Digital Scholarship Lab increases research efficiency at Brock

Photo Credit: Carlos Muza

Photo Credit: Carlos Muza

Brock’s Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL) will be providing a place where students and faculty can harness digital tools to use in their field of study. The lab seeks to achieve this through a large offering of resources and workshops that they host in collaboration with their many partners.

The lab focuses heavily on librarianship, research data management, data visualization, data processing, digital preservation and digital pedagogy. When its physical space is complete, Brock’s DSL will be a hub to explore, discover, create and play with data and visual tools, methods and object and to give that knowledge back to the community.

“The sky is the limit for what you can do in terms of data analysis. Data processing tasks can be expedited using our powerful computers and of course the resources from our Compute Canada partners on campus,” said Alicia Floyd, DSL co-ordinator. “We can even offer guidance when it comes to research data management.  Most importantly, the things that you can learn and create with the Digital Scholarship Lab are employable skills.”

On Wednesday, January 15 from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., the DSL will be hosting the second iteration of their workshop: an Introduction to the Compute Canada Federation research computing resources. James Desjardins, the SHARCNET/Compute Canada representative on campus, will provide a presentation that explains exactly what advanced research computing is and how to access the resources offered by the Compute Canada Federation. Members of the Brock community will also be able to access national storage infrastructures as well as general purpose compute clusters. Desjardins will go over the reasons why these resources are so useful and how researchers can access them to complete their own projects.

In addition to the Compute Canada workshop, the DSL hosts other events and workshops throughout the year.

“Each semester we run a workshop series that covers subjects such as programming languages, data visualization, data management and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The DSL also hosts bi-weekly Ad hoc R Group Help (ARGH) Coding Club and Support Group meetings. This is a drop-in club that allows anyone to experiment, learn, and tackle their issues,” said Floyd. “Coming up in March; DSL, Map, Data and GIS Library and Makerspace student staff will be hosting a Research Showcase as well. The great thing about almost every one of the workshops is that they are hands-on and allow users to dive right in and learn.”

Though the lab does not currently have a space, community members have been supporting each of their initiatives over the past year.

“Considering the lab is not yet officially open, the Brock community has shown a great deal of interest in all that we have been offering already,” said Floyd. “The workshops are very well attended and receive positive feedback; collaborative research projects are already happening and faculty and students alike have been reaching out to us for support and to share ideas.”

Floyd encourages students to engage with the DSL as much as they can to not only further their own research but to help the lab and its services grow and develop.

“Digital scholarship methodology is an emerging area. We are all learning, experimenting and growing in this area every day,” said Floyd. “The DSL team is here to explore your ideas and to answer questions. We want everyone to know that the lab is a safe place to explore new tools and collaborate on research.”

Brock students, staff and faculty members are able to reach out to the DSL if they have questions, research projects or ideas. The DSL will be receiving a physical space inside of the soon-to-be-completed Rankin Family Pavilion. When the space is officially open, the hours will be Monday to Friday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and will accept drop-ins.

Interested individuals can visit brocku.ca/library/dsl or email dsl@brocku.ca. In terms of work or volunteering, the DSL hires students for the Fall and Winter terms. Positions are posted on the Brock Careers website when they are available. For more information on Compute Canada resources contact jdesjardins@brocku.ca.

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