News

  • NEW ArcGIS Pro Workshop

    Interested in learning ArcGIS Pro by really digging into the software and using realistic data? This workshop, offered in partnership by the Map, Data and GIS Library and the Digital Scholarship Lab, will use a fictitious scenario about a flu outbreak in St. Catharines.  In this workshop we will geolocate each incident of the flu and determine what schools should be shut down based on their proximity to flu incidents. We will also use network analysis to calculate the nearest medical centres.  In attending this workshop, you will learn the basics of creating a visually pleasing layout and how to share your work with others.  This event is open to everyone, no previous ArcGIS experience is necessary.

    When: Thursday, June 27, 10-12 AM

    Where: Brock University, James A. Gibson Library – Classroom A (ST228)

    Register: Eventbrite

    Note: Registration for this event ends June 25th

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    Categories: Digital Scholarship Lab, Main

  • Introduction to Data Science with Python. Case Study: Sci-Hub close to home

    At the Brock University Digital Scholarship Lab, we are not only exploring a wide variety of tools for data processing, analysis, and visualization, as well as digital pedagogy, we are also considering ways of interacting with these tools in unique ways as a method of demonstrating the vast possibilities digital scholarship offers.  In our upcoming workshop: Introduction to Data Science with Python, we will be teaching the basics of data science and visualizing results by investigating the Niagara Region’s Sci-Hub usage for 2017 through the case study: “Sci-Hub close to home”.

    The SCI-Hub database is famed for providing unrestricted access to a plethora of research papers that would normally be blocked by paywalls. In this workshop, attendees will see how quickly and easily using Anaconda and Jupyter Notebooks will enable them to analyze the Sci-Hub Download Log of 2017.  We will also be exploring two more ingredients; Pandas https://pandas.pydata.org/ and matplotlib https://matplotlib.org/.

    No previous knowledge of coding or statistics is required for this workshop. All you need is your curiosity.

    When: Monday, June 24th from 9:30 – 11:00 AM

    Where: James A. Gibson Library, Brock University, Classroom A (ST228)

    To register for this event, please visit: Eventbrite

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  • Digital Exhibit Brings to Life the Agnes Ethelwyn Wetherald Archival Fonds

    The Brock University Archives and Special Collections has again partnered with the Digital Scholarship Lab to create a digital exhibit showcasing one of their unique collections.  This particular exhibit features a guided history of the life and literature of Agnes Ethelwyn Wetherald, which was developed by Shauna Ribaric, Digital Resource Assistant.

    Agnes Ethelwyn Wetherald (1857-1947) was raised in Rockwood, Ontario and was home schooled, unlike her brothers who attended Rockwood Academy, a boarding school owned and operated by their father William.  Eventually Wetherald attended boarding schools in both the United States and Ontario and went on to develop a real talent for writing. She was a contributing author for The Toronto Globe, writing on a variety of topics, but was also a highly respected poet. In this exhibit, Ribaric takes a very thoughtful approach to not only providing a snapshot of Wetherald’s life, but also highlights how her life influenced her writing and displays how the subject matter of Wetherald’s writing changed over time as a reflection of the changes that took place throughout her life.

    Creating a digital exhibit such as this is not a quick and easy process.  Ribaric has done a remarkable job of analyzing an entire archival collection to tell one woman’s story.  Ribaric explained the approach she took when developing her project: “I had scanned some material from this collection for the Digital Repository, but quickly found that an exhibit required a different perspective.  I did some research using some of the books in Archives and Special Collections (included in my source list) and decided to do a chronological approach to Ethelwyn’s life.  There were quite a few moments in her life that seemed to impact her writing style and I found it interesting how life influences both style and subject matter in Ethelwyn’s writing.  The items I chose had to reveal more of her life story instead of just revealing items in the collection.”

    This collection was brought to life using Omeka, a publishing platform for sharing digital collections, just one of many useful tools supported by the Digital Scholarship Lab. Ribaric and her colleagues in the Archives and Special Collections have spent quite a bit of time learning how to use this tool to share content: “It’s a great way to exhibit our diverse collections and shine a spotlight on important figures or events in our area. A completely different way for our users to experience our Archives. These kinds of exhibits enable us to reveal some of the interesting work happening in the Archives and Special Collections.  A digital exhibit can be a great way to share a glimpse of a collection, but also link the user to a finding aid that includes so much more.  Our collections also become much more accessible to the broader Niagara community who may be interested in certain historical figures/events from our area.  Digital is the direction that our users are moving and I think it’s important that we keep ourselves relevant for researchers both in the Brock community and beyond.  The digital repository has allowed us to connect with researchers internationally and I think Omeka will continue to support the effort to reach as many researchers as possible.”

    To view the Agnes Ethelwyn Wetherald Fonds or other unique collections, visit the Brock Arcvhies and Special Collections located on the 10th floor of the Schmon Tower in the James A. Gibson Library. For more information visit their website.

    If you are interested in learning more about Omeka or other digital tools, please contact the Digital Scholarship Lab at dsl@brocku.ca or visit their website.

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  • 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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