Articles by author: afloyd

  • How to Draw a Pig Blindfolded

    Have you ever wondered who Sean O’Sullivan is and why Brock University has a theatre named after him?  Have you pondered over Brock Library’s namesake James A. Gibson? Or perhaps you’ve contemplated what it takes to be a bee keeper or how to draw a pig blindfolded?

    Well if you have or even if you haven’t mused over such musings, your interest must certainly be piqued!  You’re encouraged to take a peak at some of the curiosities and treasures held in Brock’s Archives and Special Collections by accessing some exceptional new online exhibits.

    Special Collections staff have been hard at work digitizing their collection to make it more accessible to you and in partnership with the Brock Digital Scholarship Lab they have been developing intriguing online exhibits to showcase their many resources.

    By visiting these online exhibits you will learn about who Sean O’Sullivan was, see wrestling trading cards from the 1930’s, learn about Niagara’s very own Alexander Hamilton, explore the Welland Canals, and view photographs of a very young St. Catharines! You can even read a letter that the 1941 Toronto Maple Leaf’s coach Hap Day wrote to St. Catharines Mayor Charles Daley under the instruction of Conn Smythe! This list of prized content truly does not do the collection justice.

    Visit the following links to explore and experience the Brock Special Collections for yourself:

    https://exhibits.library.brocku.ca/s/sean-o-sullivan/page/introduction

    https://exhibits.library.brocku.ca/s/ArchivalApps/page/ArchivalAppsWelcome

    For more information on the Archives and Special Collections visit:  https://brocku.ca/library/collections/special-collections-archives/ or drop by the 10th floor of the Schmon Tower.

    If you are interested in how these exhibits were created using the platform Omeka S and would like to learn how you can create your own exhibit, contact the Brock Digital Scholarship Lab at: dsl@brocku.ca and visit https://brocku.ca/library/dsl/.

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    Categories: Digital Scholarship Lab, Main

  • 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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    Categories: Digital Scholarship Lab, Main

  • 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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    Categories: Digital Scholarship Lab, Main

  • 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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    Categories: Digital Scholarship Lab, Main

  • 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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    Categories: Digital Scholarship Lab, Main

  • 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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    Categories: Digital Scholarship Lab, Main

  • 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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    Categories: Digital Scholarship Lab, Main

  • Day in the Life of a DSL Intern: Whoaaaa, we’re halfway there…

    Hello again, dear readers!

    Can you believe this series is halfway done? I know they say time flies when you’re having fun, but I didn’t realize it would go this fast! I sometimes find myself wondering how I’ll adjust from work mode here at Brock to school mode when I go back to Western; but the more I think about it, the more I realize that the two environments are actually quite similar.

    As a former English major, my undergraduate career consisted mostly of writing essays. I’ve always liked writing, and I like to think of myself as a pretty good writer (I suppose you, dear reader, can be the judge of that). I realized when I started grad school that this trait would come in handy, as most of my assignments have consisted of lengthy reports and essays. What I didn’t realize, however, was that I would still be doing so much writing in the workplace. This blog series has been a great way for me to write creatively, but I’ve had loads of other writing projects as well!

    First, we have to talk about workshops. I’ve mentioned in previous entries that I’ll be hosting my own workshops on OpenRefine and PowerBI, as well as one on Zotero later in March. Fortunately for me, the Zotero workshop I’ll be running is one that’s been run before, meaning I’ll have notes from past presenters to guide me through the process. For the other two workshops, I’ve had to start from scratch and write my own tutorials and notes. Usually when I give a presentation, I write little notes to myself so I remember what to say, but I’ve never written a presentation with the intention of having others follow along. I found the hardest part was making sure my notes make sense objectively, rather than just to me. I also consider myself a pretty detail-oriented person, so I found it challenging to decide which details were necessary to include in a tutorial and which ones I could leave out. My first workshop is a week away, so we’ll see how my tutorials work in practice!

    I’ve also been given the job of planning the next episode of the DSL’s weekly podcast. This has definitely been the most challenging writing project I’ve had so far. I’ve really enjoyed participating in the podcast, but being in charge of the conversation is definitely uncharted territory. I think part of the reason podcast planning has been more challenging is because there’s no way to plan a conversation, you can only write points and let the conversation flow as it does. Currently, my biggest challenge is deciding on a fun question to ask the group to get the conversation going. I’ve learned that being thought provoking and light hearted at the same time is harder than I thought it would be, but I’m confident that I’ll get there.

    In addition to all of these projects, I’ve been taking manual notes on just about everything that happens here at Brock. This includes notes in meetings, notes from workshops, and notes in interviews when I reach out to other schools as part of the repository project I mentioned in my last entry. Writing things down has always been my preferred way of remembering things, and I’ve always thought that the best part of writing things down is getting the chance to go back and read things that you wrote in the past. I do this all the time with old essays from my undergrad and journal entries from years ago. One day in the future I’ll probably do the same with this blog series (hi, future Erin! Do we have flying cars yet?), but for now I’m happy to make the most of the second half of this series and all of the writing projects that come my way!

    My blog series is posted bi-weekly, so make sure to check back on March 8th for more on my internship journey!

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    Categories: Digital Scholarship Lab, Main