Author Archive

Grant Outcome: Presentation at LITA National Forum 2011 in St. Louis

Monday, October 3, 2011 3:48 pm

As Erik and I began our exploration of data visualization tools used in digital humanities research, we had in the back of our minds that this would make a timely topic for a presentation at one of our national conferences. LITA stands for Library & Information Technology Association and it is a division of the American Library Association. Each fall a 3 day educational conference is held where librarians and library technologists share information about the projects they have been working on over the previous year (or years!). This year’s conference Rivers of Data, Currents of Change was held over the past weekend in St. Louis. Our proposal, Data Visualization and Digital Humanities: A Survey of of Available Data Sets and Tools was accepted as a concurrent session and we spent an hour showing the audience the results of our summer of exploration. It was evident that this is a very hot topic right now, many of the other presentations over the weekend tapped into the growing importance of being able find data, manipulate it, analyze it and publish it. And we found agreement that libraries and librarians can play an important role in the process.

During the presentation we talked about the main categories of tools (discovery, visualization, analysis/publishing), demonstrated several to show the range of what is available, and then discussed potential roles for librarians. Our presentation is shared below for your viewing pleasure!

CurateCamp: A Different Look at Data

Saturday, August 20, 2011 2:13 pm

As part of Erik’s and my grant to explore the subject of data and data sets, we also wanted to explore what is being done to preserve the data that is being generated. So, we both attended CurateCamp, an “Unconference” that is held periodically to discuss issues pertaining to data curation. Data curation is defined as (in Wikipedia): “the active and on-going management of data through its life cycle of interest and usefulness to scholarship, science, and education. Data curation activities enable data discovery and retrieval, maintain its quality, add value, and provide for re-use over time, and this new field includes authentication, archiving, management, preservation, retrieval, and representation.”

As more researchers generate data sets in their work, and as funding agencies start to require that these data sets be preserved and made available, this has become a hot topic in library circles. This year’s two day unconference was held at Stanford University and attracted over 100 attendees from mostly academic libraries. The attendees ranged from administrators to programmers to user experience professionals. The unconference format is becoming popular for technology focused conferences because sessions are not determined until you arrive. This allows potential for new topics and ideas that have come on the horizon recently rather than having sessions whose topics were set in stone 6-12 months before the conference happens. However, this also means that it is (in my opinion) sort of a crap shoot. You don’t really know what you are going to be able to learn or whether it will cover subjects of interest at all.


CurateCamp Unconference Session Schedule

The first half day was spent with introductions to discovers folks’ areas of interest (relating to data curation!) and then people pitched their ideas for sessions to be held. As a consensus was reached on each topic, it went into the schedule on a post-it-note (as the picture above shows). The variety of topics was wide and, since the sessions were all discussion formats, the conversations started with the main topic but veered off at will as new ideas were introduced. Some of the broad data curation themes that I was introduced to were: provenance of digital objects, institutional storage capacities, versioning control methods, the Hydra Project, digital forensics, and faculty outreach.

During the two days of the conference, I found myself focusing on topics that would perhaps have current or future applicability at Wake Forest. The idea of instituting a data curation program is one that has been brought forth by a few different people on campus, but it really hasn’t taken off as something that is a priority at the University level. What I heard at the conference confirmed my thoughts that this is currently more of a priority at very large institutions that are generating a great deal of research and/or have sophisticated record management/archival programs (how much of the University business is born digital these days?). However, Wake still has the same issues, just on a smaller scale. The libraries at the conference agreed that establishing policies, workflows and compliance is a much large issue than can be handled by the library. It should be an institutional initiative that includes the resources to do curation correctly.

One other main topic that was discussed that aligned with what is happening at WFU concerned how institutions are handling born digital video. There were all sorts of issues discussed, from problems with transfer rates (slow network) to the lack of standards for video capture, to difficulties in conversion to long term storage capacity. Nobody seemed to have agreed upon “best standards.” All are dealing with trying to figure out how to get the videos that professors are putting out on such sites as UTube and Vimeo, so that they can be archived properly. At least, it made me feel better about the status of video capture and archiving at Wake. We recognize a need to come up with a long term solution and different parties on campus are working toward that as video gains a more prominent role in teaching and learning.

Overall, the two days of being introduced to the field of data curation was quite valuable. It generated plenty of ideas for what might be feasible for us to do at ZSR Library and in partnership with other units in the University.

IPad Article in The Chronicle

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 2:16 pm

Thanks to Cisco Fellow Gretchen Edwards for bring this to our attention:

Classroom IPad Programs Get Mixed Response

Another iPad Blog Posting

Monday, August 2, 2010 11:44 am

Thanks to Giz for forwarding this blog posting, “Getting to Know the iPad” along. These sorts of articles are helping me understand what some of the unique qualities of the iPad are perceived to be by others. It’s nice to get app recommendations also!

Creative Literacy

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 2:50 pm

I’ve been googling around to see what else is being done with iPads in academe. I found an announcement that incoming students are receiving both a MacBook and an iPad at Seton Hill University this fall: What interested me is their stated goal of the program: to foster “creative literacy.” In the library we talk about information literacy, we might even talk about theories of multiple literacies (like tool literacy, critical literacy, social-structural literacy, etc.). But this was my first encounter with the notion of creative literacy which they define as “teaching students not just how to find the information they need, but how to process it in a way that allows them to make sense of the information, apply it to actual situations and use it to solve problems.” So how can the iPad facilitate this? In a unique way that other tools can’t?

Article: The iPad for Academics

Friday, July 23, 2010 10:22 am

Thanks to ZSR Library’s Scholarly Communication Librarian, Molly Keener, for bringing this article to my attention:

The iPad for Academics (Inside Higher Ed)

I have to say, so far, I’m in agreement with the author. I’m finding the iPad does many things, but I haven’t found the magic bullet that makes it uniquely different. Still, it’s fascinating to try anyway.

Apple Apps Links

Thursday, July 22, 2010 3:56 pm

This blog post came across my desk this afternoon and might be useful to those of us investigating iPad apps:

Apple in Education: Thousands of Apps, Endless Potential

App Exploration

Monday, July 19, 2010 6:16 pm

Another goal for my part of our project is to find existing apps that could be useful to leverage the iPad for academic use. I’m not restricting myself to only looking for solutions for what I think I might like to do, but am examining different types of apps that may present a new ideas for ways to change how I might want to structure assignments or group projects.

I have been thinking about how the iPad GPS might be used, but most of my ideas would be better ones if there was a camera in the iPad (well, maybe easier at least). Today, I found an app called “Camera for iPad” that you install on both the iPad and your iPhone. Then you connect them via wi-fi or bluetooth and use the camera in the iPhone to take the picture which is transferred to the iPad. It’s a solution that requires an additional piece of Apple equipment, but could have potential as a bridge until they add a camera in the next generation. At the least, it would provide a work around for the short term.

Here is a screenshot of what you see on the iPad when the phone is connected. You can take the picture either from your iPhone or from the iPad. I was able to walk from my office as far as the 4th floor reference desk before the connection broke.
Susan Taking a Picture with the iPad

Which Environments Support iPad use?

Monday, July 19, 2010 2:24 pm

I am interested in how the iPad can be used in the field. Its GPS potential is something that sets it apart from a typical laptop. Over the weekend I experimented with using it outdoors. I wanted to see how easy or hard it is to read from the screen. What happened was unexpected though. It was a sunny, warm afternoon. The refection was noticeable but the screen was readable. However, after 15 minutes of use, the screen went black with a warning that the unit was overheated:

I wonder if anyone else has had this experience?


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