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Alastair Gill

Alastair Gill

Alastair GillResearch Fellow

Tel +44 (0)1926 885 083
+44 (0)20 7848 1979
Digital Humanities
King’s College London
Room 306, 26-29 Drury Lane


Alastair Gill is a software developer and research fellow in the Department of Digital Humanities, specialising in natural language processing and text mining. His research interests are in how interpersonal information such as personality, emotion, trust, and influence are communicated through language, and the mediating effects of technology. Alastair has regularly served on conference programme committees relating to sentiment analysis and opinion mining (ACL) and human-computer interaction (HCI), and has published in these areas.
He received his PhD in Informatics in 2004 from the University of Edinburgh.

Research Interests
  • Natural Language Processing, Computational/Corpus Linguistics
  • Developing text analysis tools and resources, text mining/classification, alt-metrics
  • Sentiment analysis, especially relating to personality, emotion, trust, deception
  • Human-computer interaction, Computer-supported co-operative work and interpersonal perception in technology-mediated environments
  • Effects of technology on social interaction and behaviour
Selected Publications

Kalman, Y.M., Scissors, L.E., Gill, A.J., and Gergle, D. [2013]. Online Chronemics Convey Social Information. Computers in Human Behavior, 29, 1260–1269.

Gill, A.J., Brockmann, C., and Oberlander, J. [2012]. Perceptions of Alignment and Personality in Generated Dialogue. Proceedings of the 7th International Natural Language Generation Conference (INLG 2012), 40–48.

Nokkala, T., and Gill, A.J. [2012]. Different Technologies for Different Collaborations: Adoption of Social Tools for Scientific Practice. Journal of The European Higher Education Area, 6, 29–46.

Gill, A.J. [2011]. Language and Personality in Computer-Mediated Communication. Information Design Journal, 19, 250–257.

Iacobelli, I., Gill, A.J., Nowson, S., and Oberlander, J. [2011]. Large scale personality classification of bloggers. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 6975, 568–577.

Gill, A.J., Vasalou, M., Papoutsi, C., and Joinson, A. [2011]. Privacy dictionary: A linguistic taxonomy of privacy for content analysis. Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2011), ACM, New York, NY, 3227–3236.

Mehl, M., and Gill, A.J. [2010]. Computerized Content Analysis. In Gosling, S., and Johnson, J. (eds.) Advanced Methods for Behavioral Research on the Internet. Washington DC: American Psychological Association Publications.

Gill, A.J., Nowson, S., and Oberlander, J. [2009]. What are they blogging about? Personality, topic and motivation in blogs. Proceedings of the 3rd International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM09), AAAI, Menlo Park, CA, 18–25.

Scissors, L., Gill, A.J., Geraghty, K., and Gergle, D. [2009]. In CMC We Trust: The Role of Similarity. Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2009), ACM, New York, NY, 527–536.

Gill, A.J., French, R.M., Gergle, D., and Oberlander, J. [2008]. The Language of Emotion in Short Blog Texts. Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2008). ACM, New York, NY, 299–302.

Gill, A.J., Gergle, D., French R.M., and Oberlander, J. [2008]. Emotion rating from short blog texts. Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2008), ACM, New York, NY, 1121–1124.

Research and Teaching

Current Research

My research addresses questions that are vitally important to society, and will be increasingly so: I study digital technologies in order to better understand social behaviour and interaction, using mainly quantitative approaches, but also combining these with qualitative methods. I am currently working on a project hosted jointly between the Departments of Digital Humanities and European Studies which looks at the impact and influence of news texts across the (traditional and digital) media using text mining techniques. I am also committed to teaching in the area of text and digital communication analytics, in particular to those studying in communications or media studies: I have been invited to guest lecture on this at Northwestern University and Cornell University, and have also written an introductory chapter to the area in Advanced Methods for Behavioral Research on the Internet (Mehl & Gill, 2010). I have also given press and radio interviews and talks to the media and technology industries.

