Introducing… Lucy Havens

Written by Lucy HavensJune 13, 2022Comments: 0

We’ve asked each member of the Living with Machines team to introduce themselves in their initial blog post.

What’s your name?

Lucy Havens

What’s your background?

Interdisciplinary!  As an undergraduate I studied Information Systems, which combined computer science and business, and I also minored in English Studies and French and Francophone Studies.  Towards the end of my undergraduate degree, I worked as a research intern at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, which got me interested in human-data interaction.  This led me to the Design Informatics programme at the University of Edinburgh, where I worked at the intersection of design and data science, and often cultural heritage (including botanic gardens, library collections, and historical sites).

I’ve continued down that path with my PhD, also at the University of Edinburgh.  Currently I’m researching how to measure and evaluate gender biased language in archival metadata descriptions, using natural language processing and data visualization technologies.

In one sentence, what is your role on the project?

I’m a Research Software Engineering Intern working on data linking between three topographical dictionaries (one each for England, Scotland, and Wales) and Wikidata.

What excites you about the project?

I’m excited at the opportunity to work collaboratively as part of a project much larger and complex than my PhD project!  I’m also thrilled to be able to contribute to Living with Machines because I’m eager to learn about the opportunities and challenges that come with applying computational methods to enormous collections such as the British Library’s.

What challenges do you see ahead?

There are many directions the team’s research and analysis could go after linking place names in the topographical dictionaries to Wikidata.  Once the place names are linked they’ll be geocoded, so they could be plotted on a map and overlaid with population data, occupation data, industry data… choosing what to analyse in the time remaining will be a challenge!

What’s the last (non-work) book you read, exhibition or performance you saw?

I’m in the middle of listening to a book called On Color by David Scott Kastan, which is a fun reflection on history, society, and language through the lens of color.  The author talks about how we name colors, and how and why those color names are used to refer to things that don’t always fit the actual color they were intended to reference.

The last book I’ve finished reading is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll, which I’ve read many times but was prompted to reread after seeing the V&A’s exhibit Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser. I loved that exhibit, especially seeing the concept art from Disney when they were thinking about making a movie based on the book.

Where can we find out more about you and your work?

I try to keep everything centralised in my online portfolio, which links to my Twitter accountGitHub profile, and blog.

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