Digital Archivist graduate training scheme
The Bodleian Libraries Digital Archivist Graduate Training Scheme is a unique programme offering a combination of on-the-job training and postgraduate study specifically in the area of digital archiving.
This two-year programme aims to create digital archivists of the future. On completion, trainees will receive a professional postgraduate Diploma in Digital Information and Media Management from Aberystwyth University, which has partnered with the Bodleian Libraries in the training scheme.
During the programme, trainees will learn both traditional and digital archiving skills and will have the opportunity to apply these skills in practical archival projects. They will be involved in processing modern archive materials in all formats, from paper and analogue to born-digital, using a range of tools and technologies. They will also look at the creation and enhancement of digital preservation tools and learn everything from using forensic techniques to interpret and preserve archives to managing ethical and legal risks associated with collecting and providing access to archival materials.
The Bodleian Libraries has collected archival materials for over 400 years from around the globe, including handwritten manuscripts, official documents, audiovisual records, photographs, drawings and beyond. Archivists collect the records of people and organisations in order to provide sources for exploring and interpreting our history. These materials come in all kinds of formats, from manuscripts written on calf skin to enormous email archives. We even archive websites.
More and more of what archivists collect is born digitally, and must be preserved digitally too. Many new collections include digital materials, from email to databases to websites. These collections are born digitally and must be preserved digitally too. Digital technology is constantly shifting, and the challenges of preserving materials in digital formats require constant innovation, problem-solving, research and development.
The job of the archivist is to collect these materials – the records of people and organisations in society – in order to provide sources for exploring and interpreting our history. Bodleian Libraries’ Graduate Trainee Digital Archivists will develop valuable skills and knowledge in the management of archives, with a particular emphasis on the needs of born digital archival materials.
The Trainee Archivist role is a salaried role with a starting salary of grade 2.6 of the University's salary scale. The Bodleian Libraries will also cover the fees for your postgraduate Diploma in Digital Information and Media Management from Aberystwyth University. The Oxford programme meets the standards set by the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) code of practice.
If you are a university graduate with a good grasp of digital technologies, excellent research and communication skills, willingness to work closely with a team, and a passion for problem-solving, this might be the career for you.
We particularly welcome applications from individuals with a background in STEM or Social Sciences, who are under-represented in the field.
Applications for 2023 are now closed.
Frequently asked questions about the scheme
Much of your training will be on-the-job, with support and guidance from colleagues in the Bodleian Libraries who are experts in their field. You’ll learn both traditional and digital archiving skills, and the majority of your practical work will focus on digital materials and archives metadata. You'll have the opportunity to apply these to some internationally important 20th- and 21st-century archival collections. You'll work with colleagues on a range of activities such as:
- digital archives processing, including archiving of websites;
- cataloguing of archive collections, both analogue and digital;
- XML manipulation and metadata management;
- working with databases;
- providing services to users of special collections.
To read about the experiences of some of our former trainees, please visit our blog.
To help you shape your learning you will develop and maintain an Individual Learning Plan so that you can target the knowledge and skills you need, and build a portfolio to demonstrate your achievements. You will augment your skills and knowledge in an iterative way, as you apply principles in a practical setting, reinforcing your academic learning. Learning approaches will include:
- shadowing experts in the field;
- participating in small group or 1-to-1 training sessions;
- carrying out hands-on work on projects and routine activities;
- reading and researching concepts, issues, and problems, feeding into the Libraries’ work in relevant areas through discussion with colleagues and written reports;
- participating in the Oxford Libraries' Graduate Trainee Programme.
Part of your role will be to share your learning through the Bodleian Libraries' social media and to act as an ambassador for the scheme.
As you move into your second year with us you will also help to support volunteers and work-experience students, a process that is intended to help you learn and share your growing knowledge.
DigCurv outlines the knowledge and skills you will need to work in digital archives.
During your two years with the Bodleian Libraries you will study at Aberystwyth University, earning a postgraduate Diploma in Digital Information and Media Management. In the digital age, most roles as a digital archivist demand a relevant postgraduate qualification, and our goal is to support trainees to achieve that qualification, while giving them practical hands-on experience with both traditional and digital archival work.
The Bodleian Libraries and Aberystwyth University have developed a study timetable which will structure your distance-learning studies to allow completion of your Diploma in Digital Information and Media Management within the period of the traineeship. The programme is designed to provide not just reading and assignments but also work-based experiences that support learning outcomes.
