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Enabling digital scholarship
through staff training: the British
Library's experience
Dr Mia Ridge, Digital Curator, Weste...
www.bl.uk 2
Overview
• About the British Library
• About the Digital Scholarship team
• About the Training Programme
• Les...
www.bl.uk 3
The British Library is the
national library
of the UK.
By law we receive a copy of
every publication produced
...
www.bl.uk
The British Library's Digital Scholarship team
4
Our mission is to enable the use of the British Library’s digit...
www.bl.uk
How do we think about Digital Scholarship?
5
"Digital scholarship allows research
areas to be investigated in ne...
www.bl.uk 6
The Digital Research Team
The Digital Research Team is a
cross-disciplinary mix of curators,
researchers, libr...
www.bl.uk 7
We support new ways of exploring and
accessing our collections through…
• Working behind-the-scenes to support...
www.bl.uk 8
The Digital Scholarship Training
Programme
www.bl.uk 9
In the beginning…
Launched as a two-year programme in
November 2012, with mostly external
trainers
Courses wri...
www.bl.uk 10
Some early iterations of courses
• 101 What is Digital Scholarship?
• 103 Digitisation at British Library
• 1...
www.bl.uk 11
Other courses in the back catalogue
• 102 Digital Collections at British Library
• 103 Digitisation at Britis...
www.bl.uk 12
Training library staff in digital scholarship
Our (refreshed) mission:
Provide colleagues with the space and ...
www.bl.uk 13
Training library staff in digital scholarship
Measures of success:
Staff are familiar and conversant with the...
www.bl.uk 14
Formats
• Formal courses in the Digital Scholarship Training Programme
• 21st Century Curator speaker program...
www.bl.uk 15
Recent 'Hack & Yacks'
• Recogito hands-on session
• Visualising Cultural Heritage
Collections with D3
• Gothi...
www.bl.uk 16
Recent reading group topics
• Participation in heritage crowdsourcing
• Data science or data humanities? Oppo...
www.bl.uk 17
Lessons learnt - what works well
• People appreciate the opportunities to meet the team and others
interested...
www.bl.uk 18
Lessons learnt - challenges
• Barriers when people go back to their desks - software installs,
time to experi...
www.bl.uk 19
Introducing 'strands'
• Breaking day-long courses into shorter, multi-format modules
that combine to build at...
www.bl.uk 20
Course 120: Content mining for digital
scholarship with cultural heritage collections
Sessions have included:...
www.bl.uk 21
Next steps
• Improve how we capture feedback
– to improve decision-making about course content
– to demonstra...
www.bl.uk 22
Have we enabled digital scholarship in the Library?
• Participants (and their managers) seem more likely to e...
www.bl.uk 23
Regular events build
community?
• Hack & Yacks and the
Reading Group provide
spaces for staff to talk
amongst...
www.bl.uk 24
Resources
• Digital Scholarship Staff Training Programme https://www.bl.uk/projects/digital-
scholarship-trai...
www.bl.uk 25
Thanks for listening!
Questions?
Web: http://bl.uk/digital
Blog: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/digital-...
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Enabling digital scholarship through staff training: the British Library's experience

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A talk at the DH Lab at the University of Exeter in February 2019.

The British Library's Digital Scholarship Training Programme provides colleagues with the space and support to
develop the necessary skills and knowledge to support emerging areas of modern scholarship. Their familiarity with the foundational concepts, methods and tools of digital scholarship in turn helps promote a spirit of innovation and creativity, encouraging digital initiatives within the Library and with external partners. Finally, the programme of events helps nourish and sustain an internal digital scholarship community of interest/practice.

In this talk, Digital Curator Dr. Mia Ridge will share some of the lessons the team have learnt about delivering Digital Scholarship training in a library environment since it began several years ago, and some of the challenges they still face.

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Enabling digital scholarship through staff training: the British Library's experience

