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Developing a Library Research Platform for 21st Century Scholars

The direct intersection between university libraries and academic research has significantly diminished in the past two decades. For continued relevance on campus academic libraries need to develop a new approach to working within the research endeavour.

2018-2019 Subgrant Projects

In the second round of subgrants seven projects were funded.

Mapping and Visualizing Victorian Literary Sociability

Karen Bourrier & Dan Jacobson

This project examines the literary question of how social networks could sustain the careers of Victorian writers, artists, editors and publishers, with a particular focus on women’s careers. In Victorian London, women were not always welcome in the spaces of the club or the publisher’s dinner, but they did have opportunities to network in each other’s homes and at literary soirees. We will geo-reference the residences of writers, artists, editors and publishers, in order to examine how propinquity may have facilitated careers and collaboration in nineteenth-century London.  

Project website:

Are Smart Cities Healthy?

Combining novel data sources to investigate the impact of social, economic, and geographic factors on the relationship between employment and health within and across Canadian cities. 

Jennifer Godley & Seok-Woo Kwon

We will explore how Canadian cities of different sizes and in different geographic locations compare with each other in terms of various economic, social and infrastructural factors. 

This project has the potential to develop a multidisciplinary research platform linking sociology, economics, geography, business, and public health. In sociology and public health, there is a long tradition of studying how socioeconomic factors influence individual health. We build on this rich research stream, but extend it by incorporating economic factors pertinent to building smart, sustainable cities.

Visualizing a Canadian Author Archive: Alice Munro

Murray McGillivray, Noreen Humble, Michael Ullyot, Jagoda Walny, Jason Wiens

A collaboration between a multidisciplinary group of digital humanities and computer-science researchers to explore visualization possibilities in textual research. 

This is a pilot project in collaboration with Libraries and Cultural Resources researchers that will produce peer-reviewed publications and will seed further grant opportunities, while demonstrating new modalities of collaboration between library and non-library researchers. 

The visualizations we produce will promote one of the library’s most significant archival assets while offering researchers new insights into the significance of that fonds. 

Project website:

Soper’s World: a Journey into the Canadian Arctic through Art

Maribeth Murray, Steve Liang, Michael Moloney, Shannon Christoffersen

The Arctic Institute is interested in leveraging Soper’s multifaceted role in the Arctic to highlight the variable perspectives of Canadian Arctic exploration. Through a virtual exhibit, we intend to map Soper’s explorations, combining geography, art, history, and biology to create an educational window on the Arctic for the public.

This project will contribute significant content for teaching and research in geography, history, and art to the library research platform and will be a showpiece for AINA’s 75th anniversary in 2020 as part of our planned art exhibit with the Nickel Arts Museum.

Project website:

Making specialized natural history collections accessible to diverse users: 

A case study involving the bees of Alberta

Mindi Summers, Lincoln Best, Marjan Eggermont, Paul Galpern, John Swann, Jessica Theodor, Jana Vamosi, Jess Vickruck

We seek to expand upon our collaboration with Libraries and Cultural Resources to address the need for accessible biodiversity by generating a BeeASmartCity research platform. 

This open-access platform will make data on Albertan bees available to scientists, city planners, and interested members of the public. 

The BeeASmartCity collaboration will also generate biodiversity visualizations, including high-resolution digital photographs of native bees that will allow diverse users to explore questions related to biodiversity, identify the diversity they encounter in their city, and access resources related to bio-inspired urban design and planning. 

Project website:

Preserving and Disseminating Maker Skills with Mixed-Reality Videos

Anthony Tang, Jason Johnson, Lora Oehlberg, Jennifer Adams

Our vision is to help candidate teachers and learners become effective users of Makerspaces through the use of mixed-reality videos that support self-learning. Because Makerspaces rely on 1:1 modes of teaching and are chronically understaffed, they frequently cannot address the needs of all users. We will explore new modes of communication to address this challenge -- specifically, how mixed reality technologies can be used to preserve knowledge to acquire skills for Makerspace tools. These explorations will result in new forms of "videos" that prospective learners can use and study to learn how to use Maker skills.

Project videos:; project sourcecode:

SmartCampus: Interactive Visualizations for Data-driven Design

Wesley Willett, Angela Rout, Frank Maurer, Andrew Szeto

Our objective is to build a data visualization of Phone-GPS data from University of Calgary students that can be used by campus designers and researchers.

We will do this through a series of four participatory focus groups. In these sessions we will define design guidelines for the visualization as well as test the usability of iterative prototypes. Each session will have an individual set of actions and outcomes, but all will center on two core research questions:

  1. What questions do architects ask of these data?
  2. How can we visualize the data so that architects can answer these questions?

Project website: