News

  • We’ve expanded our games collection

    In an effort to encourage student mental health and wellness, the Library has expanded its games and stressbusters collection.  Items are available for three day loan from both the Map, Data & GIS Library and the James A. Gibson Library (at the Ask Us Desk).

    In time for the fall semester, a Wellness book collection, and additional resources will be ready for use by all Brock students, staff and faculty.

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  • Keeping computer users safe

    We all have a role to play in keeping our computer networks secure. To better protect the Brock community from computer viruses, malware and spyware, the library has ended the short term loan of memory sticks and memory cards. For your convenience, the following are available for purchase at the Ask Us desk:

    Memory sticks (16 GB)        $8.00
    Micro SDHC cards (16 GB)        $12.00

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  • New Library Service – Support for Sharing Your Work

    Sharing research openly is the best way to enhance your impact as a scholar: openly accessible articles are easier to find – and get cited more often.

    The Library is expanding its suite of services supporting open access for Brock researchers with a new service called Support for Sharing your Work. The service assists researchers in sharing their articles via the Brock Digital Repository, which provides free, immediate access to readers while also allowing Brock scholars to track downloads and views of their articles.

    To use the service, authors can complete a short form and attach a copy of the article they would like to share. Library staff will review the documents for compliance with publisher copyright policies and then make them accessible to the public by depositing them in the Brock Digital Repository. Articles in the repository are highly visible: they are disseminated around the globe via Google Scholar and several repository directories and are also indexed in SuperSearch, the Library Search engine.

    Each article is assigned a unique persistent identifier, making it easier for researchers to share their work with others and to track how often their articles are being viewed and downloaded.

    Questions? Contact Tim Ribaric, Acting Head, Digital Scholarship Lab, at tribaric@brocku.ca

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  • Centre for Sport Capacity and Digital Scholarship Lab Partnership Leads to Match of Minds Grant

    In Spring 2018 the Brock University Centre for Sport Capacity (CSC) and the Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL) formed a partnership to continue developing the CSC’s initiative of creating a Niagara Sport Database (NSD).

    According to Julie Stevens, Director of the CSC and Associate Processor of Sport Management, the idea for the NSD came from a CSC mandate to provide practical support to sport organizations. “Currently, there is no central voice for sport in Niagara and we hope the Niagara Sport Database will give us the information we need to advocate for sport and recreation in Niagara.”  According to Stevens, the NSD will include three pillars: a region-wide facilities inventory to help infrastructure planning and coordinate sport event hosting; track and measure economic activity generated by small, medium and large sport events in Niagara; and to catalogue sport-related organizations across commercial, nonprofit and public sectors connected to sport. Stevens shared that the goal of this project is to “grow the CSC’s initial efforts to use information to help stakeholders and to attract more interest and support to help maintain and expand the scope of the data. We need to build awareness by sharing information in regards to the economic and community benefits of sport in Niagara.”

    Cole McClean, a recent Brock graduate with a Masters in Sport Management and current CSC Coordinator, has been working on the NSD from its onset.  McClean is already interacting with community stakeholders: “even at this stage it’s been great to sit down and have discussions with different individuals (for example, Parks and Rec managers) to see how it can help them. There’s been a very positive response to it.”

    As the project continued to develop, conversations between Stevens, McClean and Acting Head of the DSL, Tim Ribaric, were initiated. Discussions led to a partnership which Stevens believes is beneficial to the project’s success; “it helps us construct a database for the long term, and then provides advice on how to collect, analyze and represent data so we can develop customized data visualizations for sport stakeholders.”

    The CSC and DSL staff applied for a Match of Minds grant with the intention of hiring a student to assist with research and data management.  Match of Minds grants are offered by the Office of Research Services, which provide support for research employment opportunities for students across faculties. Recently team was informed that they were successful in obtaining the grant.

    According to Ribaric: “This grant represents our first official partnership with a unit on campus. We are looking forward to being able to build something together using some interesting new tools. I’m also looking forward to talking about how we completed the project and with luck develop some tools for people attempting the same type of work into the future. This type of collaboration really embodies what we mean when we use the term digital scholarship.”

