Drawing People: Practicing the Human Figure with Open Resources

It’s Open Access Week! Every year this international event brings the academic community together to discuss the benefits of free and immediate access to information, especially scholarly resources.

This week, I’ll be sharing open (and semi-open) resources for artists. When I’m not at the library desk, I like to draw, and I’m always on the hunt for high quality reference images. When learning how to draw people, you’ll often have to figure out a pose without the help of live models. References, however, are not always free or easy to find. Here some of the resources that I’ve found helpful over the years.

Practice and Reference

Line of Action

Provides both nude and clothed photos for study. Artists can start a drawing session by choosing the kinds of models, and the time intervals between photos. There are also posts here that give advice for improving your technique.

Bodies in Motion

This collection of motion images provides rapid sequence photographs of athletes and dancers. These images are a good way to study how the human body moves. Most of this content is only available with a subscription, but there are some free sequences. When browsing a section, click the “free” tab on the right-hand side of the page.

AdorkaStock

This stock photo collection has models with plenty of different body types. There are some fun poses in here: from fantasy to action, to sci-fi settings. All models are wearing clothing or flesh-tone bodysuits, so no need to worry about using it in a public space.

Sketch Daily

Provides a variety of photos in timed study sessions. You can choose to practice bodies, hands, feet, heads, or animals and structures. It’s a good tool for warm-up drawing with no fuss.

The Book of a Hundred Hands by George B. Bridgman

This book depicts musculature and examples of drawn hands in different positions. It can help you to focus-in on your hand drawing skills.

Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth by Andrew Loomis

Okay, so this one is from the 40’s and it shows; the majority of nude female figures are still sporting high heels. However, Loomis still offers many helpful tips. It contains an exhaustive instruction of perspective, musculature, the mechanics of motion, shading and lighting as well as exercises for practice.

Gesture Drawing

Gesture Drawing – The Ultimate Guide for Beginners

Practicing with the gesture technique can help you break out of “stiff” poses and figure out how to imbue your figures with character and expression. This guide contains an overview of gesture, videos of instruction, and a list of books on gesture.

Clothing

We Wear Culture

A good fashion reference site that showcases clothing through time and around the world. The information here gives context for clothing, bios of fashion icons, overviews of fashion movements, and the history of clothing items. It’s a good tool to inspire clothing design for the people and characters you draw.

History of Costume

You’ll have to create a free account on the Internet Archive to view this one. It’s a collection of costume plates from the 19th century. There are later editions of this book available, but this edition still contains original clothing pattern drafts.

Instruction

Love, Life, Drawing

This website provides free tutorials and podcasts on drawing topics with a focus on human figures. Sign up for the free “fresh eyes” drawing challenge, a ten-day course that teaches students to identify gesture and structure of the form.

FZD School

This resource isn’t human-figure specific but these videos are great resources for learning how to draw and design. Try “EP 30: Character Silhouettes” to buff up your character illustration skills. This channel is especially good for creatives interested in comics or illustration.

Muddy Colors

Muddy Colors posts helpful tips on all kinds of art topics from over 20 practicing artists. The site hosts paid classes from their contributing artists, but there is plenty of free advice here too.

Additional Resources

Character Design References

An independent website that showcases concept art from animation, games, and comics. There’s a little bit of everything here. I’d recommend checking out their visual library. There are anatomical references, character/creature design references, vehicles, props, and lighting/color tutorials.

Met Publications

The New York Met Gallery offers 609 publications of art, photography, sculpture and more, all free for download. This is an excellent place to find inspiration.

Happy Drawing!

Open Education Week 2022

Open Education Week

Open Education Week brings awareness to the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement and to the how OER transforms teaching and learning for instructors and students alike.

What is OER?

OER refers to open access, openly licensed instructional materials that are used for teaching, learning or research.

Why is OER Important?

