Inaugural Digital Centers Cohort Meeting

On Friday November 9, 2012, the first meeting of the Digital Centers Cohort was held in 523 Butler Library.  As this was the first meeting of the group, we spent time introducing ourselves and discussing what the goals of the group are and should be.  The meetings will be led by representatives from each of the Digital Centers:  Alex Gil, the Digital Scholarship Coordinator for the History & Humanities Libraries and the Digital Humanities Center;  Ashley Jester, the Data Services Coordinator for the Social Sciences Libraries and the Digital Social Science Center; and Jeffrey Lancaster, the Emerging Technologies Coordinator for the Science & Engineering Library and the Digital Science Center.

The Digital Centers Cohort is a group of students and library staff members who share a common interest in exploring topics related to the digital library.  The goals of the group are very broad in the sense that we are interested in all aspects of digitization, from the use of new tools and technologies in libraries to the proliferation of digital information and all points in between.  The Digital Centers Cohort is a group that will meet to learn about and discuss topics, tools, and skills in the area of digital libraries, with the agenda being driven by the participants' interests and needs.  We plan to meet monthly, with our meetings divided into three sections: 1) a presentation about research methods or professional development; 2) a demonstration of technology tools; and 3) a discussion or collaboration project which requires cooperative work.  The exact substance of these sections will vary from meeting to meeting, and the format of the meetings may change depending on the needs and interests of the group.

For our first meeting, Jeffrey Lancaster shared a list of list of skills and topics that could be subjects for future meetings, and we asked for cohort members to submit their own suggestions.  The skills list was produced by Alex Gil, with additions from the staff of the other Digital Centers.  Jeffrey discussed how the structure of the meetings would support developing these skills for the members.  Some examples of the skills we expect to work on include learning basic computer programming, developing an effective online presence, and designing workable digital research projects.  Since the Digital Centers Cohort aims to develop the next generation of digital scholars, we are actively seeking out suggestions and requests for skills that should be explored in future meetings.  If you have any suggestions, please contact Alex, Jeffrey, or Ashley.

The rest of the meeting was taken up by a presentation on social science research methods given by Ashley Jester.  A revised set of these presentation slides are available here.  In addition, a set of bonus slides on research terminology, from data to analysis, is also available.  If you have any questions about these slides or any suggestions for how to improve them, please contact Ashley.  If you would like to explore social science research methodology more, you should check out the book, "Designing Social Inquiry," by Gary King, Robert Keohane, and Sindey Verba.  It's available online, from the reserves at Lehman Library, and at a few other spots on campus.

We at the Digital Centers are excited about the possibilities for the Digital Centers Cohort, and we are looking forward to our next meeting.  Check this blog for more updates, including details about upcoming meetings.

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