Creative Arts Processing Archivist

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Job Description

Houghton Library, the primary repository for Harvard’s rare books and manuscripts, seeks an innovative, collaborative, and motivated Project Archivist to process collections within the Arts and Special Collections unit of the Harvard College Library, including the Fine Arts Library, the Harvard Film Archive, and the Music Library. Reporting to the Head of the Manuscript Section, the Project Archivist joins the library’s archives processing program, and works collaboratively across the Arts and Special Collections to arrange and describe archival and manuscript materials. The Project Archivist will develop processing plans and execute processing projects for the Godfrey Reggio/Institute for Regional Education (IRE) film archive, the Randy Weston papers, and other collections related to the fine arts.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Processes archival and manuscript materials: rehouses materials as necessary; assesses conservation and preservation needs; determines levels of arrangement and description; creates finding aids and other descriptive metadata as necessary; and prepares materials for off-site storage at the Harvard Depository as needed.

  • Provides basic collection control for legacy collections: compiles documentation and inventories, creates collection level description, addresses preservation and other housing issues.

  • Follows procedures outlined in departmental processing manuals; helps to maintain documentation; compiles statistics and reports as necessary.

  • Acts as a liaison between donors and donor organizations and the Arts and Special Collections libraries as well as between Houghton Library and the Arts and Special Collections libraries.

  • May supervise students, interns, hourly, and/or project staff.

Please note: this is a term appointment with an end date of two years from the date of hire.

Basic Qualifications

  • M.L.S. from an ALA-accredited academic program required, preferably with an archives concentration.

  • Two years’ experience with archival arrangement and description and/or archival accessioning, preferably in an academic or research library.

  • Experience with the use and application of DACS, EAD, EAC-CPF and MARC, as well as other archival content and communication standards.

Additional Qualifications

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

  • Ability to identify basic preservation and conservation issues related to archival materials, particularly audio and visual formats.

  • Understanding of current developments within the profession and demonstrated commitment to engage in ongoing professional development and service to the profession.

  • Reading knowledge of Spanish or other European languages.

  • Background or interest in the creative arts: film, fine arts, and/or music.

  • Experience working with an archival content management system such as Archivist’s Toolkit or ArchivesSpace.

  • Experience implementing new technologies and other techniques to improve work processes.

  • Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to work creatively, collaboratively, and effectively.

  • Superior written and verbal communication skills and demonstrated attention to detail.

  • Capacity to thrive in a changing working environment.

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 and about the Harvard University community at

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

Job Function



USA – MA – Cambridge


Houghton Library

Time Status



00 – Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Salary Grade


Pre-Employment Screening

Criminal, Education, Identity


35 hours per week

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.

How to Apply

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