What’s the Scholars’ Lab?

Obviously, there are lots of ways to find out what this center is and does, including an exploration of this website. I encourage anyone to see our Charter (not far from here, http://scholarslab.org/about/charter/).

But if you want to know how we have been recently identifying ourselves, here’s a go:

Within the University of Virginia Library, the Scholars’ Lab since 2006 has been a center for advanced digital scholarship in humanities, information and library science, social sciences, and related fields, emphasizing interpretative and theoretical as well as technological innovation and inquiry. The Scholars’ Lab consists of a collaborative staff of professionals serving a flexible community of graduate fellows, faculty, and staff whose activities intersect here.

Who? Ten (now nine) people, and soon to be eleven or twelve; by some counts, two more. Academic Director, Head of Research and Development, Head of Public Programs, Information Architect, GIS Specialist, Project Manager, two Developers. Searching for Managing Director. Posting for second GIS Specialist in process. Our Head of Graduate Programs is irreplaceable, but we hope for a renewal of this position. Two additional specialists (you should see what they do with drones, Occulus Rift, photogrammetry!) have affiliated with the Digital Media Lab, Content Stewardship, and Scholars’ Lab.

Members of the Scholars’ Lab reach out across the Library and schools of the University, frequently teaching workshops or courses here and elsewhere and presenting their research in conferences or publications.

SLab, open to anyone, exists as much in communications and events as in a place located on the fourth floor of Alderman library, with its offices and graduate lounge, classrooms (shared by the Library), workstations in the public space, presentation facility, and Makerspace.  This is not a drop-off service center, but rather an incubator for consultation and potential sustained collaboration, helping to identify or provide the resources, expertise, and tools that a project needs to become a reality.  In supporting faculty research, we work in alliance especially with the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH), a center for faculty fellowships and advanced digital research, and with Sciences, Humanities, and Arts Network of Technological Initiatives (SHANTI), a center that develops platforms, tools, and networks for teaching and research.  The Scholars’ Lab hosts and convenes an advisory committee for a website, dh.virginia.edu (in development), an online crossroads leading any user, within the university and outside it, into the network of diverse activities in digital humanities at UVA and elsewhere (with lists of people and projects and a calendar).  We continue to offer a series of lectures, visiting workshops, and short or long courses open to all.  In our service to faculty and students at the University, we collaborate with the subject liaisons of the Library and with several centers based in the Library and schools, including, for example, Research Data Services and the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies.
Current projects include:
·      a summer program, Leadership Alliance Mellon Initiative, introducing minority undergraduates to research that may lead to graduate study;
·      annual cohorts of six Praxis Fellows who learn while creating a group project (graduate students in various fields)
·      several DH dissertation fellowships annually
·      Consulting and collaboration with a range of faculty- and student-initiated projects from many fields and schools
·      Neatline, an Omeka plug-in that has built on years of Scholars’ Lab innovation in visualizing geo-temporal data in humanities research;
·      A Makerspace for 3D printing and innovative design
·      Research on “adovocacy by design,” feminist interface, and rich-prospect browsing, in collaboration with Take Back the Archive (on the history of sexual assault at the University of Virginia) and Collective Biographies of Women (a study of the history of representations of women in printed collections of biographies)
·      GIS consultation and instruction
·      Affiliated staff working on photogrammetry, augmented reality, and various digital multimedia tools
·      Continuing innovations in textual editing and literary history as well as textual analysis such as topic modeling
·      collaboration with IATH and SHANTI as well as VP for IT Ron Hutchins and the Deans of the Library and Arts and Sciences on a conference on DH at UVA, Fall 2016;
·      With the Woodson Institute and others, a series of lectures in 2016-2017 on digital diversity, accessibility, race, and gender.

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