NMAAHC seeks work-for-hire collection cataloging / record creation professional

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Project Title: Collection Cataloging and Record Creation and Enhancement for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture

Updated: 7/25/2017

Introduction

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) needs professional, non-personal, work-for-hire services, to catalog collection items; to create, enhance, and correct existing records in the museum’s collection information system, The Museum System (TMS); to teach other contractors and staff how to catalog collection items and create, enhance, and correct TMS records; to assist staff and other contractors with access to TMS records; and to assist with a variety of collection digitization projects between about September 2017 – September 2018.

Background and Purpose: The NMAAHC is building a collection of artifacts that relates to the African American experience.  The collection includes about 40,000 artifacts and archival collections and is growing rapidly. The purpose of this contract is to increase the number of cataloged collection objects and high quality TMS records and to improve access to TMS records.

Scope of Work

See Introduction for brief description of work. The project will take place over the period of performance, at the NMAAHC Collection Management Facility at 3400 Pennsy Drive (Pennsy), Landover, Maryland, and at Capital Gallery, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. Work will be scheduled at mutually convenient times for the contractor and the Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative (COTR) between the hours of 7:00am and 6:00pm. The contractor may park at Pennsy. The facility is also accessible by public transportation and by Smithsonian shuttle service.

Qualifications

The contractor shall have experience cataloging collection items; creating, and enhancing digital records for historical and cultural material, with strengths in cataloging and creating records for a wide range of object types; assisting with collection digitization projects; and knowledge of best practices for, and experience with, handling a wide variety of museum collection object types. The contractor to perform the work shall have experience with Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and with a museum collection information system, preferably The Museum System (TMS). Ability to create records for a wide variety of object types is essential. The contractor shall have a strong background in African American or American history or culture or similar field, which may be demonstrated by a college or university coursework in African American or American history or culture or by work experience.

Specific Tasks

The contractor shall follow NMAAHC guidelines provided by the COTR to document and catalog collection items, ascertaining data for objects and collections of objects, including but not limited to reference numbers, object titles, object names, accession and constituent data, materials, dimensions, and dates of production or use. The contractor shall record this information on Excel Collection Intake Forms provided by the COTR and/or enter or transfer the information into TMS and create related media records and image links in TMS and in the museum’s Digital Asset Management System (DAMS). When essential cataloging information about collection items is unreliable and/or insufficient, the contractor shall perform additional research on collection items to verify and/or augment cataloging information. As the COTR deems appropriate, the contractor shall teach other contractors and NMAAHC staff how to catalog objects and how to create, enhance, and correct TMS records according to NMAAHC guidelines; assist other contractors and NMAAHC staff by creating or providing TMS lists and reports; assist with a variety of digitization projects; and work with NMAAHC contractors, staff, donors and sellers of collection materials to fulfill his or her assignments.

The contractor shall do the following:

  • Check in regularly with the COTR to obtain assignments.
  • Assist with inventories and cataloging of collection objects by ascertaining data from accession files and other documents for objects and collections of objects, including but not limited to reference numbers, titles or names, accession and constituent data, materials, and dates of production or use and by recording this information on Excel Collection Intake Forms provided by the COTR and/or entering or transferring the information into TMS.
  • Measure objects and record measurements on Excel Collection Intake Form and/or enter or transfer the information into TMS.
  • Assist with re-housing of collection materials.
  • Photograph or scan objects and name image files according to guidelines provided by the COTR.
  • Perform additional research on collection items to verify and/or augment cataloging information.
  • Enter the Subject Types, Object Types, and Medium/Material into new, outdated, or incomplete TMS records using the thesaurus functions in TMS and the guidelines provided by the COTR.
  • Write a brief physical description of the object or collection for the Description field of the TMS record; write contextual notes for the Notes field of the TMS record; record bibliographic references in TMS; and perform other tasks associated with completing a standard NMAAHC TMS object record.
  • Create and update TMS Constituent Records.
  • Link digital images and other media to the TMS record and upload digital images and other media to the Digital Access Management System (DAMS).
  • Transfer metadata from TMS records to image files and related DAMS records.
  • Assist with digitization projects, such as scanning documents and photographs, preparing metadata for digital surrogates and collections, and handling objects to be scanned or photographed.
  • Teach other contractors and NMAAHC staff how to catalog objects and how to create, enhance, and correct TMS records according to NMAAHC guidelines as the COTR deems appropriate.
  • Assist other contractors and NMAAHC staff with creating or by providing TMS lists and reports.
  • Assist with team initiatives including digitization projects, Transcription Center, and Collections Stories as COTR deems appropriate.
  • Attend monthly team meetings.
  • Notify the COTR of any problem or situation that impedes completion of any assignment.
  • Notify COTR when not available for work or with changes in schedule.
  • Maintain professional attitude when communicating and working with Smithsonian staff.
  • Be diligent, thorough, meticulous, and consistent in following object handling, cataloging, and data entry guidelines.
  • Work with NMAAHC Collections staff and donors to fulfill his or her assignments as the COTR deems appropriate.

Payment Schedule and Deliverables

The contractor shall invoice the Smithsonian on a prorated, hourly basis derived from the firm-fixed price award every two weeks until the award is used up or until the end of the period of performance, whichever comes first. With the invoice, the contractor will submit a timesheet listing the hours worked and a detailed, itemized summary of services performed during the pay period. The contractor shall submit the invoice and timesheet to the COTR.  The COTR will provide templates for the invoice and timesheet.

Costs Incurred

Any costs incurred to perform the services under this Statement of Work (for example, to complete research, obtain photocopies of relevant documents or images, etc.) are the responsibility of the Contractor.

Physical Demands and Work Environment

Work is a mixture of physical and sedentary activities. The bulk of the work requires the ability to walk, stand, and bend. The work environment includes everyday risks or discomforts which require normal safety precautions. Comfortable clothing should be worn that may be soiled from dust or particles on objects that have been stored for long periods of time. Closed-toe shoes should be worn to protect against objects that can fall off of tables, shelving and/or pallets.

Acceptance Criteria

All work performed under this contract shall be subject to review and approval by the assigned COTR. The COTR has the right to reject any work considered unacceptable.

APPLY:

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN BEING CONSIDERED, PLEASE SEND A RESUME TO LAURA COYLE at coylel@si.edu. PLEASE PUT CATALOGER IN THE EMAIL SUBJECT LINE.

Based on the resumes, the best qualified candidates will be invited to submit a formal quote.

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