Get to know Daniel Evans, PhD student

Daniel Evans
Daniel Evans

As the Pathways Intern with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Division of Preservation and Access, Daniel Evans published two Jupyter notebooks for researching U.S. print culture. The notebooks, located on the Library of Congress's GitHub repository, will provide researchers with a downloadable data set of newspaper title essays and starter code so that they can create queries specific to their own research needs and interests. Evans was drawn to the iSchool's PhD program because of the HathiTrust Research Center, a collaboration between the University of Illinois, Indiana University, and HathiTrust to enable advanced computational access to text found in the HathiTrust Digital Library.

Why did you decide to pursue a degree in information sciences?

My background is in the humanities, and I worked for several years as a software engineer. I specifically sought out a degree that would allow me to combine my interests in working with cultural heritage institutions with my love of programming, all while continuing to ask critical questions about the information systems that make up the world around us. I found this in the information sciences.  I value the interdisciplinarity of the information sciences and how cross-disciplinary collaboration is encouraged.

Why did you choose the iSchool at Illinois?

I chose the iSchool because I wanted to work with the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC). I was particularly impressed by the ways in which the HTRC is at the forefront of research that considers what millions of books can tell us about culture. I was also intrigued by the center's efforts to package and create useful datasets from those books. Finally, I chose the iSchool because of its excellent faculty. I realized that I would have an opportunity to pursue a variety of research while working on interesting projects with world-renowned faculty members.

What are your research interests?

My research focuses on natural language processing to explore the history of the book and digital archives. More recently, my work has been centered on equity of access and cultural analytics in digital libraries.

What do you do outside of class?

Outside of class, I enjoy biking, woodworking, and traveling.

What career plans or goals do you have?

I’d love to pursue an academic career but ask me again in a few years!

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