Category: Week 8

Summer Research Reflection

In the beginning of the summer, I thought I had the perfect envision for my research project. I had a solid research question, “How do Pennsylvania anthracite mining communities publicly represent their heritage?,” and a plethora of ideas to pursue. As the summer progressed, I realized that my scope was incredibly ambitious to complete in eight weeks. Instead of developing a two month research plan, I had created a much longer in-depth goal.

After some weeks, I had to find different ways to tighten my scope and realize a definite project by the end of July. As an undergraduate, having completed a successful research project is an invaluable experience. In two short months, I was able to expand on prior research that I partook in and expand my knowledge of a particular area of study. I really enjoyed finding a new niche and field — the intersection of landscape architecture and memory studies. Through extensive readings and applying certain theories, I have developed a new perspective to view the world and, particularly, my relationship with my hometown.

Additionally, I was able to learn more about the field of digital humanities and collaborate with my peers about how to integrate digital scholarship into our own classes. A great component about Digital Scholarship is that it encourages collaboration. It was an absolute pleasure to work in a student cohort with Justin, Minglu, and Rennie. Although we conducted independent research, throughout the summer we gave each other constructive feedback. Also, Courtney and Carrie were essential with keeping us on track and helping us work through the various digital platforms. It was great being introduced to many of the library and IT staff. I am so pleased to know so many wonderful people now.

My final research project is a digital database curating ten monuments and analyzing their symbology and significance to the anthracite region. Also, by critiquing their urban spaces this illuminated how Shamokin has the potential to represent their coal mining heritage. The digital database is not an exhaustive list of monuments in the anthracite coal region of PA; however, it is a genesis of a much larger digital archive intended to establish a connection with a town’s history and heritage through public monuments.

I created a “walking-tour” of the monuments by using a few different interactive platforms for the reader. There is a timeline, map, and digital gallery of the monuments. This allows the reader to view the monuments historically, geographically, and as a curation. There are newspapers for some monuments so that the reader can read about the importance of the monument through a public medium. There are also some photos analyzed for their symbology of the PA anthracite coal region, and I try to propose how Shamokin could represent their heritage as well. I encourage the reader to visit these monuments as well to experience their distinct urban spaces.

Please visit my site and feel free to contact me with any suggestions or information you may have!

-Tyler Candelora ’19

Week 8 Recap: Reflecting on a Summer’s Work

DSSRF17 ended a week ago, and since then I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts about the summer (and our spring prep work), and cohesively reflect on the past eight weeks. It may sound cliche, but DSSRF has truly been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career as a librarian. Courtney pointed this out early in the summer, but it bears repeating: one of the best parts of our program was getting to see the students work through the research process from beginning to end. As librarians, we so often see students for a one time research appointment, and we don’t know where the research goes after they walk out of our offices. In this case, we got to the point of seeing completed projects, which was truly gratifying. I’m also so heartened to know the students each have an idea of some way in which they can continue their research beyond the summer program, and that they don’t see this research as merely existing in a vacuum or as coming to an end as they might with a research paper in a semester long class.

Another great aspect of DSSRF has been the collaboration, which is a prominent theme in digital scholarship and digital humanities. I’m so pleased that we were able to bring that to fruition through this program: our students were great collaborators, in helping each other learn intricacies of different methods and platforms, and in making suggestions for how projects could be improved upon. The value of collaboration really showed itself in our visit to Gettysburg, as they were able to collaborate not only with each other, but also with students in another digital scholarship program and build on the idea of creating a community of practice. I know from talking to students both at Bucknell and Gettysburg that they enjoyed that experience, and I hope that can serve as a groundwork for future collaborations between our schools and reaching other institutions.

Speaking of collaboration, DSSRF was truly a collaborative effort between Library and IT staff. It would not have been possible without the generous help and expertise of so many of our colleagues in Research Services, Digital Pedagogy and Scholarship, and from other areas of the organization. It is remarkable that the vision we had for this program when we first started talking about it in January could come to fruition so quickly, and that is due in large part to the support we received from our Library and IT colleagues. And I could not have asked for a better co-facilitator for DSSRF than Courtney!

Finally, our students: we could not have asked for a better cohort – thank you Justin, Rennie, Tyler, and Minglu for a great summer!! Whether they knew it or not, they were our guinea pigs in DSSRF, and I’m so glad they decided to pursue this program. They embraced flexibility and a willingness to learn at every turn, and taught us so much about their research topics. They are energetic, inquisitive, driven young scholars who have proven that undergraduates can conduct meaningful, rigorous, independent research. And also, that you can have fun while doing research! My sense is that this was a transformative experience for our students, and something that we can build upon as we look for more ways to engage students in research.

The DSSRF17 cohort on their last day! L-R: Carrie Pirmann, Justin Guzman, Rennie Heza, Tyler Candelora, Minglu Xu, and Courtney Paddick.

Week 8 – Rennie Heza

As the summer comes to a close, I find it difficult to fully reflect upon my time in the DSSRF17 program. Each week, I’ve reflected on particular hardships and decisions made. For the final week, I’d like to promote the program that has consumed my tim over the last 8 weeks.

First, the program is an excellent opportunity to expose oneself to undergraduate research. In particular, the program allows students to investigate questions that on which faculty may not be focused. For example, my research was in hockey analytics, and my peers investigated topics in art history, Chinese economics, and LGBTQ+ representation in film. Individuals, with the help of our facilitators, were able to tackle research questions in all of these areas, no matter how unique the area of research may have been.

