Post-Doc Research Assistants required for a New UCL/RHULResearch Project: Ontologies of Medieval Song

Ontologies of Medieval Song (OoMS)
The materials of medieval song are multiply fragmented and distributed, and research in this field often consists in the painstaking reconstruction of networks of relationship that are regularly obscured both by the nature of the songs' preservation, and by the disciplinary boundaries of the modern academy. Ruptures permeate the field: for instance, song texts very often survive in written form separated from their musical settings, texts and melodies borrowed freely from pre-existing poetic and musical materials but may now display no hint of such relationships, and the shared origins of songs may be obscured by the accidents of scribal and manuscript circulation from place to place. Many songs survive in fragmentary and variable form, very frequently preserved not in dedicated songbooks but as isolated exceptions, separated from their performance and compositional contexts. Moreover, research in the field is carried out separately by scholars of literature and of music, and related research in still more disciplines (such as manuscript studies, art history, liturgy and sermon studies, dialectology and so on) very often produces results of value to the scholar of medieval song. Such a situation is ripe not only for interdisciplinary collaboration, but especially for computer-driven research methodologies, that present the capacity for multi-modal and cross-platform strategies for the search, analysis and annotation of information.    
The aim of this project is to generate a computer-based environment to support the distributed annotation, exploration, and search of medieval songs. It will take the form of an open-architecture hub, drawing its data – by means of semantic web technologies – from the many different datasets already in existence, and presenting the scholar with the possibility (for the first time) of deploying specially-designed computational algorithms for analysing large quantities of data in textual, audio and visual media.
This exciting and ambitious project will be run from UCL (Departments of English and Computer Science) and RHUL (Music). We envisage three full-time doctoral or post-doctoral Research Assistants, from Literature, Music and Computer Science respectively, to work as a team but also independently on their own research. We invite expressions of interest from any suitable candidates and ask them to get in touch. The specific aims of the project will naturally depend on individual applicants and their skills and interests, so we would like to instigate conversations about possible research ideas and aims in the near future.
Please get in touch with either Professor Ardis Butterfield (, Dr Helen Deeming ( or Dr Nicolas Gold (