OER provides free resources to institutions, teachers, and students. When incorporated into the classroom, OER can:

  • Lower the cost of education for students
  • Reinforce open pedagogy
    • Allow educators to update and adapt materials to fit their needs
    • Encourages students’ interaction with, and creation of, educational materials
  • Encourage open knowledge dissemination

OER Incentive Grant

The University is giving faculty an incentive to adopt, adapt, or create OER for their courses instead of using expensive materials. The OER Incentive Grants will fund faculty teaching undergraduate courses. Instructors can submit applications in three tiers:

  • Tier 1: Adopt – incorporate an existing open textbook into a course
  • Tier 2 Adapt – incorporate portions of multiple existing open textbooks, along with other freely available educational resources, modifications of existing open education materials/textbooks, or development of new open education materials
  • Tier 3: Create – write new openly licensed textbooks

The preferred deadline to submit a proposal is March 11th. If you are interested in submitting a grant but cannot make this deadline, please reach out to Sara Benson at srbenson@illinois.edu. To learn more about this program see the webpage on the Faculty OER Incentive Program.

Upcoming OER Publication

In conjunction with Sara Benson, copyright librarian at UIUC, and the Illinois Open Publishing Network (IOPN), co-authors Christy Bazan, Brandi Barnes, Ryan Santens, and Emily Verone will publish an OER textbook, titled Drug Use and Misuse: A Community Health Perspective. This book explores drug use and abuse through the lens of community health and the impact of drug use and abuse on community health. Drug Use and Misuse is the third publication in IOPN’s Windsor & Downs Press OPN Textbook series. See the video below to learn more about the process of creating this textbook.

Introducing Drop-In Consultation Hours at the Scholarly Commons!

Do you have a burning question about data management, copyright, or even how to work Adobe Photoshop but do not have the time to set up an appointment? This semester, the Scholarly Commons is happy to introduce our new drop-in consultation hours! Each weekday, we will have an expert from a different scholarly subject have an open hour or two where you can bring any question you have about that’s expert’s specialty. These will all take place in room 220 in the Main Library in Group Room A (right next to the Scholarly Commons help desk). Here is more about each session:

 

Mondays 11 AM – 1 PM: Data Management with Sandi Caldrone

This is a photo of Sandi Caldrone, who works for Research Data Services and will be hosting the Monday consultation hours from 11 AM - 1 PMStarting us off, we have Sandi Caldrone from Research Data Services offering consultation hours on data management. Sandi can help with topics such as creating a data management plan, organizing/storing your data, data curation, and more. She can also help with questions around the Illinois Data Bank and the Dryad Repository.

 

 
 

Tuesdays 11 AM – 1 PM: GIS with Wenjie Wang

Next up, we have Wenjie Wang from the Scholarly Commons to offer consultation about Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Have a question about geocoding, geospatial analysis, or even where to locate GIS data? Wenjie can help! He can also answer any questions related to using ArcGIS or QGIS.

 
 

Wednesdays 11 AM – 12 PM: Copyright with Sara Benson

This is a photo of Copyright Librarian Sara Benson who will be hosting the Wednesday consultation hours from 11 AM - 12 PMDo you have questions relating to copyright and your dissertation, negotiating an author’s agreement, or seeking permission to include an image in your own work? Feel free to drop in during Copyright Librarian Sara Benson’s open copyright hours to discuss any copyright questions you may have.

 

 

 

Thursdays 1-3 PM: Qualitative Data Analysis with Jess Hagman

This is a photo of Jess Hagman, who works for the Social Science, Education, and Health Library and will be hosting the Thursday consultation hours from 1 PM - 3 PMJess Hagman from the Social Science, Health, and Education Library is here to help with questions related to performing qualitative data analysis (QDA). She can walk you through any stage of the qualitative data analysis process regardless of data or methodology. She can also assist in operating QDA software including NVivo, Atlas.ti, MAXQDA, Taguette, and many more! For more information, you can also visit the qualitative data analysis LibGuide.

 

 

 
 

Fridays 10 AM – 12 PM: Graphic Design and Multimedia with JP Goguen

To end the week, we have JP Goguen from the Scholarly/Media Commons with consultation hours related to graphic design and multimedia. Come to JP with any questions you may have about design or photo/video editing. You can also bring JP any questions related to software found on the Adobe Creative Cloud (such as Photoshop, InDesign, Premiere Pro, etc.).

