Archives and Literary Manuscript Specialist, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign IL

Duties and Responsibilities:  Working under the supervision of the Director of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Archives and Literary Manuscript Specialist uses advanced knowledge and training in multiple disciplines to develop and implement policies, systems, recommendations, and workflows that will improve access to complex archives and collections of literary manuscripts.  The policies, plans, practices, and workflows that the successful candidate establishes and executes will improve access and use of these materials in research, teaching, and service.


Specific responsibilities will vary over time but will initially include:

•    Developing policies, procedures, and processing plans leading to the classification, arrangement, and description of complex/hybrid (i.e., mixed print, digital, and audiovisual) collections.

•    Applying knowledge of literature, history, and related disciplines to analyze documentary forms/genres, communication patterns, and relationships between documents and those who created or used them.

•    Using specialized subject knowledge and research skills to develop and encode descriptive metadata for complex textual, photographic, A/V, and "born-digital" collections.

•    Selecting and designing appropriate metadata schema and encoding practices to enhance the discovery and use of literary manuscripts; ensuring metadata integrity, normalization, portability.

•    Developing descriptive records and archival finding aids that meet national standards such as Describing Archives: A Content Standard.

•    Collaborating in departmental and library-wide technology planning and implementation activities, such as digitization and access projects.

•    Coordinating the work of staff, students, and others involved in the arrangement, description, and digitization of RBML's manuscript collections.

•    Advising RBML and Library faculty and staff on issues relating to arrangement and description of manuscripts, literary history, archival metadata, or digitization of rare archival materials.

•    Analyzing emerging technologies and recommending their potential application, to significantly improve information resource discovery and retrieval.

•    Planning and overseeing projects to convert print finding aids to digital format.

•    Identifying materials requiring preservation or conservation treatment and collaborating with preservation/conservation staff in the development of recommendations.

•    Preparing grant applications to secure additional processing resources.

•    Academic Professional employees are encouraged to use "investigation time" to pursue areas of interest, not directly in support of an immediate program need, in accordance with the University Library's policy on Investigation Time for Academic Professional Employees <>. Some investigations originating in this manner may evolve into regular work assignments or production activities




•    Master's degree in one of the following fields: Library/Information Science, Literature, History, or a related humanities field.

•    Advanced training in the management, arrangement, and description of archives and manuscript collections.

•    Demonstrated experience arranging, describing, and preserving complex manuscript and/or archival collections.

•    Demonstrated knowledge of national data content and structure standards related to the control of archives and of archival and library management systems such as Archon, ArchivesSpace, or the Archivists Toolkit.

•    Experience working collaboratively and independently with varied groups within a complex organization and a rapidly changing, team environment.

•    Excellent oral, written, and interpersonal communications and analytical ability.

•    A record of designing projects and bringing them to a conclusion in a timely fashion.


•    Second degree in one of the areas listed under required qualifications.

•    Reading proficiency in one or more Western European languages, in addition to English.

•    Demonstrated experience using emerging technologies to improve access to archives and/or manuscript collections.

•    Two years of prior employment in an archives, manuscripts repository, or research library.

•    Demonstrated supervisory experience.


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To Apply:  To ensure full consideration, please complete your candidate profile at and upload a letter of interest, resume, and contact information including email addresses for three professional references. Applications not submitted through this website will not be considered. For questions, please call: 217-333-8169.


Deadline:  In order to ensure full consideration, applications and nominations must be received by April 25, 2014. The review of applications will continue until the position is filled.

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