This Spring, Digital Humanities Librarian Cal Murgu, joined by Digital Scholarship Library Fellow and second-year Atalay Kutlay, will be offering students, faculty and staff a valuable opportunity to study works within databases, perform computational analysis and dive into the world of geocoding through an educational series of Digital Scholarship Studio Labs. These three workshops, which will be spread throughout the months of February, March and April, will be based on a set of successful but less cohesive labs that Murgu offered in the past. This time around, Murgu and Kutlay focused on creating a much more manageable and balanced workload, along with providing attendees with a wide variety of skills that can be built upon over time rather than learned hastily in one day.
“We wanted to create a curriculum that is accessible, not overwhelming and a really fun thing to do,” Murgu said. “We want students to feel comfortable talking to people in other disciplines instead of feeling like they have to have all the skills to do everything themselves.”
Through attending the workshops, attendees will learn how to find, explore and map a “corpus,” defined by Murgu during an information session as any large collection of texts. Although these workshops will require those in attendance to gain some fluency in R and Python over the course of the semester, Murgu and Kutlay assured that no one will be expected to code from scratch. Including text analysis in this lab series will allow attendees to experience the full process of computational analysis rather than simply allowing programs to do everything for them, a key learning experience that Murgu believes is important within this field of work.
“One of the tenants of a digital literacy program is to bridge the gap between technology and students,” Murgu explained. “Programs like Voyant are great, but tend to alienate people from the back end. It’s like magic, but you need to see what’s happening at that back end to appreciate all of the work that goes into it.”
Application forms for the Digital Scholarship Studio Labs will be sent out to students, faculty and staff within the first couple weeks of December and will gauge which days and times work best for those interested. All applicants must be willing to commit to all three workshops, each of which will be around two and a half hours long and will include coffee and snacks provided by the library. For those interested who were not able to attend either information session, feel free to reach out to Murgu or Kutlay with any questions or concerns.