Mesoamerican Language Collections Project Manager/Metadata Specialist

University of Chicago

University of Chicago

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IT, Operations
Chicago, IL, USA
Posted on Saturday, November 18, 2023


Library University of Chicago Library

About the Department

Widely known as guardian of one of the largest academic library collections in North America, the University of Chicago Library is redefining its role as a provider of services within an increasingly open global knowledge ecosystem. We value open and equitable access to knowledge, freedom of speech and inquiry, and working in partnership within and beyond the UChicago community. We are creating a working environment that embraces innovation and respect and that celebrates and develops staff.

As part of the University of Chicago, we offer a wide variety of strong benefits and programs to academics and staff. From a choice of comprehensive health plan options and wellness programs, short and long-term disability insurance, continuing education opportunities including educational assistance plans, competitive retirement plans and paid time off (vacation, personal and university holidays), we’re committed to providing benefits and a work environment that matters!

Job Summary

The Project Manager/Metadata Specialist will manage and coordinate all aspects of the NEH-funded project 'Expanding Chicago’s Mesoamerican Language Collections.' The grant funded project expands the UChicago Library’s Mesoamerican Language Collections (MLC) by building a workflow for accessioning new materials to the MLC and then acquiring new and novel deposits to our existing collections of audio recordings, published materials, unpublished manuscripts, and language instruction materials relating to indigenous languages. Internally, the Project Manager will help design the workflow by developing depositor guidelines for metadata and digitization standards; using sample deposits to estimate depositor and staff effort in time and monetary resources for processing different content and media types; and developing public-facing documentation on the MLC website to convey the guidelines and effort estimates. Externally, the Project Manager will oversee deposits by interfacing with both academic- and community-based depositors; convening meetings and workshops with Library staff and others to address various issues; and supporting outreach and publicity to relevant donors and users.


  • Coordinate between project personnel and staff in Technical Services who are responsible for cataloging policies and practices that might intersect with the work of the project, technical staff from the Library’s Digital Library Development Center who are responsible for building the online portal, and archivists in Special Collections who handle manuscript deposits.

  • Coordinate and manage the overall workflow of the project to accomplish all the project goals, including creating documentation and timelines, problem solving, coordinating with stakeholders, and ensuring that the project aligns with best practices for the handling of heritage collections.

  • Work with depositors to prepare materials for deposit and, where relevant, supervise student workers and interns helping individual depositors.

  • Supervise the project’s metadata work by working with staff and depositors to create, apply, enhance and standardize metadata records.

  • Work with faculty and graduate students with domain expertise to identify materials from unknown languages and locations, flag copyright and ethical issues, and do other research that will inform the creation of catalog records or the functionality of the online portal.

  • Interacts with faculty, researchers and staff for committee work or information.

  • Uses general understanding and experience to administer the delivery of services to program participants and/or beneficiaries.

  • Performs other related work as needed.

Minimum Qualifications


Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

Work Experience:

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through < 2 years of work experience in a related job discipline.



Preferred Qualifications


  • Master’s level degree from ALA-accredited program.

  • Post-graduate degree (M.A., M.S., Ph.D.) in Latin American Studies or a related field such as Anthropology or Linguistics.


  • Experience with digital exhibition and content management systems.

  • Background in Mesoamerican languages or cultures.

  • Experience with archival collections in indigenous languages

  • Experience with project management..

Technical Skills or Knowledge:

  • Understanding of the principles of metadata description and skill with major metadata standards and controlled vocabularies, including Dublin Core, MARC.

  • Understanding of the principles of controlled vocabularies and entity identifier systems and ability to work with linguistic and/or geographic controlled vocabularies.

  • Ability to read, write, and speak Spanish.

Preferred Competencies

  • Strong written and oral communication and collaboration skills.

  • A good understanding of the accepted principles and standards of descriptive metadata and controlled vocabularies, as well as familiarity with applying metadata to heritage collections.

  • A deep interest in the goals of the project, the complexities involved in describing and archiving heterogeneous materials and supporting user-friendly discovery, and the importance of best practices for working with heritage collections.

  • Capable of working effectively with donors.

Application Documents

  • Resume/CV (required)

When applying, the document(s) MUST be uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.

Job Family

Administration & Management

Role Impact

Individual Contributor

FLSA Status


Pay Frequency


Scheduled Weekly Hours


Benefits Eligible


Drug Test Required


Health Screen Required


Motor Vehicle Record Inquiry Required


Posting Statement

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, military or veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.

We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.

All offers of employment are contingent upon a background check that includes a review of conviction history. A conviction does not automatically preclude University employment. Rather, the University considers conviction information on a case-by-case basis and assesses the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding it, the proximity in time of the conviction, and its relevance to the position.

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