A computational analysis of library classification through time

This PhD project will be based at the University of Melbourne with an initial stay of 24 months at University of Toronto.

Project Description:

This PhD project jointly offered by the University of Toronto (UofT) and the University of Melbourne (UoM) will provide training and research opportunities for a student applicant in the area of computational cognitive linguistics. The student will work under the joint supervision of faculty members from both institutions and will spend two years at each institution.

The project is a large-scale computational analysis of human categorization. We will take library classification as a case study, and will draw on data from thousands of libraries to explore how book classifications have emerged over time. The first part of the project will explore the extent to which existing models of categorization and cultural evolution can account for library classification. The second part will focus on classification bias, and will use computational methods to identify ways in which classification systems such as the Dewey Decimal system can be adjusted to better represent the diversity of materials in library collections worldwide.

The PhD program will commence in 2021 and has an expected duration of 4 to 4.5 years, with full financial support including tuition, stipend, and relevant travelling expenses. The student will begin coursework and research at UofT for an initial period of 2 years, and then proceed to further research and dissertation work at UoM to complete the program.

The applicant should have obtained a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree by January 2021 in an area related to the project (e.g. computer science, cognitive science, psychology, or linguistics). The applicant should have a general interest in the area of cognitive linguistics, and strong programming skills are essential. A background in natural language processing is desirable but not essential. UofT and UoM are both committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion and applicants from diverse and underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

Supervision Team:

A/Prof Charles Kemp (University of Melbourne)

A/Prof Yang Xu (University of Toronto)

How to Apply

If you are interested in this opportunity, read the application guidelines before contacting the supervisors.