Consultant – Digitalization of the Archives of the Inter-Parliamentary Union

Inter-Parliamentary Union

With its 133 years of history as the world’s oldest international political organization, the Inter-Parliamentary (IPU) has amassed in its archives an exceptionally rich collection of documents, images and memorabilia dating back from late XIXth century and the entire century that followed. Among its treasures, the IPU archives comprise unique documents relating to no less than 27 Nobel Peace Prize laureates who had been associated with the Organization in one way or another. In its present non-digital form, however, the collection is not easy to consult without ad hoc assistance and is therefore not well known.

For this reason and as part of its efforts to promote digital transformation of parliamentary institutions globally, the IPU has taken a decision to digitize its archives starting with the segment comprising materials from the first fifty years of the Union’s existence (1889-1939). Initial analysis of this segment has revealed that it included some 355’800 pages of printed, typed and manuscript texts as well as numerous photos, drawings and press cuttings stored in altogether 247 standard archive boxes.

Several options are open to the IPU with regard to the practical realization of the archives digitization project. However, these would have considerable financial implications and would require targeted fund-raising efforts on the part of the IPU. The success of the resource mobilization campaign would depend largely on thoughtful planning, preparation of articulate presentations and illustrative materials as well as on enlistment of broad support by the parliamentary community. As explicitly pointed out by some IPU Members, the Organization’s archives represent an immense historical value not just to the IPU Secretariat in Geneva but to all of them.

The Consultant is expected to play an essential role in the realization of the archives digitization project by contributing to its conceptualization, planning and preparation of relevant documentation.


Within delegated authority, the Consultant will:

  1. Undertake background research on the current state of digital archiving methods, technology and standards with a view to pinpointing lessons to be learnt from other international organizations and businesses that have recently taken on archives digitization projects;
  2. Prepare a roadmap for the next phase of the IPU archives digitization project taking into account the preparatory work carried out already and the knowledge accumulated thus far;
  3. Elaborate a plan concerning the realization of the archives digitization, including through the formulation of technical terms of reference for use in the bids process and cost estimates of possible contracts;
  4. Prepare a list of prospective partners in International Geneva and commercial companies that could carry out such a project;
  5. Propose a list of prospective donors to be contacted in connection with the implementation of the IPU archives digitization project;
  6. Produce attractively laid-out presentations of the project in PowerPoint format and as printouts for sharing with prospective donors, commercial partners and during promotional demonstrations;
  7. Draft a list of tasks and responsibilities to be assigned to the future permanent IPU archivist-historian who would be responsible for the continuation of the archives digitization project;
  8. Draft a list of smaller-scale projects that could be carried out with more limited resources in the course of 2023, with a view to promoting the IPU Archives;
  9. Other related tasks as assigned by the supervisor.

Organizational setting and reporting relationships

The Consultant will report to the Director for Member Parliaments and External Relations. Day-to-day supervision of the Consultant’s work as well all necessary practical assistance will be the responsibility of the Chief IPU Archives Consultant (currently a pro bono position).

Work implies frequent interaction with the following:

  • The IPU Executive Office, Division for Member Parliaments and the IPU Communications Division;
  • Chief IPU Archives Consultant;
  • IPU Secretariat staff in general;
  • External partners, international organizations and academic institutions including UNOG Library and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva (IHEID);
  • Experts specializing in the theory and practice of historical archives;
  • Relevant businesses and commercial representatives (should the commercial option of the project be pursued as described above).

Results expected

High-quality outputs and speedy delivery of services. Production of high-caliber reports and support documents. Effective overall advancement of the archives digitization project and liaison with external partners. High level of discretion, political tact and commitment in carrying out responsibilities.

Qualifications and competences

  • Education: Masters in Library Science, Archives and Records Management, or a related field;
  • Experience/knowledge of ISAD (G) would also be an asset;
  • A perfect command of written and spoken English or French is essential, good knowledge of the other of the two languages is highly desired. A working knowledge of other UN languages will be an advantage.


At least five years of work experience (including internships and post-graduate work) in a field relating to archiving and information technology.

Other skills

  • Previous experience of working with modern information technology tools including databases and websites;
  • Interest in history and politics;
  • Strong writing skills for the elaboration of attractive and convincing presentations;
  • Ability to work independently.

Contract length

The consultancy is for a period of 3 months, from 12 September until 16 December 2022, working at 80% (four days a week).


The consultancy is being offered at a rate of CHF 300 a day including remote days, for a working day of seven and a half hours.


The position will be based in the Archives building at the IPU Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Nonetheless, depending on the nature of the currently undertaken task and with the consent of the supervising officer (Chief IPU Archives Consultant) some of the tasks can be carried out remotely.

How to apply

Applications should be received on or before 24 July 2022. In order to ensure prompt and efficient processing of their applications, applicants are required to provide, along with their curriculum vitae, a detailed cover letter explaining how they meet each of the requirements of the position with concrete examples.

Applications should be addressed to the:

Director, Support Services Inter-Parliamentary Union 5, chemin du Pommier Case postale 330 CH-1218 le Grand-Saconnex, Switzerland Tel: 41 22 919 4150 Fax: 41 22 919 4160 E-mail: [email protected]

Women candidates are encouraged to apply. Applicants will be contacted only if they are under serious consideration. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.