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Engineering the Future of the Past

Blog about MIT Libraries' Digital Archives Work

Engineering the Future of the Past

We’re Hiring!

The MIT Libraries are seeking ambitious and creative archives and special collections professionals advance the Libraries growing needs. This is an exciting time at the MIT Libraries. With the recent MIT Faculty Report on the Future of Libraries, the Institute has reaffirmed the importance of the Libraries. MIT has a bold new vision for the library as an open global platform rooted in our shared values and mission; supported by innovative approaches to community and relationships, discovery and use, and stewardship and sustainability; and informed and enabled by an expanded emphasis on research and development. To advance this vision, the Libraries have committed resources to building organizational capacity in archives and special collections and is seeking to hire three new positions:

Archivist for Collections – Oversees the acquisition, processing, description, management and preservation of archival and manuscript collections. Contributes to collection development, collection donor relations, and establishing strategies and priorities for processing and access. This position reports to the Institute Archivist and Program Head: Digital Archives. Apply (For complete job posting see: http://libraries.mit.edu/about/#Jobs

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Join our Institute Archives & Special Collections Team!

Digital Scholarship Archivist – Coordinates, facilitates and enhances activities to advance student, faculty and public awareness and use of, learning with, and access to digital archives and special collections. Assists with coordination of digital collections workflows and the creation of digital assets from archives and special collections materials. Works with Libraries’ technology tools and platforms to expand access to IASC content, through the website and other medium. This position reports to the Institute Archivist and Program Head: Digital Archives. Apply (For complete job posting see: http://libraries.mit.edu/about/#Jobs

Program Head, Special Collections – Leads strategy and workflows related to the appraisal, acquisition, processing, description, curation, management, conservation, and preservation of special collections, including visual collections and rare books, in collaboration with other colleagues in IASC and the Libraries. Promotes and interprets rare and unique collections through innovative and engaging physical and digital exhibitions, educational programming, social media and other creative means. This position reports to the Head, Institute Archives and Special Collections. Apply (For complete job posting see: http://libraries.mit.edu/about/#Jobs

APPLICATION PROCESS: Apply online at: http://careers.mit.edu/. Applications must include cover letter and resume. Priority will be given to applications received by December 1, 2017; positions open until filled. MIT is strongly and actively committed to diversity within its community and particularly welcomes applications from qualified women and minority candidates. Professionals who enthusiastically embrace the empathy, courage, self-reflection and respect of a multi-cultural, diverse and inclusive workplace, and who strive to incorporate those values in their work and interactions are encouraged to apply.

The MIT Libraries are dedicated to advancing research, teaching, and learning at MIT and beyond. In addition to supporting every part of the Institute with distinctive collections, world-class service and expertise, and welcoming spaces, the Libraries seek to define the global research library of the future. We aim to play a leading role in advancing knowledge to solve global challenges by enhancing the discovery, use, collection, creation, management, dissemination, and preservation of information across disciplines. Library staff at all levels contribute to this mission and to a culture that values openness, inclusion, innovation, and community.

Keeping MIT’s Online Presence – Web Archiving

At MIT Libraries, we’ve been building our Web archiving program slowly but to good effect. Here is a brief video of a presentation I prepared for the MIT Libraries Visiting Committee this week. It gives an up to date summary of where we are and how we are building our Web archiving program.

During 2015-2016 Library Fellow for Digital Archives, Jessica Venlet, conducted research studies and experiments in our Digital Sustainability Lab, contributed to WA meatadata description work, and captured select MIT-created Web content that the Institute Archives was asked to preserve by the creating office.  Her blog posts give more detail on some of her work in 2015.

I’ve been working to build our program, which is under the umbrella of the Program for Born-digital Archives in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.  To this end, we received an internal Libraries collections fund grant to subscribe to the Archive-It service and engage in collection building activities as a project with an evaluation component.

Most recently, I participated in the National Symposium on Web Archives Interoperability hosted by the Internet Archive that brought together a diverse group of about 50 engineers, archivists, researchers, and others for a technology-oriented agenda focused on building tools and communities that support interoperable web archiving systems. The meeting included demonstrations of APIs to transfer WARCs, metadata and crawl information, and related tools that have been created or improved for Web archiving, research, and access capabilities. Read the trip report written by Michael Nelson in the Web Science and Digital Libraries Research Group at ODU.

If you are interested in using MIT Web archives or know of specific MIT-created Web content that you think should be archived by the Institute Archives, please contact us.

Digital Archives Ecosystem Evolves

We have been continuing our efforts for addressing the evolving MIT Libraries infrastructure, our archival content, and tools that have been further developed.  Two areas that we’ve been recently engaged with are Web archiving and email archiving and so have updated this diagram to note tools that we are assessing and thinking about how tools might plug into the overall ecosystem for digital archives.

Diagram of MIT Digital Archives ecosystem.

MIT Digital Archives ecosystem diagramming storage areas, software tools, roles, and tasks. 2016 February. Licensed under CC-BY-NC MIT Libraries, Institute Archives and Special Collections.

Digital Archives Ecosystem at MIT Institute Archives and Special Collections  [PDF file]

Tools that are included in this diagram:

We are also interested in becoming an Archive-It partner and at the same time using or suggesting Webrecorder as a tool for personal digital archives such as personal websites, blogs, etc.