Internships (2): Chicago History Museum: Small Manuscripts Metadata Project

12 Feb 2018 12:14 PM | Janet Olson (Administrator)

The Chicago History Museum (CHM) seeks two interns to assist implementation of a grant funded retroconversion project to transform the remainder of our small manuscript collection descriptions from local card catalog access to global electronic access. Throughout the process, the intern will learn how to describe manuscript collections according to library standards, how to research missing pieces of description, how to ensure data is electronically discoverable, and ultimately how to better accomplish manuscript research. Under the direction of the Cataloging and Metadata Librarian, the interns will work with the catalog cards for the Archives & Manuscripts small collections.

 Intern Position #1 will photocopy and resort our A&M catalog by collection (if needed – this work is almost finished), analyze which catalog cards already have electronic versions and which need to still be digitized, and reformat bibliographic data from card catalog format to MARC format.

 Intern Position #2 will be enhancing and updating catalog records where needed and identifying collections that should also be discoverable in consortia databases like WorldCat and EXPLORE Chicago Collections.

 Should time permit, students are also welcome to assist with other duties as they arise.

The schedule for this project begins on May 1, 2018. Hours are flexible, but must be completed between 9:30 am–4:30 pm Tuesday-Saturday and total a minimum of 12 hours a week for between 10-16 weeks. 


·         College degree complete or in process (Position #1)

·         Library science or similar graduate degree in process (Position #2)

·         Experience with Microsoft Excel

·         Excellent verbal and written communication skills

·         Ability to work with fragile paper

·         Ability to work under pressure

·         Ability to ascend and descend stairs

·         Ability to lift and carry objects/boxes weighing up to 25 pounds

·         Commitment to the mission, values, and programs of the Chicago History Museum


·         History and/or research coursework experience preferred 

·         Prior library experience (especially cataloging)

·         Experience with ILS systems (especially SirsiDynix/Horizon)

·         Knowledge of or interest in Chicago history

Project Overview
CHM has approximately 6,000 small manuscript collections that are only described in analog card catalog form. The collections are varied, but most are unique materials describing aspects of life in the United States from the Colonial era to the Civil War. Many were acquired in the early 20th century, and their descriptions have not been updated since that time. With online catalogs now ubiquitous, researchers expect that a repository’s holdings will be discoverable remotely. Since 2006 the majority of CHM’s research collections have been discoverable via an online catalog, SirsiDynix’s Horizon, which is branded as ARCHIE. Because these small manuscript collections are not found in ARCHIE, researchers are either unaware of their existence or frustrated when they have a citation to one of them and cannot find it online, necessitating a librarian’s intervention. Making these collections available online will increase their discoverability and usefulness.

 About Chicago History Museum

CHM’s mission is to share Chicago’s stories, serving as a hub of scholarship and learning, inspiration, and civic engagement.

Founded in 1856, the Chicago History Museum (CHM) is the city’s oldest cultural institution and home to over 22 million objects, including documents, books, fine and decorative arts, costumes, prints, photographs, and architectural drawings. Nationally recognized for its collections, CHM specializes in the diverse and evolving history of Chicago, as well as selected areas of regional and American history.

To Apply

Please send a cover letter expressing interest in the position and a current resume outlining relevant experience and skills to Gretchen Neidhardt (, Cataloging and Metadata Librarian at the Chicago History Museum. This internship may be completed as a practicum for credit; please indicate in your application materials if you intend to pursue credit. Any questions about the position also can be directed to her. Deadline for applications is March 10, 2018.

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