Winner of the 2023 Hugh Martin Weir Prize

Ashley Dennis-Henderson wearing a graduation cap and gown in front of a busy Bonython Hall

The Barr Smith Library and Weir family are pleased to announce that Ashley Dennis-Henderson has been awarded the 2023 Hugh Martin Weir Prize.

Ashley is currently undertaking a PhD in Applied Mathematics and Statistics and her research focuses on the analysis of historical texts using natural language processing.

While historic texts are primarily analysed by close reading, it is also possible to analyse them using mathematical and computational techniques. However, many of these techniques have been developed on modern data, such as tweets, or structured data. As such, it is necessary to investigate the applicability of these techniques on historic and improve them if necessary. On this premise, Ashley’s project will explore methods for data cleaning, network analysis, part-of-speech tagging, and sentiment analysis on large unstructured, text-based historical data sets. It will also investigate how this mathematical and computational methods can be combined with traditional methods for analysing historical text. In particular, these methods will be used to analyse a set of Australian World War I diaries to provide insights on the experience of Australian soldiers during the war.

The prize will contribute towards Ashley’s attendance of conferences relating to her research and engaging the services of a research assistant to aid in either transcribing service records or creating testing data.

The Hugh Martin Weir Prize was established to encourage study and research, including use of the Barr Smith Library collections, into any aspect of Australia's involvement in war, or the treatment of prisoners of war in any conflict, including the impact on those persons involved, their families, and/or their communities.

Congratulations, Ashley!

Tagged in hugh martin weir prize