Conditions

• This is an on-site position.
• The person in this role will primarily work Monday-Friday 9am-5pm.

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Across the Harvard Library, our work is enriched by our diverse campus community. Our unique and wide-ranging abilities, experiences, and perspectives are integral to achieving Harvard University’s mission of excellence in research, teaching, and learning for our patrons, our collections, and our workplace. We believe that an inclusive environment that cultivates and promotes understanding, respect, and collaboration across our diverse workforce enables our success.

We invite individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences and abilities to be a part of our community of over 700 staff members. Our work with faculty, students and researchers to explore answers to intellectual questions, enduring and new, and to seek solutions to the world’s most consequential problems, requires that we not only reflect, but also champion our diverse society.

Harvard Library inspires collaboration, reflection, experimentation, and discovery connecting users to related disciplines and to University-wide teaching resources. The Library engages users through curated discovery, digital collections, reimagined physical space, and specialized research support. Today, Harvard Library’s holdings range from traditional print collections to rapidly expanding access to digital resources. Harvard Library provides the University’s faculty, students, and researchers-now and in the future-with exceptional experiences and comprehensive access to these materials.

Learn more about our contributions to the academic enterprise by visiting us at http://library.harvard.edu and about the Harvard University community at http://hr.harvard.edu/why-harvard.

The Harvard Library is a proud member of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Diversity Alliance.

Job Function

Sub Unit

USA – MA – Cambridge

Houghton Library

Time Status

00 – Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Pre-Employment Screening
Criminal, Education, Identity


Monday-Friday 9am-5pm

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Harvard University views equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as the pathway to achieving inclusive excellence and fostering a campus culture where everyone can thrive. We strive to create a community that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity while fully embracing individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values.

EEO Statement
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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