Tag Archives: converged services

Bursary helps winner gain Erasmus funding and secure a new role

Sarah Ames
Library Learning Services Support Officer
University of Edinburgh

Digital Humanities Congress 2018 – UCISA report

I was fortunate to be funded by UCISA to attend DHC2018 in Sheffield this year – the UK’s biennial digital humanities conference, which draws together a range of researchers, cultural heritage professionals and IT support workers.

Why DHC2018?

With the increasing use of computational methods in academic studies, research and teaching requires new modes of IT and library support, as well as new approaches to dealing with data: traditional divisions between technical services and libraries are conflated, leading to new ways of working and new areas to support.
I wanted to attend this conference to find out more about digital humanities research currently underway, and to learn about the new technologies, methods and approaches that characterise the field. The event provided an opportunity to hear from researchers and students working in this field to learn about their needs, as well as the chance to learn from other IT and library professionals, to share ideas, solutions and current best practice. Furthermore, I wanted to further understand the collaborative nature of digital humanities work, and how it could provide opportunities for Edinburgh’s converged library and IT services (‘Information Services Group’).

Professional development

The huge range of papers presented at the conference – from vast, collaborative research projects, to smaller individual studies – and the range of methods and technologies used by researchers, reiterated the many challenges and opportunities of this area for libraries and IT support.
The conference has inspired me to learn more about many of the tools and technologies being used, and to consider uses for these within the library, and as such has been a brilliant CPD opportunity – as it has helped me to identify even more CPD opportunities! Talking to people at DHC2018 highlighted other conferences in this area that I’d like to attend, and papers using programming languages such as Python and discussing issues cleaning large datasets have encouraged me to revisit and further my understanding of these topics. Furthermore, the event enabled me to meet other library and information professionals, including from Oxford and the British Library, and to discuss the similar challenges we all face, as well as to gain a greater understanding of researchers’ needs when accessing and using library and IT resources.

Sharing the experience

As well as testing my succinctness with tweeting from the event, UCISA encouraged me to blog about the event, which proved to be a really useful experience as this provided a useful opportunity to reflect on the main topics of the conference and sort through the wide range of topics presented.
Despite the variety of studies, a number of key themes emerged within the papers presented and discussions afterwards, enabling me to apply the topics at the conference directly back to work and discussions currently underway in the Library at Edinburgh University about how digital scholarship should be supported and considering potential uses of our new Digital Scholarship Centre.
Furthermore, the event has inspired a group of us from Edinburgh University to apply for and secure Erasmus funding to visit library ‘labs’ setups in the Netherlands (library labs are spaces – physical or digital, or both – which encourage and support the innovative use of library digital collections), to learn even more about how we can support the types of digital humanities research presented at DHC2018. And, as of 2019, I’ll be starting a new job working in digital scholarship and libraries: this has been a brilliant opportunity to learn more about the field and its challenges.
Interested in finding out more about a UCISA bursary, then visit UCISA Bursary Scheme.

Plate spinning and other things: Your assistance is urgently requested!

plate spinningMy life has a tendency to feel like I’m balancing a series of plates on sticks, and day to day I run between each plate to keep it from falling off its peg. Generally if I work hard and smart enough they all stay up, and I go to sleep congratulating myself on a well-planned, organised and successful day. However some days, and usually more than I would like to admit to, I have to make a choice over which plates are going to hit the floor, and those that get to stay up. And in reality it’s down to luck if one breaks or one bounces. It is however always about my choice over which to prioritise and which to let slip.

One of my big plates spinning this month is the research phase of my PhD, and I’m asking you all for your help in order to keep this plate spinning for the time being. Featured below is a very short survey which I would ask you to:

1. Fill in if relevant
2. Pass on to any relevant managers


The survey will be out for next 2 weeks, after which I am hoping to start organising a small number of interviews with institutions that would like to participate in the follow up research.

This is moving toward the culmination of a 4 year part-time Professional Doctorate. I would firmly recommend doctoral study to anyone thinking about further development. However, I would firmly recommend learning the art of Plate Spinning prior to commencement to ensure other aspects of life and work can continue!

Post by Sonya Campbell
Customer Services Development Manager
Glasgow Caledonian University

photo credit: IMGP1962 via photopin (license)