Category Archives: Events

BCDS Faculty Summer Incubator

This summer BC Libraries’ Digital Scholarship Group is holding a week-long incubator that will guide twelve BC faculty members through an exploration of digital scholarship methods and tools from a conceptual and technical standpoint. Participants will receive a $200 stipend following fall project presentations.

  • When: June 6th-June 10th
  • Where: O’Neill Library (in-person unless COVID requires it to move online)
  • Application: Due February 25th (Go to the Application)


The incubator will cover a wide cross-section of digital scholarship methods (e.g., data visualization, mapping, digital exhibits) and tools (e.g., ArcGIS and Tableau). Broader topics will also be incorporated such as project evaluation, usability, and intellectual property. The incubator will culminate in the creation of faculty projects that will be presented early in the fall semester during which faculty will receive feedback from colleagues and librarians to help them further develop their work. A project may be a well-articulated plan for a researched-based DS project and a prototype that demonstrates aspects of how the project will work, or, it may be for a pedagogy-based endeavor that includes a lesson plan and a prototype that demonstrates the digital component(s) of the lesson. More information on projects will be provided at the beginning of the incubator. Throughout the summer, the DS Group will provide workshops that dive deeper into DS tools, consultations, and other types of support that will enable participants to complete their projects.  

Learning Outcomes

Through their participation, faculty will gain:  

  • Familiarity with the current DS landscape 
  • An understanding of how to identify DS methods and tools for specific research and/or pedagogical pursuits 
  • Foundational skills in common DS tools
  • Greater comfort with and confidence in incorporating DS methods and tools into their research and/or teaching 
  • The ability to conceptualize and evaluate DS projects

Questions? Contact Melanie Hubbard, DS librarian, at

Digital Scholarship Online Workshops: Fall 2021

The workshop schedule for the 2021 Fall semester has been published. Go to the Digital Scholarship events page to find out more details and register today. Topics range from exploring some foundational tools in Excel and diving deeper into programs like Tableau, a data visualization tool, or Omeka, an open-source digital exhibit publishing platform.

Below are some examples from programs like Tableau and Omeka, as well as some examples of GIS projects that students have worked on in the past.


Figuring out the best ways to showcase different statistics and research can be difficult via traditional print-based media. Tableau exists to help scholars tell the full story of their data; by using interactive graphs, charts, and infographics, data can be contextualized in ways that are more intuitive, and users can showcase or highlight certain trends and patterns.

Below are a few examples of Tableau projects that have been developed from previous workshops.


Omeka is a a web-publishing platform that can be used to develop and present digital projects. It is a relatively basic program at its core, with extensions and flexibility that can help create the right project and user experience. The “Introducing Digital Projects” workshop on October 14 will cover the essentials of getting started with Omeka.


Geographical Information Systems can capture, analyze, and present geospatial data. GIS workshops will help to familiarize with concepts and tools used for mapping projects.

Each year the Digital Scholarship team awards a contest for a GIS project created at Boston College. Information on the contest and to see previous project, check out our GIS Day website and this project from last year’s winner below.

This poster highlights different aspects of the Black Lives Matter protests that occurred in the United States between May 2020 and January 2021.
Library Publishing Forum 2020 Banner

Library Publishing Forum

Gabe Feldstein, BC Libraries’ Digital Publishing and Outreach Specialist, offers some reflections on the recent Library Publishing Forum.

Every year, the Library Publishing Coalition (LPC) hosts a Forum featuring a series of discussions and lectures on the landscape of scholarly publishing. Originally scheduled to be held in Worcester, the realities of COVID-19 forced some last minute adjustments and the conference was held online. The recordings are now available to watch for free online.

The landscape for open access library publication is growing and changing rapidly. While every library is at a different stage of development as a scholarly publisher, there are many similarities. The publishing software we use here at BC, known as Open Journal Systems (OJS), is a leader in open journal software. OJS has a tremendous array of built in plug-ins which can help in broadening the reach of our journals by allowing for very simple indexing in Google Scholar, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), or other repositories.

Brian Cody, a co-founder of Scholastica, led a session on applying to PubMed Central (PMC), a repository for medical journals. While the BC Libraries do not currently publish medical journals, his outline of the application process is very helpful, and he provides some context for indexing in Google Scholar and the DOAJ.

Another exciting recurrent theme of the forum was the emphasis and discussion around Open Educational Resources (OER). In the wake of COVID-19, the immediate and universal need for students to be able to access resources remotely has led to a re-prioritization of ideas around OERs.

