Metadata Librarian for Middle Eastern Languages

The University of Chicago Library is seeking an innovative and forward-thinking individual for the position of Metadata Librarian for Middle Eastern Languages. The University of Chicago is home to one of the world's great collections for the study of the Middle East. The Middle Eastern collection in Regenstein Library is recognized by scholars throughout North America, Europe, and the Middle East as one of the premier research collections in Middle Eastern and Islamic studies in the world. The collection supports undergraduate, graduate, and faculty research and teaching in all disciplines of the social sciences and humanities including history, literature, language, religion, philosophy, bibliography, art, political science, anthropology, music, sociology, and film.

The collection, amounting to over one million items, consists of monographs, serials, microformat materials, lithographs, maps, films, photographs, video and audio tapes, DVDs, CD-ROMs, and electronic resources, covering the area between Central Asia and the Atlantic Ocean and from Asia Minor to sub-Saharan Africa. It includes materials in the principal languages of the Middle East—Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and their dialectical variants—as well as the relevant materials produced in various languages in North America, Europe, Japan, the states of the former Soviet Union, and elsewhere in the world. The successful candidate will be responsible for original and complex copy cataloging of monographs, serials, electronic resources and visual materials in all subjects, in Middle Eastern and other languages as necessary.

Working in the central Metadata Management Services Unit, and working closely with the Librarian for Middle Eastern Studies, the Metadata Librarian for Middle Eastern Languages will provide leadership and coordination for the metadata provision for the University of Chicago Library’s extensive collection of Middle Eastern resources that is responsive to the needs of the user community and supports the Library’s vision and goals.

The position reports to the Head of Metadata Management Services, a section of the Technical Services Department that provides leadership and expertise for the Library's cataloging activities and creation and management of metadata. Metadata staff are involved in national and local activities related to implementation of BIBFRAME and linked data, and provide strategic direction on metadata standards for the Library’s resources and the University’s institutional repository.

The University of Chicago Library is a long-time member of the Library of Congress Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) and contributes to BIBCO/NACO/SACO/CONSER programs. The Metadata Management Unit is also active in the Big Ten Academic Alliance Cooperative Cataloging Partnership (BTAA CCP), and the Library of Congress’ Electronic Cataloging in Publication Program (ECIP), which provides pre-publication metadata for the University of Chicago Press publications as well as those of other scholarly publishers.

The successful candidate is expected to combine a thorough understanding of cataloging and metadata standards, Middle Eastern resources, library user needs and behaviors with technical and interpersonal skills. As a member of the library’s professional staff, the Metadata Librarian for Middle Eastern Languages is expected to contribute to the library by serving on committees and by participating in library-wide programs and activities, and is expected to be active professionally both locally and nationally.

Responsibilities and Duties

  • Performs metadata creation and management through original and complex copy cataloging with all associated authority work, according to the following standards:
    • Resource Description and Access (RDA) via RDA Toolkit
    • Library of Congress-PCC Policy Statements
    • Library of Congress Program for Cooperative Cataloging (BIBCO/NACO/SACO/CONSER)
    • Library of Congress classification via Classweb
    • MARC 21 formats for Bibliographic and Authority data
    • National standards pertaining to providing access to resources in non-Latin scripts  
  • Contributes to metadata activities related to Middle Eastern materials, such as digital library metadata development and remediation and enhancement of existing metadata
  • Proposes and reviews workflows and policies around the metadata creation for Middle Eastern materials, and trains staff, as needed. 
  • Participates in departmental projects and initiatives experimenting with new forms of metadata creation 
  • Engages in professional service and research activities in areas appropriate to the position and to academic librarianship
  • Participates in grant management, including in leadership roles, promoting improved access to hidden collections and digital access initiatives.
  • Contributes to the development of local, national, and international metadata standards and applications.



  • Library/Information Science degree from an ALA accredited institution OR advanced degree in Middle Eastern studies.
  • Study of, or background in Middle Eastern Studies
  • Demonstrated knowledge of current national cataloging/metadata standards, knowledge of subject analysis and classification systems.
  • Advanced reading knowledge of Arabic and Persian  
  • Ability to communicate effectively in English


  • Previous cataloging experience in an academic/research library, applying current standards and systems including MARC21, RDA, Library of Congress Classification, Library of Congress Subject Headings, OCLC Connexion, and library management and discovery systems
  • Reading knowledge of Turkish, Ottoman Turkish or Hebrew
  • Experience contributing to the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (BIBCO, NACO, SACO, CONSER)
  • Knowledge of current trends, resources, and methodologies in cataloging and metadata as they relate to description and discovery of materials in Middle Eastern languages
  • Experience applying non-MARC metadata standards (e.g., Dublin Core)
  • Understanding of linked data principles, including RDF and ontologies as well as emerging metadata standards (e.g., BIBFRAME) and identity management systems (e.g., ISNI, VIAF, ORCID)

Application Instructions

To Apply: Submit cover letter, curriculum vitae, and reference contact information online through the University of Chicago's Academic Recruiting website: Review of applications will begin after July 9, 2023. Screening of applications will continue until the position is filled or the search is closed.

Salary and Benefits: Appointment salary based on qualifications and experience. Benefits include retirement plan, insurance, and paid time off.

Questions: Contact University of Chicago Library Human Resources,

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

All University departments and institutes are charged with building a faculty from a diversity of backgrounds and with diverse viewpoints; with cultivating an inclusive community that values freedom of expression; and with welcoming and supporting all their members.

We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages diverse perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange. The University’s Statements on Diversity are at

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-834-3988 or email with their request.