Digitisation Project Conservation Team Leader (FTC)
One of the leading websites for family research in the world, Findmypast has helped to transform the way people discover their ancestors. We work tirelessly to digitise and preserve the world's national archives for future generations to enjoy. We're a British-owned company with millions of registered users across a plethora of websites including Findmypast (UK/US/IE/AU), Genes Reunited and The British Newspaper Archive (UK/US/IE/AU). Our goal is to make discovery seamless for our users by surfacing the most relevant and personalised experience – drawing from the inventory of our 8 billion records.
Conservators are crucial in digitisation projects to ensure that all information on the document can be captured and that damage to documents during scanning is minimised through appropriate conservation practice. Conservation for digitisation requires a specific approach and must maintain a balance between the preservation needs of the collection and the commercial nature of the project.
This role will lead a dedicated team of conservators and conservation technicians responsible for assessing and preparing records for digitisation.
The Conservation Team Leader plays a vital part in facilitating the smooth running of these projects to ensure timely delivery while upholding the professional reputation of Findmypast and adhering to the Institute of Conservation’s Code of Ethics.
Please note that this is a Fixed Term Contract for 18 months.
Responsibilities of the role
You will be responsible for the daily operations of the team, including supervision of team members, undertaking practical conservation, administering conservation supplies and workspace, and providing reports to the senior conservators heading the team. You will have a good understanding of basic paper conservation processes and knowledge of current conservation practice and ethical standards.
You must be able to undertake the necessary appropriate conservation treatments while meeting strict targets and deadlines, so an ability to make decisions and work under pressure is vital. The role requires maintenance of the project tracking spreadsheet, so attention to detail is crucial. You will provide training, support and advice to other teams on the project, and be able to communicate with various senior members of the project team.
You will have a keen eye for detail, good use of initiative, and an ability to work both individually and as part of a team. You will have strong leadership and organisational skills with the ability to plan and prioritise work while under pressure in order to meet strict deadlines and targets. With the need for cross-team working, you will also have strong verbal and written communication skills.
A recognised professional qualification in conservation with a specialism in book, paper or archives conservation at degree level or higher, or equivalent experience, is an essential requirement for the role. Two years’ post-qualification experience in paper, archive or book conservation is desirable. Experience of conservation for digitisation and of working to pressured deadlines is extremely desirable.
Essential skills and experience
- Daily supervision of a team of conservators and conservation technicians, and administration of project documentation
- Provision of training and support to the conservation team and scanning operators
- Provision of reports and updates to the project managers, ensuring all matters are raised in a timely fashion
- Undertaking necessary conservation and preservation measures on original documents for imaging, assessing the condition of documents and estimating treatment times
- Making decisions regarding treatments and materials, selecting the most appropriate available or adapting existing processes for the context in which you work, while adhering to the ICON code of ethics and professional standards
- Working with fragile documents under pressure while maintaining a high level of manual dexterity
- Management of own workload to meet targets and deadlines
- Keeping organised records and maintaining project documentation and tracking data as required
- Use of initiative to anticipate and solve challenges
- Provision of on-going practical assistance to the scanning team where required
- Working closely with other teams involved in the digitisation process to communicate technical information regarding document condition, document handling, and workflow to internal colleagues and external partners
Desirable skills and experience
- Experience of paper conservation for digitisation
- Experience of working on commercial projects
- Experience as a Conservator