UH Libraries News

Research Workshops Fall 2019

Starting next week, University of Houston Libraries will offer a series of workshops for faculty, staff, and students to hone their skills on a variety of research tools and practices. Register

Finding Data Workshop
Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 10:00am – 11:30am
Participants will be introduced to commonly-used library data sources and open data portals, and will learn tips for finding data and discuss how to evaluate the quality of data sources.

Introduction to Network Analysis: Basic Concepts, Applications, and Tools
Thursday, September 26, 2019, 10:00am – 11:30am
Network analysis is a research method that scholars in disciplines from public health, to business, sociology and etc. use to explore and visualize relationships between objects, entities, or people. This workshop takes an introductory look at the components of the method and discusses ways that researchers are currently employing it.

Core Data Management Practices for Researchers
Thursday, October 3, 2019, 10:00am – 11:30am
This workshop presents the basic elements of data management that are essential for UH researchers in all disciplines. Topics include: Data management plans, file organization and documentation, storage and backup, security, compliance with funder and university policies, data preservation, and archiving. 

Tableau I – Introduction
Wednesday, October 9, 2019, 10:00am – 11:30am
Participants will use Tableau Public to create interactive data visualizations. The workshop will cover an overview of the program and provide hands-on experience creating basic charts and maps, as well as creating interactive web-based visualization dashboards. It will also discuss publishing to the Tableau Public web server.

Tableau II – Calculations and analytics
Wednesday, October 16, 2019, 10:00am – 11:30am
Participants will use more advanced features in Tableau to manage data, such as join, union and edit data. Participants will also use calculations and parameters to make views more interactive. It will cover analytics to help spot trends and forecast data. Taking Tableau I prior to this workshop is strongly encouraged.

Selecting Journals for Publishing Your Research
Wednesday, October 23, 2019, 10:00am – 11:30am
This hands-on workshop discusses factors that could influence your choice of journals for academic publishing, including journal impact, publish frequency, review process, and other factors. Participants will leave the workshop with resources, handy tools, and strategies for making good choice for publishing your research.

Tableau III – Logical functions and customize dashboard
Wednesday, October 30, 2019, 10:00am – 11:30am
Participants will learn to use logical functions to determine if certain condition is true or false. The workshop will also cover building customized dashboard to make your visualization more appealing. Taking Tableau I and Tableau II prior to this workshop is strongly encouraged.

Introduction to R for Absolute Beginners
Thursday, November 7, 2019, 10:00am – 12:00pm
R is an open source software for statistical computing and graphics. This workshop is for people who want to begin to learn this powerful analysis tool but have little or no experience in any programming languages. The first half of this 2-hour workshop will focus on some basic concepts of coding and the second half will feature hands-on activities to learn basic R skills, such as installing R packages, importing files, and exploring data. Some troubleshooting tips and R resources will also be provided.

Data Archiving and Sharing
Wednesday, November 13, 2019, 10:00am – 11:30am

Increasingly research funders and academic publishers request or require that we share a portion of our data. This workshop covers a spectrum of sharing and archiving options, discusses considerations for choosing an option, and presents tips and tricks for preparing data for sharing and archiving. The content will be focused on a broad understanding relevant for researchers of all disciplines and at all stages of their academic career.

Into the Archives: GCAM

University of Houston Libraries Special Collections hosted a class conversation with Judy Reeves from the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum of GLBT History (GCAM) this week. Reeves is a founding member and current curator of GCAM. She is a longtime activist in the community, having devoted many hours to organizations such as Pride Houston, Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church, and the Houston GLBT Caucus.

From left: Judy Reeves, Vince Lee, Leandra Zarnow

From left: Judy Reeves, Vince Lee, Leandra Zarnow

Assistant professor Leandra Zarnow of the UH department of History led her class, “Issues in Feminist Research: Into the Archives,” in a lively talk with Reeves and Vince Lee, archivist of the LGBT History Research Collection at UH Special Collections.

