The first Summer Institute of 2013 kicked off on Monday, June 10th with a welcome and introduction from Nancy Aarsvold (IT) and Kasia Gonnerman (Libraries). Our mission during these three days, as with all of our Summer Institute sessions at St. Olaf, is to explore current digital technologies and collections and consider the ways they can transform our teaching and research. In our morning session, Kasia Gonnerman led us in an exploration of how we define digital scholarship or digital humanities, and then presented us with examples of digital research projects being used across a wide array of disciplines, from collecting the works of writer Willa Cather into a searchable, analyzable site to mapping legal records, newspapers and other publishings on Harlem in the early 1900’s.
For the second morning session, Jerad Maplethorpe (IT) led a hands-on workshop on WordPress, the web publishing platform that is now being used for the St. Olaf website. Student workers from the MDC offered help and training as we each looked at our own personal St. Olaf “pages” and explored the possibilities for a personal website of that kind. Meanwhile, Nancy Aarsvold and other MDC student workers led a workshop on the new 2013-2014 Moodle server for those interested.
In the afternoon, the library staff led us on exploration of Bridge2, which allows users to search not only the library catalogs at Carleton and St. Olaf, but also a vast array of articles, journals, ebooks, newpapers, audio recordings, video recordings, and more. Then, after a short break, we began our first iPad Workshop of the week. Phinehas Bynum (IT) guided us through the basic gestures and functions for navigating the device and its wide variety of apps and services. He also shared tips for improving usability and privacy by changing some things in the iPad’s global settings. We then looked at a number of useful iPad apps, from note-taking apps such as Evernote (which allows you to keep all your notes in one place, and access them on all of your devices) to e-Reader apps such as Kindle, iBooks and ebrary.