The resources below—a poster, a video, and a slide deck—were part of the Library Publishing Forum’s conversation around OER:

We are grateful that the LPC made the conference available to more participants than ever!

Spring 2020 Data Services Workshop

Digital Scholarship is happy to announce a series of 6 data-related workshops throughout Spring 2020. As the 2020 census will be launched on April 1st, our workshops are designed to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of the census, building data skills of using, managing and visualizing census data and other data sources in social science.  We hope you can join us! All events will be held in the Digital Studio (O’Neill Library 205). Please register for each event using the corresponding link.

Aerial view of sand

Celebrate GIS Day at O’Neill Library

Our GIS Day celebration this year will provide a hands-on workshop featuring mapping in the humanities for non-ArcGIS users. In this workshop, attendees will have the opportunity to explore a mapping platform that contains and compares historical maps of Boston in the past century, produce demographic maps from their own data, and learn how to perform map overlay with maps from different years and subjects. The event is open to the public; anyone with an interest in GIS is welcome to attend, and registration is required. The event will be held in the Digital Studio (O’Neill Library Room 205) on November 13, 2019 from 11 am – 1 pm. 

About GIS Day

GIS Day is a global event where users of the geographic information system (GIS) technology all over the world showcase real-world applications of this exciting technology to schools, businesses, and the general public. 

Geometric image of red neon triangles on a slate background

Fall 2019 Digital Scholarship Workshops

This year, as the campus and BC Libraries take a sharper look at social justice issues, our workshops will use race and diversity (e.g. US Census) data to explore both the affordances and constraints of tools and strategies for transforming data into narratives and images. We hope you can join us!

Curating Digital Exhibits with Omeka
September 25, 2019, 11–12:30 pm.
O’Neill Library, Room 307

In this workshop, participants will learn how to use to create digital exhibits. Together we will look at examples of successful digital exhibits and will demonstrate the basics of describing, organizing, and displaying your content. Bring your own image files, or use the sample images provided in the workshop.

Introduction to Data Visualization
October 28, 2019, 11–12:30 pm.
O’Neill Library, Room 307

In this workshop, participants will be introduced to the basics of data visualization techniques. We will look at and discuss different visualization types, use cases, and visualization tools. Through hands-on exercises, you will explore a data visualization project to see how it was made, practice in real time on data viusalization tools, and think about how data visualization can help with your research.

Mapping Customary Authority and State Land Titles in Zambia and Senegal
November 6, 2019, 3 pm.
O’Neill Library, Room 307

Guest speaker: Dr. Lauren Honig, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Boston College

This talk explores the methodologies of Professor Lauren Honig’s research in two African countries. Her research employs a range of methods and forms of data, combining: semi-structured interviews with customary authorities (chiefs), state bureaucrats, and local farmers; case studies of specific land deals; British and French colonial archival land records; geo-referenced historical maps; contemporary land titling databases from two countries; an original survey of smallholder farmers in Senegal; and statistical analyses of a number of geo-spatial variables. Together, these research approaches shed light on how customary institutions impact state attempts to expand control over land in Senegal and Zambia. The talk discusses these methods as well as ethical considerations of fieldwork in developing countries.

GIS Day Celebration
November 13, 2019, 11:00 am–1:00 pm.
O’Neill Library, Digital Studio, Room 205

Join us for a celebration of GIS Day! Come see demos of commonly-used GIS and geospatial tools and meet others interested in GIS at BC.

From 11:30–1 pm, join us for a workshop on Mapping for Non-ArcGIS users. In this workshop, participants will learn to map and visualize tabular data without using geographic information system (e.g., ArcGIS). We will consider mapping examples using accessible tools such as Excel, Google MyMaps, Google Earth, and simple geocoding via Google Sheets. The workshop will focus on hands-on exercises and assumes no prior GIS background.

Crowd Cafe

We are pleased to announce that Crowd Cafe, an initiative to encourage participation in crowdsourcing projects, is restarting for the 2019–2020 academic year. Along with colleagues from Boston University, we’ll host monthly meetups to work on crowdsourcing projects together.

We meet the third Friday of the month from 1–3 pm in the Faculty Preview Room of the Digital Studio, room 205, O’Neill Library.

Joseph Becker, Railroad Pass with Chinese Workers, 1869-1870. Becker Archive, Boston College Fine Arts Dept.

Highlights from the 2019 Digital Scholarship Open House

On May 1, 2019 the Digital Scholarship Group hosted an Open House that featured the work of several faculty, graduate students, and librarians. Here is a brief overview of the presentations with links to slides and other materials shared kindly by the presenters.

