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Horblit Project Cataloger, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Supervisor: Associate Librarian of Houghton Library for Technical Services
Department: Houghton Library
Full or Part Time: Full time

SUMMARY: Reporting to the Associate Librarian of Houghton Library for Technical Services, the Horblit Project Cataloger performs original and complex copy cataloging of the photograph portion of the Horblit Collection of Early Photography and coordinates the digitization of the collection. Note: This is a 2 year term position.

The Harrison D. Horblit Collection of Early Photography came to Houghton Library in 1995 as the gift of Mrs. Harrison D. Horblit and is one of the premier collections of early photographs. Harrison Horblit (1912-1988, Harvard College Class of 1933) began collecting early photography as a result of his interest in the history of science and technology. The photography collection, over 7000 items, begins with some of the earliest photographic negatives and prints, daguerreotypes, and early works describing the invention of photography. It includes examples of all the photographic processes used in the nineteenth century and the images represent all the major photographers of that era.

TYPICAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following. Other duties may be assigned.

  • Working in ArtStor's Shared Shelf, upgrades existing catalog records for ca. 3,500 individual photographic prints or paper negatives.
  • Catalogs several collections of architectural study prints, totaling ca. 1,400 items.
  • Catalogs miscellaneous objects in the collection, such as cameras, stereoscopes, etc.
  • Performs additional research on photographs and prints as needed.
  • Helps identify conservation and storage needs of the collection, performs rehousing and relabeling of the collection as needed and ensures proper handling of fragile materials.
  • Coordinates with Imaging Services Staff to prepare batches of photographs for digitization, performs quality control check on images and links images to descriptive records.
  • May catalog other photograph collections in the Houghton Library, time permitting.
  • Consults with the Curator of Printing & Graphic Arts and staff from the Preservation and Imaging Services to ensure project success.
  • Keeps statistics and writes monthly progress reports.
  • As time permits, develops web exhibitions and other mechanisms to promote awareness and engagement with the collections.


  • B.A., M.L.S. from an ALA-accredited academic program required.
  • Two years of experience with photograph cataloging, or related cataloging experience.
  • Working knowledge of DCRM(G), TGM/AAT, LCNAF, and LCSH.
  • Working knowledge of one European language, preferably Italian or French.
  • Knowledge of photographic processes and the history of photography essential.


  • Experience with VRA.
  • Experience in an academic or research library preferred.
  • Experience with ArtStor's Shared Shelf preferred
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to work both collaboratively and independently.
  • Understanding of current developments within the archival profession and demonstrated commitment to engage in ongoing professional development and service to the profession.
  • Flexibility and the capacity to thrive in a changing working environment.


  • This position requires lifting and moving of materials weighing up to 40 pounds and pushing heavily loaded book trucks.
  • Work is performed in an area with library materials that may contain allergens or irritants such as paper dust and/or mold.


The work is performed in an office setting within a library.


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