digital scholarship training programme @ british library

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An overview of the bespoke Digital Scholarship Training Programme at British Library to mark the 50th course delivered.


  • 1. Digital Scholarship Training Programme at British Library Overview March 2014 Nora McGregor Curator, Digital Research @ndalyrose Blog:
  • 2. 2 Introduction Libraries and archives have spent the last two decades creating digital assets through digitisation and preserving born-digital objects. We can now do much more than use technology to simply discover these digital objects and embrace the opportunities afforded by analysing these digital collections at scale. If scholars view our archives as an infinite pool of multiple layers of loosely held data from which new research questions can be wrung then so must we. The Library needs to provide services beyond simple resource discovery then, that is, beyond helping to point a single user to a single items or objects via a catalogue
  • 3. 3 Digital Scholarship at British Library The production, use and integration of digital content, services and tools to facilitate scholarship and research. It allows research areas to be investigated in new ways, using new tools, leading to new discoveries and analysis to generate new understanding -Adam Farquhar Head of Digital Scholarship Created in 2010, the department works to enable. production of digital content sharing and integration of digital content wider collaboration and contribution around digital content complex analysis & facilitation of new discoveries It is about acclimatising to the idea that the Library is becoming a place full of data as much as it is a place full of physical stuff, and that there is a growing community of users who see it that way.
  • 4. 4 Who are we? We explore how digital technologies are re/shaping research and how this informs how the library does its business. The team focuses on supporting staff across the Library to identify the opportunities that digital tools and collections afford in modern scholarship and to gain the skills to engage confidently in this area. We also support scholars of all disciplines to work innovatively with and across the librarys diverse digital content. James Baker Nora McGregor Stella Wisdom Aquiles Alencar-Brayner
  • 5. 5 The Digital Scholarship Training Programme is an ongoing internal training initiative created by the Digital Research team that launched in November 2012. Weve designed fifteen bespoke one- day courses for staff covering the basics of Digital Scholarship which we deliver on a rolling basis. The programme will evolve as necessary overtime. Our Digital Scholarship Training Programme
  • 6. 6 What do we hope to achieve? Staff across all collection areas have the opportunity to become familiar and conversant with the foundational concepts, methods and tools of digital scholarship. Staff can situate their collection expertise in the realm of facilitating digital scholarship and have the practical skills to do so. Staff are empowered to innovate Cross-disciplinary collaborative digital initiatives flourish across subject areas within the Library as well as externally
  • 7. 7 Design & Development Surveyed the current literature, primarily around Digital Humanities Sought out scholars working at the intersection of computing and scholarship and joined them for informal chats about their research. Consulted the proceedings of major conferences across Europe such as Digital Humanities 2012 in Hamburg and the Digital Humanities Congress 2012 at University of Sheffield Surveyed the skills which academics were acquiring by attending pertinent training courses and reviewing open syllabi and course materials. Drafted individual briefs and learning outcomes for what would become our core offering of 15 one-day courses. Each of the team members took responsibility for managing a set of the courses and worked with our internal advisory board and experts from within the Library and institutions on the leading edge of digital scholarship such as Kings College London, University College London and University of Oxford to finalise the courses.
  • 8. 8 The Initial Courses 101 What is Digital Scholarship? 102 Digital Collections at British Library 103 Digitisation at British Library 104 Communicating our collections online 105 Crowdsourcing in Libraries, Museums and Cultural Heritage Institutions 106 Text Encoding Initiative 107 Data Visualisation for Analysis in Scholarly Research 108 Geo-referencing and Digital Mapping 109 Information Integration: Mash-ups, APIs and The Semantic Web 110 Managing digital research information 111 Social Media: Introduction to Twitter, and Blogging 112 Working collaboratively: Using the BL Wiki and Beyond 113 Presentation skills: From Powerpoint to Prezi 114 Foundations in working with Digital Objects: From Images to A/V 115 Metadata for Electronic Resources: Dublin Core, METS, MODS, RDF, XML
  • 9. 9 Our Principles Deliver from the library practitioner perspective and highlight the Librarys current work, or potential for such work. It is crucial that staff clearly connect the relevancy of this new knowledge to their role at the Library. Focus on the wider concepts, methods and processes which tools enable rather than teaching to the tools. Include a hands-on practical element preferably using British Library digital content. Content should be aimed at intelligent novices, that is, staff who have heard about the concepts but havent had the time, space or opportunity to explore them in any depth. Deliver a one-day workshop onsite rather than online as audience comes to table with varied technical skills. More important to alert colleagues to what is happening outside the Library so they can make informed decisions on whether to adopt a new tool or method, rather than stay solely within boundaries of current British Library policies and practices.
  • 10. 10 So far so good! Great to have something often referred to demystified Ive never done anything like this before! Well done to you and your DC team, I have attended some of the other courses myself and am recommending my staff attend them too. [I valued] the time to explore our ideas and see how to develop current projects into a more useful resource I was very grateful to attend this and learned a great dealLook forward to more. Renewed thanks for organising this. November 2012-March 2013 saw: 50 course days delivered 245 individual members of staff attended one or more 653 seats filled 3 courses attended pp on average
  • 11. 11 On the right track We have a large collection of Canadian photographs and associated data at the Library and Id been considering for some time now ways in which to work with them beyond simply hosting them in a typical image gallery. The course on Data Visualisation gave me the space to play around with some of my ideas for visualisations and pointed me in the direction of free tools out there such as Google Fusion Tables. I hadnt realised it was so easy to get started and was able to see the shape of the collection almost immediately. Phil Hatfield Curator Canadian & Caribbean Studies
  • 12. 12 Lessons Learned Challenges & Future We set course capacities too ambitiously which made them a challenge to deliver & reduced capacities from 30 to 15. Opened up courses to any staff member with an interest, not just curators. Structured exercises with clear step-by-step directions are favoured over unstructured time devoted to free exploration of tools. Having our own training laptops with local admin rights crucial along with direct access to our internal wiki for downloading course documents. Initial take-up has benefited from a core of early adopters and new hires, challenge is always in reaching those less inclined. Need to keep up with changes in the digital research domain. Demand has arisen now for follow-on support. We are looking for solutions for providing advanced training with our limited resources including set open office hours every week with experts. Looking to open the programme up in collaboration with similar institutions in order to leverage greater expertise and resource.
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