Railroad Collections Project Archivist-31039
Cornell University Library’s Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation & Archives seeks qualified candidates for an 18-month, temporary professional position as Railroad Collections Project Archivist. The successful candidate will improve description of 65 archival collections documenting railroad history in the United States, coordinate digitization of roughly 1,600 photographs, and assist with outreach efforts related to the project.
With rich manuscript and media collections pertaining to labor unions, management theory and practice, and labor relations and as part of the Martin P. Catherwood Library, the Kheel Center supports the curriculum and research interests of Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR School) and attracts scholars nationwide and from all over the world.
The Catherwood Library in the ILR School is the nation’s most comprehensive library for workplace issues, specializing in labor history, human resources, collective bargaining, organizational behavior, and international and comparative labor movements. In 2010, Catherwood consolidated with the Nestlé Hospitality Library and the Management Library to form a single structure serving Cornell’s specialized business and labor Schools. The consolidated structure serves over 1800 undergraduates, 1300 graduate students, 100 resident faculty, and extensive distance education, executive education, and extension programs. Cornell University Library is a leading academic research library with outstanding collections, service and instructional programs, and a leader in digital library applications including digitization of its print collections and development of strategies for curation of the research output of its faculty.
Responsibilities: Reporting to the Director of the Kheel Center and working closely with other staff, the Railroad Collections Project Archivist is responsible for: assessing the detailed description needs for 65 archival collections documenting railroad history; enhancing basic descriptions of those 65 archival collections as appropriate; and coordinating digitization and online delivery of roughly 1,600 photographs from Kheel Center’s railroad collections. The successful candidate may supervise one or two student assistants and will work closely with the Kheel Center’s Director, Technical Services Archivist, and Digital Archivist.
Characteristics: The Railroad Collections Project Archivist is a highly organized and collaborative professional who is able to approach a large, 18-month assignment in a methodical and comprehensive manner. S/he works well with colleagues, drawing on and contributing to their subject and archival expertise, but is also able to work independently. S/he has a strong understanding of standard and traditional archival practices but also embraces the change and opportunities that new technologies bring to the archival field. Most importantly, s/he understands the research process and researchers and can keep their needs in the forefront of their mind when making processing and description decisions.
Under the direction of the Kheel Center Director, does archival technical services work on the Kheel Center’s railroad history collections and coordinates digitization and online delivery of select railroad history photographs. The Railroad Collections Project Archivist may supervise one or two student assistants and works closely with the Kheel Center’s Director, Technical Services Archivist, and Digital Archivist.
- Master’s degree from an ALA-accredited program with a concentration in archives management, or equivalent combination of education and experience
- Knowledge of 20th century US history
- Strong organizational, planning, and problem solving skills
- Excellent interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills
- Ability to work both independently and collaboratively with a variety of staff in a rapidly changing environment
- Experience and/or interest in US railroad and labor history
- Experience arranging, describing, and preserving archival, manuscript, photographic, and other non-print materials, including experience processing large collections.
- Experience creating MARC records and EAD guides for archival collections
- Experience working with photographic collections
- Degree in history or a related discipline
- Record of engagement with professional groups and activities and/or contributions to professional or scholarly literature.
I’ve been waiting on the official letter from HR to make the public announcement, and now it’s arrived, so:
On August 17, 2016, I will be promoted to the rank of Associate Librarian at the Cornell University Library. I put my promotion packet in last July, and it seems as though it was sufficiently convincing. To say that this is an exciting moment and a load off of my mind would be a grand understatement.
There’s a lot of folks to thank for this: first and foremost my family, who have been hugely supportive of my pursuit of this whole librarian career thing. Thank you, and I love you.
I am also deeply appreciative of the people in my supervisory chain who lent their support to my promotion: Anne Kenney, Kornelia Tancheva, and Curtis Lyons.
I am exceedingly grateful to those who were willing to write letters of recommendation to the promotion committee on my behalf: Cheryl Beredo, Esta Bigler, Amy Buckland, Suzanne Cohen, Aliqae Geraci, Jill Hurst-Wahl, Michelle Paolillo, Oya Reiger, and Jill Wilson.
And massive thanks to Suzanne, Curtis, and Deb Lamb-Deans, who gave me great feedback on my promotion packet.
Last but certainly not least, I want to thank all the folks with whom I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with during my career at Cornell, not only within the university but also through organizations like SLA. There is very little that I’ve done as a librarian that I feel comfortable claiming sole credit for, so thank you for working with me on so much cool stuff.
Launched just over a decade ago, DigitalCommons@ILR provides free online access to over 21,000 resources for executives, managers, workers and researchers. It serves as a repository not only of scholarship produced by faculty and researchers, but also historic and born-digital materials relevant to the ILR community and workplace researchers and practitioners internationally.
Covering all aspects of work and the workplace, DigitalCommons@ILR documents are freely available online with no access restrictions. Researchers from every state in the union and around the world download items, often found through Google searches, on everything from general workplace subjects such as creativity or teamwork to specialized questions such as the transition from disability to retirement benefits or the implications of specific labor laws and rulings. The site’s real-time readership map showing download locations emphasizes the school’s global reach as it pursues its mission of “Advancing the World of Work.”
Follow the link to read the whole press release. I want to take this opportunity to give accolades to the folks who helped make this happen:
- Mary Newhart was the first repository manager, and really set the stage for everything that’s come since. She made it happen. Anything I’ve been able to do as repo manager is building on the foundation she laid. (She also hired me, and I’m very grateful for that.)
- Suzanne Cohen and Deb Schmidle helped establish the collection development policy that still governs the repository today, and which I used as the basis for collection development at Scholarly Commons.
- Steve Gollnick has done the lion’s share of work in getting material ready for the repository and actually uploading it. It’s painstaking and endless work, but Steve does it with skill and aplomb.
- Deans Harry Katz and Kevin Hallock, Directors Gordon Law and Curtis Lyons, and all the other administrators who believed in our work and provided support over the last decade.
- Many, many student workers who put in hours making this thing go.
I’m lucky to be a part of a project like DigitalCommons@ILR, and I’m deeply grateful to all the folks who have helped it succeed.
If you’re going to be at Fighting Inequality: the Joint Conference of the Labor and Working-Class History Association and the Working-Class Studies Association or the SLA Annual Conference, be sure to check out Aliqae Geraci and I presenting on the research project that we’ve been working on for the last two years! (Seriously, we contacted hundreds of state agencies for this thing. We were not messing around at all, here.)
We’ll be presenting the research in different ways to the two very different audiences, so here are both write-ups.
Battles over public sector collective bargaining rights have played out on the news, in legislative sessions, and through public demonstration. However, these public policy debates often occur without ready public access to the CBAs that trace and describe the working conditions and employment relationships in dispute. Inspired by Cornell University’s digital collection of New York State CBAs, and researchers seeking similar state collections, the authors conducted a national survey of each state’s CBA collection policies, mapping regulations and collections, and identifying historical scope and degree of public accessibility. The survey revealed dramatic variation across states, requiring deeper investigation of the impact of information gaps on working class participation in public discourse. The authors discuss potential avenues for information policy reform, and outline best practices for state agencies and labor organizations to partner with libraries to create accessible collections that comprehensively document public sector collective bargaining.
And for SLA:
Through collaboration with the New York State Public Employment Relations Board, Cornell University’s Martin P. Catherwood Library has established a collection of public sector collective bargaining agreements (CBAs), including 7,000 held in their open access digital repository, DigitalCommons@ILR. ILR Research Librarian Aliqae Geraci and Digital Projects Coordinator Jim DelRosso will present their preliminary research findings of a 50-state survey identifying and evaluating similar state-level collections of public sector CBAs, and discuss standards and best practices for libraries seeking to develop publicly accessible collections in partnership with government agencies.
- Participants will be briefed on key issues surrounding public sector labor relations in the United States in order to interpret the findings of the state-level survey of collective bargaining agreement collections and assess their comprehensiveness and accessibility.
- Participants will map existing state-level print and digital CBA collections in order to strategically identify potential partnerships and collaborative opportunities between libraries, labor unions, and government bodies.
So if you’re going to be at LAWCHA/WCSA in Washington, DC at the end of May, or at SLA in June, please join us! We promise you’ll learn something.
Our library closes to the public at noon today, and that’ll wrap up 2014 for me, work-wise. In so many ways, it was not the year I expected to have. Running for President-Elect of SLA was a huge part of that, naturally, but even things I knew about going in — like my digital scholarship fellowship — took me to unexpected places.
It was exhausting and exhilarating, and rarely did the two take turns. I already have much to prepare for in 2015, so the upcoming week and a half of (relative) rest is not something I’ll be taking for granted. I have a feeling I’m going to need it.
I also hope I will never take for granted all the excellent people I’ve gotten to work with in 2014, at HLM and Cornell, in SLA, and beyond; thank you for doing wonderful work and occasionally letting me be a part of it.
I am grateful to the folks out there fighting the good fight for our profession, our society, and our world; the folks whose risks and efforts completely eclipse my own. My gratitude and admiration go out to #teamharpy, and the people working hard in their support, as well as anyone who takes to the streets in pursuit of justice and the acknowledgement that #BlackLivesMatter.
I am also deeply grateful to my family for all their support, even in the face of the most unexpected and barely explicable librarian shenanigans.
Thank you all. Happy holidays, Happy New Year, and I hope to see you in 2015.