Digital Cataloguing Volunteer, Unlocking Our Sound Heritage

See below for details of our current volunteering opportunities at National Museums NI

Project Overview:

Unlocking Our Sound Heritage is an ambitious project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and led by the British Library in conjunction with ten national and regional partners across the UK. Unlocking Our Sound Heritage digitally preserve almost half a million endangered sound recordings from across the UK and make 100,000 available online transforming the visibility of sound archive collections in the process. National Museums NI is the hub for Northern Ireland. Over three years we will digitise 5,000 physical sound items, from our own collections, and from other collections within our area. The digitised material will then be used as part of a learning and outreach activity for the benefit of the people of Northern Ireland. We are looking for volunteers to support the cataloguing strand of the project.  


National Museums NI Headquarters, Cultra, BT18 0EU

Number of volunteers required: 

Approx. 2-3

Main Purpose and Role:

Cataloguing Volunteers will work alongside the Cataloguing Officer and the Project Manager to support the creation and amendment of catalogue records which will enable the discovery and access of digitised sound recordings for a wide range of audiences.

  • Assist with the preparation of sound items for cataloguing e.g. organising, sorting, labelling etc.
  • Collate and review supporting documentation that might help us to understand the sound recordings better.
  • Scan original documentation to facilitate cataloguing and rights clearance.
  • Produce digital tape summaries and transcripts of oral history recordings, either by transcribing existing hand-written or typed summaries and transcripts, or listening to the recordings themselves.
  • Cross-reference existing catalogue records held by National Museums NI and catalogue records being created for this project.
  • Assist with the filing and shelving of sound items after cataloguing.
  • Produce a blog or piece about your experience of being a Cataloguing Volunteer for National Museums NI’s website. 

Your skills and experience:

  • Accuracy – able to record and quality check information in a consistent and accurate manner.
  • Attention to detail – able to carry out repetitive tasks efficiently, with a keen eye for detail.
  • IT skills – comfortable and confident in using computer equipment in an office environment, in particular Microsoft Excel and scanning equipment.
  • Problem solving skills – able to think logically and laterally to understand complex relationships between pieces of information.  
  • Teamwork – comfortable working alongside others as part of a dynamic workflow.
  • Independent working – able to take ownership of individual pieces of work.
  • Commitment to skills development – an interest in developing archiving and cataloguing skills in a heritage environment.
  • Enthusiasm – an interest in working with audio content, in particular oral history recordings.
  • Reliability – able to provide a regular commitment to our volunteering team.

Your time:

You must be able to commit to at least one day a week, 10am-4pm (Monday-Friday) for a six month period.


  • Contribute to a nationwide project dedicated to the preservation of endangered sound recordings.
  • Learn about National Museums NI’s sound archive and the work to conserve this material.
  • Gain skills and experience in cataloguing, documentation and archiving.
  • Receive one-to-one training and support.
  • Be part of a friendly professional team.
  • Reimbursed agreed out-of-pocket travel and subsistence expenses up to a maximum of £8 per day.

Additional Information:

  • Volunteers will be asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement prior to starting. 
  • Volunteers will be supervised at all times but will be carrying out individual pieces of work. 


Complete the form below and one of the team will get back to you. 

Please put the title of the role you are interested in the “Additional Information” section.