Digital Research & Publishing Category

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Madurese Storytellers Redesign

A redesign has been completed and launched of Madurese Storytellers, a research project by Dr. William Davies of Linguistics.

The Madurese folk story project is one component of a larger endeavor of a linguistic analysis of the Madurese language (which has resulted in the publication of a grammar in 2010—A grammar of Madurese and several scholarly papers). The folk tales provide a wealth of examples for linguistic analysis, but more importantly the stories included here promote the Madurese culture, afford the Madurese people an opportunity to reflect on and more deeply appreciate their own language and rich culture, and provide others a chance to learn about one of the major population groups in Indonesia.

Davies is set to embark on a new NSF-funded project in collaboration with faculty at Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia to document the language of the Baduy, a small group whose language and culture are threatened by the encroachment of the modern world. One component of that undertaking will include folk tales and historical narratives like those in the Madurese project.

Learn more about the project and hear the storytellers at http://madurese.lib.uiowa.edu!

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Omeka Workshop Review

Last Saturday we hosted the first of four digital scholarship workshops here at the Studio.  This workshop covered Omeka, an open source collections management platforms designed to let scholars curate collections and create narrative displays for the public.  It’s a perfect tool for supporting a balance of rigorous scholarship with a public-friendly face.  We use Omeka here at Iowa for projects ranging from DIY History and History Corps to individual course assignments in undergraduate classrooms in a variety of departments.

Despite only having a week of registration, I was thrilled to have eighteen attendees! The class included faculty, staff, and both graduate and undergraduate students at all levels of technical experience.  We blasted through a lot of material in a little over three hours, from the basics of the site structure, adding items and exhibits, and administering the site; to more advanced concepts, such as creating custom item types, exporting between installations, and mapping with Neatline. Some attendees already had some basic knowledge of Omeka, and were generous in helping their fellow attendees who had questions.  The hands-on structure of the workshop, in which every attendee was tinkering in their own website, also gave people who were more comfortable with the technology the chance to work ahead and try features out for themselves.

This model of people going at their own pace but tuning in when they needed to and communicating with each other was made much easier by the TILE classroom.  Attendees were able to work in small groups where they could feel comfortable asking their neighbor a question, but everyone could still see what I was doing as I walked them through various parts of the site on the screens around the room.

I was glad to see that everyone’s enthusiasm carried over to lunch!  We adjourned to the Studio for sandwiches and chatting, and a lot of interesting conversations were going on about various research projects.  People had a chance to reflect on the basics that we had covered before lunch, and bounce around ideas for how Omeka might be used in classrooms.

For me, one of the most important parts of any technical workshop is explaining the overall structure and main concepts of a platform, not just the step-by-step motions of doing things with it.  This has often been a difficulty for me when researching new tools, that often the documentation assumes you already understand what you might want to do with it.  We had great questions about the differences between different versions of Omeka and how to decide which is best for a specific purpose, and also about how much of how a site is used and set up depends on decisions specific to a project versus field standards.  It’s important to me for people to understand that there’s often not one right way to “do digital”, but that digital resources can be used differently to express what we really want to get at with our research.

Registration is still open for our upcoming workshops on text encoding, 3d modeling, and mapping, so come join us!

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DRP welcomes Rob Shepard!

Digital Research & Publishing is pleased to announce that Rob Shepard has accepted our offer to be the new Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) Librarian for the UI Libraries. Rob comes to us from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln where he is pursuing a Ph.D. in Geography.

University of Iowa campus map, ca. 1943

University of Iowa campus map, ca. 1943

We at DRP are looking forward to the talents and experience Rob brings that will further enhance the accessibility and usability of geospatial resources (everything’s spatial!) in the Iowa Digital Library.  Rob will also be working on cross-campus coordination of GIS and support for faculty research and other Libraries partners.

Moving items into Main Library, the University of Iowa, 1951

Moving items into Main Library, the University of Iowa, 1951

Welcome, Rob!