  1. 1. Enabling digital scholarship through staff training: the British Library's experience Dr Mia Ridge, Digital Curator, Western Heritage @mia_out @BL_DigiSchol
  2. 2. www.bl.uk 2 Overview • About the British Library • About the Digital Scholarship team • About the Training Programme • Lessons learnt • Next steps • Questions and discussion
  3. 3. www.bl.uk 3 The British Library is the national library of the UK. By law we receive a copy of every publication produced in the UK and Ireland. If you saw 5 items a day it would take you over 80,000 years to see the whole collection
  4. 4. www.bl.uk The British Library's Digital Scholarship team 4 Our mission is to enable the use of the British Library’s digital collections for research, inspiration, creativity, and enjoyment. Digital Research Team Endangered Archives Living with Machines BL Labs Connect and share Support digital scholars Agents for change Invest in our staff Innovate and collaborate
  5. 5. www.bl.uk How do we think about Digital Scholarship? 5 "Digital scholarship allows research areas to be investigated in new ways, using new tools, leading to new discoveries and analysis to generate new understanding." Dr Adam Farquhar Head of Digital Scholarship British Library Scale Perspective Speed Combines methodologies from the humanities & social science disciplines with computational tools provided by computing disciplines
  6. 6. www.bl.uk 6 The Digital Research Team The Digital Research Team is a cross-disciplinary mix of curators, researchers, librarians and programmers supporting the creation and innovative use of British Library's digital collections. Neil Fitzgerald Head of Digital Research Stella Wisdom Contemporary British Nora McGregor Europe & Americas Dr Mia Ridge Western Heritage Dr Adi Keinan- Schoonbaert Asia & Africa Dr Rossitza Atanassova Digitisation Tom Derrick 2 Centuries of Indian Print
  7. 7. www.bl.uk 7 We support new ways of exploring and accessing our collections through… • Working behind-the-scenes to support and improve processes for getting content in digital form and online (e.g. the Universal Viewer) • Enhancing digital skills for BL staff (so they can help Readers) • Collaborative projects • Offering digital research support and guidance • Events, competitions, and awards (BL Labs) • Outreach through our blogs and social media https://twitter.com/AshaMarie18/status/1061925248940101632
  8. 8. www.bl.uk 8 The Digital Scholarship Training Programme
  9. 9. www.bl.uk 9 In the beginning… Launched as a two-year programme in November 2012, with mostly external trainers Courses written specifically for curatorial perspective and existing expertise Initially developed 19 bespoke courses to help us situate our collections and expertise in the realm of digital research, exploring opportunities and challenges. By 2016, we'd delivered 88 courses to over 400 staff members
  10. 10. www.bl.uk 10 Some early iterations of courses • 101 What is Digital Scholarship? • 103 Digitisation at British Library • 104 Communicating our collections online • 105 Crowdsourcing in Libraries, Museums and Cultural Heritage Institutions • 107 Data Visualisation for Analysis in Scholarly Research • and Digital Mapping • 109 Information Integration: Mash-ups, API’s and The Semantic Web • 110 Managing digital research information • 114 Foundations in working with Digital Objects: From Images to A/V • 116 Metadata for Electronic Resources: Dublin Core, METS, MODS, RDF, XML • 118 Cleaning up Data • 119 Programming in Libraries
  11. 11. www.bl.uk 11 Other courses in the back catalogue • 102 Digital Collections at British Library • 103 Digitisation at British Library • 106 Text Encoding Initiative • 108 Geo-referencing and Geocoding • 111 Social Media • 112 Working Collaboratively: The BL Wiki and Beyond • 113 Presentation skills • 115 Behind the Screen: Basics of the Web • 117 Digital Storytelling • 120 Content mining in digital scholarship • 121 Copyright at the British Library
  12. 12. www.bl.uk 12 Training library staff in digital scholarship Our (refreshed) mission: Provide colleagues with the space and opportunity to delve into and explore all that digital content and new technologies have to offer in the research domain today. Create a variety of opportunities for staff to develop necessary skills and knowledge to support emerging areas of modern scholarship.
  13. 13. www.bl.uk 13 Training library staff in digital scholarship Measures of success: Staff are familiar and conversant with the foundational concepts, methods and tools of digital scholarship Promote an environment and spirit of innovation and creativity. Collaborative digital initiatives flourish across subject areas within the Library as well as externally. Nourish and sustain an internal digital scholarship community of interest/practice across the organisation.
  14. 14. www.bl.uk 14 Formats • Formal courses in the Digital Scholarship Training Programme • 21st Century Curator speaker programme • Digital Scholarship Reading Group • Hack & Yack sessions
  15. 15. www.bl.uk 15 Recent 'Hack & Yacks' • Recogito hands-on session • Visualising Cultural Heritage Collections with D3 • Gothic Novel Jam • Deconstructing Digital Scholarship Consultations in the Library • Deconstructing Digital Scholarship Consultations in the Library • How to match, compare and classify images with computer vision • Python (with Jupyter Notebooks) for simple processing and visualisations of data from In the Spotlight from the British Library • Gothic Novel Jam