My study of online data also helps understanding of societal and cultural shifts in relation to technology, in particular information sharing and knowledge construction in digital media: In previous work (with Oxford University Internet Institute) I have developed methods to better understand and study privacy online (Gill et al. 2011; Vasalou et al. 2011; the dictionary is available from; With the Wikimedia Foundation, I have helped them study the motivation of editors in contributing to Wikipedia (Taraborelli et al. 2010); Whilst a Research Scientist in the Department of Communication at Northwestern University, I studied the expression and perception of emotion in blogs (eg: Gill et al. 2008) and the establishment of trust in text mediated environments (eg: Scissors et al. 2008); I have also examined social and cultural practices of scientists in their collaboration and use of online tools (eg: Nokkala & Gill, 2012) and contributed to a UK Government Science and Technology Select Committee report on scientific publishing (Gill & Gilbert, 2011).
A continuing research interest is the communication and perception of personality online and in textual contexts (Gill, 2011; Gill & Oberlander, 2002; Gill et al. 2006, 2009, 2012; Iacobelli et al. 2012; Oberlander & Gill, 2006). A recent overview of the work in this area can be found in my ‘research challenges’ article in the Information Design Journal (Gill, 2011).

I have over 30 peer reviewed publications, including publications in journals (eg: Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Journal of Behaviour and Information Technology, conference proceedings (including highly selective archival proceedings eg: Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), and Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative-Work (CSCW))), and 2 chapters in edited volumes


I have taught (guest lectured and tutored) at undergraduate and postgraduate level at Edinburgh, Cornell, Northwestern and Northeastern Illinois Universities; I have also supervised undergraduate projects at King’s College London and offered informal mentorship to curators at the British Museum.
Much of this teaching relates to my research on social science applications of computational text analysis and adoption of big data techniques to understand communication and interaction. I have also tutored more generally in the areas of cognitive science and human communication theory.

PhD Supervision

I would be happy to supervise projects relating to any of my research interests in computational/corpus linguistics, sentiment analysis, and studies of the effects of technology on social behaviour.

Expertise and Media Engagement

I have made 20 invited presentations in the UK, Europe, and US based on my work on the communication and perception of personality, emotion and trust online in academic contexts, for example in departmental seminars (eg: Aberdeen, Bath, Cornell, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern, Sussex, York), and as an invited speaker at international workshops (eg: La Communication Me ́diatise ́ par Ordinateur chez les adolescents Quelles interactions langagie`res pour quelles relations?’ (Computer Mediated Communication in adolescents: Which language interactions for which relationships?) University of Poitiers, ‘Trust, Collaboration and Fairness in Virtual Social Environments’, Polish-Japanese Institute of Information Technology, Warsaw); I have also been invited to talk to research groups within large technology companies (eg: Siemens Berkeley, Yahoo! Research Sunnyvale) and also to media practitioners in social media marketing and branding (eg: Ryan MacMillan; I was also recently invited to speak at the Language Consultancy Association).

I have been a Programme Committee Member for various conferences in HCI (eg: The 26th Annual British Computer Society Human-Computer Interaction Conference (HCI 2012)) and NLP, especially sentiment analysis/ opinion mining (eg: The 51st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, ACL2013; The 2011 International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing, IJCNLP 2011, The 7th International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, ICWSM2013 Workshop on Computational Personality Recognition). I have also been an Advisory Board/ Steering Committee member for One VRE (Joint Information Systems Committee [JISC] funded project under the Virtual Research Environments [VRE] programme) and an ad hoc grant reviewer for the Wikimedia Foundation.

My research has featured on a number of online news sites (including The BBC, Nature, and ABC Australia), as well as in the national and international print press (including The Guardian, The Mail On Sunday, The Times of India, The London Evening Standard, Times Higher Educational Supplement). I have been invited to write about my research in the comment pages of the local print press, and have appeared on BBC and commercial radio to discuss my work.

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