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 and 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.

How to apply

Email 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,, and

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.


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


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

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, open to everyone and in the public interest, solving serious emerging problems from the unique perspective of the world's largest academic law library. On the tech side we work most often with Django, Vue, and Postgres.

Diversity statement

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