Tag: Projects

Call for Applicants: CLIR Digitization Specialist

Miners leaving work after a long day at C&H.

The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, a department within the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library at Michigan Technological University, is currently seeking applicants for a Digitization Specialist to produce digital surrogates of archival documents. This position will support the Archives digitization program associated with the recently awarded Council on Library and Information Resources Digitizing Hidden Special Collections grant project “Michigan Miners at Home and Work: Digitizing, Mapping, and Sharing Employee Records.” This will include routine and repetitive tasks working with a large collection of archival materials pertaining to the regional copper mining industry.

The Digitization Specialist will be responsible for creating digital images according to deadlines and at specific levels of quality to meet the Library’s goals and the grant project’s guidelines for preserving collections and providing online access. The Digitization Specialist is also responsible for transcribing textual information from digitized archival records, safeguarding sensitive information, and creating appropriate descriptive metadata to enhance discovery of records in a variety of contexts. This position will provide specialized support for still image materials utilizing a variety of imaging equipment, software, techniques, and standards. The Digitization Specialist will work closely with professional staff, faculty, and various student assistants, assisting in the training and quality control of student work. This position involves using a variety of office technology, moving and shelving archival materials, properly handling fragile archival materials, and will require the ability to lift and carry up to 35 pounds and push carts up to 100 pounds.

The Digitization Specialist must possess a strong attention to detail and have excellent organizational and project-management skills; have strong interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills; have an ability to work effectively independently and as part of a team; and possess a demonstrated commitment to providing outstanding service.

This is a 40 hour per week, temporary position intended to span one year with the possibility to renew depending on funding and the needs of the project. There are no benefits included with this position and the successful candidate will be expected to cover travel expenses to Houghton, Michigan. The position will be compensated for actual work performed at the hourly rate of $18.00 per hour. Offers of employment are contingent upon and not considered finalized until the required background check has been performed and the results received and assessed.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities

  • Provide support for the archives grant-funded digitization project.
  • Scan archival documents using scanning equipment, such as flatbed scanners, large format scanners, computers, and document cameras.
  • EEdit digital content, including cropping, image rotation, contrast adjustment, blurring, and other techniques using Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop) and other software.
  • Maintain order and control in naming and storage of digital files.
  • Create and edit descriptive information about digitized materials (metadata creation), for example, recording item formats, creation dates, dimensions, source information, notes, etc. Review descriptive metadata for spelling and other errors.
  • Transcribe information from historical documents. Review transcriptions for spelling and other errors.
  • Research and assign appropriate subject headings according to best practices and standards. 
  • Maintain proper collections handling and order in the scanning station and storage spaces; responsible for retrieval and shelving of collections. 
  • Maintain security of confidential and sensitive information.
  • Work with colleagues in various departments to reach all outlined project goals on time and with accuracy. 
  • Assist university archivist and manager of technology and innovation with development of project workflows and guidelines.
  • Assist manager of technology and innovation and others as needed with the set up and oversight of project scanning station(s); keep work area and equipment clean and orderly.
  • Assist project leaders with the supervision and training of student assistants; provide assistance with quality control of student work.
  • Keep records about preservation concerns, including making notes of damaged items and working with the university archivist to suggest storage improvements for materials at risk.
  • Represent the University and library at all times with service excellence and demonstrate a focus on safety; demonstrate highly effective collaboration with staff within the department and across the library.
  • Duties must be performed courteously, accurately and in a timely manner.
  • Other duties as assigned.
  • Apply safety-related knowledge, skills, and practices to everyday work.
  • Commit to learning about continuous improvement strategies and applying them to everyday work. Actively engage in University continuous improvement initiatives.

Required Education (minimum requirements)
Bachelor’s degree or an equivalent combination of education and experience from which comparable knowledge and abilities can be acquired.

Desired Education
Bachelor’s degree; college level coursework in history, especially US history or Michigan history; knowledge of copper mining, industrial heritage, or labor history.

Required Experience (minimum requirements)
Two years of office/clerical experience. 
Two years experience using a computer with basic software packages including word processing and database and spreadsheet applications.
One year of experience using digital imaging software such as Adobe Creative Suite (especially Photoshop) or similar.

Desired Experience

  • Two years or more of experience using digital imaging software such as Adobe Creative Suite (especially Photoshop) or similar.
  • One year of experience in a library, archives, or museum environment.
  • Demonstrated experience handling archival materials.
  • Familiarity or experience with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). 

Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (minimum requirements)

  • Excellent interpersonal and customer service skills with experience working with diverse populations.
  • Experience working effectively and with patience while conducting repetitive tasks with some interruption.
  • The ability to read cursive writing.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively across cultural boundaries and work harmoniously with diverse groups of students, faculty, and staff.
  • Commitment to learning new skills.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
  • Demonstrated commitment to contribute to a safe work environment.

Work Environment
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this position the incumbent is required to use a computer workstation (and its software applications through a keyboard/mouse), telephone and a variety of equipment including scanners, photocopiers and others. They may elect to stand or sit (or a combination) but these activities constitute the majority of the work of this position during the workday. Some interruptions, including questions, phone calls and electronic communication are common and the incumbent must be able to return to assigned work when the interruption concludes. Lifting of boxes is required; pushing of carts is required; manually moving large shelving units on a pulley system is required. To support the need for accuracy of text and numbers, specific vision abilities required include close vision and the ability to adjust focus. The noise level in the work area, an open desk within a larger suite of employees, is moderate.

