Digital Scholarship Lab launches workshop series on open-source tools

The Brock University Library Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL) is providing foundational training in free and adaptable open-source tools throughout the Fall Term.

Twelve virtual workshops will be offered beginning Wednesday, Sept. 6 and running until the end of November, with each month focusing on a different theme. The free sessions are open to students, faculty, staff and members of the local community.

“The goal of the DSL workshop series is to provide firm foundational knowledge so researchers can continue to develop skills and adapt the tool to their specific needs,” says Daniel Brett (BA ’15), who will facilitate the workshops.

Through his technical support role at the DSL, Brett provides training, workshops and tutorials to help Brock researchers take advantage of open and free digital options.

Daniel Brett sits on a bench in a Brock University hallway.

Daniel Brett (BA ’15) will facilitate 12 free Digital Scholarship Lab workshops this fall.

“I’m always thinking about researchers who don’t have a lot of funding to work with,” says Brett, who is always on the lookout for free resources that are user-friendly, intended to be picked up by anyone and of general value to everyone.

September’s workshops will explore ways to visualize data with introductions to three tools: Voyant, a completely free web-based tool; PowerBI, which is available to all Brock employees as part of Microsoft Office suite; and Tableau, which has a free version called Tableau Public.

Workshops in October will focus on the R programming language.

“This is a popular, free and open-source language originally optimized for statistical analysis, which has grown in versatility thanks to the efforts of hobbyists, researchers and other programming enthusiasts,” says Brett.

The introductory session will take place Wednesday, Oct. 4, followed by workshops that will detail how to make functions, create data visualization such as charts and graphs, and perform text analysis within the platform.

The DSL’s November workshops, which begin on Wednesday, Nov. 1, will focus on GitHub, an online platform and repository tool that allows for data storage. GitHub also supports collaboration between multiple users, website development and integrated automated workflows via virtual machines.

The workshops are open to the public and are designed for those who have never used the tools before or who want to gain more experience.

Registration and details for each workshop are available on ExperienceBU for Brock students, staff and faculty or Eventbrite for members of the local community.

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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