Georgia Historical Society

Savannah

About the Role

As we enter the final stages of a once-in-a-generation renovation and expansion of the GHS Research Center, several important projects remain. Outstanding projects include not only final details related to the renovated facility, but updated records management systems, new institutional and public policies related to collecting and use of materials, and updated catalog and description information for all GHS collections. However, due to complications aggravated by the ongoing pandemic, GHS currently lacks the staffing capacity to undertake all of these priority projects ahead of the anticipated public reopening.

Among the projects planned for completion before reopening is a thorough review and revision of approximately 2,500 online archival finding aids. Under the supervision of a GHS archivist, the primary focus of the 2021 Go South fellowship is to update these important public-facing records using more current and inclusive language as outlined in a growing body of work dedicated to acknowledging and remedying inherent bias in archival records. Reflecting the work of generations of archivists and GHS staff, current finding aids include not only location, subject, and keyword terms for manuscript collections but also associated historical and biographical context. They can reveal the breadth and scope of collections and are among the most important tools available to researchers in gauging the suitability of materials for their projects. Therefore, by broadening the descriptions with more inclusive language, we increase the potential use of the materials and expand the audience for GHS collections.

Designed as a remote-work project, this Go South fellowship opportunity will focus on the review and revision of existing records to identify and address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion within published finding aids. Further, as this opportunity will include a thorough study of current best practices related to creating records and collection descriptions that incorporate inclusive language, an additional goal of the project is the development of new suggested guidelines for the GHS archival processing manual (currently in revision as part of the larger Research Center restructuring) detailing new institutional procedures for creating records and descriptions following best practices in inclusive and decentralized language. This would also include an annotated bibliography of available sources on this evolving topic.

About the Organization

Founded in 1839, the Georgia Historical Society is an educational and research institution created to tell the story of Georgia and its role in American history. The oldest cultural institution in the state and one of the oldest historical organizations in the nation, GHS is headquartered in Savannah with offices in Atlanta. For nearly 200 years, GHS has collected, preserved, and shared Georgia and American history through a variety of educational outreach programs, publications, and research services.

How We're Advancing Equity:

As an educational and research institution, the Georgia Historical Society is committed to teaching the full story of America’s past in the firm belief that an unflinching examination of our nation’s failures as well as our successes is crucial to maintaining our democratic republic and encourages us to live up to our ideals and aspirations. Through our award-winning public programs, publications, teacher training, and research services, we aim to educate and use the power of our shared history to foster difficult but necessary conversations that will offer all Americans new and deeper perspectives on the past and the present. Building on that knowledge and understanding, together as a nation we can envision and create a better future.

Key Skills & Qualifications (if any)

- A general understanding of the broad themes and chronology of United States history is required. Knowledge of Georgia and/or Southern history preferred.
- Interest in Archival Studies and/or Library and Information Sciences preferred
- Experience with archival and online historical research is important and familiarity with Library of Congress subject headings is ideal
- The ideal candidate will have an interest in American history and the primary sources that help us understand it. Must be flexible, self-motivated, and organized with strong attention to detail and possess excellent written and verbal communications skills.
- Basic knowledge of Microsoft Office required. Experience with Past Perfect Museum Software or other online collections management systems a plus.

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