Digital scholarship blog

03 October 2013

Digital Scholarship training in and outside of the British Library

On September 25th the second semester of our internal Digital Scholarship Training Programme came to an end. Eighteen months in we have delivered 30 one-day courses, 205 individual colleagues from across the British Library have attended, and 641 seats have been filled. More details of are available via the slides for recent presentation on the programme. If you want to know more details of the courses listed on slide 7, contact us at

Such has been the success of the programme that we’ve begun to encounter demand from outside of the library to deliver similar courses, collaborate on similar programmes, and to replicate our model. Whilst committed to continuing to deliver courses to colleagues at the library, a gradual opening up of the programme to external audiences is part of our future plans. As they say, watch this space.

The training programme is guided by a number of principles. Primarily we are committed to delivering hands-on introductions to wider concepts in digital scholarship as opposed to training sessions devoted to specific digital research tools. And whilst we imagine this will remain unchanged, we are aware that other principles will be stretched and challenged as we take elements of the programme to external audiences. How, for example, can we ensure that the courses we offer are relevant to individual need when attendees do not have a British Library perspective in common?

Another principle we expect to modify is that training takes place onsite and in a structured manner as opposed to online and in the trainees own time. For although we believe that in many cases the time and space needed for exploration of a concept or idea can only be achieved adequately in a room with other people and a schedule free of meetings, emails and other work-related distractions, training must (and always does) inevitably extend beyond an individual event, beyond a room, beyond a class-based ‘trainer and trainees’ environment.

The final session of our second semester looked at Managing Personal Digital Research Information, contained a significant element of practical use of Zotero, and was led by Sharon Howard from the Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield. During the day-long course both Sharon and the course attendees worked through a wiki designed for the event. This wiki provided a framework for the day in question, but can also now work as a learning aid for subsequent individual study by attendees, as an online resource for anyone both in and outside of the library looking to learn more about Zotero, and as a reusable and extensible model for individuals or institutions looking to run similar hands-on events. And hopefully that includes many of you reading this here blog.

A Zotero Guide was created by Sharon Howard as a Zotero resource for a one day training course, Managing Personal Digital Research Information, at the British Library on 25 September 2013. It has been released under a Creative Commons license, so within the terms of the licence feel free to copy material, borrow examples and images and adapt them for your own use.


EDITED 03/10/13 15:27 to make it extra clear that at present the programme is available to British Library staff only


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