The Productive Scholar RECAP: New Faculty Technology Toolkit – Part 1: Q-APS Consulting, HRC, and DHI

For a description of this Productive Scholar session and biographies of the presenters, please click here.

Jonathan Olmsted, Q-APS Consulting: Using the Q-APS Consulting Service
Q-APS: the Program for Quantitative and Analytical Political Science, originated in the Department of Politics. The program was started in 2009 to support the intersection of political science and technical fields such as statistics, game theory, and computer science. Q-APS has sponsored a weekly seminar series, conferences, workshops, and the provision of graduate student support (e.g.: LaTeX, R, webscraping, research computing).Screen shot 2013-11-22 at 5.57.07 PM

A little more than a year old, the Q-APS Consulting Service seeks to provide service to members of the social science community (faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and staff researchers) free of charge. More recently, a growing number of researchers have become interested in how statistics and research computing technologies can fruitfully intersect with other fields. As a result, Q-APS Consulting Services has found themselves being visited by scholars from these other fields. In some cases these scholars are attempting to determine what significance Q-APS research methods might have for them. One example of a question asked during an initial consultation is, “How do I use data, or computers, or math to answer my social science question?” Frequently consulting requests include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

• research design
• descriptive data analysis
• statistical inference
• programming in R, Python, C++

Q-APS consulting works with a researcher to determine how these technologies can facilitate research if the above methods are without precedent in her/his current research practice. Jonathan proffered few helpful examples concerning the visual expression of data in the humanities and social sciences, particularly with text analysis or topic modeling: How do you go from reading and talking about a text to automating it? For example addressing the authorship disputes that have surrounded the Federalist Papers, employing statistical inference. Or revealing the rate of divergence between the democratic and republican tweets posted by members of Congress during the recent government shut-down as visualized data (an example Jonathan showed the audience to great effect!). What about the researcher who says, ‘I’m not a social scientist or a statistician, but I have a bunch of data that has addresses associated with it, how do I begin to visualize that data?’

For researchers who are curious, but unsure if Q-APS is relevant to their work, Jonathan noted, “if you have any questions, if you want to get a better sense of whether something you’re doing can fit into this model, and if you can receive some help, all you have to do is shoot Q-APS Consulting Service an email. You don’t have to have a specific plan or question before contacting Q-APS.” Also, Q-APS Consulting Service supports all levels of research: JPs, senior theses, dissertations, as well as postdoctoral and faculty research projects.

To contact Q-APS Consulting Services: q-apsconsulting@trac.princeton.edu , or go to the website http://q-aps.princeton.edu , or Google them using “q-aps consulting” (which lists them as the top hit). If Q-APS can’t be of assistance they’ll endeavor to connect you with the appropriate Princeton University resource.

Ben Johnston: HRC (Humanities Resource Center) & DHI (Digital Humanities Initiative) Consulting:

HRC Manager, and Senior Educational Technologist, Ben Johnston provided a brief summary of all the resources and services available at the Office of Information Technology’s (OIT) Humanities Resource Center (HRC):

- Though the HRC is not a library, it does house the Princeton University Library’s video collection, which constitutes the majority of the video available on campus: roughly 10,000 videos on site, and another 3,000 off-site in ReCAP (Research Collections and Preservation Consortium).

- Maintains equipment for viewing legacy videos. Each computer workstation is equipped with a VCR, a multi-lingual, multi-format DVD player (NTSC, PAL) any VHS tape, DVD, or laserdisc from anywhere in the world can be played on an HRC workstation.

- Offers computer space for faculty to make available to students specific software for use in a course. The HRC can secure licenses and install the software either in the HRC or the HRC Classroom, immediately across the hall.

- Provides a number of scanners and numerous OCR (Optical Character Recognition) packages, with the intent of supporting as many languages as possible, including the expected European languages, as well as most East Asian Languages, Hebrew, Arabic, Farsi, and recently the German Fraktur script.

- Offers a small conference room which can be reserved for meetings requiring multimedia display and playback.

Princeton Digital Humanities Initiative (DHI)/ DHI Consulting:
The Princeton Digital Humanities Initiative was started about two years ago at theDigitalHumanities University by a group comprised of personnel from the faculty, information sciences, and varied technology specialist fields, each of whom had been separately pursuing various projects in the digital humanities. Their initial aim was twofold: to consolidate the currently available information on what is available on campus with regards to the digital humanities, and to bring together campus community members who are interested in the digital humanities. Currently there are between 160-180 Princeton DHI listserv subscribers. DHI has intentionally sought participation from a wide expanse of academic units and constituencies, including: faculty members, graduate students, undergraduates, the Office of Information Technology (OIT), and the Princeton University Library (PUL). Ultimately, DHI aims to create a Certificate Program in the Digital Humanities. To reach this goal, DHI has provided grants to faculty members for the design and implementation of digital humanities components to existing courses. DHI is also providing funding to graduate students to attend digital humanities-related conferences. Interested persons are encouraged to join this initiative. Please go to the DHI website for more information about these activities and upcoming events.

 

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