Articles tagged with: Collaboration

  • 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

  • A Day in the Life of a DSL Intern: Collaboration, Open Access and Quentin Tarantino

    Hello again, dear readers!

    I don’t know about you, but I love being busy. Don’t get me wrong, vacations are nice and there’s nothing like the feeling of taking it easy after finishing a big project or writing a monster essay, but I like to always have something to work on, and I’m always willing to take on new projects and tasks to prevent lulls in my day. Because of this, Brock has been a great place for me to work because there’s always a project to work on, a program/technology to learn, or a person to contact in the hopes of collaboration. Speaking of which, collaboration was the theme of the DSL’s podcast this week (listen here if you haven’t yet!), and as I participated in the group’s conversation about working with others and taking advantage of their knowledge to better your own, I started to think about all of the collaborating I’ve done in the last few weeks and how much I’ve been able to learn and grow through collaborative work.

    One of the first new projects I took on recently was learning how to use Open Journal Systems – an open access journal management and publishing system. As a (future) librarian, open access is a cause that’s very near and dear to my heart, and I know this is true for the DSL as well. As members of a public research institution, Brock students have access to all kinds of databases and programs to conduct research and complete assignments. What students often don’t realize is that these databases and programs can be very expensive to purchase and maintain, meaning people outside of Brock and other research institutions typically don’t have access to the same resources they do. This is why open access is so important – it combines the sophisticated and respected technologies, databases, and journals needed to conduct and report important research while still being accessible to everyone regardless of their academic affiliations (or lack thereof). Brock’s undergraduate history department publishes The General through OJS and whenever new student editors are hired, they need to be taught how to request revisions and approve articles for publishing – that’s where I come in!

    Collaborating with these members of the undergraduate history department to teach them how to use an open access software was a great learning experience. They learned how to use a system that will allow their journal to be accessible to everyone (a very cool opportunity for undergrad students – I had to do my best to hide my envy), and I learned how to effectively break down a new and foreign system into easy, teachable steps. I think this process will definitely come in handy when I start running some DSL workshops!

    Speaking of running workshops, I mentioned in my previous entry that I’ve been doing a lot of work with visualizing data in PowerBI so that I can teach a workshop on this particular program. Last week, I got my first collaborative visualization opportunity in the form of a dataset about a hockey tournament from Brock’s Centre for Sport Capacity. I won’t go into too much detail about this super-secret mission (known around the DSL as “Operation Hoops”), but I’ve really enjoyed working with the other people in this project to visualize their data in a user-friendly way through PowerBI. I’ve also been attending all of the workshops offered by the DSL and learning a lot. Since my last entry, I’ve learned the basics of the Command Line Interface, the Python programming language, and ArcGIS pro – a program that allows users to map data to help answer questions. I didn’t know a lot about programming languages going into these workshops, but I had a ton of fun learning. It all became clearer to me when I learned how to use Command Line to show how many times each of the main characters in Little Women are mentioned throughout the book. I thought this was a really cool way to show how the technology is applicable to the humanities, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of the data from the Agatha Christie study I mentioned in my previous entry. These workshops have given me more insight into what digital scholarship truly is – the opportunity to “collaborate” with technology in order to make some really interesting discoveries. In just over a month at Brock, I’ve been lucky enough to explore some pretty cool technologies, and collaborate with some pretty cool people.

    In my university experience, I’ve participated in more group projects than I can count. One of my grad school professors liked to encourage as much group work as possible, insisting that group projects are good practice for the real world. Now, as a (temporary) member of the real world, I can confirm that this is true. The only difference is that in the real world, they’re called working groups. There are lots of working groups here at Brock, all of them working towards various initiatives to ensure that every student has the best library experience possible. As part of my placement, I’ve been involved with a working group whose goal is to improve Brock’s institutional repository. There’s a lot of amazing research being done at Brock, and it is essential for researchers to be able to publish their findings to a reliable, user friendly platform. Meeting with the other members of this group felt a lot like a group project at school – goals and best approaches were discussed, the work load was divvied up, and roles were assigned. My role was to reach out to librarians at other schools to get a sense of how their repository platforms perform and how their users interact with it. Interviewing complete strangers over the phone was a new (and I’ll admit, slightly nerve wracking) experience for me. The last (and first ever) phone interview I did was when I interviewed for this placement four months ago. But, as with any group project, I did my part and I learned along the way. I’m officially two for two on phone interviews! Our work is far from over, but I can say that participating in this working group has been a great exercise in collaboration so far, because I’ve learned how to collaborate effectively with people both inside and outside of my workplace in order to achieve a goal.

    I know that by this point you’re probably thinking, “gosh Erin, it sounds like all you do is work super hard! Don’t you have any fun at Brock?”, and to that I say of course! The work I do requires a lot of data analysis, so a big part of my job involves finding data to work with. Since my last entry, I’ve played around with data about the contestants on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette (who wins, who goes home, who gets the coveted first impression rose) and The Avengers (names, aliases, how many times they’ve died and come back to life). My favourite dataset to work with though was one that kept track of every curse word and death in each of seven Quentin Tarantino films – and how long into the movie these curse words and deaths occur. His movies are a little gratuitous for my taste, but even I have to admit that there’s something very amusing about constructing a graph full of curse words. It was a learning experience as well, as I can definitively answer which of his films is the most profane (Pulp Fiction, with a whopping 469 curse words) and which was the most graphic (Kill Bill: Vol. 1, with 63 on-screen deaths). Who says data can’t be fun?

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

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    Categories: Digital Scholarship Lab, Main

  • Digital Scholarship Lab Offers Omeka

    The Brock University Digital Scholarship Lab is now offering Omeka, Omeka support and project collaborations! What is Omeka you ask?  It is a digital exhibit platform that allows users to create independently curated exhibits.  It is an amazing tool that is built with preservation and good data principles in mind.  With Omeka you can display documents, images and other material in a guided exhibit.  Omeka allows for groups to work together to build one exhibit by sharing a collaboratively built pool of items and metadata and is an excellent tool for sharing your research with the world!

    If you are interested in viewing an example of how Omeka can be used, the DSL in collaboration with the Brock Archives and Special Collections, have created the Omeka gallery: When the Prince of Wales Came to Niagara. The project provides a detailed account of a goodwill tour Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, took of North America in 1860, focusing on the Niagara leg of the trip.  As you will see, the gallery includes specific subjects (events), text and high quality images to support the information. Using this as a tool to disseminate your research is ideal for many reasons, including the fact that it allows you to direct users through your project in the order you planned for your research to be delivered.

    So tell us, what do you think of Omeka? Do you have comments about the Prince of Wales gallery? Are you interested in learning more about Omeka or collaborating with the DSL on a project? We want to hear from you! Contact us at dsl@brocku.ca or via one of our social media channels.

    Continue to visit our Projects page to see more of what the DSL is up to!

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    Categories: Digital Scholarship Lab