Another great aspect of the DSSRF program is the availability of professional help. Although individuals conduct the research, Bucknell faculty made themselves available, along with Bertrand Library and IT staff. The program facilitators dedicated their busy summers to providing any and all support we needed. From putting us in touch with industry professionals to giving tutorials in a variety of digital tools, Carrie and Courtney went out of their ways to provide us with the help necessary to conduct well document research. Research professionals and mathematics professors also contributed to the summer research, and I found everyone involved to be very willing to help. This program put me in touch with individuals who I plan to stay in touch with long beyond the DSSRF17 program.

Lastly, spending a summer in Lewisburg is great. The campus is quiet, and great camaraderie results. The same amenities available during the school year are available to students throughout the summer, and the weather is fantastic. A summer on campus is a great chance to explore the local area. I’ve floated down the Susquehanna River, sightseen both Harrisburg and Scranton, experienced minor league baseball games, played recreational sports, and tried many local restaurants. The weekends are free, so I had plenty of time to adventure through Central Pennsylvania.

I am envious of my peers, all three of whom are younger than I. Every other member of the DSSRF17 program have at least one chance to spend another summer conducting research in Lewisburg. And though they might not be involved in the same program in the future, the DSSRF program has allowed us all a chance to see how great the experience can be. I encourage anyone interested in research to apply, even if you have not identified a research question. The program facilitators will help you along the way, from identifying this question, to presenting findings to a plethora of Bucknellians eight weeks later. I am so thankful to have found this program before my time at Bucknell has ended, and I hope future Bucknellians have an opportunity to do the same.

Week 8

It’s hard to believe that we’re at the end of the Digital Scholarship Summer Research Fellows program. 8 weeks ago I was on a 13-hour flight from Beijing to JFK, and between the naps and the meals and way too many movies, I started thinking about possible directions I can take my research in the weeks to come. The changes that I had seen in China in my short time back reminded me of the numerous trips I made back there since migrating to Singapore when I was four. Each time I visited, there were significant changes I noticed and in recent years Internet use in China seems to be booming and seeping into every aspect of people’s lives. Wanting to learn more about the recent Internet developments within the country and their significance in the context of China, I decided to make this the focus of my project this summer. Now 8 weeks later, I’m excited to share with you the site that this initial idea led me to create:

It is incredible how digital scholarship projects can be tailored to so many different fields. Tyler, Justin, Rennie and I all came in with research topics that were vastly different and the tools that we needed to complete our projects also varied greatly. From Voyant to Tableau, each week we were introduced to digital tools that I had never heard of. While I ended up only using ESRI StoryMaps and TimelineJS, the exposure to the myriad of tools out there is extremely valuable and I can see them being applied in so many ways beyond my summer project. This summer also confirmed my interest in Economics. The process of researching my topic has been very enjoyable and I am eager to delve deeper into this area of study.  I also hope to have the opportunity to work with the Economics and East Asian Studies department in the future to build upon what I have created this summer.

The past 8 weeks have opened my eyes to the vast amount of resources students have access to on campus. There are so many academic journals and articles we have at our fingertips, and the librarians have been incredibly helpful in the process of navigating through these sites and huge amounts of information. This summer has also shown me the value of collaboration and the sharing of ideas. Our trips to Bryn Mawr and Gettysburg were especially helpful in giving us a glimpse of what students from other colleges are working on and also exchange ideas and propose changes that can better our individual projects.

A big thank you to Carrie and Courtney for introducing us to the world of Digital Scholarship this summer, and for giving us so much help and support over the past 8 weeks. I also want to thank Justin, Rennie and Tyler for their suggestions and input that contributed greatly to my final project. The conversations ranging from “is dead a state” to trouser choices have been fun.

Week 8 – Justin

Having finished the program and presenting my project it’s interesting to see how far my project has come. It feels like yesterday when my project was originally analyzing the social impact of film. I remember my scope being massive and what I limited my scope to is still pretty huge. It did feel like for a while my project had no real direction and I had no sense of what it would look like when it was done. With the help of Courtney, Carrie, Rennie, Minglu, and Tyler my project turned out to be way better than I thought it could be. All of the feedback on the direction I was taking my data and case studies in was extremely helpful and I couldn’t be more grateful for it because without the feedback I received I probably wouldn’t like where my project ended up.

Overall, the help of L&IT and the research staff made me feel comfortable with research. This is the first time I’ve really created something based on film rather than making a film itself. This reaffirmed my love for the field because with digital tools there are so many more ways to look at film rather than just watching it. Tyler spoke a lot about the different types of reading and I’ve attributed some of that to how I watch films now.  I do wish we had more time to learn certain tools more in depth because I do believe there are some that would have truly helped improve my project, but in the 8 weeks we had we got through a lot of material.

I had never realized how large of a field Digital Scholarship is until we visited Bryn-Mawr and Gettysburg, but it was definitely interesting to see how many different passions people were bringing into the field. I’ve started viewing Digital Scholarship as this range of scholarly work that is all-inclusive of individual passions and interests.

I feel comfortable conducting research especially on cinema which is something I’ve never really experienced. Research has always seemed daunting and even impossible for me to conduct sometimes since I never really learned how. I’ve always been taught to analyze and use that analysis to create, but in this sense I was analyzing to present and it’s different from making an actual film obviously. Creating this site allows other people to discuss cinematic representation of minorities which is a conversation I truly believe should happen more. I always imagine the types of films I plan to make being films that start some type of real social discussion and I feel like I got a taste of that with my project.

I loved this program and it really brought me closer together with the medium I’m passionate.