Scholarly Commons offers reference collection in support of digital scholarship

The Scholarly Commons reference collection contains resources about a wide variety of topics in digital scholarship. Our collection is small enough for browsing by new learners and broad enough in scope to offer useful resources to researchers who need to brush up on various software packages.


Our collection contains books on the following topics, as well as many more:

  • Data visualization
  • GIS
  • Author Rights and Open Access
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • User experience and Usability Testing
  • SPSS
  • R
  • Photoshop
  • Bibliometrics
  • Data Mining

Our workstations are loaded with many of the software packages covered by our reference collection so that you can read up on software right as you are using it. We also have several comfortable reading chairs where you can study our books. Though reference collection items can’t be checked out, we have scanners on hand if you need to copy a few pages.

Come check out our reference collection for yourself in room 306 of the Main Library. We are open from 10 to 6, Monday through Friday.

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Scholarly Commons Scanners Digitize a Variety of Materials

The Scholarly Commons has five different types of scanners to meet all your needs for digitizing bound volumes, pages, slides, and photographs.  Come to 306 Main Library to use them, ask questions about them in the comments below or send questions to are the details:

Spirit Book Scanner


All of our scanners allow you to scan pages directly out of books. The Spirit scanner takes scanning to the next level. Offering the user an easy and expert mode for scanning pages. In easy mode you simply point and shoot, all of your documents are saved in a PDF file on your thumb drive. Expert mode offers users more versatility allowing them to choose file types, scan multiple pages to a single file, adjust color, brightness, splitting and framing pages.

Nikon Super Cool Scan 5000


Our Nikon Super Cool Scan 5000 is perfect for digitizing 35 mm slides in less than 20 seconds. Other cool features the scanner offers patrons is a preview option to preview images, crop image, make color adjustments, and output size.

PluStek OpticBook A300


The PluStek OpticBook A300 is a great choice for scanning books and documents. It allows the users to choose between manual and automatic adjustments. Scans can be performed in in color, gray scale or as text using the buttons for each of these options. It also offers a rotation option that controls how each scan is added to the PDF. In addition to this it offers the user the ability to save in non-PDF formats, print the scan, or send via email.

Epson Express 10000 XL


The Epson Express 10000 XL is everything a photographer could ever want from a high-quality large volume scanner. This scanner offers ColorTure II for superior image processing. It has the ability to virtually scan anything you desire, including reflective media and transparent documents.

Epson GT-20000


The GT-20000 offer users the benefits and versatility to tackle anything form small to large documents. It even offers automatic document detection and enables users to scan multiple pages at once increasing their productivity.

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Submissions are Open for Image of Research 2016

In conjunction with the Graduate College, the Scholarly Commons is pleased to announce the opening of the Image of Research competition for the 2015-2016 academic year!

The Image of Research is a celebration of the diversity and breadth of graduate student research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Graduate and professional students from all disciplines are invited to submit entries consisting of an image that represents their research (either concretely or abstractly) and a brief written narrative.

Submissions will be accepted through January 15, 2016, after which judges will select a list of semi-finalists. From the semi-finalists, the judges will award four prizes:

  • First Prize: $500
  • Second Prize: $300
  • Third Prize: $200
  • Honorable Mention: $100

Awards will be presented at a reception on April 6, 2016 in conjunction with the Annual Graduate Student Appreciation Week. Attendees of the reception will have the opportunity to vote for a semi-finalist to receive the People’s Choice Award ($100).

For more information about this year’s competition, or to submit an entry, visit the Image of Research website. Past entries and winners can be viewed in the online gallery and in IDEALS.

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Digital Humanities Reading Group October 29th

The next meeting date for the Digital Humanities Reading Group will be on Thursday October 29th. This month we will be discussing the intersection of cultural criticism and topic modeling within Digital Humanities in anticipation of Nicole Brown’s DH Brown bag “Black Women Big Data: Utilizing Topic Modeling to Understand Black Women’s Lived Experience” on November 5.

Date & Location:

Thursday October 29th from 2:30-4:00PM
Room 341 of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) Building

Related Events:
DH Brownbag “Black Women Big Data: Utilizing Topic Modeling to Understand Black Women’s Lived Experience” on November 5.

Readings for discussion:

DiMaggio, P., Nag, M. and Blei, D. “Exploiting affinities between topic modeling and the sociological perspective on culture? Application to newspaper coverage of U.S. government arts funding”, Poetics 41 (2013): 570-606

Lui, A. 2012. “Where is Cultural Criticism in the Digital Humanities?”, In M. Gold (ed), Debates in Digital Humanities, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis (2012). Available at

For reference:

New to the group?

