Free workshops to feature digital scholarship tools

A series of upcoming free online workshops will highlight popular tools used for digital teaching and research.

Offered by the Brock University Library’s Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL), the workshops are open to everyone and will feature tools used for data management, processing, analysis, visualization and preservation; project collaboration; version control; citation management; and website creation.

“Our workshops are designed to be low-stress, hands-on experiences that will introduce participants from around the world to powerful and versatile tools that can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their digital projects, teaching and research,” says Tim Ribaric, Digital Scholarship Librarian.

Introductory and intermediate learning opportunities are available for Power BI, Python, Zotero, R, GitHub and Tableau.

The DSL’s fall workshops kick off Wednesday, Sept. 14 with an introduction to Power BI, an analytics tool used to transform data into useful visualizations. A second seminar on Wednesday, Sept. 21 will review the online platform ‘Power BI Service.’

Ribaric says Power BI is popular among Brock staff members as well as researchers.

“Brock departments have been using Power BI as part of the Microsoft Office suite to easily and beautifully visualize organizational data, such as recruitment and admission numbers,” he says.

A workshop series on the programming language Python begins Thursday, Sept. 15, with its first of three introductory seminars. The series will also include seminars on using Python for data science, text analysis and machine learning.

“If you’re new to programming, Python is the easiest language to start with,” Ribaric says. “Adding computational methods to research is becoming very popular, and Python represents a very accessible way to introduce a new dynamic to research. Our attendees consistently tell us they are surprised with just how easy it is to pick up the language.”

A single offering of ‘Citation management with Zotero,’ focused on a free and open-source reference management software to manage bibliographic data and related research materials, will be held Friday, Sept. 16.

Also beginning this month is a workshop series on R, a free open software environment for statistical computing and graphics that is a popular programming language across academic fields. An introductory seminar on R will take place Wednesday, Sept. 28, followed by seminars in October that will detail how to make functions and perform text analysis within the platform.

“R is the most popular language in the world of data science because it was designed to handle tabular data, which is how many of our researchers manage data,” says Ribaric. “With just a bit of time spent understanding the basics, it is very possible to generate complex statistical analyses with only a few lines of code. It is very rewarding and allows you to make progress quickly.”

October will include the continuation of Python and R workshops as well as the beginning of a series of seminars on GitHub, a multi-faceted platform for project collaboration, version control and website creation. Following a seminar on Thursday, Oct. 6 that will focus on how researchers can use GitHub, the series will continue throughout October and November with lessons on how to use GitHub for data storage, version control, automating tasks and creating web pages.

The DSL’s fall workshops will conclude in November with a two-part introduction to Tableau, an analytics platform for managing, analyzing and visualizing data that allows users to work with large or small data sets quickly and easily.

Registration and details for each workshop are available on ExperienceBU and Eventbrite.

Visit the Digital Scholarship Lab website to learn more about its services, resources, expertise and collaboration opportunities available to Brock researchers, students, staff and community members.

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