Introducing… Nilo Pedrazzini
We’ve asked each member of the Living with Machines team to introduce themselves in their initial blog post.
What’s your name?
Nilo Pedrazzini (pronounced knee-low).
What’s your background?
I started off as a Russian and English Lang Lit undergrad in Pavia, Italy. I then moved to London in 2014 and worked in hospitality for a few years, while commuting cross-country to get my postgraduate training in Linguistics at the same university in Italy. In 2019, I received an MSt in Slavonic Studies at the University of Oxford, where I stayed to pursue a DPhil in Linguistics, specialising in corpus linguistics and the syntax-semantics interface, and focussing on the computational modelling and statistical analysis of historical Indo-European languages.
In the past, I’ve interned at the Slavonic Collections of the British Library, worked as an IT assistant at Somerville College Oxford, and as a Research Assistant in various cross-disciplinary projects at Oxford, including ReadOxford and the International Multimodal Communication Centre. I also taught General Linguistics to undergrads at Oxford and Digital Humanities to postgrads at King’s College London.
Since 2020, I’ve been very much involved in the discussion around open research and open data in the humanities. I’m currently Editorial Assistant for the Journal of Open Humanities Data and Fellow at RROx, the Oxford branch of the UK Reproducibility Network (UKRN).
In one sentence, what is your role on the project?
At the Turing, my job is to develop methods to query historical newspaper corpora at scale, to track and analyse linguistic phenomena, and to implement computational methods to translate insights from data into methodological and historical insights.
What excites you about the project?
The most exciting aspects of Living with Machines are its interdisciplinarity and radically collaborative environment. This all feeds into the much-appreciated freedom to be creative in my approach to data.
What challenges do you see ahead?
Certainly, one of the shorter-term biggest challenges is understanding the enormous number of newspapers available to us from different angles. In practice, this means being able to query them at scale. A longer-term challenge will be ensuring that the datasets and tools that will result from these efforts are as accessible as possible to the wider public, which entails following reproducible and sustainable every step of the way. We know, however, that this process is often not as simple (things can get messy when we are excited about results!), so that quite a bit retrospective work to tidy them up will probably be necessary.
What’s the last (non-work) book you read, exhibition or performance you saw?
I’ve been on a Stephen King binge lately and I’ve just finished his first novel, Carrie, which I genuinely loved. Before my King binge, the last book I had read was The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. This one made me cry like no other book before.
Where can we find out more about you and your work?