Courtesy of the University

Eliza Bettinger, Olin's digital humanities librarian, demonstrates tools in Digital CoLab to library staff.

January 29, 2017

Olin Digital CoLab to Bridge Gap Between Humanities and Technology

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Olin Library launched the Digital CoLab on Friday, “introducing new tools to traditional humanities research and allowing people to ask new questions that they hadn’t been able to ask before,” according to Eliza Bettinger, Olin’s digital humanities librarian.

Located in room 701 at Olin, the CoLab is a space supporting digital humanities research with workstations containing specialized software and large monitors that can be used for data visualization. The CoLab is also equipped with tools that aid research in the digital humanities, such as “text mining, data visualization and exploration, geographical modeling of historical events or creation of digital exhibits,” according to the University.

Bettinger said she hopes the workspace will create new opportunities for public scholarship and allow humanities researchers to work together in unprecedented ways.

“Digital humanities research is collaborative in a way humanities research traditionally hasn’t been, because you need people with different skills coming together,” she said.

According to Bettinger, the CoLab has attracted interest from graduate students who teach freshman writing seminars and want to incorporate digital methods into their classes, as well as faculty who want to bring digital humanities into their classrooms.

She stressed that the digital humanities will allow students and faculty to ask questions they had not been inspired to ask within the field of traditional humanities research.

“[The digital humanities] takes collaboration among people who have different skill sets, which is a common way research has been done in the sciences,” Bettinger said. “Historically, that hasn’t been as common. Humanities scholars have been working on their own.”

In the upcoming weeks, the Digital CoLab will host training sessions, workshops and other research and pedagogical events relating to the digital humanities.