Richard L. Sweeney (Assistant Professor, Economics Department) who participated in this past year’s GIS Faculty Cohort presented on his applications of spatial visualization and GIS for investigating the fracking boom.

Title page from The court & kitchin of Elizabeth, commonly called Joan Cromwel (1664)

Title page from The court & kitchin of Elizabeth, commonly called Joan Cromwel (1664)

Sharon Lacey (independent scholar) and Margaret Summerfield (PhD student, English Department) who participated in this past year’s Digital Scholarship Incubator each presented on their research projects. Lacey created a video discussing her research into how painting techniques in Europe developed across time in relation to other sociocultural factors. Summerfield presented on a collaborative transcription and annotation project (under development) with several faculty, students, and librarians, A Digital Scholarly Edition of The Court and Kitchin of Elizabeth, Commonly called Joan Cromwel (1664).

There were several presentations focused on collaborative projects or pedagogical support with librarians and faculty. Seth Meehan (Associate Director, Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies), Anna Kijas (Senior Digital Scholarship Librarian) & Sarah DeLorme (Associate Digital Scholarship Librarian) presented on one of these projects, the Jesuit Online Bibliography, a recently launched bibliography database of scholarship in Jesuit Studies.

Stephen Sturgeon (Senior Digital Scholarship Librarian & Bibliographer for English) discussed the collaborative efforts that went into migrating and re-imagining metadata and records for the Becker Collection: Drawings of the American Civil War Era. Carling Hay (Assistant Professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences) shared pedagogical approaches and tips for incorporating podcasting into her weather and climate class (EESC1172).


Header image: Joseph Becker, Railroad Pass with Chinese Workers, 1869-1870. Becker Archive, Boston College Fine Arts Dept.

Eric Fischer, See Something or Say Something: Boston. Used under a CC-BY license.

Open Access Week 2018

Happy International Open Access Week 2018! Established by SPARC and partners in the student community in 2008, International Open Access Week is an opportunity to take action in making openness the default for research—to raise the visibility of scholarship, accelerate research, and turn breakthroughs into better lives. Open Access Week 2018 runs October 22–28, 2018.

From 1–2 PM each weekday this week, Boston College Libraries will have a table in O’Neill Library with free coffee and information about Open Access and ORCID. We have created a postcard for graduate and undergraduate students that shares some of the basics about Open Access on the front and has a listing of all the BC Subject Liaison Librarians on the back. Students, faculty, and other researchers are welcome to come grab some coffee, a postcard, buttons, stickers, etc. this week in the lobby of O’Neill Library.

Beginning this week, BC Libraries are also rolling out their new policies for the BC Open Access Fund. The Libraries, in collaboration with the Provost, have established a fund to finance payment of article and monograph processing fees for Boston College authors who wish to publish in open access journals. Open access funds demonstrate an institution’s concrete support for new and innovative research publishing models. Goals of OA Fund include:

  • Support for Boston College affiliated authors who wish to publish open access
  • Support for transition to a more sustainable scholarly publishing model
  • Greater equality of access to information
  • Greater visibility and accessibility of Boston College scholarship
  • Encouragement of authors to retain rights to their work

Finally, and most importantly, a satellite event of OpenCon, the world-renowned conference dedicated to open access, open education, and open data, is happening live in Boston on November 9, 2018. Co-hosted by Boston University and Boston College Libraries, OpenCon Boston will be held at Boston University from 8:30–4:30pm. Come join us for an exciting event featuring presentations, lightning talks, and breakout sessions. Topics include recent trends in OER, making local history openly accessible, new technology to support your work in OA, strategies to help you achieve your goals, working with Wikipedia, cultural issues around open access, and more. The conference will conclude with a showing of the movie Paywall: The Business of Scholarship followed by a Q&A with director/producer Jason Schmitt. Please see the information page for more details. Registration for the full conference (including screening) is capped at 35 people, so sign up soon! Separate movie registration is open to the public.

Happy Open Access Week to all, and to all a good night!

OpenCon 2018 Boston Logo

OpenCon 2018 Boston

Boston College and Boston University Libraries are pleased to announce OpenCon 2018 Boston. This year’s event will feature a screening of Paywall: The Business of Scholarship. We are excited to welcome the film’s producer and director Jason Schmitt for a panel discussion.

Additionally, we are currently seeking proposals for the following:
• 20 – 25 minute presentations about Open Access, Open Data, or Open Educational projects currently in planning or underway
• 2-5 minute lightning talks
• Breakout sessions with work to be completed in-person by attendants

OpenCon Boston 2018 is not organized around any specific theme. All proposals will be reviewed. However, special consideration will be given for proposals that address the following:

• Openness in Promotion and Tenure processes
• Tracking OA citations and impact – especially integrating that into grant proposals
• Collaborating with Open Access outside of academia (e.g. open government data groups, civic engagement groups, activism, etc.)