  16. 16. www.bl.uk 16 Recent reading group topics • Participation in heritage crowdsourcing • Data science or data humanities? Opportunities, barriers, and rewards in digitally-led analysis of history, culture and society (an excursion to a lecture) • Digital Art History and the Computational Imagination • Emerging Formats: Complex digital media and its impact on the UK Legal Deposit Libraries • You and AI – Just An Engineer: The Politics of AI (video) • The Equivalence of “Close” And “Distant” Reading; Or, toward a New Object for Data-Rich Literary History
  17. 17. www.bl.uk 17 Lessons learnt - what works well • People appreciate the opportunities to meet the team and others interested in digital scholarship • Diaries are busy - shorter sessions can reach more people • Matching talks with hands-on sessions • 'Strands' of mixed mode modules delivered over time • Student presenters can enliven a programme but there can be an overhead before the event • Including questions in general training needs survey
  18. 18. www.bl.uk 18 Lessons learnt - challenges • Barriers when people go back to their desks - software installs, time to experimentation and learning, accessing digitised sources • We don't reach everyone • Logistics (room bookings, managing booking requests) limit our agility and time • Need a consistent 'brand' to link different formats and topics • We've lost an informal networking opportunity in not being able to provide lunch • Need a one-stop shop for listing upcoming opportunities
  19. 19. www.bl.uk 19 Introducing 'strands' • Breaking day-long courses into shorter, multi-format modules that combine to build attendees' knowledge of a particular topic over time • Can repeat individual sessions (e.g. 101) to meet demand • Attendees in each session may be more engaged • Modules are more easily updated or added 'just in time' • Allows staff time to explore methods and tools between sessions • Easier to include external experts
  20. 20. www.bl.uk 20 Course 120: Content mining for digital scholarship with cultural heritage collections Sessions have included: • An Introduction to Machine Learning; • Computational models for detecting semantic change in historical texts (Dr Barbara McGillivray, Alan Turing Institute); • Computer vision tools (Dr Giles Bergel, University of Oxford's Visual Geometry Group); • Jupyter Notebooks/Python for simple processing and visualisations of data from In the Spotlight; • Listening to the Crowd: Data Science to Understand the British Museum's Visitors (Taha Yasseri, Turing/OII); • Visualising cultural heritage collections (Olivia Fletcher Vane, Royal College of Art); • An Introduction to Corpus Linguistics for the Humanities (Ruth Byrne, BL / Lancaster); • Corpus Analysis with AntConc.
  21. 21. www.bl.uk 21 Next steps • Improve how we capture feedback – to improve decision-making about course content – to demonstrate impact • Conduct an overview of the digital humanities, digital scholarship landscape and review our course offering • Turn some of our courses in Library Carpentry workshops? • Integrate material from Living with Machines project into the Training Programme
  22. 22. www.bl.uk 22 Have we enabled digital scholarship in the Library? • Participants (and their managers) seem more likely to engage with digital scholarship projects proposed by researchers • Participants sometimes initiate discussions with external presenters about applying their methods or tools • Participants sometimes apply methods or tools to collections on their own initiative • A lot of activity and changed attitudes probably aren't visible to us
  23. 23. www.bl.uk 23 Regular events build community? • Hack & Yacks and the Reading Group provide spaces for staff to talk amongst themselves • They allow us to identify 'champions' • Can we ask people to quantify the benefits of connections formed?
  24. 24. www.bl.uk 24 Resources • Digital Scholarship Staff Training Programme https://www.bl.uk/projects/digital- scholarship-training-programme • Ridge, Mia, ‘Introducing an Experimental Format for Learning about Content Mining for Digital Scholarship’, British Library Digital Scholarship Blog, 2018 https://blogs.bl.uk/digital-scholarship/2018/12/introducing-an-experimental-format- for-learning-about-content-mining-for-digital-scholarship.html • Ridge, Mia. ‘What Do Deep Learning, Community Archives, Livy and the Politics of Artefacts Have in Common?’ British Library Digital Scholarship Blog, 4 May 2018. http://blogs.bl.uk/digital-scholarship/2018/05/what-do-deep-learning-community- archives-livy-and-the-politics-of-artefacts-have-in-common.html. • McGregor, Nora, Mia Ridge, Stella Wisdom, and Aquiles Alencar-Brayner. ‘The Digital Scholarship Training Programme at British Library: Concluding Report & Future Developments’. In Digital Humanities 2016: Conference Abstracts. Kraków: Jagiellonian University & Pedagogical University, 2016. http://dh2016.adho.org/abstracts/178.
  25. 25. www.bl.uk 25 Thanks for listening! Questions? Web: http://bl.uk/digital Blog: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/digital- scholarship/ Email: digitalresearch@bl.uk Twitter: @BL_DigiSchol

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