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. 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. Digital technology is constantly shifting, and the challenges of preserving materials in digital formats require constant innovation, problem-solving, research and development.

Trainees will have the opportunity to learn both traditional and digital archiving skills and the apply these skills to important projects. They will be involved in processing modern archive materials in all formats, using a range of tools and technologies. They will also look at the creation and enhancement of digital preservation tools and learn everything from how to manage legal risks to effectively using forensic techniques. At the same time participants will also work towards, and gain, a prestigious professional postgraduate diploma from Aberystwyth University.

The Trainee Archivist role is a salaried role with a starting salary of grade 2.5 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. The Oxford programme meets the standards set by the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) code of practice.

If you are a graduate with a good grasp of digital technologies, excellent research skills and a passion for problem-solving then this might be the career for you. You will also need great communication skills, initiative and a willingness to work closely with a team. We particularly welcome applications from individuals with a background in STEM or Social Sciences, who are under-represented in the field.

Applications for traineeships are now closed. Please check again in 2023.

Frequently asked questions about the scheme

 

You will be based in the Weston Library on Broad Street, home to the Bodleian’s special collections.

 

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 have the opportunity to apply these to some internationally important collections. You will work with colleagues on a range of activities such as:

  • digital archives processing, including archiving of websites; 
  • cataloguing of archive collections; 
  • XML manipulation and metadata management; 
  • 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 to develop and build a portfolio to demonstrate these. You will augment your skills and knowledge in an iterative way, with principles and practices reinforcing each other. Learning approaches will include:

  • shadowing experts in the field; 
  • small training sessions; 
  • hands-on experience, supporting aspects of existing projects and routine activities; 
  • reading and research to feed into discussion; 
  • reading and research with written outcomes; 
  • 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.

DigCurv outlines the knowledge and skills you will need to work in digital archives.

 

There will usually be at least two Graduate Digital Archivist Trainees in post at any one time, and 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.

 

To develop your career as a digital archivist you will need a relevant postgraduate qualification. During your two years with the Bodleian Libraries you will study at Aberystwyth University, earning a postgraduate Diploma in Digital Information and Media Management.

The Bodleian have worked with Aberystwyth University to develop 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. We will also do what we can to provide work-based experiences that support the reading and assignments set as part of your studies.

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)

The Master's dissertation is not part of the course offered under our training scheme.

Depending on your existing knowledge and individual learning pace, you will need to dedicate approximately 15 hours to study each week. To help you manage your studies, we will release you for one afternoon of study time per week. You will also need to invest some of your own time to succeed.

As part of the Diploma, you must attend two study schools at Aberystwyth; the Libraries will release you for these residential study schools and cover your travel costs and study school fees. Aberystwyth University provides further information about the Study Schools

(Note that the Master's dissertation is not part of the course offered under the Bodleian Libraries' Training Scheme.)

 

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.

 

The Trainee Archivist role is a salaried role with a starting salary of grade 2.5 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 from Aberystwyth University.

It is possible to convert your postgraduate Diploma to a Master's level qualification by completing a dissertation. This requires payment of a fee to Aberystwyth University, for which the trainee is solely responsible.

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).

 

Digital archivists work in many different kinds of organisation. A career in this field could see you involved in a wide range of projects and working in a variety of settings, both nationally and internationally. Useful links to archivist job listings and overviews of the archival profession:

This traineeship is intended for new entrants to the sector.

If you already have, or are currently doing, an undergraduate or postgraduate degree related to Archives Administration/Information Management/Museum Studies, or if you have already completed an Archives/Heritage/Libraries Traineeship, the following resources may be of use for your own professional development:

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.

Applications for traineeships are now closed. Please check again in 2023.

If you have questions about the scheme please email Susan Thomas, Head of Archives and Modern Manuscripts via email: susan.thomas@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Acknowledgements

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.

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