    For McClean, the grant will be a major boost to the project in general. “With it being such a large and time-consuming project, it is crucial from a technical standpoint to plan and build it properly. The knowledge and experience that the DSL members bring is exactly the support we need on this project. In general, we’re excited to keep working with the DSL, and being awarded this grant will only benefit the database.”

    Thanks to the Match of Minds grant, 3rd year Brock University Computer Science student Cameron Andress has joined the team to begin work on the NSD. Andress brings with him a degree in architectural technology and business administration.  Once he completes the computer-science-as-a-second-degree program, he plans on pursuing a masters degree in AI.  Andress had shown a keen interest in digital scholarship and attended multiple workshops offered by the DSL. Andress took the opportunity to introduce himself to Ribaric and this networking opportunity let to obtaining this research position.  Andress feels that the NSD will not only yield a central intelligence for sports collaborators, it will also aid in providing municipalities with the analytical evidence required to support sport facility construction.

    According to Andress, being part of this team will have many benefits for him: “Knowledge of SQL and the ability to work in a collaborative environment are especially important. Pursuing artificial intelligence in the space/aerospace industry will absolutely require the knowledge and usage of databases and analytics. The largest benefit however, will be the supplementing of my learning SQL and the connections made along the way.”

    Already seeing the benefit of having a DSL on Campus, McCLean felt it important to stress the opportunities that the DSL offers: “either for support on projects like this, or even the workshops they put on. I’ve personally been to quite a few and had a great experience with them. Some of these workshops have focused on learning about or how to use different programs and programming languages that are relevant to many different students, researchers and other employees at this university (such as Python, Power BI, Git, OpenRefine, or ArcGIS). Personally, I usually leave and immediately can think of ways to apply them to any research or other projects I’ve been working on. I hope more and more people take advantage of these resources on campus!”

     

     

     

     

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    Categories: Digital Scholarship Lab, Main

  • Day in the Life of a DSL Intern: Experimenting, Tutorials & Tigers

    Hello again, dear readers!

    As I’ve mentioned probably a million times in this series, the DSL is a new initiative at Brock, so it can be hard to figure out our “brand” and decide what does and doesn’t work for us. Because of this, a lot of the projects I’ve been working on as a DSL intern have been experimental. This week, I thought I’d talk about all of the experimentation I’ve done in the last few weeks as well as the process of sharing my ideas with other members of the Brock community.

    I’ve done a lot of work with data visualization since I started working in the DSL – they don’t call me Mizz Vizz for nothing! Experimentation is a big part of data visualization – there are lots of ways to visualize data (line graphs, pie charts, some programs even let you plot your data on a map!) and it’s fun to play around and see all of the options that work for your data and tell your data story. There are also lots of visualization programs out there, each one with different methods of creating data visuals. When I hit a wall with one program, I’ll experiment with others – it’s been a lifesaver on several different occasions!

    Another thing we’ve been experimenting with in the DSL is video tutorials. Our winter workshop series has been a huge success, and it’s been really cool to see everyone coming out to learn and support us! One thing we’ve learned through our workshops is that there are lots of ways to learn and consume information other than in-person instruction sessions. We’ve already created some online step-by-step tutorials that members of the Brock community can follow, and we’ve been experimenting recently with the idea of video tutorials as well. I’ve been playing around with some screen recording programs to create some prototype videos for one of the programs we offer support for in the DSL. It’s been fun to come up with ideas for videos and pass them around to the other DSL staff for feedback and suggestions. We’re still not completely sure if we’ll expand the video tutorials to other programs, but it’s been a cool part of planning ahead for the future!

    Speaking of the future and planning ahead, we did a lot of fantasizing on the podcast this week and managed to have in depth conversations about a future world in which there are #NoPockets, and then somehow relate that to my fear of tigers. Irrational fears were briefly mentioned as well, but I think my aversion to tigers is perfectly rational! If anything, I think avoiding jungle cats with large claws and sharp teeth is a perfect example of planning ahead and keeping the future in mind – though I’m hoping I won’t have to encounter any tigers in the DSL.