 

Have another Scholarly Inquiry?

If there is another service you need help with, you are always welcome to stop by the Scholarly Commons help desk in room 220 of the Main Library between 10 AM – 6 PM Monday-Friday. From here, we can get you in contact with another specialist to guide you through your research inquiry. Whatever your question may be, we are happy to help you!

It Matters How We Open Knowledge: Open Access Week 2021

It’s that time of year again! Open Access Week is October 25-31, and the University of Illinois Library is excited to participate. Open Access Week is an international event where the academic and research community come together to learn about Open Access and to share that knowledge with others. The theme guiding this year’s discussion of open access will be “It Matters How We Open Knowledge: Building Structural Equity.”

These discussions will build on last year’s theme of “Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion.” While last year’s theme was intended to get people thinking about the ways our current information systems marginalize and exclude, this year’s theme is focused on information equity as it relates to governance.

OA Week digital banner with theme name and date

Specifically, this year’s theme intentionally aligns with the recently released United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recommendation on Open Science, which encompasses practices such as publishing open research, campaigning for open access, and generally making it easier to publish and communicate scientific knowledge.

Circulated in draft form following discussion by representatives of UNESCO’s 193 member countries, the recommendation powerfully articulates and centers the importance of equity in pursuing a future for scholarship that is open by default. As the first global standard-setting framework on Open Science, the UNESCO Recommendation will provide an important guide for governments around the world as they move from aspiration to the implementation of open research practices.

UNESCO Icon

While the University of Illinois is not hosting any formal events for open access, the Library encourages students, staff, and faculty to familiarize themselves with existing open access resources, including:

  • IDEALS: The Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship, collects, disseminates, and provides persistent and reliable access to the research and scholarship of faculty, staff, and students at Illinois. Once an article is deposited in IDEALS, it may be efficiently and effectively accessed by researchers around the world, free of charge.
  • Copyright: Scholarly Communication and Publishing offers workshops and consultation services on issues related to copyright. While the Library cannot offer legal advice, we can help you to identify information and issues you may want to consider in addressing your copyright question.
  • Illinois Open Publishing Network: The Illinois Open Publishing Network (IOPN) is a set of digital publishing initiatives that are hosted and coordinated at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library. IOPN offers a suite of publishing services to members of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign community and aims to facilitate the dissemination of high-quality, open access scholarly publications. IOPN services include infrastructure and support for publishing open access journals, monographs, born-digital projects that integrate multimedia and interactive content.

IOPN logo

For more information on how to support access at the University of Illinois, please reach out to the Scholarly Commons or the Scholarly Communication and Publishing unit. For more information about International Open Access Week, please visit www.openaccessweek.org. Get the latest updates on Open Access events on twitter using the hashtag #OAWeek.

What Are the Digital Humanities?

Introduction

As new technology has revolutionized the ways all fields gather information, scholars have integrated the use of digital software to enhance traditional models of research. While digital software may seem only relevant in scientific research, digital projects play a crucial role in disciplines not traditionally associated with computer science. One of the biggest digital initiatives actually takes place in fields such as English, History, Philosophy, and more in what is known as the digital humanities. The digital humanities are an innovative way to incorporate digital data and computer science within the confines of humanities-based research. Although some aspects of the digital humanities are exclusive to specific fields, most digital humanities projects are interdisciplinary in nature. Below are three general impacts that projects within the digital humanities have enhanced the approaches to humanities research for scholars in these fields.

Digital Access to Resources

Digital access is a way of taking items necessary for humanities research and creating a system where users can easily access these resources. This work involves digitizing physical items and formatting them to store them on a database that permits access to its contents. Since some of these databases may hold thousands or millions of items, digital humanists also work to find ways so that users may locate these specific items quickly and easily. Thus, digital access requires both the digitization of physical items and their storage on a database as well as creating a path for scholars to find them for research purposes.

