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Removing Barriers to Digital Scholarship

"An excellent resource for institutions seeking to expand their research and data-analysis offerings in the humanities." —Gricel Dominguez, reviewing in Library Journal

Emerging from the field of humanities computing with its origins in the late 1940s, digital humanities (DH) is, in many ways, still a growing discipline. With that growth comes a mix of exciting opportunities for researchers and libraries, as well as a host of challenges still to overcome.

When performing analyses, finding, cleaning, and organizing data, natural language processing (NLP) for historical texts is often a daunting task, especially when looking to generate meaningful results. Gale Digital Scholar Lab removes these barriers and streamlines the workflow process, allowing researchers to spend more time identifying previously undiscovered data, testing theories, analyzing results, and gaining new insights. 

Bringing Innovation to Digital Humanities

For researchers, DH scholarship is fueling new ways of interrogating content, analyzing insights, and outputting discoveries, and is fundamentally shifting how scholars partner together to make new types of research possible. Collaboration is a key driver of change as people with diverse backgrounds and skills come together to address common barriers related to applying new computing tools to content that may not always be prepped and accessible.

Advanced Humanities Computing Capabilities for Every User

As expert content curators and skilled technologists, librarians are natural collaborators throughout this process. Libraries around the world are embracing the opportunity to help faculty and students navigate groundbreaking research methodologies and achieve new outcomes by pairing computational analysis tools with high-quality content. While funding for humanities resources is increasingly limited, DH initiatives typically garner more support than traditional programs, positioning libraries well to actively engage at every step of the process.

A New Lens for Historical Texts

Together with libraries, Gale is poised to help colleges and universities launch, enhance, or accelerate their digital scholarship programs, strengthening connections with faculty and students. Gale Digital Scholar Lab, developed with participation from beta testers across a wide range of institutions and organizations, is designed to transform the way scholars and students access and analyze Gale primary source materials by offering solutions to some of the most common challenges facing researchers in the digital humanities today. By integrating an unmatched depth and breadth of digital primary source matter with the most popular DH tools, Gale Digital Scholar Lab provides a new lens to explore history and empowers researchers to generate world-altering conclusions and outcomes. Through advanced humanities computing tools that make natural language processing (NLP) for historical texts accessible, more efficient, and impactful, the footprint of digital humanities can be expanded to more classrooms around the globe.

Digital Scholarship with Prestige

The DH team at Gale couldn't be more proud that Gale Digital Scholar Lab has received the following recognition: 

  • Two-time winner for Best Product, Higher Education from the Tech & Learning Best of 2022 and Best of 2023 Awards of Excellence
  • Two-time winner for Back To School, Higher Education from Tech & Learning Best Tools for Back To School in both 2022 and 2023
  • Winner for best research & reference tools solution from the 2023 EdTech Cool Tool Awards
  • A finalist for Best Higher Education Humanities Instructional Solution from the 2023 SIIA CODiE Awards
  • Honorable Mention from the 2023 Modern Library Awards
  • A finalist for Best Learning Analytics/Data Mining Tool from the 2023 Tech Edvocate Awards
  • Platinum winner for best Digital Library Tool from the Campus Technology 2023 New Product Awards

How the Lab Works

Creating a Content Set

The Gale Digital Scholar Lab gives users the ability to create custom content sets containing as many as 10,000 documents. Users can search across their library’s Gale Primary Sources holdings and seamlessly select documents to be added to their custom content set.

Analyzing Content Sets

Users can analyze and interrogate the data with the text analysis and visualization tools built into the Gale Digital Scholar Lab. Digital humanities analysis methods include: Named Entity Recognition, Topic Modelling, Parts of Speech, and more.

Managing and Sharing

Users’ content sets remained saved in the Gale Digital Scholar Lab allowing them to manage their research for long term projects. Users can publish their outputs with confidence retaining all intellectual property rights and are free to share analysis outputs.

The Learning Center: Moving Toward Digital Scholarship for All

The Learning Center gives users the tools and support they need to understand and employ the vast amount of information and skill sets available through the Lab. It includes videos with live walkthroughs conducted by our digital humanities specialists, sample projects, glossaries, FAQs, and much more. Our Beyond the Lab instructional materials equips users with project-based narratives that model the core critical-thinking skills necessary for ideating around research questions and phenomena and interpreting data and findings.

Gale has shipped dozens of text and data mining drives to customers all over the world, but unless there are resources to mount this content in a way that is usable, its value remains largely unrecognized.

