Software Engineer for Scientific Media Archive

Cornell University

The Macaulay Library (ML) is the world’s largest (over 4,500,000 media assets) 
and oldest (started in 1929) scientific archive of biodiversity media 
recordings (audio, video and photos); it is the most heavily used archive of 
its kind in the world. ML assets are media-based biological specimens, much 
like the specimens in more traditional biological collections, but that 
uniquely capture the behavioral traits of living organisms. ML media specimens 
are used extensively in scientific research, having been cited for use in over 
1000 scientific publications. They are also used for a variety of 
non-scientific purposes, including museum exhibits, educational resources, 
mobile device apps, commercial products and artistic productions. eBird 
( is one of the main platforms for collecting media from the 
community and collaborates closely with ML. eBird is one of the world’s 
largest, fastest growing biodiversity databases, currently holding over 460 
million observations of birds, with contributions from every country across the 
globe. More than one million users use eBird web sites and mobile applications 
to submit data, share experiences, and explore the world of birds. Researchers, 
governments, and conservation organizations use the resulting eBird datasets 
for research and conservation projects with worldwide impact. Other projects 
that collaborate with ML include The Birds of North America Online 
(, Neotropical Birds (, and Merlin Bird ID, 
which together provide life history accounts and field ID assistance for every 
bird species in the western hemisphere.

Job Description

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is seeking a motivated Software Engineer to lead 
efforts to manage millions of images, sounds, and videos in a scientific 
archive, the Macaulay Library. An active community of citizen scientists gather 
media with metadata (such as date and location) that are uploaded through 
online applications (including eBird), stored, and accessible for display on 
applications, and requested by researchers and educators.

Specific duties include:

•      Develop the software to support pipelines for media delivery and 
long-term, archival storage.

•      Collaborate with world-class experts and development teams on 
challenging data-intensive projects that will advance science and conservation.

•      Develop, deploy, and maintain data management, media automation systems, 
and tools that facilitate the use of media for science, education, and 

•      Review and improve workflows for processing and managing media and 

•      Design, implement, and test software and server systems to:  preserve, 
structure, and synchronize media metadata; allow users to find, play, preview, 
download, and license recordings; equip staff and contributors with tools to 
manage media and metadata; and automate media and metadata management.

Required Qualifications:

•      Bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field, and 3-5 years 
programming experience or equivalent.

•      Two year experience designing, building, and testing web applications.

•      Proficiency using Java/Spring, Ruby/Rails, Javascript, or similar 

•      One year experience writing SQL.

•      Experience integrating multiple systems, and building/consuming APIs.

•      Experience using software development tools such as git, jenkins, and 

•      Experience with linux server administration.

•      Experience collaborating with a team of engineers, designers, project 
managers, and stakeholders, to solve problems and achieve common goals.

•      Able to adapt to changing priorities, situations, and demands.

•      Able to express highly technical terms in everyday language.

•      Able to participate in a team rotation for off-hours monitoring.

Preferred Qualifications:

•      Experience with Spring, Oracle, Solr, ELK, Docker.

•      Knowledge of birds, conservation, and natural science.

One-year term appointment with possibility of renewal based upon performance 
and availability of funding.

Visa Sponsorship is not available for this position; not eligible to apply.

Relocation assistance is not provided for this position.

To apply: Provide cover letter, resume, contact information for 3 references 
through the Cornell Careers 
 For questions about the position or the application process, contact Sue 
Taggart (

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is the world's leading resource for 
conservation, research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. The 
Lab is a vibrant unit within Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences 
(CALS), where twelve world-class, mission-driven programs are directed by 
full-time faculty and other renowned professionals. Lab staff teach 
undergraduate courses, advise graduate students, collect and disseminate 
world-famous digital resources on biodiversity, and engage with partner 
organizations and citizens around the world to conduct scientific research and 
conservation actions. Our management and staff are committed to the highest 
standards of ethics and excellence in all areas of our work, and our Board 
leadership includes faculty from Cornell and other universities, successful 
entrepreneurs and managers from the business and non-profit sectors, and 
conservation-minded citizens from the United States and beyond.

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employment application or to participate in the recruiting process, you are 
encouraged to contact Cornell University's Office of Workforce Policy and Labor 
Relations at voice (607) 254-7232, fax (607) 255-0298, or email at<>.

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