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JOBS: Part-time Research Assistantships, Resilient Networks for Inclusive Digital Humanities, 2018-2019

Research Assistantships

The “Resilient Networks for Inclusive Digital Humanities” initiative invites applications from undergraduate and graduate students for several part-time research assistantships on digital humanities projects at any of four participating institutions (Davidson College, George Washington University, Prairie View A&M University, and Rice University) for the April 2018 – March 2019 cycle. Only students from the four participating institutions are eligible; both undergraduate and graduate students may apply. Remote work is expected in many cases. Applications will be accepted through August 31, 2018, but please see below for dates of work.

Although these positions are advertised and managed as jobs, they are also meant to be learning opportunities akin to the best of internships that allow students to acquire and practice skills in the context of a real-life digital humanities research project. Students will be both allowed and encouraged by project directors to learn any of the desired skills listed in the position descriptions from books, online tutorials, and workshops as part of their paid hourly work. Additional funds may also be available for such training.

As part of the terms of the “Resilient Networks for Inclusive Digital Humanities” initiative, each digital humanities project will hire two student Research Assistants, at least one of whom must be from a different participating institution. For instance, Davidson College in North Carolina might hire and pay one of its students to work on a digital humanities project based at Rice University in Texas. This means that every project will have at least one remote research assistant (unless the student chooses to move at her/his own expense to the location of the project). Students can indicate which project(s) they would most like to work with when completing the application, but applicants are considered for all projects and might receive an offer (which they can choose to turn down) from any project. The same application is used for all positions. Note that because work may take place remotely, all students will be expected to report their hours and regularly communicate with the project team online in ways to be specified later. See the Projects page for full project descriptions.

Rates of pay are $12.50/hour for undergraduate students and $15/hour for graduate students. Different projects have different timelines, but in general students will be asked to work anywhere from 5 to 20 hours every week for a certain period in 2018-2019: summer only, summer and fall,  summer-spring, fall-spring. See below for position descriptions and dates of work.

Application Form

Please also email a résumé or curriculum vitae to resilnetworks@gwu.edu.


Position Descriptions

Project: Tally – Gamifying Data Tracking

Institution: Davidson College

Director: Joelle Dietrick and Owen Mundy

Position Description:
A team at Davidson College, funded through support from a Resilient Networks grant, is seeking
a frontend (HTML/CSS/Javascript) or backend developer (JS/Node/Express/Mysql) from one of
the following participating institutions: George Washington University, Prairie View A&M
University, or Rice University. This student developer will join a team working on Tally, a
web-based game that identifies hidden online data trackers and transforms the data they collect
into a competitive multiplayer experience. Position location is flexible. The duties of the research assistant / programmer will be to

  • Add features and maintain codebase for an HTML/CSS/Javascript browser-based game
  • Add features to a web API using nodejs and MySQL
  • Test, find, and address bugs in Javascript
  • Support the creation of communication assets to promote the games.

Required Skills:

  • Undergraduate or young graduate from university / college
  • Programming experience, and ability to quickly adapt to new languages
  • Familiarity with collaboration tools: Git, Google Drive, Dropbox
  • Reliability, ability to work self-directed
  • Good organization and coordination skills
  • Ability to take initiatives and raise suggestions
  • Fluent in English

Desired Skills: 

  • Previous experience with HTML5/CSS3, Javascript/jQuery
  • Chrome/Firefox Extension (HTML/CSS/JS, performance, testing)
  • Node/Express API (performance, security)
  • MySQL queries (joins, performance)
  • Keeps up to date on the latest news across the games industry
  • Avid video gamer

Dates of Employment: July – February 2018. Preferred period: 32 weeks / 10 hours/week. Start times and days are flexible. Location is flexible.


Project: Reconstructing the Cane River Slave Cabins

Institution: Prairie View A & M University

Director: William Batson

Position Description:

Prairie View A & M University, School of Architecture seeks mature and detail-oriented student research assistants (undergraduate and/or graduate) to help reconstruct eight (8) Slave Cabin/Quarters located on the former Magnolia Plantation at the Cane River Creole National Park located at 400 Rapids Drive, Natchitoches, LA 71457.

