Mining Large Datasets for the Humanities

Abstract:  This paper considers how libraries can support humanities scholars in working with large digitized collections of cultural material. Although disciplines such as corpus linguistics have already made extensive use of these collections, fields such as literature, history, and cultural studies stand at the threshold of new opportunity. Libraries can play an important role in helping these scholars make sense of big cultural data. In part, this is because many humanities graduate programs neither consider data skills a prerequisite, nor train their students in data analysis methods. As the ‘laboratory for the humanities,’ libraries are uniquely suited to host new forms of collaborative exploration of big data by humanists. But in order to do this successfully, libraries must consider three challenges: 1) How to evolve technical infrastructure to support the analysis, not just the presentation, of digitized artifacts. 2) How to work with data that may fall under both copyright and licensing restrictions. 3) How to serve as trusted partners with disciplines that have evolved thoughtful critiques of quantitative and algorithmic methodologies.

Paris Declaration on Media and Information Literacy in the Digital Era

Download the newly-released Paris Declaration on Media and Information Literacy:

Part of the broad definition of Media and Information Literacy (MIL):

“Media and information literacy is an all-encompassing concept – including skill, knowledge and attitudes relating to terms such as, media literacy, information literacy, news literacy, advertising literacy, film literacy, Internet literacy, social network literacy, computer literacy, IT literacy, digital safety, privacy and personal cyber security, etc.”

Roles specifically mentioned for libraries include:

  • Access to spaces and ICT- mediated information
  • Embedding MIL into various educational curricula, formal, informal learning
  • Librarians as “educators and facilitators of learning”
  • Revision of user education or traditional IL offerings to incorporate “transliteracies”

“It is important for stakeholders to make clear that it is neither useful nor efficient to promote a single literacy or single skill set without embedding it in the wider context of media and information literacy.”

2.6 million public domain images from books

Free, public domain images from digitised books published in the last 500 years are now available on Flickr. Book digitisation projects have  previously focused on the textual content, rather than on images, making this archive a valuable resource.

The images are here:

A blog post from Open Culture can be found here:

New Issue of Educause!

New Issue of the Educause Magazine  available here:

Features for August 2014 edition:

  • Working as a System for the Citizens of the State of Georgia
  • Questions of Data Ownership on Campus
  • Learning Analytics and Ethics: A Framework beyond Utilitarianism
  • The Many Faces of Shared Services at the University of California
  • Why You Should Champion Your Service Desk
  • The IT Service Organization for a Post-Enterprise World
  • We Built, We Bought, We Shared: The Costs of Administrative Service Systems vs. the Academic Mission
  • Advancing Without New Resources


Finding free and open resources for teaching: Jorum and the OER landscape

Two presentations on free and open resources for teaching, mainly about JORUM and all the great free resources on it, and the Open Educational Landscape generally. Links to the presentation documents are here.

Google Scholar or what else?

What sort of search tools do Undergards use? “The Form of Search Tool Chosen by Undergraduate Students Influences Research Practices and the Type and Quality of Information Selected.”
Interesting study on how effective different search tools are and what students use.

NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Library Edition

Tame the Web has a useful summary of the the latest Horizon Report for Libraries. There is also a link to download the report.

Key trends identified:

  • Increasing Focus on Research Data Management
    for Publications
  • Prioritization of Mobile Content and Delivery
  • Evolving Nature of the Scholarly Record
  • Increasing Accessibility of Research Content
  • Continual Progress in Technology, Standards,
    and Infrastructure
  • Rise of New Forms of Multidisciplinary Research


  • Embedding Academic and Research Libraries
    in the Curriculum
  • Rethinking the Roles and Skills of Librarians
  • Capturing and Archiving the Digital Outputs of Research
    as Collection Material
  • Competition from Alternative Avenues of Discovery
  • Embracing the Need for Radical Change
  • Maintaining Ongoing Integration, Interoperability,
    and Collaborative Projects


  • Electronic Publishing
  • Mobile Apps
  • Bibliometrics and Citation Technologies
  • Open Content
  • The Internet of Things
  • Semantic Web and Linked Data


Digital Curation and Preservation

Recent articles on digital curation and preservation.

Curating Extragalactic Distances: An interview with Karl Nilsen & Robin Dasler

The challenges of preserving and managing a born digital database, and the role of the academic library.


What Do You Do With 100 Million Photos? David A. Shamma and the Flickr Photos Dataset

The Flickr / Yahoo Labs Photos Dataset: collecting, managing and providing access to researchers.


via The Signal

Nature report: Scientisits and Social Media

A Nature survey of online collaboration using social networks. Full text PDF:

Calls for Papers

College &Undergraduate Libraries, a Taylor & Francis peer-reviewed publication, invites proposals for articles to be published in a special issue addressing:
The Business of Libraries”

“The Taylor & Francis peer-reviewed journal
International Information and Library Review is currently seeking manuscript submissions for a special issue entitled “Academic Library Assessment: An International Perspective”.
Deadline: 15thNovember

“The International Evidence Based Library and Information Practice conference is returning to Brisbane in July 2015 and we are calling for submissions of abstracts for papers and posters. The conference theme – ‘Evidence and practice: Working together’ reflects the focus on narrowing the gap between practice and evidence and in promoting evidence-based practice in all parts of the information profession.

Submissions close 13 October 2014.”

via Academic Writing Librarian