Welcome (back), Patrick Burns!

By David Ratzan

The ISAW Library is very excited to welcome Patrick J. Burns to the ISAW Library team! 

This September Patrick was appointed Associate Research Scholar for Digital Projects in the ISAW Library. Patrick earned his doctorate in Classics from Fordham University in 2016 and was in fact the first-ever Assistant Research Scholar in the ISAW Library between 2016 and 2019. So, really, we are excited to welcome Patrick back to ISAW! Indeed, you may remember him from his wildly popular “parrot lectures” in 2017 …

Patrick has been very busy during his time away. Between 2019 and 2022 Patrick held research positions in the Culture, Cognition, and Coevolution Lab at Harvard University and the Quantitative Criticism Lab at the University of Texas at Austin, conducting research on computational approaches to historical-language text. He is the Latin tools developer for the Classical Language Toolkit, an open-source project dedicated to text analysis and natural language processing (NLP) research for historical languages, topics covered in his chapter “Building Text Analysis Pipelines for Classical Languages,” in Digital Classical Philology: Ancient Greek and Latin in the Digital Revolution, edited by Monica Berti for De Gruyter. He has also been active in this area, developing (with David Bamman) the first transformer model for the Latin language, Latin BERT, and adding Latin support to the popular NLP framework, spaCy.

Patrick's main research project right now is a book to introduce classicists to computational methods called Exploratory Philology: Learning about Ancient Languages through Computer Programming, the product of a Spring 2022 fellowship at the Center for Hellenic Studies.

In addition to his impressive record of original research, Patrick has also taught a number of courses that bring together ancient world study and computational methods, including ISAW’s “Introduction to Digital Humanities for the Ancient World” course and “Introduction to Digital Literary Studies” at Fordham University. He has presented at and organized several professional panels, notably the Future Philologies: Digital Directions in Ancient World Text conference at ISAW in April 2018 and Patrick is one of the co-founders of the Ancient Makerspaces workshop, now a regular feature of the annual meetings of the Society for Classical Studies

As the Associate Research Scholar in the ISAW Library, Patrick’s portfolio encompasses a wide variety of data-driven research and software development projects, including:

You will be hearing from Patrick in this space very soon, but you can also reach him via email at pjb311@nyu.edu.