We are interested in developing critically grounded perspectives on what it means to do digital humanities work in various institutional contexts. As a starting point, we will examine some prominent pieces that discuss themes related to defining, critiquing, practicing, and teaching “digital” humanities. We hope to supplement these readings with additional perspectives informed by the interests, scholarship, and work of those who do digital humanities on campus. Visit our webpage at or view past reading selections at

-Posted on behalf of the DH reading group.

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ATLAS Workshops on Data Analysis and Questionnaire Design

Applied Technologies in the Liberal Arts and Sciences (ATLAS) has set its fall workshop schedule.  ATLAS workshops are free and open to anyone on campus.

09/29/2015 – Stata 1: Getting Started with Stata
10/06/2015 – Stata 2: Inferential Statistics with Stata

10/01/2015 – R 1: Getting Started with R
10/08/2015 – R 2: Inferential Statistics
10/13/2015 – R 3: R Studio

10/15/2015 – ATLAS.ti 1: Introduction – Qualitative Coding
10/22/2015 – ATLAS.ti 2: Data Exploration and Analysis

10/27/2015 – SPSS 1: Getting Started with SPSS
11/03/2015 – SPSS 2: Inferential Statistics with SPSS

10/29/2015 – SAS 1: Getting Started with SAS
11/05/2015 – SAS 2: Inferential Statistics with SAS

10/20/2015 – Questionnaire Design

For details and to register for workshops, see ATLAS’s Fall Training Schedule.

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Opportunity for Library Users With Disabilities

Do you sometimes get frustrated using any of the university library resources?

Do you have at least one of the following disabilities: blindness/low vision, deaf/hearing impairment, Autism, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or have a mobility impairment?

Are you an undergraduate student, graduate student, or a faculty or staff member?

Have your voice heard!

Fill out the availability survey to potentially participate in a focus group about that will ask about your experiences in the library as a patron with a disability.

This research will help the University Library better understand your unique needs and allow us to make changes to better serve you. Focus groups will last for 90 minutes, take place in a Main Library Meeting Room (to be determined), and will be audio and video recorded. At the end of the focus group session, you will be given one $20 gift card to compensate you for your time.

Your identity will be anonymized in any publishable or professional materials that are developed from this research.

If you have any questions, please contact the principal investigator, JJ Pionke, at or 217-265-0002.

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Research Support for the HathiTrust Research Center

Supporting use of the HathiTrust Research Center’s services for text analysis is one way that the Scholarly Commons contributes to digital humanities research at the University of Illinois. The HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) enables computational access for nonprofit, educational users to published works in the public domain and, in the future, on limited terms to works in-copyright from the HathiTrust Digital Library. The HTRC can be used by emerging or advanced digital humanities researchers, and has value in both research and teaching with digital methodologies.

To use the HTRC’s main portal, create an account with your Illinois email address and log in to build a workset of digitized volumes relevant to you. Then experiment with the HTRC-provided computational algorithms to analyze your workset.

If you would like to learn more about what the HTRC offers, consider attending a Savvy Researcher workshop about the HTRC. For the fall semester 2015, it will be held on Tuesday, November 3 from 11-12 p.m. in 314 Library. And be sure to check the Savvy Researcher calendar for other workshops you might find interesting!

Contact Eleanor Dickson, HTRC Digital Humanities Specialist, if you would like to consult with someone in the Scholarly Commons about using the HTRC. The HTRC is a collaborative research center launched jointly by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Indiana University, and at Illinois, it is a collaboration of the University Library and the Graduate School for Library and Information Science.

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Help Obtaining Data is Available From the Library

This fall marks the sixth annual Data Purchase Program, where the University Library accepts applications from campus researchers for purchasing data that will be useful to them in their research.  The data must cost less than $5,000, must be used for teaching or research, and it must be available to all of campus.  Some vendors are only willing to sell access for one person, but often we can negotiate campus access.

The library has purchased a large variety of data: from tax assessor’s data for the Chicago area to satellite imagery of a river in Argentina and the locations of villages in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India.  A full list of purchased data is on the program description page at

The deadline for first consideration is October 1, but the Data Services Committee will consider applications that come in later as long as we have funds available and can complete the purchase by the end of the fiscal year.

If you are interested in applying for the Data Purchase Program, the online application is at  If you have questions about the program or need help identifying data for your research, please contact the Scholarly Commons at  We look forward to connecting you with the data you need!

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Python Drop-in Hours

Do you need new or additional programming skills for a research project? Having a problem with getting data out of a file or reshaping it for your needs? Do you have a task you think you could automate with a script?

The Research Data Service in conjunction with the Scholarly Commons will be hosting drop-in hours for Python coding help. All students, staff, and faculty are welcome to drop by to get help with a coding problem or learn about other campus and community resources for programming help. Some R, SQL, and XML help can be also provided as well. Drop-in hours are meant to assist researchers in programming tasks related to research projects and not for homework help. Members of RDS staff will also be available to discuss more general data management as well.

Please bring your computer and any data files you’re trying to work with.