In addition to AutoCAD R16 mastery, special skills are required for this position namely the ability to draw skillfully and expeditiously and capable of drawing using several lineweights to convey depth and section and experience applying proper AutoCAD linetypes. This work will provide participants with an opportunity to gain valuable transferable skills, such as critical thinking, scale measurement, and applications of historic preservation. Research assistants will work a minimum 10 hours (max. 20 hours) per week.

Required Skills:

  • Excellent AutoCAD Release16 lineweights and linetype drawing skills and 50+ command proficiency including and layers and Xrefs
  • Architecture or City, Regional or Planning background
  • Interest in African-American Culture and History

Desired Skills: 

  • Experience with Web Page Designry
  • Proficiency with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop
  • Experience with Cyclone software helpful

Dates of Employment: June – December 2018.


Project: The Reservation Story Map Project: Documenting Houston’s Formal Red Light District

Institution: Rice University

Director: Brian Riedel 

Librarian: Jeanette Sewell

Position Description:

The Reservation Story Map Project seeks a research assistant from Davidson College, PVAMU, or GWU to work remotely or in person.  The student(s) selected would facilitate a major expansion to the project, improving the accessibility of the Houston City Directory data.  In collaboration with the Houston Public Library and Rice’s Center for Research Computing (CRC), students will prepare an algorithm and data processing work flow to be run on Rice research computing resources to identify relevant data in OCR enabled PDFs of the city directories.  Students will then assist with running small batches through that algorithm, iteratively refining the algorithm/process.  As the body of relevant data grows, students will clean the resulting data, likely with OpenRefine.  In the final stages of the project, cleaned data will be imported into ArcGIS.

Desired Skills: 

  • Historical / Archival research
  • Microsoft Excel / Database Management / Metadata Management
  • OpenRefine
  • Image scanning, editing, general digitization skills
  • ArcGIS / StoryMaps / other GIS tools
  • Some computer science background (specific skills learned on the job)

Dates of Employment: May – August, 2018 (10-20 hours per week)


Project: Reading Manuscript Culture Digitally: The Libro de Buen Amor / The Book of Good Love Online

Organization: George Washington University

Director: Heather Bamford

Librarian: TBA

Position Description: 

We seek students to prepare images of our base manuscript (manuscript S of the University of Salamanca) to be uploaded to the platform; to search for images that would be appropriate support material for the site; to mark-up text edited by the project directors using TEI (text encoding initiative), an application of the extensible markup language (XML); and to add the image and text content to the platform.

Required Skills:

Strong reading ability in Spanish language

Attention to detail

Desired skills:

Familiarity with TEI-XML markup language

Experience in editing digital images

Interest in learning about old handwritten documents

Dates of Employment: May – August 2018 (10 hrs./week)


Project: Offshore Onshore: A History of American Capitalism from the Bonded Warehouse to the Subzone

Organization: GWU

Director: Dara Orenstein

Librarian: Leah Richardson

Position Description:

We are seeking an undergraduate or graduate student to learn and use intensive data skills to help construct a data set concerning foreign-trade zones intended for a public website on the topic. Most of the data is publicly available on two government websites ( enforcement.trade.gov/ftzpage/letters/ftzlist-map.html and ita-web.ita.doc.gov/FTZ/OFISLogin.nsf ), but it needs to be gathered and linked for display on a website showing both locations and information about these FTZs. Funds for training are available, and we are willing to take someone with a strong interest in the topic who is a quick learner. The student will also be asked to help obtain permission to use certain visual media on the website.

