Suitland, MD: RFQ – Legacy Finding Aids Project Archivist, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution

Job Opening Title: Legacy Finding Aids Project

Employer Name: National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution

Job Location: Suitland, Maryland

Application Deadline: August 26, 2019

Link to job posting:

Years of experience required:

Job Description (if URL to posting not available). Please include instructions for how to apply.: National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Invitation to Submit Proposal for Project Archivist Contract

The Smithsonian Institution’s National Anthropological Archives (NAA) seeks an independent contractor who can provide professional archival technical services as part of a grant to increase access and discoverability of NAA collections online through the Smithsonian Online Virtual Archives (SOVA).

The NAA is looking for a qualified archivist to create DACS-compliant, EAD-encoded finding aids from legacy finding aids for some of the NAA’s most heavily used collection. During this process, the contractor will review legacy data and correct inadequate and inaccurate information. This requires in depth knowledge of archival processes and principles to perform complex data entry and research collections status and history. This is a firm fixed price award not-to-exceed $20,000.


The National Anthropological Archives (NAA) is the largest archives in the United States that exclusively collects and preserves historical and contemporary anthropological materials that document the world’s cultures and the history of anthropology. The NAA’s collections represent the four fields of anthropology – ethnology/sociocultural anthropology, linguistics, archaeology, and physical/biological anthropology – and include field notes, manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, maps, sound recordings, and film and video created and collected by Smithsonian anthropologists and other preeminent scholars.

The NAA has a backlog of legacy finding aids that have inadequate collection summaries, lack proper structure, are not compliant with DACS standards, and are confusing or unhelpful for researchers looking for relevant material. Many of these finding aids are only available on paper. In addition, with the launch of a redesigned and more secure NMNH website, NAA lost public access to a large number of finding aids that had been made available previously as PDFs via the old, insecure website. In order to continue to make information about NAA’s collections publically available, these finding aids need to be entered into ArchivesSpace, the Smithsonian’s archival collections management system, for delivery online through SOVA (Smithsonian Online Virtual Archives).

Scope of Work

The contractor shall provide up to 700 hours of professional, technical, and non-personal services to review and enter finding aid data in ArchivesSpace for 16 high-priority finding aids, or more as time permits. This requires in-depth knowledge of archival processes and principles to perform complex data entry and research collection status and history. The finding aids range in size from 10 to 200 pages. Finding aids must be reviewed and approved by NAA staff.

Much of the work may take place remotely, however it is expected that the contractor will spend at least 1/3 of their time in the NAA storage areas and offices at the Smithsonian’s Museum Support Center in Suitland, Maryland.

Contractor will submit a minimum of 16, NAA staff-approved, DACS-compliant finding aids as entered into ArchivesSpace.

Period of Performance
The period of performance is anticipated to begin after September 1, 2019, and end on or before August 30, 2020.

Submit proposals by email only and include the following information:
• Resume and cover letter or narrative describing your interest, qualifications, and work experience
• Copies of, or active links to, at least two finding aids for which you were the primary author
• Hourly rate
• Names and contact information for three references
Please combine materials into a single PDF or Word document, include your name in the file name, and send to Daisy Njoku ( Contact Daisy Njoku also for more questions or additional information.

Proposals will be accepted until August 26 2019. Review of proposals will begin the following day.


Proposals will be evaluated for how well they satisfy the requirements / skill sets outlined below:

• Demonstrated understanding and experience with the archival practices of arrangement and description, and having a working knowledge of Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS) standards as well as Encoded Archival Description (EAD) experience using collections information systems.
• Demonstrated experience using ArchivesSpace.
• Prior experience creating finding aids for a variety of archival collections.


Offers will be contingent upon the candidate obtaining a DUNS number, registering with the Federal System for Award Management (SAM), and purchasing or showing proof of general liability insurance, and passing a background investigation. More information about these requirements can be found below.

DUNS Number
A DUNS number is a unique nine-digit identification number available for each physical location of your business and is needed to register in the System for Award Management (SAM), formerly the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) system. DUNS numbers are provided through Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) at no charge when you contact D&B via toll free telephone call to 1-866-705-5711, or on the internet at Indicate that you are requesting a DUNS number to assist with eligibility for U.S. Government contracts. New DUNS numbers for U.S. vendors will be active and available for SAM registration within 1-2 business days of requests.

System for Award Management (SAM) Registration
It is a requirement that current and prospective recipients of contract and purchase orders awarded by the SI must complete registration and maintain an active record in the System for Award Management (SAM). The SAM requires a one-time business registration, with annual updates, and allows vendors to control the accuracy of the business information they enter. The financial data you enter, which includes the electronic funds transfer (EFT) data collected by SAM, will assist the SI in paying your invoices and complying with the Federal Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996. You may complete or update your information in SAM online at Questions regarding the process may be directed to the Federal Service Desk online at or via toll free call to 1-888-606-8220. There is no charge for registering in SAM. If you are selected for award, valid and active registration with SAM must be verifiable by SI staff prior to contract or purchase order award.

Background Investigation
Since contractor will need access to staff-only areas of SI controlled facilities, they shall be required to receive an SI Credential. Contractor employees who require an SI Credential must undergo and pass an appropriate background investigation and complete security awareness training before an SI Credential is issued.

Insurance Requirements
Prospective contractors are required to have General Liability Insurance. The Smithsonian Institution must be listed as additional insured for the General Liability Insurance.

Independent contractors have an opportunity to enroll in the Smithsonian’s independent contractor insurance system at minimal cost.

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