This is a pilot program and will run on Tuesday afternoons from August 25 to September 29 at the Scholarly Commons (Room 306 Main Library; near the Wright Street stairwell).

Questions? Contact Elizabeth ( or the Scholarly Commons (

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GIS Research Services and Workshops

As the new semester kicks off, the Scholarly Commons wants to highlight our GIS research services and workshops. If you are not aware of GIS, or geographic information systems, they are computer systems for bringing together maps and data about geographic locations and features to analyze (for more information see What is GIS or Wikipedia). Scholars from many disciplines utilize GIS to analyze and visualize their data with maps to help share about and communicate their research. The robust nature of GIS can enhance all sorts of research projects, big or small, simple or complex.

The Scholarly Commons offers complete GIS research services to researchers, students and faculty, free of charge throughout the year, even during the summer! Our custom consultations can cover how to find specific GIS data to complex geoprocessing and analysis. Some other common GIS services include geocoding addresses, troubleshooting coordinate systems and projections, field data collection, GIS data management, research design, and much more. If you wish to set up an appointment, please fill out the GIS Consultation Form or contact James Whitacre, the Library’s GIS Specialist.

In addition to research services, the Scholarly Commons offers GIS workshops through the Savvy Researcher series. This year we are beginning a set of core GIS workshops that we plan to offer every semester. Additionally, throughout the semester we will offer special topic GIS workshops for more technical or advanced concepts or skills. Below is a list of this semester’s GIS Workshops. Be sure to check the Savvy Researcher Calendar for up to date listings and to register for workshops.

Core GIS Workshops

 Geographic Information Systems 101: Understanding GIS

  • Description: Not sure what GIS is or how it is used? This workshop will guide you through the foundational concepts of GIS and start you down the path to use geospatial technologies in your research. We will introduce different types of GIS software, data, and concepts, and showcase different examples of how GIS is used in research. After completing this workshop, you will know what it means to think spatially and be familiar with resources available across campus to help you utilize GIS for your research.
  • GIS experience needed: None!
  • Date:     Friday, September 25, 11 am – Noon

GIS for Research I: Tools, Concepts, and Geodata Management

  • Description: Looking to enrich your research with GIS or need to refresh you GIS software skills? Kick start (or restart) your understanding of essential GIS concepts through this two-hour, hands-on workshop with GIS software. This workshop will help you build a solid foundation for using GIS software to organize and manage your data, while also learning more about key concepts like vector vs. raster data, scale, and projections.
  • GIS experience needed: None to Beginner
  • Date: Tuesday, September 29, 5 – 7 pm

Discovering GIS Data

  • Description: Where can I find GIS data for…? This hands-on workshop will cover where and how to find geographic data throughout the web. Most GIS classes and workshops prepackage error-free GIS data for you, but this workshop will set you free. This workshop will introduce common and authoritative portals for geodata, as well as cover how to identify quality GIS data and different GIS data formats. This workshop requires basic knowledge GIS software such as adding and viewing data.
  • GIS experience needed: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Date: Thursday, October 23, 11 am – Noon

GIS for Research II: Geoprocessing, Analysis, and Visualization

  • Description: Take your GIS skills to the next step! This two-hour, hand-on workshop will walk through different geoprocessing tools and analyses common in GIS for research. Additionally, an emphasis on sharing and visualizing GIS data will challenge students to think differently about GIS data.
  • GIS experience needed: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Date: Tuesday, November 17, 5 – 7 pm


Special Topics GIS Workshops

Python Programming Basics for GIS Users

  • Description: Programming tools are now a standard feature within GIS software packages and allow professionals to automate, speed up, and become more precise in their analytic work. This workshop is designed for GIS professionals and students who have little to no experience or exposure to computer programming. Core programming concepts related to GIS work will be presented using the Python programming language. The workshop will be focused on guiding attendees through hands-on modules designed to provide the essential skills to programmatically manipulate data as part of a GIS workflow. This workshop is designed to be preparation for the workshop ‘Getting Started with Python in ArcGIS’, but may be taken independently.
  • GIS experience needed: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Date: Thursday, September 10, 2 – 5 pm

Getting Started with Python and ArcPy in ArcGIS

  • Description: Building on ‘Python Programming Basics for GIS Users’ but open to anyone with some programming experience, this workshop will expand on those skills to further use Python in ArcGIS. The workshop will focus on the ArcPy Python site package to expand geoprocessing capabilities with Python scripts. Participants will learn to build multiple standalone geoprocessing scripts covering different GIS tasks and workflows. The workshop will also cover how to create scripting tools in ArcGIS toolboxes for reuse and sharing. Participants will finish with the skills to explore more resources and options for utilizing Python in ArcGIS.
  • GIS experience needed: Beginner to Advanced
  • Date: Friday, September 11, 2 – 5 pm
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