Providing Tools to Enhance Interpretation of Data and Sources

The digital humanities can also change how we can interpret sources and other items used in the digital humanities. Data Visualization software, for example, helps simplify large, complex datasets and presents this data in ways more visually appealing. Likewise, text mining software uncovers trends through analyzing text that potentially saves hours or even days for digital humanists had they analyzed the text through analog methods. Finally, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software allows for users working on humanities projects to create special types of maps that can both assist in visualizing and analyzing data. These software programs and more have dramatically transformed the ways digital humanists interpret and visualize their research.

Digital Publishing

The digital humanities have opened new opportunities for scholars to publish their work. In some cases, digital publishing is simply digitizing an article or item in print to expand the reach of a given publication to readers who may not have direct access to the physical version. Other times, some digital publishing initiatives publish research that is only accessible in a digital format. One benefit to digital publishing is that it opens more opportunities for scholars to publish their research and expands the audience for their research than just publishing in print. As a result, the digital humanities provide scholars more opportunities to publish their research while also expanding the reach of their publications.

How Can I Learn More About the Digital Humanities?

There are many ways to get involved both at the University of Illinois as well as around the globe. Here is just a list of a few examples that can help you get started on your own digital humanities project:

  • HathiTrust is a partnership through the Big Ten Academic Alliance that holds over 17 million items in its collection.
  • Internet Archive is a public, multimedia database that allows for open access to a wide range of materials.
  • The Scholarly Commons page on the digital humanities offers many of the tools used for data visualization, text mining, GIS software, and other resources that enhance analysis within a humanities project. There are also a couple of upcoming Savvy Researcher workshops that will go over how to use software used in the digital humanities
  • Sourcelab is an initiative through the History Department that works to publish and preserve digital history projects. Many other humanities fields have equivalents to Sourcelab that serves the specific needs of a given discipline.

Big Ten Academic Alliance Open Access Developments

Last month, the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) made a series of announcements regarding its support of Open Access (OA) initiatives across its member libraries. Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use those articles fully in the digital environment. Put plainly, Open Access ensures that anyone, anywhere, can access and use information. By supporting these developments in OA, the BTAA aims to make information more accessible to the university community, to benefit scholars by eliminating paywalls to research, and to help researchers to publish their own work.

Big ten academic alliance logo

On July 19, the BTAA announced the finalization of a three-year collective agreement with the Open Library of Humanities (OLH), a charitable organization dedicated to publishing open access scholarship with no author-facing article processing charges. OLH publishes academic journals from across the humanities disciplines, as well as hosting its own multidisciplinary journal. This move was made possible thanks to the OLH Open Consortial Offer, an initiative that offers consortia, societies, networks and scholarly projects the opportunity to join the Open Library of Humanities Library Partnership Subsidy system as a bloc, enabling each institution to benefit from a discount. Through this agreement, the BTAA hopes to expand scholarly publishing opportunities available to its member libraries, including the University of Illinois.

Following the finalization of the OLH agreement, the BTAA announced on July 21 the finalization of a three-year collective action agreement with MIT Press that provides Direct to Open (D2O) access for all fifteen BTAA member libraries. Developed over two years with the support of the Arcadia Fund, D2O gives institutions the opportunity to harness collective action to support access to knowledge. As participating libraries, the Big Ten members will help open access to all new MIT Press scholarly monographs and edited collections from 2022. As a BTAA member, the University of Illinois will support the shifting publication of new MIT Press titles to open access. The agreement also gives the University of Illinois community access to MIT Press eBook backfiles that were not previously published open access.

By entering into these agreements, the BTAA aims to promote open access publishing across its member libraries. On how these initiatives will impact the University of Illinois scholarly community, Head of Scholarly Communication & Publishing Librarian Dan Tracy said:

“The Library’s support of OLH and MIT Press is a crucial investment in open access publishing infrastructure. The expansion of open access publishing is a great opportunity to increase the reach and impact of faculty research, but common models of funding open access through article processing charges makes it challenging for authors in the humanities and social sciences particularly to publish open access. The work of OLH to publish open access journals, and MIT Press to publish open access books, without any author fees while also providing high quality, peer reviewed scholarly publishing opportunities provides greater equity across disciplines.”

