Location: Trinity College Dublin
Level: PhD

CLOSED
Post Status:Specific Purpose Contract - 24 Months, full-time
Reports to: Prof Owen Conlan, Prof Peter Crooks
Salary: €37,874 to €45,041 per annum

Position Summary

Based at the ADAPT Centre for digital content platform technology, the Beyond 2022: Ireland's Virtual Record Treasury Research Project seeks to appoint a Postdoctoral Researcher in Information Retrieval on a fixed term contract basis. The successful candidate will play a pivotal role in developing the exploratory information retrieval for this exciting and challenging digital re-imagining of Irish history across the past 7 centuries. Beyond 2022 is a ground-breaking all-island and international collaboration funded by the Government of Ireland, through the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, under the Project Ireland 2040 framework.

Based in Trinity College Dublin and the ADAPT Centre, the role will involve collaborating closely with Computer Science researchers from other domains like VR/AR and Semantic Web and a team of historical researchers with expertise in the content of the historical corpus. An ability to communicate Computer Science concepts clearly and effectively to potential non-experts, and a capacity to assimilate information from experts outside the field of IR are important requirements of the position. Beyond 2022 seeks to re-imagine and re-create through virtual reality the Public Record Office of Ireland building and its archival collections, which were destroyed in the opening engagement of the Irish Civil War. The principal resource created by the Project will be an open-access virtual archive, which will become a national legacy from Ireland’s Decade of Centenaries.

Duties and Responsibilities of the Post

  • The successful candidate will be responsible for conducting research into the development of novel search techniques over a medium-to-large corpus of historical texts spanning seven centuries of Irish history and written in a variety of languages including English, Latin, and some French. In addition, the successful candidate will participate actively in the design and development of a software application that enables users to avail of any novel search techniques discovered in the course of conducting research.
  • The successful candidate will be an active member of the project team. This will involve collaborating closely with Computer Science researchers from other domains, and a team of historical researchers with expertise in the content of the historical corpus. An ability to communicate Computer Science concepts clearly and effectively to potential non-experts, and a capacity to assimilate information from experts outside the field of IR are important requirements of the position.
  • While there is some flexibility in the specific direction of research in this post, there are  certain contextual factors which should be considered. Research must be guided by the information needs of the historical researchers and members of the public who are expected to engage with the content of the digital archive. An important component of this project is the opening of hitherto lost information about Ireland to all who are interested. This should be the first priority in the pursuit of novel search techniques. It is expected that there will be a strong Entity Oriented search component to the project.
  • The role will also involve applying NLP techniques including Entity Recognition, Classification, and Linking to digitized text in order to extract information from noisy, text-based cultural heritage sources.
  • While a search experience may be delivered through a traditional search interface (free text and facets), one of the more interesting aspects of the project is the potential for research in the field of Exploratory Search. The contents of the reconstructed Public Records Office will be vast in scale, diverse in nature of content, and will span almost a century of Irish history. A search solution should support users in their discovery of new, unexpected information hidden in the annals of the PROI.
  • Additionally there is the consideration of search in a Virtual Reality reconstruction of the Public Records Office of Ireland. Questions may be asked around how users perform search in this space, how well their information needs are satisfied, and how the search engine itself is made manifest in a virtual world.

Qualifications

  • Applicants must have a primary degree in Computer Science or a related discipline and a PhD in Computer Science with contributions to the field of Information Retrieval.

Knowledge & Experience

Essential

The recommended technical experience for the post involves the ability to:

  • Work with standard IR tools and libraries, e.g. Solr, Elasticsearch, Lucene etc.
  • Evaluate IR tools in a reliable, consistent and reproducible manner.
  • Assimilate information across a range of disciplines outside the remit of IR and use this to inform solutions that satisfy information needs.
  • Work with standard NLP tools and libraries, e.g. NLTK, Stanford NLP etc.
  • Evaluate NLP tools in a reliable, consistent, reproducible manner, e.g. using GERBIL for Entity Linking.
  • Excellent problem solving abilities.
  • The successful candidate should be comfortable with writing code in a variety of languages with all due consideration to best practices. Applicants may provide links to a Github account or similar which demonstrates some of their previous work in accordance with this requirement.

 

Desirable

Experience working in Digital Humanities is desirable, including, but not limited to, working with digitised documents, facilitating search across heterogeneous sources, working as part of a multi-disciplinary team and developing innovative public humanities offerings.

Candidates may also benefit from previous experience:

  • Working with information expressed as linked data.
  • Working with data formats that are prevalent in DH e.g. TEI-XML.
  • Working with data that is served over RESTful APIs.
  • Software development in a range of languages e.g. Java, Python, etc.
  • Developing and deploying web applications using tools such as Apache Server and Apache Tomcat.
  • Providing user interfaces for interacting with search services.

Application Information

In order to assist the selection process, applicants should submit a Curriculum Vitae and a Cover Letter (1x A4 page) that specifically address how the candidate’s skills and experience align with the criteria set out above via https://apply.adaptcentre.ie/apply.php?jobID=PD_IR_B2022 

Please Note:

  • Applicants who do not address the application requirements above in their cover letter will not be considered at the short list stage.
  • Applicants should note that the interview process for this appointment may include the delivery of a presentation and may include a test of practical skills.

Informal enquiries about this post should be made to by e-mail to: Mr Theo Little (theo.little@adaptcentre.ie).