Miranda Scarlata, Weston Library

Hi, my name is Miranda and I am one of two digital archivist trainees at the Weston Library. The Weston holds the Bodleian libraries’ special collections and serves as both a working library and research center.

Before starting this job, I was completing an MSc in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation at the University of Oxford and working as bar and box office staff at the O2 Academy in Oxford. Before that, I was working as a neuroscience research assistant at the National Institutes of Health in the US. Two potential career paths that seemingly have nothing to do with archiving. I never imagined myself in a career in archives and did not even know the position of digital archivist existed until I was exploring potential jobs for when I was done with my masters. However, when I realized that what I really enjoyed from both neuroscience and policy evaluation was the technological, code trouble-shooting, side of the work rather than the actual topics themselves, I began investigating other opportunities where I could use those skills. I serendipitously came across the digital archivist trainee job description in the midst of my search. According to the post, I would get to use my hard-earned tech skills, learn about an eclectic set of topics, collaborate with colleagues, and I did not have to have any prior archiving experience. It seemed like an incredibly cool job.


Four monitors sit on a desk, two are black but two show windows open to XML files. Behind them is a window with a blind which looks out onto Hertford College and Holywell Street.
The lovely view from our office on broad street and an example of an XML file from a converted word document catalogue.


Now that I have been at this position for a little over a month, I can say that it definitely is incredibly cool. The majority of my time is spent maintaining the Bodleian Web Archive (found here: https://archive-it.org/home/bodleian) and converting decentralized word documents that catalogue the University’s department’s records, into a centralized accessible online resource. I get to work on everything from capturing Radiohead’s website for our archive to XML manipulation and metadata input. I am also gaining my postgraduate qualification in Digital Information and Media Management at Aberystwyth University as part of this traineeship. While it can be hard to balance a distance-learning masters and a full-time job, this program is providing me with work experience and the qualification I need to continue in this field after the traineeship ends, which is pretty incredible. Overall, I am excited to learn more about the collection and management of digital resources over the next two years.