Graduate Assistant for On the Books: Jim Crow and Algorithms of Resistance

The University Libraries is hiring graduate assistants for the On the Books: Jim Crow and Algorithms of Resistance project. The project has created a text corpus of NC General Statutes from 1866-1967 and used text analysis and expert classification to identify over 500 Jim Crow laws- the Jim Crow laws are also available as a corpus. The project website lists and contextualizes the Jim Crow laws and provides educational resources. A GitHub repository provides documented scripts generated by the project team. To read more about the project, please visit the website: https://onthebooks.lib.unc.edu/

The project is currently in phase 2. Goals for this phase include:

  • Cleaning and improving the corpora, including some transcription.
  • Using text analysis to improve identification of Jim Crow laws and investigate patterns in Jim Crow laws.
  • Creating an open education resource (OER) that features the products of the project for use in undergraduate or graduate courses.
  • Investigating the feasibility of expanding this work to other states, which entails doing research into laws and legislative history of other states and identifying the availability of digitized versions of laws.

We intend to add multiple GAs to our team and encourage students with skills in any of the following areas to apply:

  • Text analysis
  • Programming with Python
  • Curriculum development
  • Legal research

Job duties will vary somewhat depending on successful applicants’ skills, but may include:

  • Data cleaning of structured text using Python and Excel
  • Documenting scripts in Jupyter notebooks
  • Text analysis, including supervised classification, topic modelling, and named entity recognition
  • Legal research into the structure and availability of digital and/or print versions of laws for different states
  • Working with others on the team to create an OER for use in undergraduate courses featuring On the Books materials, with modules focusing on African American history and basic text analysis
  • Text transcription

The start date is flexible; positions are 5-20 hours a week and are available through May 2021. This position is $19.30 an hour.  Work will be remote through the end of 2020; the option to work from home during spring semester is contingent on the University Libraries’ plans for spring.

To Apply:

Submit a resume or CV and a cover letter describing the skills you could bring to the team and what interests you about the project to Amanda Henley (amanda.henley@unc.edu).