Jobs

Background

About us

The Library Innovation Lab is a team of librarians, programmers, artists, and lawyers with a broad mission: to build open-source tools and services for open knowledge, available to everyone and in the public interest, that solve emerging information problems from the perspective of the world's largest academic law library. We currently support three long-running services ( Perma, H2O Open Casebook, and the Caselaw Access Project ) as well as a range of shorter-term experiments. On the tech side, we work most often with Django, Vue, and Postgres.

Why work with us?

LIL offers a rare mix of contemplation and action: we are a small software lab within one of the world’s largest law libraries, with a mission both to try new things and to think deeply about what ought to exist for the long haul. Our mission offers a range of benefits for staff:

  • Job stability and support. While we maintain the creative atmosphere and flexibility of a small innovation lab, we're backed by an established institution with strong benefits and support for employees.
  • Room to pursue your research agenda. We are located at the Harvard Law School Library and share a kitchen with the Berkman Klein Center and metaLAB. Going to events, having conversations, developing your scholarly perspective, and exploring it through creative projects are encouraged. We will specifically prioritize these things at the cost of shipping the next feature.
  • Set your own pace. We are a small, self-directed group that depends on internal motivation rather than externally imposed crunch time.
  • Build open source. All of our projects are open source and otherwise designed to maximize the public benefit of our work.
  • Work on stuff that matters. The projects we make are measured by how they help people in the long term.

Location

We are based in a newly-renovated space on the Harvard Law School campus. Our full-time staff positions are hybrid/in-person; we typically aim to be in the office Tuesday through Thursday. Contractor and fellowship positions may be remote by individual arrangement.

Equity, diversity, inclusion, belonging and antiracism

The work and well-being of the Lab are strengthened profoundly by the diversity of our community and our differences in background, culture, experience, racial identity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, and much more. We actively seek and welcome applications from Black and Indigenous people and people of color; women and non-binary people; the LGBTQ+ community; and people with disabilities; as well as applications from researchers and practitioners from across the spectrum of disciplines, methods, and life experiences.

Staff positions

Senior Product Designer

As a member of our product team, the Senior Product Designer will help lead the brand and visual development of the lab and its products. Promising candidates will have a strong portfolio demonstrating their ability to execute visual identity and high fidelity product designs. This includes hands-on experience in user research, brainstorming, and wireframing products and features from inception. This is an opportunity for a design lead to utilize their craft toward helping positive ideas travel further and faster.

To apply: Application form. In addition to Harvard's standard application form, please provide a short cover letter explaining how your career trajectory and interests align with our work and mission, and include a link to your portfolio as well.

Research Positions

Decentralized Storage Researcher—academic or contract position

The Harvard Library Innovation Lab seeks paid, contract researchers with substantial technical skills to help us explore and document cutting-edge data storage platforms. At the core of this research is the question: how can important data be stored for the long term with the least cost and risk?

Who should apply? This is a great project for any technologist who enjoys exploring open source repos and testing how they perform in real world conditions; it may be particularly interesting to academic technologists or open source hackers looking for an excuse to learn more about peer-to-peer data storage and other strategies for long-term cultural preservation.

What is the project? The project will include:

  • Selecting a range of data storage technologies for analysis, including API storage providers like Amazon S3, established data archival platforms like LOCKSS, emerging data replication protocols like IPFS and hypercore, and emerging data storage offerings like Sia, Storj, and Filecoin.
  • Selecting analysis criteria for the selected technologies, such as cost, complexity, durability, and security.
  • Testing the selected technologies with data of substantial size and cultural value (such as the data collected by our Perma.cc and Case.law projects) to understand their real world performance and user experience.
  • Publishing a comparison of the selected technologies both as text and as code for others to build on. Everything built at our Lab will be released as open source.

Work location and funding Work may be in person at Harvard Law School or remote. Funding is available for hourly contracts or academic stipends depending on the nature of your interest.

To apply: Email lil@law.harvard.edu with a résumé and brief statement of interest to get started.


Research Assistant / Student Fellow

Students: thinking about legal tech, civic tech, or cultural memory? We have options:

Research Assistants: We're seeking paid research assistants with a web development background to help us build open source legal tech and civic tech tools like Perma.cc, Opencasebook.org, and Case.law.

Student Fellows: We offer student fellow positions to provide mentorship to students working on independent projects in the field of open knowledge (legal tech, civic tech, library tech, online governance, etc.). Depending on subject matter and professor relationships, student fellow positions may or may not offer stipend or credit; please reach out to us to discuss.

Eligibility: Positions are open to students inside and outside Harvard, with a preference for students at Harvard Law School and Harvard University.

To apply: send a statement of interest to lil@law.harvard.edu.


Fellows

The Library Innovation Lab offers a small number of stipended fellowships to people developing tools and communities to explore the future of open knowledge.

Who should apply: Fellowships are a particularly good fit for people— inside and outside academia!—with a track record of building tools or leading communities that advance the conversation about cultural knowledge and the internet, and who need financial and institutional support to take their next steps.

By "cultural knowledge and the internet," we mean questions like: how do established cultural memory institutions adapt to the internet age and help societies reconstruct and remember their history? How do societies govern themselves, coordinate solutions to problems, and decide who to trust in the evolving information landscape? How do we preserve today's knowledge for future generations?

In short, who are we, how did we get here, and where are we going? And who is "we" in a networked world anyway?

By "track record of building tools or leading communities," we mean that we want to see your theory of change and how it operates in the world: how have your beliefs about who we are, where we came from, and where we're going been translated to action, whether in code, in writing, or in community organizing, and what are your next steps?

More concretely, strong fellowship applicants could include:

  • Coders building software to help small institutions or communities run and preserve their own digital archives
  • Librarians leading movements for internet access and digital literacy
  • Archivists developing novel practices to empower communities not benefitting from traditional archives
  • Artists and authors helping to explore and translate the cultural impact of new technologies

Fellowship details: Fellowships are individually arranged on a rolling basis, and may be any length from a week to a year. Fellows are expected to visit Harvard in person for a portion of the appointment, but need not be present full time. Stipends are available to support full-time work, but may be prorated depending on time commitment and other sources of support.

To apply: Email a résumé and statement of interest to lil@law.harvard.edu.