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Guido at ResBaz
24 July, 2018

Upskilling the next generation in digital research tools and scholarship

AARNet was out in force at the Research Bazaar (ResBaz) Sydney, held at Macquarie University, 3-5 July. As well as sponsoring the event, we manned a stand, distributed T-shirts, held a product sneak preview, delivered several presentations and hosted a training session.

Research Bazaars have been held at various universities over the past four years, and they keep getting bigger. Where the inaugural one at the University of Melbourne had perhaps 150 participants, this one had over 300 attendees – mostly early career PhDs, keen to up-skill in next-generation digital research tools and scholarship.

They’re called “bazaars” for a reason; ResBaz events are set up to be highly participatory, where researchers from many different disciplines can learn, share knowledge and skills, and have fun doing so.

For AARNet, ResBaz is a great opportunity to face to face with the users of our services – there’s no better way to see what enthuses people, what distracts them and how we might help them better.

We gave a sneak preview of an improvement to CloudStor that we’ve been cooking up in our labs, developed particularly for early career PhDs. It’s a new service that will provide computational notebooks (jupyter, for the cognoscenti) right on top of the data and code libraries that users have sitting inside CloudStor.

AARNet Software Engineer Michael D’Silva did a live demo of the new platform during the event and the enthusiastic response suggests that we need to build it bigger and deliver it quicker.

In another exciting development, AARNet was given the honour of calling together and MC’ing a new event stream specifically focused on the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) community. This was a first for AARNet and a first for ResBaz, and it’s due to the hard work of Ingrid Mason, our eResearch Deployment Strategist, that AARNet is now seen as a significant player on the HASS tooling front.

HASS is a relative newcomer to the field of digital tooling, and this stream was designed to expand the opportunity for higher degree students, academics and research librarians to participate and learn about and use research tools and platforms.

Introductory workshops with a mix of information, hands-on, and discussion were delivered to ensure national research infrastructure, relevant to the HASS research, could be added into the participants’ digital toolkits.

The stream consisted of AARNet (specifically the aforementioned Ingrid Mason), in partnership with researchers and research support specialists, running a smorgasbord of workshops, discussing data, tools, services, and more. Esteemed delivery partners were:

  • Human communication science, e.g. linguistics, music, Dr Dominque Estival (Alveo / Western Sydney University)
  • Geography and demography, Xavier Goldie (AURIN)
  • Social science, Dr Steven McEachern (Australian Data Archive)
  • Research data management, Susan Shrubb, Jan Van Balen, John Elias (Macquarie University Library)
  • Trove API, Julia Hickie and Melanie Hunt (National Library of Australia)
  • Jupyter notebook, Ingrid Mason and Michael D’Silva (AARNet).

On day three, Dr Rachel Hendery, a linguistics scholar (Western Sydney University), facilitated THATCamp (in an “unconference” format), and a mix of sessions ranging from a demo of the Omeka system by Katrina Trewin (Western Sydney University Library) and Dr Steven McEachern coordinating the hacking the Australian government gazettes using the Trove API, with Julia Hickie from the Trove Australia team.

In addition to ResBaz Sydney, AARNet has also contributed to a number of RezBaz events in around Australia this year.

Author: Guido Aben, AARNet eResearch