Freelance Librarian or Archivist (Digital)

LightEn, an educational and spiritual organisation with no religious agenda, seeks to recruit a freelance librarian or archivist to lead an upcoming digitisation project of historical significance. In the coming months, The Theosophical Society in England & Wales will be transferring its extensive historical library (estimated at 10,000 books) to the guardianship of LightEn.

An itemisation of the library is currently in progress and logistical preparation is underway for the transfer of the collection. In addition to providing a physical home for this important library, LightEn’s aim is to digitise and make freely accessible online a significant number of its books through the creation of a searchable database.

LightEn is looking for an experienced and professionally qualified librarian or archivist who can run this digital project through multiple stages, which will include:

1) Determining (in close coordination with LightEn’s founders) which books are suitable for digitisation, a process which will include research by the librarian or archivist according to criteria such as copyright status, permissions, significance, rarity, condition, etc.

2) Managing the digitisation and OCR process from an office in central London using a BookEye 5 VIA-C50 Pro scanner, ensuring high and consistent standards.

3) Coordinating the creation of a library catalogue with interoperability to other systems, digital assets database with suitable front end, and access points via a website. This will include procurement of appropriate software, addition of bibliographic metadata, and creation of related processes and workflows, including the management and long-term preservation (OIAS) of the digital assets created by this project.

4) Advising on suitable care, arrangement, and access to the physical assets which date from the 17th to 21st century.


The ideal candidate will:

  • Demonstrate previous experience of their work on digitisation projects, including any associated links
  • Be aware of the issues, opportunities, and strategies involved in creating with large-scale digital collections from scratch
  • Have experience of condition checking, arranging, and cataloguing rare and specialised books using a recognised library classification schema
  • Be familiar with the process of handling and scanning books
  • Have a working knowledge of UK copyright law for books & archives, as well as UK data protection law
  • Be familiar with managing digital files & metadata, and digital preservation solutions
  • Be comfortable liaising between multiple internal and external parties
  • Demonstrate an appreciation for the spiritual subject matter of this collection


We envision this role as a 1-year contract position, subject to review and extension as the scope of the project is determined, but this is negotiable for the right candidate. If you can demonstrate relevant experience in running digital projects, and think you’re the right fit for this unique opportunity, please do reach out to Jess at [email protected].

Closing Date: Monday 25 September 2023 at midday


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