video: Brown’s New “Digital Scholarship Lab” To Host Spring Series

Wednesday, March 06, 2013


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A large-scale visualization video wall comprised of 12 55-inch high-resolution LED screens is the centerpiece of Brown's new digital scholarship lab. Image: Brown University.

A vibrant new digital lab at Brown University's Rockefeller Library will host a series of talks this spring to celebrate its opening and explore the many ways in which digital technologies may affect teaching, research, and learning.

The Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, which opened in October 2012, features a large-scale visualization video wall comprised of twelve 55-inch high-resolution LED screens, creating a 7-by-16-foot display with a combined resolution of more than 24 megapixels. It offers high-quality viewing and analytical space not publicly available elsewhere on campus. The lab also has a wide range of software for use by faculty and students in a variety of disciplines, a high-definition audio system, video conferencing capabilities, specialized lighting, and several individual touch-screen monitors that can be used independently or linked to the video wall for collaborative display and interaction.

Libraries are no longer just warehouses of knowledge

“Today’s library is no longer just a warehouse of knowledge where people come to consume information,” said Harriette Hemmasi, the Joukowsky Family University Librarian. “The Digital Scholarship Lab brings to the Brown libraries a high-quality viewing and collaborative space not publicly available elsewhere on campus and gives opportunities to novice users as well as sophisticated professionals to experiment with visualization and analysis of data across all the disciplines.”

March 7: The Virtual Life of Books

The spring lecture series begins March 7 with a talk by Massimo Riva, professor of Italian studies at Brown, director of the Brown Center in Bologna and director of the Virtual Humanities Lab at Brown. Riva’s talk, “The Virtual Life of Books and Other Curious Artifacts,” will examine how great books, such as Boccaccio’s Decameron, and curious historical artifacts, like the Garibaldi panorama, help us rethink research and teaching in the digital age.

The second talk will take place on March 14. Sheila Bonde, professor of the history of art and architecture and professor of archaeology at Brown, will give a lecture titled “Re-presenting the Past,” which will examine the challenges of representing the past through the lens of archaeological work at the French medieval monasteries of Saint-Jean-des-Vignes in Soissons and Notre Dame d’Ourscamp. Bonde will look at the challenges of incomplete data, of representing time and movement, and of going beyond visual representation.

The complete Spring series

All talks begin at 5:30 p.m. The complete schedule of speakers includes:

March 7: Massimo Riva, professor of Italian studies, director of the Brown Center in Bologna and director of the Virtual Humanities Lab at Brown;
March 14: Sheila Bonde, professor of history of art and architecture and professor of archaeology at Brown;
March 21: Brown University Library staff discuss the special collections;
April 4: Rachel Franklin, assistant professor of population studies at Brown;
April 11: John Cayley, professor of literary arts at Brown;
April 18: Best of Hackfest 2013;
April 23: Andries Van Dam, the Thomas J. Watson Jr. University Professor of Technology and Education and professor of computer science at Brown;
April 25: Jill Pipher, professor of mathematics at Brown and director the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics;
May 2: Shawn Greenlee, assistant professor of foundation studies at the Rhode Island School of Design.

All talks are free and open to the public and will take place in the Digital Scholarship Lab, located on the first floor of the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, 10 Prospect St. For more information about the series, visit

For a preview of Brown's Digital Lab, watch this video, here.


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