Gale has made it easy to transform users’ content to meet their research objectives without all the distracting data that may muddy the results.

The Lab grabs the best of the field’s data analysis tools and makes it easy and accessible for users to perform analyses that can yield meaningful results.

The Lab’s on-screen instructional materials provide users with the instruction as they work through the research process.

Users can browse the available archives provided by their institution in partnership with Gale.

My Content Sets is a space where users can easily organize and manage their research

Sample projects provide users with several completed projects models that are situated within the context of a narrative format.

Which archives are available to use with Gale Digital Scholar Lab?

Reviews & Testimonials

"Gale Digital Scholar Lab provides our community with the unique opportunity to engage with primary sources in ways they may never have considered before, without needing prior knowledge in coding or having to clean data beforehand. While the Lab has great potential for research, we also see it as a great investment for education, as the Lab enables us to provide hands-on experience with text-mining models that students can use for their studies and in their life after university.” 

— Katrina McAlpine, Associate Director, Publishing and Data Services, University of Sydney, Australia

"When we began considering the acquisition of Gale Digital Scholar Lab, our university was in the middle of forming a minor in Digital Studies. To support it, we had to give students access to online collections that could serve as a digital sandbox: something they could experiment with, research in, and manipulate digitally. The Lab gave us that, in addition to a suite of tools that are readily accessible in an environment with fewer barriers to use.”

— Hillary Richardson, Coordinator of Undergraduate Research & Information Literacy Librarian, Mississippi University for Women

"Gale Digital Scholar Lab saves a lot of time. If you use it in a traditional way, it can be time consuming, but if you utilize the Lab’s tools, it is much more convenient.”

— Wei Wang, Subject Librarian, School of Social Development and Public Policy, Fudan University

  • Read More

    The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is pleased to be leading a collaborative multi-state project funded by IMLS entitled the Carolina Digital Library Network (CDLN). In this project, we are evaluating several shared digital library infrastructures, starting with the remarkable new Gale Digital Scholar Lab. The Lab offers an amazing array of textual pattern analysis tools for scholarly explorations into historical documents. Our project will feature a series of competitions over the next two years by researchers at each of our collaborating universities; cash incentives will be awarded for the winning research projects. Our faculty members are intrigued with the possibilities of digital humanities toolkits such as the Lab, not only for their own established research agendas, but also because of the next-generation scholarship training that the project will offer to their graduate students. What we like most about the Lab is that it integrates advanced textual pattern analysis tools into a simple-to-use interface that can be learned quickly by scholars from virtually any discipline.” 

    — Martin Halbert, Professor at the University of North Carolina – Greensboro

    “This innovative and fascinating platform is useful both for seasoned digital humanities researchers and others interested in experimenting in this emerging field. Librarians eager to steer patrons toward library collections will appreciate the opportunities for collaboration this tool provides. Finally, humanities professors will find it helpful for introducing students to textual analysis and digital literacy. Recommended particularly for large research institutions, especially those already invested in Gale Primary Sources.”
    —Brian T. Sullivan, Library Journal

    "The Digital Scholar Lab operates in a Cloud-based research environment, which provides libraries with valuable savings, but, maybe more importantly, the Digital Scholar Lab will encourage students and scholars to use library resources to complete projects. It is hard not to be excited about the possibilities opened up by digital humanities generally and by the Digital Scholar Lab in particular. The appeal to graduate students and scholars is obvious, but the Digital Scholar Lab also has the potential to make in-depth research accessible to undergraduates. Highly recommended for academic libraries."
    —ARBA Staff Reviewer

    "Digitization of archives and technology-based text analysis have changed the field of humanities research. Gale's Digital Scholar Lab works with a library's subscription to Gale Primary Sources, connecting students and scholars with easy-to-use tools to explore many angles of analysis. For libraries with a collection of Gale Primary Sources that support students and scholars in the humanities and social sciences."
    — Susan Maguire

Explore Primary Sources through a New Lens

Explore Gale Primary Sources archives through the lens of the Gale Digital Scholar Lab and unleash sample findings that could be further explored by researchers.

Answers from Gale's Expert Scholars

Wendy Kurtz, Ph.D., Hispanic Languages and Literatures, and Sarah Ketchley, Ph.D., Egyptology, serve as in-house scholars and advisors to Gale and its library partners. As Digital Humanities Specialists at Gale, they leverage their expertise and innovation in digital humanities research and teaching, and provide key insight to and from the scholarly community. Hear their thoughts on how Gale’s Digital Scholar Lab can fuel innovations in scholarship at your university.


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