After a 25 year academic career, I left academia in 2021 to join Apple as a distinguished research scientist in personalization and recommendations. Today I serve as a senior research manger, overseeing the personalization science teams for Apple Books, Podcasts, and Video. My last academic post was at Washington State University, where I served for three years as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and as professor of English and Data Analytics. Parallel to my academic career, I engaged in a variety of entrepreneurial ventures and was involved in founding three book industry tech startups and a non-profit cultural organization.
As a professor, my research and teaching was focused on computational text analysis, specifically described in my first book “Macroanalysis: Digital Methods and Literary History.” My literary training was in Irish and Irish-American literature of the late 19th- and early 20th-century. I have published articles about Irish writers in Kansas, Montana, and California. Some years ago, I compiled a fairly comprehensive and searchable bibliography of Irish-American writers and their books. A small full text archive and searchable version of the bibliography was for many years hosted by the The Western Institute of Irish Studies, which I co-founded with former Irish Consul, Dónal Denham. I directed the Institute from its founding in 2004 to 2009.
In 2006-2007 I spent a year at the Stanford Humanities Center where I was “Research Scholar in the Digital Humanities.” During that time, I set up the “Beyond Search Workshop” which eventually morphed into the Literary Lab that I co-directed with Franco Moretti from 2010 to 2012.
Over the years I have taught courses and given seminars on text-encoding with TEI-XML, text analysis using php, and text-mining with my favorite programming language R. My non-literary work with technology has encompassed everything from systems administration and database design to web development and technical support.