JDC Archives Experiential Education Opportunities

experiental edThe American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), a leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization that has been engaged in rescue and relief activities for Jewish communities across the globe since 1914, is excited to offer Experiential Education opportunities within preservation, digitization, metadata and processing / arrangement projects for its text, photograph, film, video and oral history archival collections and indexing project.

The JDC Archives includes over 3 miles of text documents, 100,000 photographs, a research library of more than 6,000 books, 1,000 audio recordings including oral histories, and video recordings. The JDC Archives text collection database currently comprises of over 300,000 digitized pages that are open to the public.

All opportunities are unpaid. The expected schedule is 12-20 hours per week. Options are available in the NY office located in midtown Manhattan.

To apply please send resumes to ExperientialEducation@jdc.org

We look forward to hearing from you!


JDC Oral History Collection

The Oral History Collection contains in-depth interviews with more than 100 JDC staff members and lay leaders. The collection contains analog and digital audio recordings, in addition to paper materials. The recordings offer first-hand accounts of JDC’s humanitarian work in Europe, North Africa and the Former Soviet Union from the 1930s to 1990s.

Responsibilities include:

•Researching and writing biographies of interviewees
•Writing folder-level scope and content notes
•Creating citations for biographical research
•Copy-cataloging audio recordings in content management system
•Adding index terms to catalog entries


Strong written and verbal skills are required. Interest in oral histories and coursework in archives is preferred.


Digitization Project

The JDC Archives includes over 3 miles of text documents. The digitization project is grant-funded with a goal to digitize 1.8 million pages.

Responsibilities include:

•Transforming text based files into spreadsheets to prepare for conversion into EAD-encoded XML
•Formatting and publishing EAD encoded finding aids
•Standardizing item-level creator metadata to align with local authority files
•Folder-mapping, which involves identifying start and end of folders within sets of digital images rendered from microfilm
•Verifying that digital images received are in accordance with institutional standards


Knowledge of EAD, XSLT, XML, and familiarity with archival and digitization standards.


Text Collections

The JDC Archives includes over 3 miles of text documents, spanning 1914 to the present, and chronicles JDC’s activities all over the world in astonishing detail. Because of JDC’s intense involvement in so many of the epic humanitarian struggles of the 20th century, its Archives hold one of the most significant extant archival collections for the study of Jewish history and the broader context of humanitarian assistance throughout the 20th century as well.

JDC is seeking an Experiential Education Project participant to process these valuable institutional records of the organization’s activities as it looks towards celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2014. This is a great opportunity to work with vitally important records that testify to the scope of its global humanitarian operations and to acquire and develop processing experience.

Responsibilities may include:

•Arranging and describing historic institutional records
•Conducting research to effectively describe the content and condition of materials and to assign appropriate index terms according to institutional standards
•Updating inventories and finding aids for collections
•Creating higher-level collection descriptions
•Other special projects as assigned


Interest in archives and information science and experience processing archival records is preferred. Applicant should currently be enrolled in a graduate program pursuing a degree in library science, archival studies, history, or a related field, or have equivalent experience to be eligible for this position.

Selection Criteria:

Excellent written and verbal communication skills; strong organizational and planning skills; proficient in Microsoft Office suite; detail-oriented; self-motivated; and possess the ability to work well with minimal supervision.


Photograph Collection

The Photo Collection of the JDC Archives contains over 100,000 images.  These photographs offer a rich historical overview of activities conducted by JDC for 10 decades in over 90 countries around the world. More than 52,000 photographs have already been digitally scanned. The Archives is seeking an Experiential Education Project participant to assist us with the cataloging and preservation of the photograph collection.

Responsibilities include:

•Preparing original photographs for archival storage and scanning
•Integrating new photographs into existing cataloguing system
•Entering and copy-editing information into the archives database


A familiarity with Word, Excel and database procedures is recommended.

Library or archival training is preferred. Ideal candidate will have an interest in photography or pictorial history.



The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee seeks an Experiential Education Project participant to aid in the automation of its corporate library. JDC Archives holds 6,000 thousand books and periodicals related to 20th century Jewish history and culture worldwide. Our goal is to catalog and arrange the library materials in order to gain intellectual control and provide easier access to the materials for both internal staff and visiting researchers.

Responsibilities include:

•Copy-cataloging, classification, and processing of books
•Identifying books in need of repair and performing basic book repair
•Assisting with development of corporate library lending policies and procedures


Prefer an upper-level undergraduate, graduate, or recently graduated student interested in a career in libraries, archives, and/or Jewish studies. The following strongly recommended: basic understanding of cataloging principals, MARC, and classification systems; subject knowledge and/or strong interest in Jewish history and literature.