FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. – May 20, 2020 – Gale, a Cengage company, is providing digital humanities students and researchers with a streamlined learning experience for building text analysis projects. The company has added instructional support to the Gale Digital Scholar Lab with the launch of its new integrated Learning Center. Now users have a learning framework that provides step-by-step instruction that helps them navigate and learn throughout the Lab’s workflow. This creates an entirely new structure for teaching best practices, research principles and the iterative nature of digital scholarship, in a manner that’s teachable and repeatable, putting research and learning first.
Studies show that methodologies such as text mining and data visualization are enhancing the teaching and scholarship of humanities at colleges and universities, with libraries often driving this effort[i]. The Gale Digital Scholar Lab’s new Learning Center makes the process more accessible to a variety of users by walking them through the text mining and visualization workflow.
The Learning Center provides users with a workspace to explore how the Gale Digital Scholar Lab can assist with research projects. Users can navigate the Center to become familiarized with the core stages in the workflow (Build, Clean, Analyze), develop an understanding of common digital humanities terms and find answers to frequently asked questions about the Lab.
Features of the Learning Center include:
- Embedded Video Tutorials: videos are readily accessible to users through core stages in the workflow (Build, Clean, Analyze), providing users with step-by-step walk-throughs of functionality as well as thoughtful commentary related to text and data mining best practices.
- Interactive Sample Projects: provide users with several completed project models that are situated within the context of a narrative format. Users can now be guided through the core research process while benefiting from expandable tips, tricks and guiding questions that promote the importance of inquiry-based learning for best digital humanities and research pedagogical practices. Faculty now have ready-made primary source-based research assignments they can easily use or modify to incorporate digital humanities work into their courses. Sample projects also provide users with the structure to effectively search primary source and archival content, embedded glossary definitions and instructional videos to provide self-paced learning opportunities for novice to advanced users.
- Thinking Critically Supplement: this feature helps support teaching and learning of the critical learning objectives of ideation and interpretation necessary for digital scholarship. It is incorporated in each project ensuring it is relevant to the research questions, process and outcomes, while also considering what can be done beyond the Gale Digital Scholar Lab with that given topic.
Coming later this spring/summer, Gale will introduce the first phase of its content upload capabilities. This will enable users to upload and analyze local text files within the Gale Digital Scholar Lab platform along with their Gale Primary Sources holdings.
“Gale Digital Scholar Lab is widely seen as a platform to introduce textual analysis and digital information literacy to users at many academic levels both in and outside of the classroom,” said Marc Cormier, Director of Product Management for the Humanities at Gale. “We created the Learning Center to provide faculty and students the guidance to understand and execute each stage of the Lab’s text analysis workflow, putting learning at the forefront of the platform.”
Gale Digital Scholar Lab Global Growth & Customer Momentum
Since its launch in September 2018, Gale Digital Scholar Lab has experienced significant growth globally. Over the last year and half, its customer base has more than doubled across five continents. Some of the world’s top colleges and universities are using the Gale Digital Scholar Lab to advance their digital humanities programs including: John Hopkins University, Yale University, University of Toronto, McGill University, University of Manchester, University of Oxford, Monash University, University of Edinburgh, Nanyang Technological University, Peking University, University of California—Berkeley, University of Adelaide, Chinese University of Hong Kong and Utrecht University, to name a few.
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is using the Gale Digital Scholar Lab in an IMLS grant-funded project they are leading called the Carolina Digital Library Network. This two-year pilot project enables small to mid-sized academic libraries in North and South Carolina to explore the possibilities of new innovative digital scholarship services for their researchers:
“In this project we are evaluating several shared digital library infrastructures, starting with the remarkable Gale Digital Scholar Lab. It offers an amazing array of textual pattern analysis tools for scholarly explorations into historical documents,” said Martin Halbert, Professor at the University of North Carolina – Greensboro. “Our faculty members are intrigued with the possibilities of digital humanities toolkits such as the Gale Digital Scholar Lab, not only for their own established research agendas, but also because of the next-generation scholarship training that the project will offer to their graduate students.”
Here’s what other customers are saying about Gale Digital Scholar Lab:
“Gale Digital Scholar Lab provides our community with the unique opportunity to engage with primary sources in ways they may never have considered before, without needing prior knowledge in coding or having to clean data beforehand. While the Lab has great potential for research, we also see it as a great investment for education as the Lab enables us to provide hands-on experience with text mining models that students can use for their studies and in their life after university. –Katrina McAlpine, Associate Director, Publishing and Data Services, University of Sydney, Australia
“At the time we began considering the acquisition of the Digital Scholar Lab, our university was in the middle of forming a minor in Digital Studies. In order to support the minor, we need to be able to give students access to online collections that could serve as a digital sandbox—something they could experiment with, research in, and manipulate digitally. The Digital Scholar Lab gave us that, in addition to a suite of tools that are readily accessible. We’re able to not only give them the materials to work with, but the tools in an environment with fewer barriers to use.” –Hillary Richardson, Coordinator of Undergraduate Research & Information Literacy and Digital Studies Instructor, Mississippi Women’s University
“The Gale Digital Scholar Lab brings the full range of practice of digital humanities in variety disciplines of humanities and social sciences. We benefit a lot from its visualization and data analysis tools. My personal favorite feature is the Topic Modeling tool, which enables the extraction of common topics found across many documents. It sometimes gives surprising findings that can be really fascinating.” –Xuan Xu, Librarian, Fudan University, China
The Gale Digital Scholar Lab is a cloud-based research environment designed to transform the way scholars and students access and analyze Gale primary source materials by offering solutions to some of the most common challenges facing researchers in the digital humanities today. By integrating an unmatched depth and breadth of digital primary source material with some of today’s most popular digital humanities analysis methods, Gale Digital Scholar Lab provides a new lens to explore history and empowers researchers to deepen our understanding of the world and how it is represented in the written word.
About Cengage and Gale
Cengage is the education and technology company built for learners. The company serves the higher education, K-12, professional, library and workforce training markets worldwide. Gale, a Cengage company, provides libraries with original and curated content, as well as the modern research tools and technology that are crucial in connecting libraries to learning, and learners to libraries. For more than 60 years, Gale has partnered with libraries around the world to empower the discovery of knowledge and insights – where, when and how people need it. Gale has 500 employees globally with its main operations in Farmington Hills, Michigan. For more information, please visit www.gale.com.
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Kayla Siefker, Gale, a Cengage company