The GCAM Digital Archive is available online at the UH Digital Library. More than 30 years of Houston LGBTQ history is preserved and presented in this digital collection which contains over 100 LGBT newspaper issues from central Texas, the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and other Texas regions, from the 1970s through the early 2000s.

UH Libraries Hosts Inaugural Digital Scholarship Institute

Last month, University of Houston Libraries held the first Digital Scholarship Institute (DSI), hosted in the Digital Research Commons (DRC). Six participants comprising faculty, graduate/doctoral students, and undergraduates were selected to take part in the five-day intensive boot camp focusing on practical issues in digital research.

Digital Scholarship Institute

Digital Scholarship Institute

The DSI was funded through the Libraries’ microgrant program, which fosters new ideas in support of the Libraries’ Strategic Plan and the University’s goals. Facilitated by UH librarians, the DSI offered attendees the opportunity to plan their own digital scholarship projects through workshops, tailored consultations, and access to software. Topics included project management, finding data, data visualization, and open scholarly publishing.

“I had been hesitant to take a research project to the next level before conferring with digital humanities specialists on how to achieve the optimal form of data visualization,” said Richard Armstrong, PhD, associate professor in Modern and Classical Languages. “The possibilities and the professional standards concerning more complex forms of visualization were unknown to me, and I found it too daunting to just strike out on my own. The Institute provided a friendly, collegial atmosphere that helped me to think about the next phase of my research, and I was able to learn enough to commit more fully to heading in this direction. I was grateful for it, as it fell at a very good time in my own research development.”

PhD candidate in History Ela Miljkovic’s DSI project focused on text mining, specifically, compiling archival material, collected over the course of two years while researching for a dissertation in Mexico City and archives in the US, into a corpus. Transcriptions of the documents, including newspaper articles, policy documents and scientific reports, will be used in topic modeling and sentiment, in order to analyze a large volume of text and extract the mood or sentiment from each individual text.

“I came to the DSI with only a general knowledge of digital humanities, but with a deep appreciation for the ways it can enrich qualitative research,” Miljkovic said. “The DSI forced me to deconstruct my source base, thinking about each text beyond the content it provides, and ask more meaningful questions of my sources. I quickly came to realize that conducting a digital humanities project requires a very high level of organization, so a large portion of my time was spent working and reworking my dataset to reflect the questions I was asking, which, of course, evolved throughout the Institute.”

The Digital Research Commons is a physical and intellectual hub for digital research at the University of Houston, offering workshops, lectures, and guidance on digital projects in a flexible and well-equipped space. DRC specialists work with faculty and students on research projects large and small, from the earliest stages of formulating a research question, and choosing and finding materials, to publication in whichever format is most suitable. Contact the DRC

Presentation: Digitizing Archives in Russia

Alexey Golubev, assistant professor in the UH department of History, will present Digitizing Archives in Russia: Epistemic Sovereignty and Its Challenges in the Digital Age on Thursday, February 21 at 12 noon in the UH Libraries Digital Research Commons. The talk will be followed by a workshop on constructing and maintaining a corpus in digital projects. Sandwiches and coffee will be served.

Golubev will speak on the production of digital archives in a broader context of the political economy of historical knowledge in Russia. The archive is a key institution that asserts state sovereignty over history by defining the dominant forms of historical knowledge, its limits and silences, and establishing hierarchies of voices from the past. Modern information technologies represent a formidable challenge to maintaining this epistemic sovereignty as they have simplified to the extreme a precise reproduction of historical documents and production of digital archives. The talk will focus on several cases of digital archives to discuss this challenge and the measures that the Russian state implements to maintain its sovereign control over historical knowledge.

Golubev’s experience in digital humanities stems from his work on several digital collections and archives, including a digital archive of the Russian imperial newspaper News of the Olonets Governorate (1838-1917). He currently works on a project to create a corpus of Russian war letters, supported by a seed grant from the Digital Research Commons.