14 November 2019


£33,797 - £40,322 p/a

The University of Edinburgh wishes to appoint a Digital Archivist to manage its digital preservation service and provide both professional and technical oversight to ensure best practice in terms of digital archives in a wide variety of media as well as born-digital and digitised content such as research data. This will include coordinating and supervising the digital appraisal processes, ingest of digital collections, cataloguing and ensuring discoverability of archival and research data collections.

You will be based in the archives team at the Centre for Research Collections but will also spend a significant part of your time at Argyle House working with colleagues in the Research Data Support and Scholarly Communications and Library Digital Development teams.

You should have a postgraduate qualification in archival management, or equivalent in a relevant subject, and practical experience of digital preservation and digital collections management. Experience of working in a project environment is desirable.

Job Purpose

To manage the digital preservation service at the University of Edinburgh on behalf of all the stakeholders, providing both professional and technical oversight, ensuring the use of best practice in terms of digital archives, covering the preservation of text, images and audio-visual content as well as other born-digital/digitised records such as research data. To co-ordinate and supervise the digital appraisal processes, ingest of digital collections, cataloguing and ensuring discoverability of archival collections and research data with a focus on increasing efficiency using automation where possible. To provide support in this area through advocacy, best practice and training to staff and students to manage their own digital collections and connected University data.

Main Responsibilities
  • Undertaking the technical collections management (identification, accession, appraisal, cataloguing, digital preservation) and service delivery of digital collections through a managed process, to professional and technical standards to ensure discoverability and access to collections. (Approx 60% of time)
  • Work with the Digital Library Development Team to develop the digital preservation system’s functionality and interoperability with other systems, maintaining professional standards and best practice. (Approx 10% of time)
  • Advocacy for digital collections and the essential need for preservation, as well as requirements for digital archival and research data management preservation across the University. (Approx 5% of time)
  • Work with the Archives Team to ensure appropriate levels of appraisal and metadata creation (including automated processes) take place of digital archives and collections to ensure interoperability, compliance and discoverability. (Approx 20% of time)
  • Explore connectivity, shared practice and workflows with research data management, looking at when research data becomes archival and sharing best practice on appraisal, retention and disposal. (Approx 5% of time)
Planning and Organising
  • Planning in project tasks and core tasks as identified in the main responsibilities, assessing short and long term requirements in consultation with the Archives Manager and other relevant stakeholders.
  • Individual responsibility for digital archival collections cataloguing and discoverability. This includes management of this process for identified collections.
  • Liaison with Conservation and Digitisation staff to ensure digital preservation activity fits within the wider access / preservation workflow.
  • Developing systems to provide and improve required functionality such as reporting on relevant digital preservation metrics and projecting them into the future for so as to analyse future needs.
Problem Solving
  • Seek advice and guidance from the Archives Manager on methodologies, best practice, procedures, regulations and legislation that impacts on collections.
  • Work with Digital Library Team to see where technology solutions can be applied to lead to streamlining and automation of processes.
  • Apply an awareness of other digital research collections across the University that may have an impact on preservation, cataloguing and requirement for cross referencing.
  • Work with colleagues to address challenges in metadata mapping and authority control when presenting collections in multiple formats (e.g. with archival, library and museum components).
Decision Making
  • Design and advise on the development of workflows for Digital Preservation.
  • Recognise when to refer decisions to senior management or for technical review within the Centre for Research Collections and Library and University Collections
  • Recognise when to refer a decision on accession, appraisal, cataloguing approach, data protection, copyright and access to material to the Archives Manager
  • Contribute to team and project decisions and input to the management of the collections through meetings, group discussions and other communications.

Key Contacts/Relationships

  • Archives Manager
  • Digital Library Development Manager
  • Members of the Archives Team
  • Members of the Digital Library Development Team
  • Research Data Support and Scholarly Communications Team
  • Wider teams and staff members in the Centre for Research Collections
  • Metadata Coordinator and Metadata Services Team
  • Conservation staff
  • Digital Imaging Unit staff
  • Wider Information Services staff
  • Academic staff and students
  • Visitors and members of the public
  • Interns and volunteers
  • Outside contractors e.g. software or equipment maintenance engineers

Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job



  • A postgraduate qualification in archival management or equivalent in a relevant subject


  • Project management experience


  • Practical experience of digital preservation and digital collections management
  • Experience of contributing to the development of digital preservation tools
  • Practical experience of archival cataloguing
  • Experience of working in an archive, library or research environment
  • Ability to work in a front facing, collections focused environment


  • Archival cataloguing in a University environment
  • Technical experience of developing digital preservation tools

Knowledge, Skills and Competencies


  • Demonstrable experience of working with digital preservation software and systems
  • Technical knowledge of digital preservation and archival standards such as ISAD (G), EAD and archival practice
  • Experience of working with different software systems and databases including workflow tools, file identification tools
  • Demonstrable experience and skill in using IT packages such as Microsoft Office and an openness to new forms of technology
  • Awareness of the legislative framework such as Data Protection, Copyright, Health and Safety and Equality and Diversity
  • Knowledge and skill in using library and archive cataloguing and collections management systems


  • Familiarity with the OAIS reference model, METS and PREMIS standards
  • Familiarity with the properties of different file formats
  • Demonstrable knowledge and skills about the requirements for a large scale or complex archival cataloguing projects
  • Experience with open source technology

Personal Attributes


  • Ability to work independently or as part of a team
  • Excellent communication and negotiation skills
  • Accurate and methodical approach to work
  • Flexibility as to change in tasks, environment and approaches to working practice


  • Line management skills
  • Ability to think creatively when problem solving


The post will be based within the Archives Team in the Centre for Research Collections, Library and University Collections. The post will be line managed by the Archives Manager.

Job Context and any other relevant information

The post is established for one year in the first instance. It will be based at the Centre for Research Collections in the Main University Library.


Interviews are likely to be held in the week commencing 18th November.

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