Media Preservation Engineer, Audio

Location US-NY-Manhattan
Job ID
# of Openings Remaining
PAMI Preservation of Audio & Moving Image


The New York Public Library’s audio and moving image preservation program safeguards audiovisual research collection holdings through physical treatment and reformatting, which enables researchers to explore the content of the Library’s rich and unique collections. The Library's collections include unique and rare recordings on a wide variety of media, which span the history of film, video, audio, and born-digital formats.


Located within Digital Collection Services, under the newly formed Digital Research division, the program also manages funded projects, and participates in related activities such as format identification and assessment, disaster response and recovery, outreach, and exhibitions. Program staff also participate in the development of the Library’s audio and moving image preservation and access technical infrastructure and contribute to Digital Research strategies.


Under the direction of program management, the audio media preservation engineer carries out the preservation assessment, treatment, and reformatting of recordings held in the Library’s permanent research collections. The position is responsible for equipment calibration and maintenance, and provides input and feedback on technology and workflow development. The position advises on media preservation issues, and participates in quality control; vendor, backlog, on-demand, or media ingest activities; and program documentation.


See also

Principal Responsibilities

Reporting to the Assistant Manager of the Audio and Moving Image Preservation Program, the Media Preservation Engineer (audio) will:

  • Performs preservation treatment and reformatting for the full range of obsolete, still-in-use, and emerging audio formats, from analog to digital (discs, cylinders, tape, etc). Creates preservation master, production, service, and metadata files according to NYPL specifications. Uses a range of software, scripts and other tools to perform work. 
  • Calibrates and maintains current and obsolete equipment. Performs quality assurance activities. Assesses and recommends new tools and equipment.
  • Quality control of deliverables and preparation of digital assets for repository ingest.
  • Participates in overall program and workflow development.
  • Participates in Library-wide activities such as disaster response and recovery, and education and outreach activities.
  • Stays abreast of technology and best practices in the field, and pays attention to developments in professional organizations such as AES, IASA, ARSC.
  • Other duties as assigned


Our expectations for this person are that within…

1 month, this person will:

  • Have a working understanding of NYPL digitization specifications and lab equipment capabilities

3 months, this person will:

  • Have full understanding and ability to execute specifications and workflows

6 months and beyond, this person will:

  • Have the expertise and ability to represent all specifications and procedures to external parties 
  • contribute to program and division specifications, workflow, and strategy discussions

Required Education & Experience

  • Bachelor's degree in music technology, or other training and experience in music technology and/or audio preservation.
  • Demonstrated experience in audio preservation, including media identification; physical treatment; playback, signal extraction, and analog-to-digital conversion; production and specification of preservation master files, digital derivatives, and metadata.
  • Demonstrated experience in the preservation reformatting of analog tape (both open-reel and cassette formats), digital tape, and analog disc formats.
  • Hands-on experience with at least one professional digital audio workstation software.
  • Working understanding of the audio preservation standards and best practice documents developed by IASA and AES.
  • Ability to perform basic maintenance and calibration of current and obsolete audio playback equipment.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Excellent critical listening/viewing skills and evaluation of typical issues in reformatting legacy media.
  • Excellent skills in evaluating and handling rare, fragile, or damaged media. 
  • Excellent judgment, problem-solving skills and strong commitment to high quality and productivity.
  • Excellent organizational skills, high attention to detail, with the ability to set priorities and complete work under pressure of production deadlines.
  • Awareness of leading trends in digitization, and an eagerness to expand the scope of digitization possibilities at NYPL.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master's degree in related subject.
  • Experience in the preservation reformatting of full range of obsolete to current audio formats, to include cylinders, wires, dictation formats, and optical media.
  • Experience in preservation of born-digital recordings.
  • Experience with production, editing, transcoding, and quality control tools.
  • Experience with file analysis, digital asset packaging, and command-line scripting.

All team members are expected and encouraged to embody the NYPL Core Values:

  • Be Helpful to patrons and colleagues
  • Be Resourceful in solving problems 
  • Be Curious in all aspects of your work

Work Environment

Office environment (audio lab)

Physical Duties

  • Office environment (audio lab)
  • Must be able to lift 40 pounds
  • Exposure to dust, mold, and chemicals used in preservation treatment of media
  • May require travel within NYC

Starting Salary

USD $65,000.00/Yr.


Weekday business hours

Union / Non Union

Non Union


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