The Chapman Center has long prided itself in equipping students with hands on skills that they can take into any career, skills like data collection, critical thinking, archiving, web publishing, media presentation, and, above all, the skill to produce a well-written and researched publication.
Our vision is for students to leave their time in the Center with these tools, a greater investment in their communities, and the confidence and perspective to achieve their life goals, personally and professionally.
Our Center has steadily grown and the number of initiatives and projects are many and varied. This semester faculty and staff asked the question: How do we structure the environment to engage students, broaden their vision, encourage collaboration, and facilitate learning?
Our solution was the “Brown Bag Lunch Series.”
Every Wednesday, Chapman Center faculty, staff, and students-a group of 12-gather to share lunch while discussing and being trained in research topics. Dr. Aley started off the series with tips and tools on how to caption photos, how to correctly cite, and how to professionally and politely approach archivists and historians in museums and historical societies for help. Dr. Lynn-Sherow raised awareness of logical fallacies that can creep into rural research and the importance of a multidisciplinary vision, especially when you’ve reached a dead-end in your research. For the remainder of the semester, we will cover topics of culture competency, archaeology, and preservation.
At the beginning of March we were thrilled to have guest speakers Ryan Otto and Dr. Sara Kearns from K-State Libraries come and share research techniques and tools with our students.
Ryan, Digital Librarian, gave our group tips on storing data appropriately to avoid all-too-common digital loss. As a digital humanities lab, the Chapman Center wants to ensure our collections are accessible long after they are completed. In order for this continued accessibility, Ryan notes that projects must be deliberate in the information saved and how it is saved. Ryan showed us the 5 organizational stages to a digital preservation project and demonstrated the importance of a well-designed schema of metadata and microdata for digital collections, using KREX, K-State’s research repository, as an example.
Dr. Sara K. Kearns, Development Librarian for Arts, Architecture, and the Humanities, introduced our students to Zotero, a free personal research assistant that serves as a fantastic aid to collecting, organizing, citing and sharing research. She also taught students how to research material items. First, she showed us an image of a mysterious metal object which was said to be an old fencer. By searching numbers at the patent office website, searching Google images, and browsing K-State farm journals to investigate the origins of items, students witnessed the piecing together of research to arrive at the identity of the item. With each source, the item was unveiled through research resources available to K-State students!
Our students benefited greatly from Ryan and Sara’s presentations. As a result, they are thinking bigger, broadening the scope of their research, and have expanded the research tools at their disposal.
Written by Maggie Cody