    My blog series is posted bi-weekly, so be sure to check back on April 19th for the final installment of my internship journey!

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  • Join our team as Associate University Librarian

    The Brock University Library invites nominations and applications for the position of Associate University Librarian (AUL).  The portfolio of this position includes Academic Services and Student Success.

    We are at an exiting time in our organization, examining the structures, processes, and service models that best align with the Library’s and the University’s strategic plans.

    If you are comfortable working in an evolutionary environment with a broad understanding of the strategic directions of academic libraries, this could be the leadership opportunity you are looking for.

    Learn more about this opportunity and how to apply. Applications will be accepted until Monday, April 15 at 12:01 am.

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  • Kaleidoscope of French, German, Hispanic & Latin American and Italian Cultures

    The Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures has mounted a display in the Learning Commons and Thistle hallway showcasing various aspects of French, German, Hispanic & Latin American and Italian Cultures.

    Come to view the intriguing assortment of items on display and win a prize by successfully answering a skill-testing question each week.

    Each weekly question can be found on the MLLC website. Please send your responses to: dbielicki@brocku.ca

    Event: Kaleidoscope of French, German, Hispanic & Latin American and Italian Cultures
    Place: Display cases in the Library Commons and Thistle corridor
    Date:  Monday, March 25 to Friday, April 5

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  • Day in the Life of a DSL Intern: Progress, Limitations, and Spur of the Moment Decorating

    Hello again, dear readers!

    I often find myself thinking about how fortunate I am to be where I’m at in my life and to have been offered as many opportunities as I have. I often catch myself thinking “wow, I can’t believe my luck that I’ve made it this far”, but a lot of the successes I’ve had so far in my career have also been the result of hard work. My placement here at Brock has been a nice combination of both; I worked hard to get here, but I’ve also been incredibly lucky to have such amazing colleagues and supervisors who have helped me succeed in this position. I won’t get too sentimental here (I’m saving that for my last post), but I wanted to use this post to talk about my own progress as a future librarian, as well as the progress I’ve made in the DSL.

    To start off our conversation about progress, let’s talk about limitations! Or rather, the podcast I “captained” in which we talked about limitations. I’ve mentioned this before in other posts, but I’ve really enjoyed participating in these podcasts. Facilitating the conversation was a new experience for me, and I planned a lot of talking points due to my tendency to talk fast when I’m nervous. Because there were so many talking points, however, the conversation ended up being quite lengthy. Make no mistake, I really enjoyed hearing everyone’s thoughts and having a productive conversation, but there was a lot that we didn’t get to talk about! One extra thing I want to say on the topic is that if there’s anything I learned from our conversation, it’s that limitations are a big part of making progress. Progress is about acknowledging limitations and things that go wrong, and moving forward to avoid them and learn from the experience. We also didn’t get to talk about one of the most significant limitations in the DSL – our vagrancy! The DSL’s current lack of a space was initially seen as a limitation, but we’ve moved past it by continuing to offer workshops and digital scholarship opportunities to the rest of the Brock community.

    Speaking of workshops, I’ve been working on my presentation skills and trying to overcome my fast-talking tendencies. I think I’ve definitely taken some big steps forward in this area, but I’m still working on it! That’s another thing about progress – it’s a gradual thing. I’ve always lived my life by the phrase “progress, not perfection”, because progress is a much more realistic goal. I like that I can look back to the person I was when I started this placement almost three months ago and be proud of how far I’ve come, rather than beat myself up because I’m still not the best presenter in the world. I’ve learned a lot about myself as a professional since starting here at Brock, and I’m grateful for the learning opportunities I’ve been given in the DSL that will allow me to continue to progress as a librarian, and also as a person.

    Finally, I’ll address a more light-hearted progression. Because this placement is only four months long, I was initially hesitant to decorate my office. Some of the librarians here at Brock have really gone all out with posters, toys, and furniture and I’m super jealous! I had originally planned to just settle for some cute knick-knacks on my desk, like the mug I mentioned in my last post. However, when I was tasked with disassembling the DSL’s display in the library, I couldn’t help but use some of the display pieces to jazz up my office a little bit. I know it’ll eventually have to come down for another DSL display in the near future, but for now it’s a fun way to show off how much I’ve learned here at Brock!

