With the increasing interest in Digital Humanities and Digital Scholarship (DS), more and more scholars are now trying to use new digital tools and methods for their research. Some researchers may be interested to embark on their first digital project or data visualisation but may be unsure where to begin. To that end, NUS Libraries organised an afternoon of activities for Digital Scholarship Day on 5 September 2019 at NUS Central Library. The aim of DS Day was to raise the awareness of DS, showcase existing DS research in Singapore and highlight how NUS Libraries is helping to advance DS research in NUS. More than 100 participants, including members of the public, NUS alumni, and NUS staff and students attended the event.
DS Day kicked off with a seminar and eight speakers were invited to share on various topics related to DS. First up, Dr Miguel Escobar from NUS introduced how a researcher could use computational methods and interactivity as a rhetorical strategy in digital humanities based on his research on wayang kulit. Next, Professor Kenneth Dean, Dr Xu Duoduo and Ms Xue Yiran from NUS presented on the use of digital humanities to study Singaporean social and cultural history through their Singapore Biographical Database and Singapore Historical GIS projects. Then Mr Mok Ly Yng, a map consultant with decades of experiences, illustrated how we can use digital maps to better explore, visualise and interpret historical events like the Bukit Brown Cemetery in World War II. Lastly, editors from Kontinentalist, an Asian-focused editorial outfit, showed us how industry practitioners like them made use of map and data to power their narratives in the Understanding the Belt and Road web story.
After the seminar, participants were invited to the Digital Scholarship Lab for refreshments. The atmosphere was very lively and bustling as participants interacted with the speakers over food and drinks and explored the speakers’ projects, including our own Department of Geography students’ research on generating a virtual tour of Tampines Chinese Temple. Participants also had the chance to explore some of our NUS Libraries’ DS projects, such as the Singapore Historical Maps website and Singapore Makan Index 2017 through our large touchscreen TVs in the Lab.
As part of a Poll Everywhere activity during DS Day, everyone was encouraged to send us their ideas and learning points on what they have gained from the speakers. Here is a word-cloud visualisation of our participants’ key takeaways:
DS Day was organised by the Digital Scholarship Team at NUS Libraries. As part of the Digital Scholarly Communications department, the team seeks to enhance research, teaching and learning through the use of digital tools and methods. The team also partners and collaborates with researchers in NUS to create interactive web exhibits through the Digital Scholarship Portal. Some of our recent projects include:
- Perception of Singapore’s Built Heritage and Landmarks (together with LKYSPP Institute of Policy Studies)
- Fifty Years of Japanese Performances in Singapore – 1965 to 2015 (together with Prof. Lim Beng Choo from the Department of Japanese Studies)
- Rivers: The Blood Vessels of Life (together with Dr Carl Grundy-Warr and students from the Department of Geography)
Digital Scholarship Team, NUS Libraries