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Metadata Archivist, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Job Summary

The Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America documents the lives of women of the past and present for the future and furthers the Harvard Radcliffe Institute’s commitment to the study of women, gender, sexuality, and society. Schlesinger’s Manuscripts Department fosters the discovery, use, and care of archival and manuscript materials through accessioning, processing, description, metadata creation, preservation, and collection management. Our priorities reflect the Library’s ongoing work to document the history and contributions of women and organizations currently under-represented in
our collections. We seek a Metadata Archivist who will help maximize the use of ArchivesSpace and other archival systems and tools. They will collaborate as part of an experienced team of passionate archivists who collectively evaluate and improve practices while reaffirming existing strengths. 

The Metadata Archivist will work in conjunction with their counterpart to advise on and coordinate the department’s program and procedures for archival description and metadata. The successful candidate will play a lead role in furthering the department’s use of ArchivesSpace, developing, and implementing new workflows, and training and coaching colleagues. The Metadata Archivist works as part of an inclusive team, participating in and contributing to the evolution of a thoughtful, flexible, user-centered archival processing program.


  • Designs, administers, and documents workflows to describe archival materials in ArchivesSpace and other Library and archival management systems, including Alma, Connexion, and local databases.
  • Provides expertise and leadership for the department’s use of ArchivesSpace, including training, coaching, and providing support for other department members, implementing policies and procedures, and collaborating with other Harvard repositories as required.
  • Coordinates the creation, management, and maintenance of metadata pertaining to manuscript and archival collections in all systems used at the Library. Leads and participates in metadata remediation projects and efforts to repurpose metadata for various uses, including digitization. Develops, customizes, and maintains processes, tools, and scripts to manipulate, analyze, and transform descriptive data.
  • Working with the department head and other metadata archivists, establishes processes, procedures, and standards to be used by manuscript staff for online descriptive activities (i.e., MARC, DACS, EAD, etc.) Advises manuscript staff on metadata–related issues in processing. Creates and maintains documentation for staff use.
  • Creates DACS-compliant archival descriptions, including catalog records and finding aids, using various archival and Library management systems and software, and applying best practices for inclusive and reparative description. 
  • May be responsible for additional assigned activities such as processing small collections, photograph cataloging, web archiving, serving on the reference desk, etc. 
  • Monitors current developments, trends, and best practices in the archival profession and engages with the professional community. Builds and fosters collaborative relationships within the department, across Schlesinger Library, at Radcliffe, and across Harvard Library, as appropriate. May represent the department or Library on various collaborative projects and programs within the greater Harvard Library and beyond.

Supervisory Responsibilities

  • May supervise student assistants and interns, including hiring and training, planning and assigning work, assessing performance, addressing performance issues, and resolving problems.


  • ALA-accredited MLS (Master’s in Library Science), preferably with a concentration in archives management and/or an M.A. in history or a related field.
  • Three or more years of archival experience focusing on archival description, metadata management, and/or archival processing. This experience must also include the following:
    • Experience with ArchivesSpace software and other archival and Library management systems.
    • Advanced knowledge of current national data content and structure standards related to the archival control of collection materials (DACS, EAD, AACR2, RDA, MARC, LCSH, AAT, etc.).
  • Experience managing metadata, including data standardization, remediation, mapping, and repurposing metadata for reuse. 
  • Demonstrated ability to work with databases and manipulate and migrate data.
  • Experience planning, implementing, evaluating, improving, and managing archival description and/or metadata projects, workflows, and/or procedures in a complex and dynamic environment. 
  • Strong working knowledge of XML. 
  • Experience with one or more of the following: EAC, MODS, METS; XSL, Relax N.G., Schematron and scripting languages; SQL, XQuery, and/or SPARQL; and Linked Data. 
  • Archival processing experience.
  • Demonstrated ability to work productively, independently, and collaboratively in a collegial and team-based environment.
  • Strong written, verbal, critical thinking, and listening skills.
  • Familiarity with or interest in current approaches and best practices in inclusive and reparative archival description.  
  • Commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment and workplace and an ability to work effectively with a diverse faculty, staff, and student population.
  • Understanding of or interest in contemporary U.S. women’s history

Physical Requirements

The demands described below are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. 

  • The employee must be able to sit at a desk for a minimum of seven hours a day and complete tasks requiring repetitive use of hands. 
  • This position involves regular lifting, and the incumbent must be able to lift 40 pounds, manage cartloads of material weighing up to 240 pounds and climb ladders to retrieve or reshelve collections.

Working Conditions

  • This job is performed in a temperature-controlled office environment. 
  • There may be limited exposure to dust and mold.

Application Process

To apply, please visit:

Please note that cover letters are required for every application for a position at the Radcliffe Institute. Please combine your cover letter and resume into a single document that is uploaded when you are instructed by HARVARD CAREERS, Harvard’s online application program, to “Upload my resume/CV from my computer”.

Complete applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. However, we encourage all interested candidates to apply before March 15, 2023.

We will be conducting interviews virtually and might invite finalist candidates for on-campus interviews. We appreciate your understanding and flexibility with our interview process.