Semantic Data Specialist

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Created: March 6, 2020


About Northeastern:

Founded in 1898, Northeastern is a global research university and the recognized leader in experience-driven lifelong learning. Our world-renowned experiential approach empowers our students, faculty, alumni, and partners to create impact far beyond the confines of discipline, degree, and campus.

Our locations—in Boston; Charlotte, North Carolina; London; Portland, Maine; San Francisco; Seattle; Silicon Valley; Toronto; Vancouver; and the Massachusetts communities of Burlington and Nahant—are nodes in our growing global university system. Through this network, we expand opportunities for flexible, student-centered learning and collaborative, solutions-focused research.

Northeastern’s comprehensive array of undergraduate and graduate programs— in a variety of on-campus and online formats—lead to degrees through the doctorate in nine colleges and schools. Among these, we offer more than 195 multi-discipline majors and degrees designed to prepare students for purposeful lives and careers.

About the Opportunity:

Do you enjoy modelling the implicit relationships between people, objects, or places? Do you explore complex datasets of the past while forging connections with communities of the present?

As part of a new developer cluster hire, the Digital Scholarship Group (DSG) in Northeastern University's Library is excited to open a search for a Semantic Data Specialist, in cooperation with the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS). The Semantic Data Specialist will focus on developing systems for extracting, modeling, and sharing data on named entities from a variety of primary text sources. This position is joined by a Data Engineer and a Digital Scholarship Developer which together will focus on creating sustainable platforms for community-driven digital scholarship. Together with Northeastern’s recent faculty cluster search in digital humanities, these positions represent the university’s ongoing commitment to digital scholarship.


Tasks and skills will include named entity identification of people, places, and related temporal information, and creation of appropriate systems for representing and managing this information for use in digital editions and projects at both institutions. The Semantic Data Specialist will work closely with the MHS as they transcribe historical documents, primarily into Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) format, but also with data recorded in a variety of other formats such as CSV. A significant part of this position will involve reconciling the data derived from the above sources into a coherent whole, in conjunction with the Data Engineer and the Digital Scholarship Developer, so that it can be made publicly accessible through web interfaces. The Semantic Data Specialist will devise and implement techniques for formalizing references between entities found within transcribed historical documents related to New England's history and its social, political, and economic evolution.

This is a two year grant-funded position with the possibility of continuation.


● MLS or equivalent graduate degree

● Demonstrable experience in developing semantic models in an academic setting, preferably in a library

● Relevant experience with digital humanities, digital libraries, and/or the computational social sciences

● Excellent communication and interpersonal skills

● Demonstrable understanding of emerging trends in the digital humanities and computational social sciences

● Proven ability to manage multiple concurrent projects and deliver results in a fast-paced academic environment

● Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills and the ability to formulate options, develop, and recommend solutions.

● Demonstrable experience in collaborative and collegial teamwork within an entrepreneurial academic environment.

● Excellent oral and written skills, ability to communicate with technical and non-technical individuals, and prepare project documentation

● Experience with open-source software development and use

● Strong service focus

● Experience with developing and leading workshops and individual consultations desirable

About the Digital Scholarship Group and the Massachusetts Historical Society

A recognized leader in the field, the Digital Scholarship Group supports digital modes of research, publication, and collaboration through applied research, systems and tools development, and consultative services. Our team engages with faculty in the digital humanities and quantitative social sciences from across the university, and has become an essential partner for the NULab for Maps, Texts, and Networks, as well as cultural heritage partners in Boston, including the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Boston Public Library.  Current DSG projects include the Boston Research Center, the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project,the Early Carribean Digital Archive, and TEI Archiving Publishing and Access Service (TAPAS), as well as a number of digital archiving projects from the Library’s Archives and Special Collections. The Massachusetts Historical Society is a major historical archive specializing in early American, Massachusetts, and New England history and is the oldest historical society in the United States, having been established in 1791. The DSG and MHS offer a friendly and closely collaborative work environment, and actively foster the professional and intellectual development of all of our colleagues and collaborators, including training opportunities and mentorship.

The Northeastern University Library supports the mission of the University by working in partnership with the University community to develop and disseminate new scholarship. The Library fosters intellectual and professional growth, enriches the research, teaching, and learning environment, and promotes the effective use of knowledge by managing and delivering information resources and services to library users.

Northeastern University is an equal opportunity employer, seeking to recruit and support a broadly diverse community of faculty and staff.  Northeastern values and celebrates diversity in all its forms and strives to foster an inclusive culture built on respect that affirms inter-group relations and builds cohesion. 

All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability status, or any other  characteristic protected by applicable law.

To learn more about Northeastern University’s commitment and support of diversity and inclusion, please see


Submitted by: patrickmj

Published: Tuesday, March 10, 2020 18:23 UTC

Last updated: Tuesday, March 10, 2020 18:23 UTC