Postdoc in NLP, Digital Humanities, and Semantic Web

We’re hiring a Postdoc to work across NLP, Digital Humanities, and Semantic Web.…

Bring your creativity and skills to study the evolution of online fictional narratives

Job description

Applications are invited for a 1.5 year position as postdoctoral researcher within the research project “Graphs and Ontologies for Literary Evolution Models” (GOLEM), financed by an ERC Starting Grant and coordinated by the Principal Investigator (PI), dr. Federico Pianzola. This is an interdisciplinary project at the intersection of NLP, Digital Humanities, and Semantic Web (linked data).

Millions of stories are shared on online platforms such as Wattpad, AO3, and FFNet, combined with readers’ reactions and comments on these stories. The GOLEM project will analyze stories and their responses gathered from sites in five different languages – English, Spanish, Italian, Korean and Indonesian. This analysis can provide a wealth of information about the characters in a story, the genre, what a story is about, how a story is constructed, what themes are covered, as well as what readers from different countries and cultures find important in a story.

The core infrastructure of the project is a graph database of ca. 10 million stories, including information extracted from the full text of the stories via NLP techniques. Some information is already available in structured format, some other can be imported from resources like Wikidata or fan wikis. In addition, both the full text and the existing triples can be leveraged for the extension of the knowledge graph via automated reasoning, inferential learning, and other techniques.

The project will hire a postdoctoral researcher, who will work in the GOLEM lab.

Your Tasks
In collaboration with the other team members, you will work on the creation of a knowledge graph database generated extracting structured information from unstructured narrative text.

You will contribute to:

  • enrich a knowledge graph database with information obtained via NLP, namely with graph reasoning techniques (graph machine learning)
  • use graph-based representations for ontology learning
  • use NLP methods for modelling narrative text.

The focus on each of these tasks can vary based on the expertise of the applicant.

Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen enjoys an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative institution of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Flexible study programmes and academic career opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 37,000 students and researchers alike to develop their own individual talents. As one of the best research universities in Europe, the University of Groningen has joined forces with other top universities and networks worldwide to become a truly global centre of knowledge.

Faculty of Arts
The Faculty of Arts is built on a long-standing tradition of four centuries. Our mission is to be a top-ranking faculty with both an excellent education and world-quality research, with a strong international orientation, firmly rooted in the North of the Netherlands. We build and share knowledge benefits to society. We work at a modern, broad and international institution, educating over 5000 Dutch and international students to become forward-looking, articulate and independent academics. We form a hardworking and diverse team of 700 staff members.


  • a PhD degree in any area related to the tasks (e.g. Computer Science, Digital Humanities, or Information Science)
  • experience in extracting structured information from unstructured documents
  • commitment to Open Source and Open Science practices
  • an independent, proactive work ethic
  • good academic writing skills in English
  • knowledge of Dutch is NOT required.
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