Indiana University Libraries

Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation for Early Modern Studies

The Indiana University Libraries, with support from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, are seeking a Postdoctoral Fellow to work on advancing scholarly and research data curation practices and services in Early Modern Studies.

The Fellow will be based organizationally in the Libraries, with a joint appointment in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science in the College of Arts and Sciences, and will collaborate with librarians, technologists, and faculty to further the state of data curation knowledge and practice for early modern scholars by establishing best practices, refining workflows, and building tools that will inevitably extend support for humanities data curation initiatives across Indiana University.

The Fellow will contribute primarily to The Chymistry of Isaac Newton project (http://www.dlib.indiana.edu/collections/newton), an online, scholarly and critical edition of Sir Isaac Newton’s alchemical manuscripts comprised of nearly a million words, which have been transcribed and encoded according to the Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange (TEI). In this capacity, the Fellow will work closely with project collaborators across campus, including the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University Libraries, and University Information Technology Services as she or he pursues the following areas of investigation: organization, description, aggregation, migration, and preservation of primary source materials as represented by digitized facsimile page images of manuscripts, transcriptions of those manuscripts, and encoded versions of the manuscripts (i.e., diplomatic and normalized) to ensure use and reuse of digital objects in different applications and contexts. In collaboration with technologists and scholars, the Fellow will also help develop text analysis tools to determine approximate dates for Newton’s undated manuscripts, which make up the bulk of the repository. As part of this work, we envision the creation of an authoritative bibliography that could link to edited text in The Chymistry of Isaac Newton project itself, as well as to digitized versions of books and manuscripts cited by Newton, and often located in open repositories such as the HathiTrust Digital Library or collaborative initiatives such as the Early English Books Online / Text Creation Partnership, which will soon be releasing source texts for adaptation and reuse.

Since Newton used literally hundreds of alchemical works ranging in origin from the Middle Ages to the seventeenth century to prepare his transcriptions and florilegia, the text analysis tools developed for this project will have implications far beyond Newton scholarship alone, particularly as machine readable versions of Newton’s source‐texts become more readily available. As the work of the Fellow progresses, we expect to reach out to other projects as well, both on campus and within the broader digital humanities community who are facing similar data curation challenges with respect to digital scholarly editions. We expect that the approaches that are developed by the Fellow, in collaboration with Indiana University faculty, librarians and technologists, will be applicable to other projects in Early Modern Studies.

Through work on the Newton project as well as others, the CLIR fellow will have direct access to experts across a wide range of faculty, librarians and technologists, including experts in metadata analysis, text encoding, imaging specialists, large‐scale data mining, data curation and preservation systems, system and tool developers, and more. The fellow will participate fully in the vast professional development offerings at Indiana University, including activities in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Library programs such as the Digital Library Brown Bag Series, campus programs such as the College’s Catapult Center for Digital Humanities and Computational Analysis workshops and courses, and more.

Required qualifications:

  • Ph.D. completed within the past five years in an area related to Early Modern Studies (1450‐1800), preferably in history of science, history, or a related area.

Desired qualifications:

  • Experience with or demonstrated aptitude for digital humanities technologies, tools and methods to organize, make discoverable and preserve digital surrogates
  • Ability to apply disciplinary knowledge to advance data curation practices and services
  • Ability to work with wide range of individuals to identify key problems and contribute to teams that develop solutions
  • Experience with software programming and web site development
  • Experience with XML and related technologies
  • Experience with Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) standard
  • Experience with digital repositories
  • Ability to set priorities and manage work and deadlines independently
  • Excellent oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills

Environment:

Indiana University is a comprehensive research university located in Bloomington, Indiana. Founded in 1820, Indiana University has grown from a small state seminary into the flagship campus of a great public university with over 42,000 students and almost 3,000 faculty. Innovation, creativity, and academic freedom are hallmarks of IU Bloomington and its world‐class contributions in research, cyberinfrastructure, and the arts. The campus covers over 1,800 wooded acres and is distinctive for both its park‐like beauty and an architectural heritage inspired by local craftsmanship in limestone.

The Indiana University Libraries are a member of the Association of Research Libraries and the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), with a collection of approximately 7.8 million volumes in our collections. A national leader in digital libraries and data curation and a founding member of the HathiTrust Digital Library and the HathiTrust Research Center, the IU Libraries were named an Association of College and Research Libraries excellence in academic libraries award winner in 2010.