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Visual Materials Cataloger

Position Title: Visual Materials Cataloger

Supervisor: Manager, Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives

Department: Library

Grade: 56, exempt

Hours: Full-time, 35 hours per week

Job Summary

Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, a research center in Washington DC affiliated with Harvard University and supporting scholarship in Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and Garden and Landscape Studies, seeks a Visual Materials Cataloger to work with collections relating to the scholarly programs and the institution’s history. Dumbarton Oaks actively acquires, organizes, preserves, describes, and provides access to photographic documentation in various media; textual and visual records of archaeological surveys and excavations; papers of noteworthy scholars in the three fields of study; records relating to the history of Dumbarton Oaks; prints and drawings; and the scholarly literature in and relating to the three fields of study. The Visual Materials Cataloger will describe photographs, prints, drawings, architectural renderings, archaeological illustrations, and related materials, as well as assist with cataloging and review of metadata for other formats, working collaboratively with the library’s other cataloging staff.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Creates item-level descriptive metadata according to national and local standards for visual materials in JSTOR Forum.
• Assesses, modifies and migrates legacy item-level metadata for visual materials to JSTOR Forum and other systems.
• Assists with identifying and preparing materials for digitization.
• Assists with occasional reference and research support for in-person and remote users.
• Assists with occasional collection management tasks pertaining to visual materials collections, such as rehousing.
• Contributes to the Library’s policy and procedures evaluation and development.
• May supervise and provide training for students, interns, or temporary employees in item-level or image cataloging projects.
• Serves on working groups and committees as appropriate.


• MLS from ALA-Accredited program or equivalent degree.
• Minimum of 2 years professional experience working with metadata in a library or archive.
• Knowledge of cataloging, subject analysis, classification, and authority control and experience in the application  of associated rules and standards, including RDA, AACR2, VRA Core, CCO, DACS, DCRM, LC classification, LCSH, LC Authorities, AAT, TGM, and CCO.

Additional Qualifications

• Ability to create and manipulate XML documents and data; knowledge of XML encoding schemas such as METS/MODS and EAD.
• Familiarity with different formats of photographic media and knowledge of best practices for handling, storage, and preservation of archival and special collections materials.
• Strong organizational and project management skills; proven ability to work independently, establish goals, set priorities and carry out tasks with limited direction.
• Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively and effectively as part of a team.
• Interpersonal skills necessary to serve diverse communities of researchers and collaborators.
• Excellent oral and written communication skills.
• Experience providing original cataloging for special collections, especially visual materials.
• Experience working in JSTOR Forum, Alma, ArchivesSpace and OCLC Connexion.
• Experience in migrating and/or transforming metadata.
• Experience with Open Refine, MARC Edit and/or other metadata management utilities.
• Knowledge of emerging practices related to linked data, RDF, and/or BIBFRAME.
• Strong research skills.
• Reading knowledge of one or more languages other than English.

Working Conditions

The University requires all Harvard community members to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and remain up to date with COVID-19 vaccine boosters, as detailed in Harvard’s Vaccine & Booster Requirements. Individuals may claim exemption from the vaccine requirement for medical or religious reasons. More information regarding the University’s COVID vaccination requirement, exemptions, and verification of vaccination status may be found at the University’s “COVID-19 Vaccine Information” webpage:

To Apply

The position remains open until filled. Please forward résumé and cover letter detailing relevant qualifications by clicking the link below.

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Harvard University views equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as the pathway to achieving inclusive excellence and fostering a campus culture where everyone can thrive. We strive to create a community that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity while fully embracing individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values.

Dumbarton Oaks is an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).