Required Skills:

  • Familiarity with spreadsheet software such as Excel
  • Attention to detail, namely the ability to enter data correctly and ensure its consistency

Desired Skills:

  • A background in American Studies, American History, Political Science, Economics, or a similar field
  • Experience with or willingness to learn the basics of intellectual property and copyright law
  • Experience with or willingness to learn advanced data normalization tools such as Open Refine
  • Experience with or willingness to learn how to scrape structured data from the web using Python scripts or other means

Dates of Employment: May-August 2018


Project: The Herschel Observatory – Building a Discovery Machine

Organization: Rice University

Director: John Mulligan

Librarian: Ying Jin

Position Description:
This project will create a framework for visualizing and eventually simulating their decades-long labor. Student laborers will:
• Be paid for a short course on the Herschels and the history of intellectual labor and intellectual property.
• Work with massive datasets (e.g., the Sloan digital sky survey)
• Work with open-source software API’s (e.g., Google Sky)
• Build simple, data-driven web-based interfaces (likely in HTML5 Canvas)
• Interact with databases (in MySQL)
• Create a basic API to allow command-line interface and scripting of this Herschel platform.
This job will not include any data entry. The goal will be for us, as a team, to develop a platform which will make Herschel star, nebula, and “sweep” data visually accessible in a way that communicates the work that the Herschels did. I would love for the final product to include your reflections on the work you did and what you have learned about the history of intellectual labor in the process.

Dates of Employment: May-August 2018


Project: Between Oceans and Continents: The Registers of Slave and Freed Africans of Mozambique, 1850s-1870s

Organization: Rice University

Director: Daniel da Silva

Librarian: Kathy Hart Weimer

Position Description:
Between Oceans and Continents is looking for student research assistants (undergraduate or graduate) to help recover the history of Africans forced into slavery in Mozambique during second half of the nineteenth century, when the center of gravity of the slave trade shifted from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. Selected candidates will gain exclusive access to digitized images of documents from the Historical Archive of Mozambique to create a database of slave and freed Africans from that region and deploy it on the Internet through a website containing tools to explore the data online. No special skills are required for this position other than basic computer knowledge. Reading proficiency in Portuguese or Spanish, however, would be a plus. The work will allow students to participate in almost every step of a history research project, including data gathering, data analysis, and research report. Further, it will provide them with an opportunity of gaining important transferable skills, such as critical thinking, quantitative analysis, project management, as well as knowledge of several computer resources useful for the digital humanities, like Microsoft Excel, Palladio, and Zotero. Research assistants will work a maximum of 8 hours per week, undergraduates at $12.50 per hour, graduates at $15.00 per hour. Between Oceans and Continents is a project under development at Rice University, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through the Resilient Networks for Inclusive Digital Humanities Program. Please, direct questions about the project or the application process to Dr. Daniel Domingues at domingues@rice.edu or (713) 348-2198.

Desired Skills:

  • Reading proficiency in Portuguese or Spanish
  • Proficiency with Excel
  • Experience with Palladio or other visualization software
  • Experience with Zotero or other bibliographic software

Dates of Employment: August-December 2018


Project: Photo-modeling the Roman Forum: Methods and practices for automated photo modeling at the Horrea Agrippiana

Organization: Rice University

Director: John Hopkins

Librarian: Scott Carlson

Position Description:

The Horrea Agrippiana Project is a large cultural heritage initiative to excavate, study and published the archaeological environment of the southeastern corner of the Roman Forum. A major part of this project is visual-spatial documentation of the site, including geo-referenced 3D photo modeling of the site. We seek a research assistant from Davidson College, PVMU or GWU to work remotely on methods and best practices for photo-documentation practices and automated assembly into photo models with geotagged points. Research Assistants will be provided with batches of images during or after excavation season and asked to find ways to stitch them together as quickly and accurately as possible.

Desired Skills:

  • Visual acuity
  • Interest in archaeology, spatial humanities or cultural heritage
  • Comfort with photographic technology and experience editing digital images
  • Open source GIS tools
  • Some computer science background (specific to scripts that might help with this process, including Python)
  • Familiarity with or interest in learning Agisoft PhotoScan

Dates of Employment: June-July 2018 or September-December 2018


About Amanda French

I am the Director of the Resilient Digital Humanities initiative. I am based at GWU, but I live in Raleigh, NC. My particular expertise consists of making humanities content (both cultural content and scholarly interpretation of that content) openly available online, as well as introducing scholars to the various methods of and issues with making humanities content openly available online. I often speak and sometimes write about Open Access, the scholarly publication landscape, Omeka, Scalar, THATCamp, the Digital Public Library of America, Wikipedia, grant-writing, and alternative careers for humanities PhDs.

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