Resources and tools

This page contains useful links to resources, tools and services that are relevant to the work of British Library Labs. Please feel free to add any resources that you think might be useful for researchers and developers to this page.
Resources and tools | data.bl.uk | SlideShare | YouTube | GitHub | A Digital Humanities Resource Guide | Useful Labs handouts | Useful presentations about tools: | Tool Directories: | Free Online Tutorials: | Top Excel Tips for Data Analysts | Data Cleansing | Visualisation | Timeliner | Annotation | Statistical Packages | Useful people to follow

data.bl.uk

Browse the data.bl.uk website and download a selection of digitised datasets, made available by the British Library for research and creative purposes as part of the Library's aim to open its data to wider use.

SlideShare

The Labs SlideShare account hosts a range of presentations from various events given by Labs or in collaboration with the project: http://www.slideshare.net/labsbl/

YouTube

Visit the Labs Youtube Channel and search playlists and video content relating to the Labs project.

GitHub

Visit the Labs GitHub site: https://github.com/BL-Labs

A Digital Humanities Resource Guide

A clickable pdf Digital Humanities Resource Guide developed Wendy Durham as part of her MSc Library Science.

Useful Labs handouts

BL Labs flyer
BL Labs Award winners 2015
BL Labs Award winners 2016
BL Labs Competition winners 2016
BL Labs Competition winners 2013-16
Mini-NAS guide

Useful presentations about tools:

OpenGLAM Culture Lab

Sam Leon, Community Co-ordinator of Open Knowledge Foundation presents on OpenGLAM Culture Lab and provides an overview of useful tools that could be used with British Library Digital Content as part of the Labs project. These include, Crowdcrafting (a tool for crowd sourcing tasks, e.g. image classification, transcription, geocoding to name a few) Timeliner (a java script tool which produces beautiful timelines using various data sources) and Pundit(augmenting web pages with semantically structured annotations):


Tools and techniques for working with datasets

Tony Hirst, Lecturer at the Department of Communication and Systems, The Open University gives an overview tools and techniques for working with datasets:


Tony gives a whistlestop tour of various tools researchers could use to engage with digital content.

Tony talks about using Open Refine (a free powerful open source tool for working with messy data, with an example from Martin Hawksey).

He then talks about RStudio (software for working with the R statistical package), ggplot2 (a graphical plotting system for R, based on the grammar of graphics), knitr (a flexible and fast dynamic report generation tool used with R), shiny (a tool working with R-Studio which turns R analyses into interactive web applications without knowing HTML or JavaScript, though some experience of working with R is needed). There is also a mention of googleVis an Rpackage providing an interface between R and the Google Chart Tools.

He suggests that researchers need to ask themselves questions about how to use tools with a chosen data set or collection, e.g:
  • Can I use this dataset as a playground for learning about a new tool or trick?
  • Can I apply a tool or technique I am already familiar with to this dataset?

He then presents some examples of the use of Google Books Ngram viewer and some work on google maps.

Tony reminds us about Schneiderman's 'Visualisation information seeking mantra'
...Overview first, zoom and filter, then details-on-demand

(From: The Eyes have It: A Task by Data Type Taxonomy for Information Visualizations)

and then gives a quick overview and provided examples of the Gephi visualisation tool.

He reminds us that Wordles are still useful ways of visualising data.

Tony goes on to talk about templated data views and the work of Openly Local (making local government more transparent) and suggests that it would be great to combine British Library data with third party linked data.

Tool Directories:

Bamboo DiRT

Bamboo DiRT is a tool, service, and collection registry of digital research tools for scholarly use. Developed by Project Bamboo, Bamboo DiRT makes it easy for digital humanists and others conducting digital research to find and compare resources ranging from content management systems to music OCR, statistical analysis packages to mind-mapping software. Visit the website here: http://dirt.projectbamboo.org/

Free Online Tutorials:

(based on British Library Digital Curator Nora McGregor's Digital Scholarship blog posting)

Going Digital

Going Digital is a unique training programme aimed at doctoral students who are new to digital research and who want to learn more.The programme has been running since January and while applications to take part in the workshops have now closed many of the courses have already added their “How-to Guides” to the website. See for instance the excellent 30 January 2013 Scraping the web tutorial.

The Programming Historian 2

The Programming Historian 2 (PH2) is a tutorial-based open access textbook designed to teach humanists practical computer programming skills that are immediately useful to real research needs.

Open Knowledge Foundation School of Data

School of Data works to empower civil society organizations, journalists and citizens with the skills they need to use data effectively – evidence is power!
The courses offered here cover a whole range of topics around working with data, from data fundamentals to extracting, cleaning, analysing and presenting data.

Institute of Historical Research Digital Training Online Courses

The IHR offers a really nice selection of free online courses for digital research including one covering Digital Tools for semantic mark-up and text-mining and similar.

Top Excel Tips for Data Analysts

Excellent tips for using Excel with data developed by Investech around Data Cleaning, Analysis and Visualization.


Data Cleansing

Open Refine is a free powerful open source tool for working with messy data, with an example from Martin Hawksey

Visualisation

Gephi a powerful visualisation tool.
**Wordles** can be useful way to visualise text data.
ggplot2 is a graphical plotting system for R, based on the grammar of graphics.
Google Books Ngram viewer graphs.

Crowdsourcing
Crowdcrafting is a tool for crowdsourcing tasks such as image classification, transcription and geo-coding, to name a few.

Timeliner

Timeliner is a javascript tool which produces beautiful timelines using various data sources

Annotation

Pundit is a tool for augmenting web pages with semantically structured annotations.

Statistical Packages

RStudio is software for working with the R statistical package.
knitr is a flexible and fast dynamic report generation tool used with R.
shiny is a tool working with R-Studio which turns R analyses into interactive web applications without knowing HTML or JavaScript, though some experience of working with R is needed.

Open Data Sources
Openly Local is a website which is making local government more transparent.

Useful people to follow

Tony Hirst from the Open University regularly blogs at blog.ouseful.info and is @psychmedia on Twitter. His presentation is available on SlideShare.

Martin Hawksey's Ed Tech Blog.