All proposals must be received by midnight on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018 for consideration.

A circular circuit board

Fall 2018 Digital Humanities Reading Group Schedule

We are pleased to announce the schedule for the Fall 2018 Digital Humanities Reading Group. If you’re following along at home, we’ve set up a group for annotations.


September 11 & 12: Digital Humanities in the Popular Press

Allington, Daniel, Sarah Brouillette, and David Golumbia. “Neoliberal Tools (and Archives): A Political History of Digital Humanities.” Los Angeles Review of Books, May 1, 2016.

Marche, Stephen. “Literature Is Not Data: Against Digital Humanities.” Los Angeles Review of Books, October 28, 2012.


September 25 & 26: Mapping

Edelstein, Dan, Paula Findlen, Giovanna Ceserani, Caroline Winterer, and Nicole Coleman. “Historical Research in a Digital Age: Reflections from the Mapping the Republic of Letters Project.” The American Historical Review 122, no. 2 (April 2017): 400–424.

Gregory, I.N., and Patricia Murrieta-Flores. “Geographical Information Systems as a Tool for Exploring the Spatial Humanities.” In Doing Digital Humanities: Practice, Training, Research, edited by Constance Crompton, Richard J. Lane, and Raymond George Siemens. Routledge, 2016.

Theibault, John. “Visualizations and Historical Arguments.” In Writing History in the Digital Age, edited by Kristen Nawrotzki. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2013.


October 9 & 10: Editions

Stauffer, Andrew. “My Old Sweethearts: On Digitization and the Future of the Print Record.” In Debates in the Digital Humanities, edited by Matthew K. Gold and Lauren F. Klein. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2016.

Earhart, Amy E. “Can Information Be Unfettered? Race and the New Digital Humanities Canon.” In Debates in the Digital Humanities, edited by Matthew K. Gold and Lauren F. Klein. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2016.

Pierazzo, Elena. “Textual Scholarship and Text Encoding.” In A New Companion to Digital Humanities, 307–21. Wiley-Blackwell, 2015.


October 23 & 24: Textual Analysis

Brett, Megan R. “Topic Modeling: A Basic Introduction.” Journal of Digital Humanities 2, no. 1 (April 8, 2013).

Schmidt, Benjamin M. “Plot Arceology: A Vector-Space Model of Narrative Structure.” In Proceedings of the 2015 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, 1667–72. Washington, DC: IEEE Computer Society, 2015.

Jockers, Matthew. “A Novel Method for Detecting Plot.” Matthew L. Jockers (blog), June 5, 2014.

Jockers, Matthew. “Revealing Sentiment and Plot Arcs with the Syuzhet Package.” Matthew L. Jockers (blog), February 2, 2015.

Swafford, Annie. “Problems with the Syuzhet Package.” Anglophile in Academia: Annie Swafford’s Blog (blog), March 2, 2015.

Swafford, Annie. “Continuing the Syuzhet Discussion.” Anglophile in Academia: Annie Swafford’s Blog (blog), March 7, 2015.

Swafford, Annie. “Why Syuzhet Doesn’t Work and How We Know.” Anglophile in Academia: Annie Swafford’s Blog (blog), March 30, 2015.


November 6 & 7: Critique

Liu, Alan. “Where Is Cultural Criticism in the Digital Humanities?” In Debates in the Digital Humanities, edited by Matthew K. Gold. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2012.

Gibbs, Fred. “Critical Discourse in Digital Humanities.” Journal of Digital Humanities 1, no. 1 (March 9, 2012).

Drucker, Johanna. “Humanistic Theory and Digital Scholarship.” In Debates in the Digital Humanities, edited by Matthew K. Gold. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2012.


November 20 & 21: Professional/isms

Braunstein, Laura. “Open Stacks: Making DH Labor Visible.” dh+lib (blog), June 7, 2017.

Flanders, Julia. “Time, Labor, and ‘Alternate Careers’ in Digital Humanities Knowledge Work.” In Debates in the Digital Humanities, edited by Matthew K. Gold. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2012.

Working Group on Labor in Digital Libraries. “Research Agenda: Valuing Labor in Digital Libraries.” Digital Library Federation, 2018.

Select one interview to read from The Digital in the Humanities: A Special Interview Series in the Los Angeles Review of Books.