Since these announcements, the BTAA has continued to support open access initiatives among its member libraries. Most recently, the BTAA and the University of Michigan Press signed a three-year agreement on August 5 that provides multi-year support for the University of Michigan Press’ new open access model Fund to Mission. Based on principles of equity, justice, inclusion, and accessibility, Fund to Mission aims to transition upwards of 75% of the press’ monograph publications into open access resources by the end of 2023. This initiative demonstrates a move toward a more open, sustainable infrastructure for the humanities and social sciences, and is one of several programs that university presses are developing to expand the reach of their specialist publications. As part of this agreement, select BTAA members, University of Illinois included, will have greater access to significant portions of the University of Michigan’s backlist content.

The full release and more information about recent BTAA announcements can be found on the BTAA website. To learn more about Open Access efforts at the University of Illinois, visit our OA Guide.

Comparison: Human vs. Computer Transcription of an “It Takes a Campus” Episode

Providing transcripts of audio or video content is critical for making these experiences accessible to a wide variety of audiences, especially those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Even those with perfect hearing might prefer to skim over a transcript of text rather than listen to audio sometimes. However, often times the slowest part of the audio and video publishing process is the transcribing portion of the workflow. This was certainly true with the recent interview I did with Ted Underwood, which I conducted on March 2 but did not release until March 31. The majority of that time was spent transcribing the interview; editing and quality control were significantly less time consuming.

Theoretically, one way we could speed up this process is to have computers do it for us. Over the years I’ve had many people ask me whether automatic speech-to-text transcription is a viable alternative to human transcription in dealing with oral history or podcast transcription. The short answer to that question is: “sort of, but not really.”

Speech to text or speech recognition technology has come a long way particularly in recent years. Its performance has improved to the point where human users can give auditory commands to a virtual assistant such as Alexa, Siri, or Google Home, and the device usually gives an appropriate response to the person’s request. However, recognizing a simple command like “Remind me at 5 pm to transcribe the podcast” is not quite the same as correctly recognizing and transcribing a 30-minute interview. It has to handle differences between two speakers and lengthy blocks of text.

To see how good of a job the best speech recognition tools do today, I decided to have one of these tools attempt to transcribe the Ted Underwood podcast interview and compare it to the actual transcript I did by hand. The specific tool I selected was Amazon Transcribe, which is part of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) suite of tools. This service is considered one of the best options available and uses cloud computing to convert audio data to textual data, presumably like how Amazon’s Alexa works.

It’s important to note that Amazon Transcribe is not free, however, it only costs $0.0004 per second of text, so Ted Underwood’s interview only cost me 85 cents to transcribe. For more on Amazon Transcribe’s costs, see this page.

In any case, here is a comparison between my manual transcript vs. Amazon Transcribe. To begin, here is the intro to the podcast as spoken and later transcribed by me:

Ben Ostermeier: Hello and welcome back to another episode of “It Takes
a Campus.” My name is Ben, and I am currently a graduate assistant at
the Scholarly Commons, and today I am joined with Dr. Ted Underwood,
who is a professor at the iSchool here at the University of Illinois.
Dr. Underwood, welcome to the podcast and thank you for taking time
to talk to me today.

And here is Amazon Transcribe’s interpretation of that same section of audio, with changes highlighted:

Hello and welcome back to another episode of it takes a campus. My
name is Ben, and I am currently a graduate assistant at Scali Commons.
And today I'm joined with Dr Ted Underwood, who is a professor 
at the high school here at the University of Illinois. 
Dr. Underwood, welcome to the podcast. Thank you for taking 
time to talk to me today.

As you can see, Amazon Transcribe did a pretty good job, but there are some mistakes and changes from the transcript I hand wrote. It particularly had trouble with proper nouns like “Scholarly Commons” and “iSchool,” along with some minor issues like not putting a dot after “Dr” and missing an “and” conjunction in the last sentence.

