Faculty Inspired

UMass Boston Office for Faculty Development

What is a Digital Researcher?

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I have been very interested lately in what is or how to become a “digital researcher.” What prompted me to write this post though was that I was in EbscoHost getting an article and it offered me the opportunity to download the article as an mp3. That seems very cool (though NPR might not be too happy about this as it will definitely cut into my listening time) and I am going to give it a try. That probably wouldn’t qualify me as a “digital researcher,” but what would?

When I first thought about digital researcher, I thought it meant how you use apps or social media tools to conduct research. I was thinking about Zotero and Evernote, and PDF reading and annotating apps. I was also thinking about QDA tools, or software that assists you to do, in this case qualitative, research. NVIVO is a software based one I have used, but I’m also trying out a blog-style one called Knowdoo. Then there are file sharing tools like Dropbox (which I can no longer live without) and cloud-based presentation tools like prezi.

However, much that I’ve found on the web focuses more on how to publicize and publish your research as well as hopefully find collaborators often by using social media tools. Some people are offering workshops in this (sorry, this one is in the UK). At UMass Boston, we have spent a lot of effort to think about teaching and technology–I personally can’t wait for the conference in May–but it got me thinking that another great “conversation” would be discussing what digital tools our researchers are using to produce, distribute, and support their research and how we “count” it. Of course we have our own online publishing in our ScholarWorks.

There is need for concern or caution when doing online scholarship and two good articles discuss the ups and downs here and here. So many apps and cloud tools there are, I have not mentioned blogging yet but I will close with that.

Today, I read Jalal Alamgir’s blog and wiki entry. Clearly he was a digital researcher (and much, much, much more than that) and I wanted to post my condolences and how very sad I am about his tragic accident. Jalal was an avid blogger (his own and contributions to Huffington Post among others), tweeter, collaborator, scholar and he certainly made the world a better place.

One Comment

  1. Thanks! I now consider Zotero and Evernote essential for my work.

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