The New York Public Library: Archival Web Developer

Posted by | December 14, 2011 | Web Pro Job Tips

Location: New York, NY


The New York Public Library seeks a talented web applications developer to help build and launch a new digital archives environment as part of its new research and development unit, NYPL Labs.
Us? A small, creative team at the heart of one of the world’s great cultural institutions: exploring new technologies, imagining the future of research.
You? A maker and experimenter game to help evolve a century-old organization. Able to build, test and debug in rapid iterations. Excited by deep archives and interested in figuring out ways to breathe new life into them digitally.
Archives? The raw material of research and the building blocks of new knowledge. The New York Public Library is one of the largest and most used archival repositories in the country, housing the papers of individuals and families, the records of organizations, and other collections of unique and unpublished material. NYPL’s archives contain a wide variety of primary source material, not only paper documents – such as correspondence, manuscripts, and diaries – but also photographs, sound recordings, films, videotapes, artifacts, floppy disks, hard drives and other born-digital records. They can range in size from a single document to hundreds of boxes. Thousands of books, articles, dissertations, documentaries and other works have been created out of our archives.
The work? To redesign the mechanisms for digitally serving archival materials in ways that equal, even excel, the richness of physical research. The project will begin with prototyping around the collected papers of Samuel Jones Tilden: political reformer, New York governor, Tammany prosecutor, almost-U.S. president, and one of the founders of The New York Public Library. This model collection will lay the foundation for a broader archives web environment: a cornerstone of the Library’s digital future. You’ll work at NYPL’s landmark central branch on 42nd Street as technical lead on an archives project team collaborating with senior curators and librarians.*
Position is grant-funded for 12 months with possibility of extension.
Sounds like you? Submit your application, including resume and a cover letter, that really shows us who you are.
*Got side projects? Not a problem. NYPL offers a fast-paced but humane work culture, leaving you time to live, play and create outside of the office. Artists, hackers, writers, musicians… we all work at the Library.
  • Develop online finding aid environment based on Encoded Archival Description (E.A.D.) standard
  • Build upon (and contribute back to) open source tools to create integrated document viewer
  • Help identify and plan archives-related technology projects
  • Collaborate closely with curatorial teams
  • Work with teams throughout NYPL to integrate with core technology infrastructure
Position will report to the Manager of NYPL Labs, and work closely with Labs product manager, Assistant Director for Archives and Manuscripts, Repository team, and Senior Manager for Web Initiatives.
  • Excellent knowledge of Javascript, including frameworks and techniques such as AJAX or JQuery
  • Experience working with Encoded Archival Description (EAD) or expert knowledge of XML and XSLT strongly desired
  • Solid experience using scripting languages for building web applications (PHP, Ruby, Python, Perl)
  • Expert level HTML and CSS skills
  • Clear, acute writing style (there will be blogging and potentially other writing opportunities)
  • Bachelors or Masters degree in Library Information Systems, Computer Science, Web Development, Digital Design, or a related field (or equivalent professional experience) is required
  • Passion for libraries, archives and open source/open access culture a must.
  • Some understanding of archival collections (from collection processing, management, or as a researcher)
  • Knowledge of  TEI, METS, MODS, and OAI-PMH
  • Demonstrated experience working with dynamic content in template-driven web frameworks such as Ruby on Rails, Django, Drupal, etc.

To apply: Apply online:

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