Jennie Williams

Thesis title:

MODS: Mapping Knowledge with Data Science (a CASE project with the British Library)


The British Library manages the national database of UK doctoral theses, called EThOS ( EThOSenables users to search for, discover, and access theses for use in their own research; however, the almost completeaggregation of metadata about some 450,000 dissertations enables researchers to ask very interesting questions about the nature and production of knowledge in an institutional and geographic context. For example, it becomes possible to compare one university’s outputs against another (not just in a quantitative sense, but also in terms of collective contributions, impact on the discipline, etc.), make connections between authors and their supervisors, and to analyse disciplinary trends.These are quintessentially social science questions about the impact of individuals, work, and mobility on organisationsand cultures, but making sense of this amount of data requires sophisticated computational approaches to digesting textand analysing relationships. The project therefore offers an exciting opportunity for interdisciplinary working: for thosewith an computer science background it is an application of cutting-edge algorithms to real-world challenges with realworld impact, and for those with a social science grounding it is the opportunity to draw upon the full force of the ‘AIrevolution’ to conduct ground-breaking research at scale.

First supervisor:

Jon Reades

CASE partner:

The British Library


13 – Politics, Public Policy & Governance