Job opening: Digital Services Development Team Leader

HRAF is seeking a development team leader for two years beginning February 1, 2021 or earlier in January.  Applicants will be considered on a rolling basis beginning December 15, 2020. Salary range $59,500 to $64,500 based on qualifications and experience. Additional fringe benefits, including medical.

iKLEWS Project Banner

 Job Profile Summary

The Human Relations Area Files (HRAF), an affiliate of Yale University, is recruiting a development team leader (one of three positions) to join our present IT team in development and deployment of novel software, services and resources over a period of two years.  This work will contribute to HRAF’s iKLEWS project (Infrastructure for Knowledge Linkages from Ethnography of World Societies), funded by a National Sciences Foundation grant. The project is co-directed by Prof. Michael Fischer and Dr. Carol Ember. This work will support HRAF’s major collection of ethnographic and archaeological documents distributed to our members over the internet. Your work on  iKLEWS will add metadata, semantic infrastructure and associated computer services to enhance HRAF’s active textual database (eHRAF World Cultures),  presently with roughly 750,000 pages from 6,500 ethnographic documents covering 330 world societies over time.

The primary aim of iKLEWS is to greatly enhance eHRAF World Cultures for social science researchers and students. The team will develop semantic and textual analytic infrastructure, with associated tools and services, to assist exploration of a wide range of user selected topics, such as social emotion and empathy, economics, politics, use of space and time, morality, or music and songs. We will also expand capacity to advance secondary ethnographic research for a broader constituency of researchers at a time when many real world problems (e.g. climate change; pandemics; violence) can be better addressed by incorporating information about the past and present.

More specifically, we will enable researchers to use semantic relations, topic maps, data mining and other computer assisted text analysis and data management tools, with guided means to leverage these through services, interactive web applications and JupyterLab templates, including interactive exemplars and training materials.  A researcher will be able to address topics more effectively, using tools for management, analysis, visualization, and summarization of results, user initiated data mining and  topical classification, based largely on precomputed tables to avoid scaling issues.

Positions should begin on or near the 1st of February, 2021 and successful candidates will be Yale staff and receive fringe benefits including medical. Although the successful candidate is expected to eventually locate to the New Haven area, there is considerable flexibility in the timing during the winter and spring of 2021 while many of the HRAF staff are working remotely. Working hours will be relative to New Haven.

About HRAF

HRAF is non-profit membership organization affiliated with Yale University. Founded in 1949, HRAF is cooperative in nature and international in scope, collecting, organizing and distributing information of significance to the natural and social sciences and the humanities. The mission of HRAF is to promote understanding of cultural diversity in the past and present. To accomplish this mission the Human Relations Area Files produces and distributes scholarly resources for research and teaching and supports the conduct of original research on cultural variation.


  • Day to day management of the team’s software development, deployment and maintenance under the direction of Prof. Fischer and Dr. Ember.
  • Research and create strategies for implementing agreed capabilities
  • Analyze document content and structure
  • Develop or improve metadata relating to documents and fragments
  • Provide or contribute to solutions to issues arising in development and deployment
  • Manage development of:
    • New services, web pages and applications
    • New schemata, code and services, and associated documentation
    • Unit tests for existing and new code
    • Automated processing steps for updating content
  • Manage response to maintenance problems with applications and services
  • Identify, document, and develop fixes for “bugs” in the infrastructure and associated applications and services
  • Participate in team development discussions, leading discussions where appropriate
  • Perform other duties as assigned


At least a Master’s Degree and at least 1 year of related work experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience, for example,  a Bachelor’s degree and three years highly relevant work or post-graduate experience.  We will consider candidates with a broad range of experience and skills. Applicants with a social science or humanities background are very welcome if they have sufficient experience with software development. Although this is a development project, it serves researchers, and although we will mostly rely on existing libraries and methods, will require inventiveness to meet the objectives of the project. Candidates with research experience welcome. Positions for candidates with an intended research career trajectory can be designated, if the candidate so chooses, as a research assistant or research associate, depending on academic progress or experience.

Required and preferred skills follow. We are assembling a team, and not every candidate is required to have every skill, although as a team all will be necessary at some point. Training and time to advance skills will be provided as needed.

Required Skills

  • Ability to code in one or more programming or scripting languages, and developing over time skill in other languages not used before. Experience with Python, Java, ECMAscript and R will be helpful.
  • Some familiarity with services development and deployment.
  • Experience in computational analysis of textual documents/fragments, especially with respect to NLP, text mining, text segment classification, textual summarisation, or computational semantics. This will be broadly evaluated.
  • Some experience with document based applications, especially using XML schemas, XPath, XQuery, and/or XSLT, in document support, development and deployment, server or client side.

 Preferred skills

  • Experience with text-mining, deep learning, or language processing in any framework.
  • Experience with semantic databases and related frameworks based on RDF or related technologies.
  • Experience in metadata development for document collections.
  • Experience in development and implementation of server side services or client side usage of services, in any framework or API. We presently use or are developing in mainly Java and Python and Node JS environments. Coding in Python, Javascript, and scripting languages in common use are considered valuable skills.
  • Development experience with any of the following (or related): NLP, CUDA, RDF, LDA, DL.
  • Ability to use tools such as Jupyter Notebook/Jupyter Lab or similar as a deployment and training platform.
  • Experience in supporting or developing XML document based applications in environments such as Oxygen or eXistDB.
  • Experience in SQL relational database deployment or design. NoSQL database design and deployment experience are also welcome.
  • Development of HTML5/CSS/SCSS web based applications.
  • Experience with Linux as an operating environment. The main production and development environment is Linux-based.

How to apply:

Applications by email with accompanying documents sent to both Professor Michael Fischer (  and Dr. Carol Ember, President, HRAF ( In the subject line put “iKLEWS programmer-analyst”. Accompanying documents in PDF or Word format should include: 1) a cover letter summarizing qualifications; 2) a resume identifying academic and software development experience, 3) the names of three references (including affiliations, titles, mail and email addresses), and 4) transcript (unofficial okay upon application, with official transcript if requested). Interviews will be conducted via Zoom.

Abstract of iKLEWS project