The International Institute of Social History (IISH) conducts advanced research on global and economic history of work, workers, and labour relations and to this end gathers data, which are made available to other researchers as well. Development Department collects archives, publications, video and audio material and digital sources pertaining to the theme of labour and labour relations and broader social and socioeconomic themes and social movements. The department consists of seven motivated staff members who work together as a team and each have their own thematic or regional specialty. Our focus is on collecting unique and primary materials from both well-known and established and new organisations and organisational forms and from the persons who work there.


The collections of the IISH contain a large number of books, periodicals, archives and other items in non-Western languages and alphabets from the Middle East and North Africa (in Arabic), Afghanistan (Persian), Pakistan (Urdu), Iran (Persian), Ethiopia/Eritrea (Amharic), Sri Lanka (Sinhalese, Tamil), Bangladesh (Bengali) and Myanmar (Burmese). This material most often was published by, or is about, 20th century political movements and social movements.


We are looking for: four temporary cataloging assistants
Each working two weeks full time or four weeks half time


In our catalog, these books, periodicals and archives have been described using transliterations into the Latin alphabet. The transliteration systems are sometimes non-standard, outdated or applied inconsistently. For subject specialists and especially for people from the countries and regions where the material comes from, searching in the original language and alphabet would be much preferable. For this reason we have started a project to enrich our catalog with data in the original alphabets.


Your tasks:
You create data in the original language/alphabet of selected books, periodicals and archives, such as author, title, publisher, names of persons and organizations. You don’t have to work directly in the IISH systems, but in a spreadsheet that will be used later to import your data in the IISH-systems.
You are working accurately, and are able to keep to the planning and agreements. You ask for consultation and feedback when necessary. You work with experienced IISH staff members, who are willing to assist you.


  • Excellent skills in one or more of the following languages: Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, Burmese, Persian, Sinhalese, Tamil, Urdu
  • Good skills at English and/or Dutch.
  • Experience with standard computer programs such as Word and Excel
  • Interest in history, libraries and archives


Salary and appointment:
The appointment at the KNAW/IISH has a duration of two weeks. The gross monthly salary lies between €2,261 and €3.051 (salary grade 7 of the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities) for a fulltime position, depending on your relevant professional experience and qualifications. The IISH offers attractive secondary employment conditions, including an 8.3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday allowance.

You can apply until 25 October 2019.

Please send an email to, indicating the language into which you can translate.

The KNAW Humanities Cluster includes the International Institute of Social History, the Huygens Institute of Netherlands History and the Meertens Institute. They share one operational office, which organizes and supports the operational management of the Humanities Cluster as a whole and of the three institutes separately.