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Digital Systems Engineer, Living with Machines

Vacancy Details

Salary: £32,000 per annum
Location: St Pancras
Job Type: Fixed Term Contract
Vacancy Group: Collections
Category: Strategy, Development, Commercial
Closing Date: 09/21/2018
Date Posted: 08/30/2018
Reference: 02302


Full Time, Fixed term for 3 year contract (with a possible 2 year extension)

This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to the development and implementation of the digital scholarship and public outreach streams of the ‘Living with Machines’ (LWM) research project by assembling, designing, implementing, developing and integrating tools to support LWM project users.


LWM proposes a new research paradigm – a radical collaboration between historians, data scientists, geographers, computational linguists, and curators – using computational techniques and very large datasets in order to ask questions about the ways in which technology altered the very fabric of life in Britain during the Industrial Revolution.

The Digital Systems Engineer will work as part of a multi-disciplinary team. The job holder will contribute to the development of online interfaces enabling the work of project historians and others on digitised collections. They will help integrate and present data sources, visualisations, and data science outputs.

They will have a good understanding of digital scholarship, preferably gained from working in a research library, academic or other appropriate environment. This may include work as a Research Software Engineer, software developer, or researcher. They will have excellent information technology skills, including experience of the tools and technologies that support digital scholarship. Excellent oral and written communication skills are also essential for this post. Similarly to Research Software Engineer posts, the Digital Systems Engineer will have the opportunity to develop their skills and play an active part in all aspects of research and outreach, including analysis and publication.

In return we offer a competitive salary and a number of excellent benefits.  Our pension scheme is one of the most valuable benefits we offer, as our staff can become members of the Alpha Pension Scheme where the Library contributes 20.9%. Another significant benefit the Library provides is the provision of a flexible working hours scheme which could allow you to work your hours flexibly over the week and to take up to 5 days flexi leave in a 3 month period. This is on top of 25 days holiday from entry and public and privilege holidays.



More about Living with Machines

This project aims to use computational techniques and very large datasets in order to ask questions about the ways in which technology altered the very fabric of human existence on a hitherto unprecedented scale. The project exploits a corpus of digitised sources, including newspapers, trade directories, census data, and patents, and other resources yet to be digitised (the unstamped press, trade press, business archives and autobiographies). By developing intuitive computational interfaces and a philosophy of interdisciplinary collaboration we will enable close interaction between computational methods and historical inquiry.


Living with Machines is carried out in partnership between the Alan Turing Institute, the British Library, and the Universities of Exeter, London (QMUL) Cambridge, and East Anglia. The project is led by Ruth Ahnert (QMUL), and co-led by Mia Ridge (BL), Adam Farquhar (BL), Emma Griffin (UEA), James Hetherington (Alan Turing Institute), Jon Lawrence (Exeter), and Barbara McGillivray (Alan Turing Institute and Cambridge).


More about The British Library


As the UK national library, the British Library is one of the greatest research libraries in the world. The scope of our remit, the range of our services, the scale of our operations and the international importance of our collections are without equal.


The British Library provides world-class information services to business, general public, research and scientific communities, supporting researchers from every country and in every discipline. We hold over 200 million items including some of the UK’s most important heritage collections, from the Magna Carta to the Lindisfarne Gospels, which sit alongside the latest scientific literature and, increasingly, large datasets.


The British Library is an Independent Research Organisations, undertaking independent and collaborative research across Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as in Data Science.


The British Library’s Digital Scholarship team’s mission is to enable the use of the British Library’s digital collections for research, inspiration, and enjoyment. We do this by working collaboratively to connect people with digital collections, methods, and services. We engage closely with the digital research community and advocate for their needs while helping make more of the Library’s collections available – and findable – online.


More about The Alan Turing Institute


The Alan Turing Institute is the national centre for data science and artificial intelligence (AI), established in 2015 with the mission to make great leaps in research to change the world for the better.


The Institute has cross-disciplinarity at its core; we bring researchers in mathematics and theoretical computer science, statistics and machine learning, algorithms for data analytics and distributed computing, computational social science and data ethics, software engineers and industry partners, to work together in an open and collaborative environment with a shared goal to generate world-class research.


Closing date: 21 September 2018

Interview date: 5 October 2018

Disability Confident

We are a Disability Confident employer, and make a commitment to recruit and support disabled people. We guarantee an interview for disabled candidates who meet the minimum (essential) requirements for a vacancy.


In order to apply for this vacancy, you must be able to supply the required answers to the following questions:

  • Do you currently have the right to work in the United Kingdom
  • Are you currently a British Library employee or agency member of staff?


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Contact Name: Employee Services
Telephone: 01937 882030
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