The modules you will follow during your studies are as follows:
- Archives and Records – Practical Project (10 credits)
- Digital Collection Development (20 credits)
- Digital Preservation (20 credits)
- Knowledge and Information Architecture (20 credits)
- Record Keeping Process and Practice (20 credits)
- Record Keeping Theories and Contexts (10 credits)
- Research in the Profession (10 credits)
- Management Information Systems (10 credits)
Depending on your existing knowledge and individual learning pace, you will need to dedicate approximately 15 hours to study each week. To provide you with dedicated study time, you will be released from work duties for one afternoon per week. Of course, you will also need to invest some of your own time to succeed.
As part of the diploma, you must attend two study schools, which may be in-person or virtual. The Bodleian Libraries will release you for these study schools and cover your study school fees, and reasonable travel and accommodation costs. Aberystwyth University provides further information about the Study Schools.
Aberystwyth University's Department of Information Studies supports its distance learning students in many ways. The department will allocate you a personal tutor, who will provide guidance for the duration of your studies. In addition, you will have access to a wide variety of online resources, advice and support to supplement your studies via the University's VLE (Virtual Learning Environment). Trainees will also have direct access to academic specialists throughout their studies, as well as the opportunity to meet and engage with fellow students on the course through the study schools and VLE.
On successful completion of the programme trainees will receive a professional postgraduate Diploma in Digital Information and Media Management from Aberystwyth University.
It is possible to convert your postgraduate Diploma to a Master's level qualification by completing a dissertation. This process requires payment of a fee to Aberystwyth University, as well as work of researching and writing the dissertation. Trainees are solely responsible for the fees and work associated with converting the diploma to a degree.
The Trainee Archivist role is a 24-month salaried training role with a starting salary of grade 2.6 of the University's salary scale, increasing by one salary grade point annually.
The Bodleian Libraries will also cover the fees for your postgraduate Diploma in Digital Information and Media Management from Aberystwyth University.
You will have the benefits of all University of Oxford employees available to you. These include a paid annual leave allowance of 38 days per year (inclusive of all public holidays and library closed days).
You will be based in the Weston Library on Broad Street, home to the Bodleian’s special collections.
There are usually two Graduate Digital Archivist Trainees in post at any one time. New trainees will work alongside a trainee who is part-way through their traineeship.
You will also become part of a cohort of Graduate Library Trainees working across Oxford's libraries on a 12-month scheme. Every effort is made to bring trainees together to allow them to share experiences and build networks.
Digital archivists work in many different kinds of organisation. A career in digital archiving could see you involved in a wide range of projects and working in a variety of settings, nationally and internationally.
Below are some useful links to archivist job listings and overviews of the archival profession:
This traineeship is intended for new entrants to the sector. We do not consider applications from individuals who already hold qualifications in archives, libraries, museum or information science; who have already completed traineeships in the sector; or who have been employed in a professional role in the sector. The following resources may be of use for your own professional development:
- Digital Preservation Coalition
- Archives and Records Association
- Digital Curation Centre
- Open Preservation Foundation
- IS&T Archiving
- Society of American Archivists Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) Curriculum and Certificate Program
The role does not attract sufficient points to obtain a sponsored tier 2 Visa under the points- based immigration system. However, applications are welcome from candidates who don’t currently have the right to work in the UK, but who would be eligible to obtain a visa via another route.
If you have questions about the scheme please email Susan Thomas, Head of Archives and Modern Manuscripts via email: email@example.com.
If you have questions about the scheme please contact Susan Thomas, Head of Archives and Modern Manuscripts via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Developing the Next Generation Archivist programme at the Bodleian Libraries is made possible through the generous support of:
- Carnegie Corporation of New York: Support for four traineeships, 2017–2019
- Heritage Lottery Fund: Support for six traineeships, 2014-2019, through the Skills for the Future programme
We should also like to acknowledge the support of the Guy and Elinor Meynell Charitable Trust, the Barbers' Company, the Stationers’ Company, the Helen Roll charity and the Strachey Trust, as well as anonymous donors.
- Bodleian Electronic Archives and Manuscripts website
Learn more about digital archiving at the Bodleian Libraries
Find out about the knowledge and skills you will need to work in digital archives
- The Archives and Records Association Competencies Framework
An overview of competencies for archivists, encompassing traditional and digital curation
- Digital Preservation Coalition
Digital preservation work in the UK
- Library of Congress Signal blog
A monthly round up of work in the field of digital curation