KU Leuven Libraries Artes and Digital Scholarship
Each year, the DH Benelux conference makes clear how many different academic disciplines meet through a shared interest in DH methodologies and tools. At KU Leuven Libraries Artes, this convergence is also clear on a daily basis for our research team. Comprised of a team leader and three additional research specialists, the team covers all areas of digital scholarship including scholarly communication and Open Science, Research Data Management, and digital tools and methods. We provide support as a team whenever possible and appropriate, to take advantage of team members’ complementary expertise, connections, and perspectives. The poster focuses on the support the Artes research team offers.
We support researchers and students in the Arts and Humanities who come to us with a wide array of questions, like how to use programs such as Zotero or Tropy, how to set up a web platform for their research project, how to get started incorporating a relational database into their research, or how to use network analysis to strengthen their academic findings or highlight patterns in their research. We also take an active role by providing regular trainings, organizing ad hoc workshops, and co-organizing DH community-building events like the monthly DH Virtual Discussion Group for Early Career Researchers in Belgium (see other poster for more about this collaborative initiative). Our joint blog, The Scholarly Tales, is our regular forum for communication on all relevant digital scholarship opportunities, events, and information. Our shared Zotero library, the Artes Digital Scholarship Community, is regularly updated and provides a wealth of information on Research Data Management, Digital Humanities, and scholarly communication. It provides a great jumping off point for researchers who are just getting started with using Zotero, but also for more advanced Zotero users looking for additional RDM or DH tools. While developing and providing support services, we always strive to use the same tools that we recommend to researchers.
We also contribute to the development of Digital Humanities at KU Leuven by taking on interns from the Master of Digital Humanities program. Past internships have focused on scholarly communication models, creating a web presence for our research team on our DH Commons site, and exploring the option of using semantic rings to make the DH sub-collection of e-books in KU Leuven Libraries’ collections search interface, Limo, more discoverable.
Additionally, our team is integral in the organization and teaching of the obligatory digital scholarship training program for first-year doctoral candidates at the KU Leuven Faculty of Arts. This serves as an important milestone for these early career researchers by introducing them to basic Research Data Management practices, helping them draft their Data Management Plan, providing background on Digital Humanities and scholarly communication, and brainstorming with them about what digital tools or methods they might want to incorporate into their research projects. Additionally, it opens the channel of communication with this research contingent, ensuring that they know they can contact our team throughout the course of their PhD projects and even further along in their academic careers for any digital scholarship-related concerns.
Our placement within the KU Leuven Libraries Artes is ideal because it brings together the discipline-specific focus of our team with the service-oriented nature of an academic library. We provide a unique perspective in the broader academic library context by bringing insight from our interactions with researchers from the Faculty of Arts and by closely following developments in the fields of scholarly publishing, Research Data Management, and digital tools in the Arts and Humanities. At the same time, we liaise between researchers and students in the Arts and Humanities and more centralized library services and teams focusing on metadata, digitization, long-term preservation of data, and the like. In this way, the library acts as a central hub for digital scholarship support for the Faculty of Arts and serves as the perfect meeting place for anyone looking to acquire or better their digital skills.