Screenshot of text comparison between Amazon-generated and human-generated transcripts.

Screenshot of text comparison between Amazon-generated (left) and human-generated (right) transcripts of the podcast episode.

You can see the complete changes between the two transcripts at this link.

Please note that the raw text I received from Amazon Transcribe was not separated into paragraphs initially. I had to do that myself in order to make the comparison easier to see.

In general, Amazon Transcribe does a pretty good job in recognizing speech but makes a decent number of mistakes that require cleaning up afterwards. For me, I actually find it faster and less frustrating to transcribe by hand instead of correcting a ‘dirty’ transcript, but others may prefer the alternative. Additionally, in some cases an institution may have a very large number of untranscribed oral histories, for example, and if the choice is between having a dirty transcript vs. no transcript at all, a dirty transcript is naturally preferable.

Also, while I did not have time to do this, there are ways to train Amazon Transcribe to do a better job with your audio, particularly with proper nouns like “Scholarly Commons.” You can read more about it on the AWS blog.

That said, there is very much an art to transcription, and I’m not sure if computers will ever be able to totally replicate it. When transcribing, I often have to make judgement calls about whether to include aspects of speech like “um”s and “uh”s. People also tend to start a thought and then stop and say something else, so I have to decide whether to include “false starts” like these or not. All of these judgement calls can have a significant impact on how researchers interpret a text, and to me it is crucial that a human sensitive to their implications makes these decisions. This is especially critical when transcribing an oral history that involves a power imbalance between the interviewer and interviewee.

In any case, speech to text technology is becoming increasingly powerful, and there may come a day, perhaps very soon, when computers can do just as good of a job as humans. In the meantime, though, we will still need to rely in at least some human input to make sure transcripts are accurate.

Meet our Graduate Assistants: Ben Ostermeier

What is your background education and work experience?

I graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with a Bachelor of Arts in History, with a minor in Computer Science. I was also the first SIUE student to receive an additional minor in Digital Humanities and Social Sciences. In undergrad I worked on a variety of digital humanities projects with the IRIS Center for the digital humanities, and after graduating I was hired as the technician for the IRIS Center. In that role, I was responsible for supporting the technical needs of digital humanities projects affiliated with the IRIS Center and provided guidance to professors and students starting their own digital scholarship projects.

What led you to your field?

I have been drawn to applied humanities, particularly history, since high school, and I have long enjoyed tinkering with software and making information available online. When I was young this usually manifested in reading and writing information on fan wikis. More recently, I have particularly enjoyed working on digital archives that focus on local community history, such as the SIUE Madison Historical project at madison-historical.siue.edu.

What are your favorite projects you’ve worked on?

While working for the Scholarly Commons, I have had the opportunity to work with my fellow graduate assistant Mallory Untch to publish our new podcast, It Takes a Campus, on iTunes and other popular podcast libraries. Recently, I recorded and published an episode with Dr. Ted Underwood. Mallory and I also created an interactive timeline showcasing the history of the Scholarly Commons for the unit’s tenth anniversary last fall.

What are some of your favorite underutilized Scholarly Commons resources that you would recommend?

We offer consultations to patrons looking for in-depth assistance with their digital scholarship. You can request a consultation through our online form!

When you graduate, what would your ideal job position look like?

I would love to work as a Digital Archivist in some form, responsible for ensuring the long term preservation of digital artifacts, as well as the best way to make these objects accessible to users. It is especially important to me that these digital spaces relate to and are accessible to the people and cultures represented in the items, so I hope I am able to make these sorts of community connections wherever I end up working.

Meet Our Graduate Assistants: Sarah Appedu

In this interview series we ask our graduate assistants questions for our readers to get to know them better. Our first interview this year is with Sarah Appedu!
Headshot of Sarah Appedu from the shoulders up

What is your background education and work experience?