    My blog series is posted bi-weekly, so be sure to check back on April 5th for more on my internship journey!

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  • Lunch and Learn WORKSHOP ALERT: Best Practices for Protecting your Research Data

    The Brock University Library’s Scholarly Communication Working Group has partnered with the Digital Scholarship Lab to offer a series of four Brown Bag Workshops. Two workshops have already been held and were a great success.  The next workshop will be held on April 4th between 1-2 p.m. in Classroom B (ST230) and attendees are encouraged to bring their lunch and engage in a conversation about best practices for protecting research data.

    Canada’s Tri-Agencies (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC) are currently working to define their expectations of how grant recipients will preserve and possibly share their data, but there’s no need to await their decisions to consider how best to prepare and preserve your data for the short and long term. Whether or not you expect (or are required) to share data with others, your research may be at risk if your data isn’t protected. Learn about the resources and expertise available to help you comply with funders’ (likely) data management policies and the factors all researchers should consider when collecting, creating, using, and reusing data.  With Data/Liaison Librarian Heather Whipple.

    To register for this event please visit ExperienceBU.

     

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  • Day in the Life of a DSL Intern: Research, Teaching, and Getting Mugged

    Hello again, dear readers!

    In my last entry, I talked a little bit about some of the similarities between my school life and my work life, and I thought I’d stick with the same theme for this week. I’ve already talked about how I’ve written a lot of essays in my time as a student and how my essay writing experience has helped me in my work here at Brock. A significant part of essay writing is the research process – finding sources that support your argument, and keeping track of your citations so that when the time comes you can make connections between your thoughts on your topic, and the thoughts of others. I’ve been researching certain topics all throughout my placement here at Brock, but the last few weeks in particular have been very research heavy.

    I was recently asked to join a subgroup to support an ongoing library initiative at Brock. We call ourselves “search wizards” (finally – my dreams of being Hermione Granger have come true!), and our job is to scour the web and the library for sources relating to a certain topic. My role in this group was to do some research on the internet and find blog posts, opinion pieces, and social media posts related to our topic. I read blogs from time to time and I’m certainly no stranger to social media, but I had never used either of these sources in an academic way. My fields of study usually require scholarly papers and studies to support essay arguments, meaning that unless you can make a really strong argument for a Twitter feed being educational, most professors won’t let you rely on it to prove a point. Getting to take points from wherever I wanted was a nice change of pace for me. The experience was a nice mix of not feeling any pressure to get a high grade, while also feeling like I was contributing to something important.

    I’ve also been doing some research into data visualization for the DSL – living up to my Mizz Vizz nickname! When the DSL space is finished, there are plans for a big visualization wall to display data visualizations from across the web and other public visualization platforms. In my time as the DSL’s resident visualization expert, I’ve found that there’s a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to data visualization. People often think of visualization as just creating graphs, and don’t understand what the need would be for advanced visualization programs when you can easily create graphs in Excel. My hope for the visualization wall in the DSL space is that people will see that visualization is so much more than graphs – it can involve maps, webs, charts, and so much more! It’s been pretty cool for me to see what kind of advanced visualizations are out there, and I’m excited to be able to share my findings with the larger Brock community.

    In the midst of all this research, I also had to focus on teaching my first workshops as a DSL intern! It felt good to take my knowledge and experience with giving presentations (as well as my tendency to talk fast when I’m nervous) and apply it in a real-world situation. I’m happy with my progress so far, and look forward to teaching two more workshops before I head back to Western at the end of April.

    Finally – I leave you with the above photos. My colleagues in the DSL managed to keep my new mug a secret from me for quite some time, and it was such a nice surprise! I think they’ve captured my essence pretty well, I’m content to do just about anything as long as I have a book with me!

    My blog series is posted bi-weekly, so be sure to check back on March 22nd for more on my internship journey!

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