The Research Archives of the Oriental Institute is a non-circulating collection of books and other publications related to the ancient Near East for the reference and research of Oriental Institute faculty, staff, students, and members. Its materials span the history of the ancient Near East from prehistoric times through the Late Antique period and reflect the interests and work of its users and benefactors. Volunteers in the Research Archives perform a wide variety of duties related to the mission of the Oriental Institute and the Research Archives.

Volunteers learn and employ a variety of hardware and software technologies in order to aid ongoing projects. As part of such projects, volunteers often get to immerse themselves in the secondary literature pertaining to ancient Near Eastern studies. Current ongoing projects include:

  • Digitization of library materials
  • Indexing, cataloging, and data organization for library database
  • Gathering and entering biographical data about scholars
  • Work with others as part of a motivated and dedicated team
  • Chance to make a difference

These projects are revolutionizing the way students and scholars perform their work and the way the general public learns about our fields of study.

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Required Training

A basic familiarity with computer operation is necessary, but all further skills will be provided through on-the-job training with Research Archives staff. Any skills in computer technology, library science, or foreign languages are highly desirable for Research Archives volunteers. For most projects, Research Archives volunteers will undergo a 2-4 week supervisory period in which training will be provided for selected tasks with daily supervision of ongoing work. Further expansion of training will take place on an as-needed basis. Volunteers can work as little as 2 hours per week or as much as they prefer; however, a consistent work schedule is necessary to receive the required training. After the supervisory period, volunteers will work as team members alongside Research Archives staff and can take on increased responsibility as desired or needed.