The Digital Scholars Lab, which is part of the UC Davis Library, serves as a laboratory for investigating, understanding and applying digital methods to research projects at UC Davis.
The lab’s experts help all members of the UC Davis academic community answer scholarly questions that can only be addressed by engaging with large collections of data or text — volumes far beyond a human’s capacity to read. They then help analyze the data and can even transform it into visual representations to take a scholar’s research, thesis paper or classroom instruction to the next level.
Additionally, through services and workshops, the Digital Scholars Lab provides knowledge and education to inform future research and elevate the type of intellectual questions that students, faculty and academics can ask and answer in the future.
The Digital Scholars Lab’s services are free to all UC Davis undergraduate, graduate and professional students, faculty, researchers and academics. Two to three weeks of advanced notice is required for most research projects, so book your appointment today.
|Text Mining and Analysis
Text mining and analysis, which are the most commonly used services that the lab offers, allow researchers of all levels and across all disciplines to deepen their learning by searching through massive amounts of information in a more dynamic way than can be accomplished through conventional search engine queries. Staff in the lab can then help analyze that information so that researchers can more easily answer their research questions and validate their theories.
“For us, it’s not about finding the needle in hay stack. You can do that on Google.
Instead, it’s about following the needle through all the haystacks. We are looking for flow and discourse and categorization through thousands upon thousands of texts.”
– Carl Stahmer, Director of the Digital Scholars Lab
|Project Design and Implementation
Data analysis and presentation lie at the heart of Digital Scholarship. The Shields Library Digital Scholarship Lab can help you analyze and visualize your data to advance your research activities, and for publication and presentation.Have an idea for a digital project but don’t know how to get started? We offer a range of services to help. Bring us your idea and we’ll help bring it to fruition. No prior technology experience or knowledge required.
|Data Analysis and Visualization
Have you ever looked a graph or flow chart and not understood the data or information it was trying to convey? Or perhaps you created a chart that couldn’t quite capture your findings in the way you’d hoped or that was easy to read?
The Digital Scholars Lab staff provides consultative services to help researchers determine the type of visual model that will best illustrate their data in a compelling and accurate way and helps them create those models with high-tech visualization tools. Using complex and scientifically rigorous forms, the experts at the Digital Scholars Lab can input large swaths of data and information into innovative programs that create eye-catching models, such as network visualizations, which add depth, dimension and a visually interesting element to research projects.
The Digital Scholars Lab hosts free workshops throughout the year on a variety of relevant topics to help students, faculty and academics obtain skills in the latest and greatest methods for conducting research. These workshops teach skills that are applicable to researchers of all levels and of all disciplines. They often cover topics that are in high demand, but rarely taught elsewhere. Because of this, the workshops very often reach capacity quickly.
“One of the coolest things about these workshops is that everyone in the room is learning. Everyone from an undergraduate student to a faculty member are in the same class together. In fact I remember one time during a session, an undergraduate English major was helping a faculty member in physics with writing code. The workshops really level the playing field.”
– Director of the Digital Scholars Lab, Carl Stahmer
In a digital age where information is being created at an astronomical pace, it is nearly impossible for faculty to retain both the knowledge tied to their subject matter expertise and stay on top of the ever-evolving technical skills required to conduct the highest-level research through digital platforms in the most efficient and effective manner. That is why the Digital Scholars Lab’s centralized service model is so critical to the learning environment at UC Davis — one of the top public universities in the world.
Staff at the Digital Scholars Lab partner and collaborate with faculty members to provide assistance with digital research related to classroom instruction. This can include helping to conduct a research project pertinent to a syllabus, helping a class with a research project throughout the duration of the course, or serving as a guest lecturer to provide one-time classroom instruction on research best practices.
|Digital Humanities Support
Humanities and technology are not typically considered to be allies, but services offered through the Digital Scholars Lab are perhaps best positioned to help students, researchers and faculty in the humanities, according to Director of the Digital Scholars Lab Carl Stahmer, who also has his Ph.D. in English. For example, searches for historic and printed materials fail miserably in standard web searches. The Digital Scholars Lab, however, has state-of-the-art image recognition software that allows humanities researchers to easily comb through thousands of historical text for information. Additionally Digital Scholars Lab staff can offer students, faculty and scholars assistance with textual analysis, mapping and digital exhibit creation.