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AISB opportunities Bulletin Item

PhD student position in computational humanities (folktale classification; graduate in CS or AI), Twente ,THE NETHERLANDS

In the faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science of the University of 
Twente we have recently started the FACT project (Folktales as Classifiable Texts). FACT is 
funded under the CATCH program of NWO, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. 
The CATCH program is aimed at collaboration between computer science, humanities, and cultural 
heritage institutions.

The challenge
The FACT project investigates new possibilities for humanities researchers (folktale researchers, 
narratologists, documentalists, etc.) to study folktales based on annotations and relations that 
have been automatically assigned using data-driven methods. The Dutch Folktale Database 
(Nederlandse Volksverhalenbank, of the Meertens Institute is a very large 
and varied collection of Dutch Folktales. It holds folktales in standard Dutch, Frysian, various 
Dutch dialects and historical Dutch. Within FACT, software will be developed to automatically 
enrich the folktales in this collection with metadata such as names, keywords, genre, a summary 
and type. An additional research goal is to investigate if automatic analysis of the folktale 
collection can reveal relations between folktales that are difficult to discover through human 
inspection. The annotation and clustering methods to be developed will be integrated in a 
user-friendly XML-based platform for the annotation and exploration of folktales, to support 
research on the variability of human oral and written transmission.

The work of the PhD-student in FACT will focus on automatic classification of folktales by 
their international folktale type (based on the Aarne-Thompson-Uther index, among others) and 
on unsupervised clustering of folktales, to provide new input for humanities research. The 
other members of the FACT team are a postdoc and a scientific programmer, who will be working 
together with the PhD-student to achieve the project goals. In addition there will be close 
cooperation with the Tunes & Tales project (funded under the Computational Humanities program 
of KNAW) that is aimed at investigating sequences of motifs in, and variability of, melodies 
and folktales in oral transmission. (

Our offer
We offer a full-time PhD-position for 4 years (preferred starting date: March 2012). The starting 
salary will be ? 2042,- gross per month in the first year up to ? 2612,- gross per month in the 
last year. Additional benefits include holiday allowance and end-of-year allowance. Also, there 
will be opportunities to participate in various training courses and to visit national and 
international conferences and workshops, summer schools etc. The PhD-student will be employed 
at the University of Twente, but will work most of the time ?on site? at the Meertens Institute 
in Amsterdam (

Your profile

     Master degree in computer science, natural language processing, artificial intelligence or 
a related discipline (with a specialization in natural language
     Knowledge of, and preferably practical experience with, corpus?based methods for text 
analysis, machine learning, document classification and/or clustering
     Good programming skills
     Affinity with humanities research
     Ability to work in a multidisciplinary team
     Good oral and written communication skills
     Proficiency in English
     Familiarity with the Dutch language is a plus

For more information please contact Marit Theune ( / +31
(0)53 4893718) or Theo Meder ( / +31 (0)20 4628558). 
Please use these email addresses only for obtaining information!

Please send your applications by filling out the application form through the link below, before 
4 March 2012. Applications should include a motivation letter, Curriculum Vitae (with publication 
list, if applicable), a list of courses followed and grades obtained, a relevant research paper 
and/or thesis, and one or two references.

The organisation
The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. 
Education and research that matter. New technology which drives change, innovation and progress 
in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university in the Netherlands; divided 
over six faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. The University of Twente 
has a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying 
out pioneering research.

The faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) comprises three 
disciplines that shape Information and Communication Technology. ICT is more than communication. 
In almost every product we use mathematics, electronics and computer technology and ICT now 
contributes to all of societies' activities. The faculty works together intensively with industrial
partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad and conducts extensive research for 
external commissioning parties and funders. The research which enjoys a high profile both at home 
and internationally, has been accommodated in the multidisciplinary research institutes MESA+, 

To apply for this position visit AcademicTransfer for the original posting, and many other 
scientific vacancies.