ARL Digital Scholarship Institute

Boston College Libraries’ Digital Scholarship Group recently helped organize and facilitate the Association of Research Libraries’ inaugural Digital Scholarship Institute, held from June 5–9 at Boston College’s Connors Center. Over the next few weeks on the blog, we’ll be reflecting on our experiences at the Institute and what we learned about digital scholarship pedagogy.

The Institute’s 28 participants were selected by application and came from libraries across Canada and the US. The program began with a keynote by Jennifer Vinopal and an introduction to digital scholarship workshop with Alex Gil. Over the course of the week, participants learned about major methodologies and topics in digital scholarship, including data visualization, textual analysis, and multimodal publishing.

BC's Chelcie Rowell and Sarah Melton are passionate about collaboration...and lobster.
At the DSI clambake, BC’s Chelcie Rowell and Sarah Melton are passionate about collaboration…and lobster.

The goal of the Institute was not to settle on a definition of digital scholarship. (In fact, we resisted any easy conceptualizations—I’m partial to Gil’s exercise that asked participants to decide which projects “counted” as digital scholarship, demonstrating that the term can be multivalent.) Nor was the intention to run through an exhaustive list of tools that one might use in a project. Rather, we were interested in building a cohort of digital scholarship library practitioners who could evaluate digital methodologies and tools, draw on their existing skillsets, and identify partners for future collaboration. In other words, we wanted to model a culture of digital scholarship, not just host a week of tech-for-tech’s-sake.

Here at Boston College Libraries, our Digital Scholarship Group has taken the precepts to heart. Our upcoming Digital Scholarship Incubator is modeled on principles of community building. We’re excited to incorporate the lessons we learned at the Institute into our programming and plans for this upcoming academic year. We’ll be updating our events page soon with our fall programming—we hope to see you there!

You can learn more about the Institute and see our course materials on the Institute’s GitHub repo.

Cover image: Cassandra Leigh Gotto, Keyboard Cat. CC-BY-NC.