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The Digital Scholarship Training Programme has been running since 2012, and creates opportunities for staff to develop necessary skills and knowledge to support emerging areas of modern scholarship.
This internal and bespoke staff training programme is one of the cornerstones of the Digital Curator Team’s work at the British Library. Running since 2012, it provides colleagues with the space and opportunity to delve into and explore all that digital content and new technologies have to offer in the research domain today. The Digital Curator team oversees the design and delivery of roughly 50-60 training events a year. Since its inception, well over a thousand individual staff members have come through the programme, on average attending three or more courses each and the Library has seen a steep change in its capacity to support innovative digital research.
- Staff are familiar and conversant with the foundational concepts, methods and tools of digital scholarship.
- Staff are empowered to innovate.
- Collaborative digital initiatives flourish across subject areas within the Library as well as externally.
- Our internal capacity for training and skill-sharing in digital scholarship are a shared responsibility across the Library.
What's it all about?
Nora McGregor, Digital Curator, gives a presentation all about the Digital Scholarship Training Programme - where it started, where it's going and what it hopes to accomplish.
As digital research methods have changed overtime, so too have course topics and content. Today's full course catalogue reflects this through a diversity of topics from cleaning up data, digital storytelling, to command line programming and geo-referencing.
Courses range from half-days to full-day workshops for no more than 15 attendees at a time and are taught mainly by staff members but also external trainers where necessary. Example courses include:
- 101 Introduction to Digital Scholarship @ British Library
- 105 Crowdsourcing in Libraries, Museums and Cultural Heritage Institutions
- 107 Data Visualisation for Cultural Heritage Collections
- 109 Information Integration: Mash-ups, API’s and Linked Data
- 118 Cleaning up Data
Hack & Yacks
We host a monthly “Hack & Yack” to run alongside the more formal training programme. During these two-hour self-paced casual meet-ups, open to all staff, the group works through a variety of online tutorials on a particular digital topic. Example sessions include:
Digital Scholarship Reading Group
The Digital Scholarship Reading Group holds informal discussions on the first Tuesday of each month. Each month we discuss an article, conference, podcast or video related to digital scholarship. It's a great way to keep up with new ideas or reality check trends in digital scholarship (including the digital humanities). We welcome people from any department in the Library, and take suggestions for topics that are particularly relevant to diverse teams or disciplines.
21st Century Curatorship Talk Series
In 2019, the British Library and partners Birkbeck University and The National Archives were awarded £222,420 in funding by the Institute of Coding (IoC) to co-develop a one-year part-time postgraduate Certificate (PGCert), Computing for Cultural Heritage, as part of a £4.8 million University skills drive. The new course aims to provide working professionals, particularly across the GLAM sector (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums), with an understanding of basic programming, analytic tools and computing environments to support them in their daily work.
For more information on the Training Programme's most recent year, including our performance numbers and topics covered by the training, please see the infographic below or feel free to consult the full screen, interactive version.