Sound Archive Librarian

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Job Description

Classification: Librarian 2 or 3. Compensation and rank will be based on relevant qualifications and experience.

Appointment Date: As soon as possible.

Responsible to: Head Librarian, Music Library and Archive of Recorded Sound

The Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources (SULAIR) invite applications and nominations for the Sound Archives Librarian. This is an Academic Staff three-year term appointment, with the possibility of continuing appointment following the successful completion of the three-year term. Applicants should apply via: Please supply a cover letter, a complete statement of qualifications, a full resume including education and relevant experience, and the names and addresses of three references with knowledge of one’s professional qualifications for this position.

The person in this position has a wide variety of responsibilities for providing access to materials, assisting the public in use of the collection, transferring archival recordings to digital form for patron use, preserving the Archive’s physical collections, and supervising staff and student assistants. The librarian will help with the active management of historical recordings acquired by the Archive. The position provides an opportunity for exploring and implementing creative solutions to providing access to large numbers of recordings and an equally creative approach to public service in one of the world’s most important sound archives at a leading research institution.

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Arranges archival sound recordings in all formats and materials related to collections of sound recordings according to accepted archival practices and standards to facilitate discovery for research and use
  • Describes archival sound recording collections and related materials by creating finding aids using DACS and EAD applying LCSH and authority records according to archival standards.
  • Applies more product, less process principles to incoming collections to insure timely processing of new archival collections.
  • Prepares detailed finding aids for collections selected for more in-depth description.
  • Prepares processed archival collections to be transferred to SAL 3
  • Collaborates with Media Preservation lab to create discovery/content metadata for digitized audio collections.
  • Answers reference questions from patrons regarding the ARS collections and related public service duties.
  • Maintains the ARS website by revising and writing new text using Drupal and regularly contributes blog posts to bring important materials to the attention of the public.
  • Assists the Head Librarian in conducting tours, class and public presentations, and other outreach activities.
  • Sends individual audio recordings for preservation, personal research, or class use to the Media Lab for digitization and manages the digital audio files on the Archive’s server.
  • Collaborates with Media Preservation lab to manage digitization workflow for large digitization projects.
  •  Works with Media Preservation and DLSS to process, describe, and preserve born-digital sound recordings and related material.
  • In collaboration with technicians and expert partners, keeps software up to date, and performs routine maintenance & repair for the Archive’s audio equipment.
  • Manages scheduling of use of audio room, and supervises operations manager in audio room tasks.
  • Oversees inventory control of ARS collections performed by the operations manager and student assistants including barcoding, shelving, and paging materials to and from remote storage.
  • Supervises the Operations Manager and student assistants in the Archive of Recorded Sound.
  • Assists in the preparation and writing of grant proposals.
  • Assists the Head Librarian in the review and assessment of gift collections as necessary.


  • MLS/MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited graduate school is required, or work in progress toward the degree, or equivalent in training and experience.
  • B.A. in music or equivalent or work in progress toward the degree is required with demonstrated subject knowledge of music history and theory. A graduate degree in music is highly desirable.
  • Knowledge of reference materials and research tools in music and audio recordings; knowledge of audio recording history; and knowledge of discography is required.
  • Knowledge of audio archives principles and practices is required. At least 2 years of experience working in a sound archive is required.
  • Knowledge of DACS, EAD, LCSH, authorities, XML as used in archives is desirable with the ability to learn archival description rapidly is required.
  • Experience with Sirsi Symphony, ArchivesSpace, and Drupal is desired with the ability to learn these systems rapidly is required.
  • Theoretical and practical knowledge of digitization principles and practices or the ability to rapidly learn audio digitization, preferably with specific experience in media digitization and with audio equipment. Proficiency with WaveLab or other audio digitization applications desirable. Basic knowledge of audio preservation best practices.
  • Ability to manage staff positions and student assistants. Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Sound working knowledge of at least one modern European language, German, French or Italian strongly preferred; working knowledge of other European languages


The libraries of Stanford University consist of over nine million volumes and over 400 staff members and include the University Libraries system and five “coordinate” (school or institution) libraries. The Stanford University Libraries consist of a main research library (Green Library) and twelve research branch libraries serving the sciences, social sciences and humanities.

The Archive of Recorded Sound was established in 1958 and is one of the largest sound archives in the United States. It was one of the first major collections devoted to the acquisition, preservation, and dissemination of historically and artistically significant sound recordings. The Archive’s holdings number over 400,000 ranging from early cylinder recordings and piano rolls to the latest digital files and includes a comprehensive reference collection on recording history and discography. The staff of the Archive work closely with the staff of the Music Library which together consists of 5 FTE professional staff and 4 FTE support staff plus student assistants.

How to Apply

The Stanford University Libraries (SUL) invite applications and nominations for the Sound Archive Librarian in the Archive of Recorded Sound. This position is open until filled. The full job description is available at  Applicants must apply through the Stanford Careers website. Enter job number 69751 in the search box. Stanford University is committed to the principles of diversity and encourages applications from women, members of ethnic minorities and individuals with disabilities.

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