Before attending graduate school, I worked as the Scholarly Communications Assistant in the academic library of a small liberal arts college. My work included overseeing the institutional repository, working with undergraduate journal editors, and assisting in our efforts to address the high cost of course materials through the promotion of open educational resources. This work inspired me to get my M.S. LIS and sparked my interest in pedagogy, open access publishing, digital scholarship, and copyright. My undergraduate background is in Philosophy and Women, Gender, & Sexuality studies, and I enjoy utilizing my critical thinking skills and love of theory to inform and improve my library practice.

What led you to your field?

It was actually a complete accident! After graduating from undergrad, I found myself interviewing for a temporary Administrative Assistant position at the college library. I had never considered working in a library before, but I quickly realized that many of my skills and interests are compatible with library work. I especially enjoyed the service-oriented nature of libraries and the desire to improve communities. My interest in social justice was welcomed in my position and it wasn’t long before I realized that I may have found my career path!

What are your research interests?

I’m developing an interest in the ways in which technology impacts our ability to seek and evaluation information, particularly in the context of algorithmic bias and surveillance capitalism. I am currently involved in organizing a reading group about artificial intelligence and information seeking behavior, and it is helping expand my conception of how libraries can serve their communities. I think libraries can have an even more prevalent role in educating students and others about the ways in which platforms like Google manipulate what we see online, and I’m looking forward to continue to investigate this topic.

What are some of your favorite underutilized Scholarly Commons resources that you would recommend?

Our Ask a Librarian chat service! The Scholarly Commons is on chat from 10am-2pm Monday-Friday every week and we are available to answer your questions. Feel free to write us about data analysis support, GIS needs, copyright, software, and more!

When you graduate, what would your ideal job position look like?

I’m starting to see the position of Student Success Librarian pop up, and I love the idea of having a job like that. Everything I do in the library always seems to come back to my interest in teaching students and working to make sure all students have the opportunity to succeed, particularly students who traditionally have been excluded from library support and services.

 

Introductions: What is Digital Scholarship, anyways?

This is the beginning of a new series where we introduce you to the various topics that we cover in the Scholarly Commons. Maybe you’re new to the field or you’re just to the point where you’re just too afraid to ask… Fear not! We are here to take it back to the basics!

What is digital scholarship, anyways?

Digital scholarship is an all-encompassing term and it can be used very broadly. Digital scholarship refers to the use of digital tools, methods, evidence, or any other digital materials to complete a scholarly project. So, if you are using digital means to construct, analyze, or present your research, you’re doing digital scholarship!

It seems really basic to say that digital scholarship is any project that uses digital means because nowadays, isn’t that every project? Yes and No. We use the term digital quite liberally…If you used Microsoft Word to just write your essay about a lab you did during class – that is not digital scholarship however if you used specialized software to analyze the results from a survey you used to gather data then you wrote about it in an essay that you then typed in Microsoft Word, then that is digital scholarship! If you then wanted to get this essay published and hosted in an online repository so that other researchers can find your essay, then that is digital scholarship too!

Many higher education institutions have digital scholarship centers at their campus that focus on providing specialized support for these types of projects. The Scholarly Commons is a digital scholarship space in the University Main Library! Digital scholarship centers are often pushing for new and innovative means of discovery. They have access to specialized software and hardware and provide a space for collaboration and consultations with subject experts that can help you achieve your project goals.

At the Scholarly Commons, we support a wide array of topics that support digital and data-driven scholarship that this series will cover in the future. We have established partners throughout the library and across the wider University campus to support students, staff, and faculty in their digital scholarship endeavors.

Here is a list of the digital scholarship service points we support:

You can find a list of all the software the Scholarly Commons has to support digital scholarship here and a list of the Scholarly Commons hardware here. If you’re interested in learning more about the foundations of digital scholarship follow along to our Introductions series as we got back to the basics.

As always, if you’re interested in learning more about digital scholarship and how to  support your own projects you can fill out a consultation request form, attend a Savvy Researcher Workshop, Live Chat with us on Ask a Librarian, or send us an email. We are always happy to help!