Digital scholarship blog

Enabling innovative research with British Library digital collections

06 January 2014

British Library Digital Research Doctoral Open Day

Many of you in UK Higher Education – and perhaps beyond? – will know that the British Library has for some time been running a successful series of Doctoral Open Days , but this year – in addition to our usual offerings – we shall on January 17th be hosting our first Digital Research Doctoral Open Day.

Why this and why now? Well, in short, scholarship is responding to massive changes in the world around us. Not only has the distance between online and offline all but disintegrated – just think how archaic the once ubiquitous phrases ‘log-on’ and ‘cyberspace’ sound today – but this lifestyle shift has had massive repercussions for academic research. As Steven Jones eloquently puts it:

The emergence of the new digital humanities isn’t an isolated academic phenomenon. The institutional and disciplinary changes are part of a larger cultural shift, inside and outside the academy, a rapid cycle of emergence and convergence in technology and culture.

Just look at the British Library. Whilst we still collect, preserve and provide access to all manner of physical stuff, over the last two decades we have become a vast resource of digital objects. These data range from digitised text, sound, visual, and philatelic material, to born-digital collections of personal archives and web content: so data representing both our past and our present. Together these data are transforming research and setting the agenda for future research, with new tools and computational techniques used to wrangle, process, share and analyse  these data generating new discoveries and new understanding in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

Today’s doctoral students are the future of research: and whether or not they choose to use data in their research (providing the data they need is available), they will all benefit from being equipped to understand and critique the affordances and challenges of the digital research. And hence our open day.

The British Library Digital Research Doctoral Open Day is aimed at first year PhD students or doctoral students who are new to digital research, lunch and refreshments are provided, and there are still places available. So if you are a doctoral student who wants to come along or a supervisor who thinks their PhD students could benefit from the event, the programme can be consulted and places can be booked via our What’s On page.

We look forward to seeing you or your students at the event!



The comments to this entry are closed.