Jonathan Younker

Head of Library Systems and Technologies
Brock University Library

Head of Library Systems and Technology Jonathan Younker has held several positions at the Library since first joining Brock University in 2002, including electronic services librarian, acting associate University librarian and interim University librarian.

Younker is one of 11 Brock researchers and scholars to have received funding under the 2019-20 round of the VPR Canada Games Grant program. Here, he discusses the research he’s conducting, titled “Canada Games Research Collection/Support and Digital Storytelling Initiative”

Please give a brief overview of your research project.

We’re collecting as much data as possible about the Canada Summer Games in Niagara with the hope that it proves useful to researchers in the future. With the help of Research Assistant Danielle Merasty and the support of David Sharron in Archives and Special Collections and Tim Ribaric in the Library’s Digital Scholarship Lab, we aim to identify, collect, organize and disseminate quantitative and qualitative data about the Games — and by extension, life in Niagara — before, during and after the Games themselves.

What do you expect will be the outcome of your research?

The outcome will be a digital collection hosted on the Library’s infrastructure that allows researchers to browse, download and use data related to the Games, the city and the region. Part of the project will include qualitative data. We encourage members of the public, athletes, coaches and whoever applicable to submit their thoughts, pictures, stories and other material via our digital exhibit platform (currently under construction), in a similar way to what David Sharron is doing with the COVID-19 in Niagara project.

How will this contribute to knowledge, or understanding of, the Canada Summer Games?

My hope is that this collection acts as a snapshot in time and provides users with an idea of what the 2021 Canada Summer Games meant to Brock University, St. Catharines and the Niagara region. The data will be collected for future researchers, but this will be an open archive for anyone to explore, search and use. I hope that the digital storytelling aspect, where people submit their stories and content, will be a valuable primary source showing what life was like in the region.

How did you become interested in this research?

I like to say that academic librarians have traditionally been involved at the beginning and end of the research process. We help researchers find data sources, point them to useful resources, etc. at the beginning of their research lifecycle, then typically collect the research output at the end. The 2021 Canada Summer Games affords the Library a unique opportunity to collect as many key data points as possible about the Games at the beginning of the research lifecycle, but also be part of the entire research process. The goal is to be involved not only at the discovery stage, but also to facilitate the processing, analysis and interpretation of the data and collecting the final output and depositing it into our digital collections.

How do you plan on sharing your research?

Everything collected during this project will be made available to all via the Library’s digital infrastructure.

Do you have any advice or tips on how Faculty colleagues can incorporate the Canada Games into their research?

Use the data! Browse the collection, read the stories, listen to the interviews, analyze the datasets. It’s there for you to enjoy and use.