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Technical Expert, Oral Histories Project

1947 Partition of British India: Oral Histories Project
Job Description

The Harvard South Asia Institute (SAI) seeks a technical expert to implement and manage a crowdsourcing based data collection project. The successful candidate will possess strong skills in the development of interactive data-driven websites and analysis of data, along with user experience and visual design skills needed to create interfaces for entering complex, narrative-based data. The responsibilities of this position include the design, creation, deployment, and management of software tools that will be accessed through web browsers on mobile devices in international settings. Applicants for this Research Assistant position must be eligible to work in the US, or they must be a work-study student at Harvard.

Overall Project Description
SAI’s Partition Project, “Looking Back, Informing the Future: The 1947 Partition of British India”, is a multidisciplinary study that is exploring Partition through varied lenses: the demographic and humanitarian consequences of the Partition; a textual analysis of the sentiment of political speeches through examination of formal speeches and writings of political leaders and others in the public domain; and crowdsourcing of oral histories and analysing them for information. The research is being led by professors from the Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Business School, and Harvard Kennedy School.

Goals of the Specific Project

  •     Collect stories, photographs, recordings etc. of the 1947 Partition through an online portal and crowdsourcing;
  •     Preserve and enrich the historical knowledge of the Partition;
  •     Analyze the past and prevailing rhetoric surrounding the Partition,
  •     Gather information about migration routes and refugee camps during Partition through historical crisis mapping;
  •     Provide free access to the stories through an online portal.


  •     Work with project leads to define the scope of the project and ensure technical feasibility.
  •     Develop a detailed project implementation plan and keep team members informed of progress.
  •     Perform technical risk analysis, management and mitigation.
  •     Create and maintain detailed project documentation.
  •     Propose a design for the web portal and iterate upon it with team input
  •     Implement the web portal design using a common platform for web development, such as Django or Flask.
  •     Analyze the data received on the website in collaboration with the team.
  •     Integrate robust modern security protocols in all public-facing software.

Desired skills and experience for the position

  •     2+ years of experience with Python 3.5+, HTML, and JavaScript
  •     Experience using Flask, Django, or another Python-based web stack.
  •     Experience deploying web-based software to a cloud server on a platform such as AWS, Google Cloud Services, or Digital Ocean, including the necessary management of Nginx, Let’s Encrypt, or equivalents that ensure the stable, secure, and flexible availability of the software.
  •     Experience with git and a platform such as GitHub, GitLab, or equivalent.
  •     Experience with the design and implementation of data visualization using web-based JavaScript libraries such as d3.js, chart.js, or equivalent.
  •     Experience using Jupyter Notebooks to develop and document analytic methodologies.
  •     Experience developing responsive web-based interfaces targeting multiple device types, including desktop and mobile.
  •     Awareness of current design best practices for excellent user experience.
  •     Excellent oral and written communications skills.
  •     Strong working knowledge of Microsoft Office.
  •     A calm, confident, and professional manner in dealing with colleagues and partners.

Academic Credentials
    M.A./B.S. degree required (or in progress)

Submit resumes and/or inquiries to Shubhangi Bhadada,