To learn more about us, please visit our website: http://www.mtu.edu/library/archives/

Applications are due by February 28, 2020. Direct any questions, or to apply, submit your cover letter and resume to:

Lindsay Hiltunen, University Archivist
Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections
Van Pelt and Opie Library
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
lehalkol@mtu.edu
(906) 487-3209

Email applications are preferred.

Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer, which includes providing equal opportunity for protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.

The CLIR grant program and its 2019 Awards are made possible by funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. CLIR is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning.  To learn more, visit www.clir.org or visit them on Facebook and Twitter


Flashback Friday – Hidden Gems: Archives Receives New Funding to Digitize Hidden Special Collections

Miners leaving the shaft, 1915.
Calumet and Hecla miners leave the shaft after work, 1915.

Today’s Flashback Friday serves a special purpose. Our image looks back to 1915 as Calumet and Hecla miners leave the shaft after a long day’s work, hidden below the surface. In the spirit of revealing hidden gems, be it precious metals or the hardworking laborers of the copper mines, we are excited to announce the Michigan Tech Archives, in collaboration with the Keweenaw Time Traveler, has been awarded a Digitizing Hidden Special Collections grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).

This project, called Michigan Miners at Home and Work: Digitizing, Mapping, and Sharing Employee Records, will support 1 Digitization Specialist, 6 Undergraduate students, and 1 Master’s student over 2 years. The project team will work with a subset of records from one of our most prized collections, MS-002: The Calumet and Hecla Mining Companies Collection. The goal of the project is to make a rare collection of 40,000 employee records available online for both academic and public use. This particular subseries of archival records provides valuable insights into the lives of mine company workers and their families unavailable in other public records, including details like the types of work performed, wages, previous employers, as well as notes about injuries and fatalities. The project is made possible through a collaborative effort between the Michigan Tech Archives, the Michigan Tech Social Sciences Department, and the Historical Environments Spatial Analytics Lab.

Miners eating lunch. Date unknown.

The Michigan Tech Archives will be working with the Van Pelt and Opie Library’s Manager of Technology and Innovation to create the new Copper Mining Employee Card database, which will be hosted on the library’s Preservica platform. The new database will serve as a sister database to our digital image repository, Copper Country Historical Images. Additionally, this project will provide for further access options to the employee cards by integrating the records into the Keweenaw Time Traveler. Since these employee records contain addresses and family information, the student team working with the Time Traveler will be able to connect each record at the household level with census and city directory information already loaded into the online maps. We anticipate these new resources to be available to the public in early 2022.

An example of an employee card.
An example of an employee record.

Updates about the project will be shared on our social media platforms, the Keweenaw Time Traveler Project Blog, and various local news outlets. Public programming will include several “Night at the Archives” programs which will include special evening hours to discuss the project and how the public and scholars may use the collection. Guests at our public programs can also become citizen historians by transcribing some of the cards and including them in our data set! Program dates will be shared as they become available.

Principal investigators for this $240,014 grant are Sarah Fayen Scarlett (SS), Don Lafreniere (SS), and Lindsay Hiltunen (University Archivist). David Holden is also an important project contributor. The CLIR grant program and its 2019 Awards are made possible by funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. CLIR is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning.  To learn more, visit www.clir.org or visit them on Facebook and Twitter


For more information, please contact Lindsay Hiltunen at lehalkol@mtu.edu or call (906) 487-2505.

Logos for the project sponsor and the project partners.

Michigan Tech Archives Wins State History Award for “Black Voices in the Copper Country”

BlackVoices Blog Piece

The Historical Society of Michigan has named the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections winner of its 2016 Special Programs/Events Award, for its “Black Voices in the Copper Country” project. “Black Voices” was recognized for its “dynamic series of programming, exhibits and social media campaigns relating to African American social history in the Copper Country.” The award will be presented at the historical society’s annual State History Conference in Alpena, Michigan, Sept. 23-25, 2016. The project team consisted of University Archivist, Lindsay Hiltunen, Project Researcher, Martin Hobmeier, and Graphic Designer, Mike Stockwell of Cranking Graphics.

University Archivist, Lindsay Hiltunen presenting the Black Voices project at the National Council on Public History Annual Conference in Baltimore, MD, March 2016.
University Archivist, Lindsay Hiltunen presenting the Black Voices project at the National Council on Public History Annual Conference in Baltimore, MD, March 2016.

The society presents the State History Awards every year to individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the appreciation, collection, preservation and/or promotion of state and local history. The awards are the highest recognition from the Historical Society of Michigan, the state’s official historical society and oldest cultural organization. There were 15 other awards in categories including a lifetime achievement award, distinguished volunteer service, books, magazine articles, media and restoration projects.

Project Researcher, Martin Hobmeier discussing the Black Voices project for TV6 news in May 2016.
Project Researcher, Martin Hobmeier discussing the Black Voices project for TV6 news in May 2016.

For more information about the award please visit the Michigan Tech News site.

For more information about “Black Voices in the Copper Country” or the Michigan Tech Archives, e-mail copper@mtu.edu or call (906) 487-2505. Find us on Twitter @mtuarchives.