|By Rebecca Bowden, Gale Digital Scholar Lab Product Manager|
On June 27, 2022, Gale launched its first Digital Humanities User Engagement Program, inviting eight Gale Primary Sources and Gale Digital Scholar Lab users to collaborate closely with the Digital Humanities Production team at Gale. The members of the User Engagement Program will provide feedback throughout the product development process, keeping the voice of the researcher at the center of the product experience.
Below, the Digital Humanities Product Managers who developed the program – Rebecca Bowden and Megan Sullivan – explain more!
What is the Gale Digital Humanities User Engagement Program?
The Gale Digital Humanities User Engagement Program is a new initiative designed to connect our users directly with our product development process. This covers researching and designing new features, through to refining and validating prototypes, all the way up to beta-testing and launching new products. We want to hear feedback at all stages of development, and we hope that the program will allow us to continue centering the voices and needs of our users in everything we do.
Why did we create a Digital Humanities User Engagement Program?
It is difficult to develop a successful product experience without continued input from our users! We have always taken pride in our close engagement with our user base, but we want to further increase our connection to our users at all stages of the product development process, better understand their needs, and thus develop products that solve users’ most pressing problems!
Through the program we will be able to:
- Provide regular opportunities for instructors, students, and librarians to share their input throughout the platform development process for both Gale Primary Sources and Gale Digital Scholar Lab.
- Increase transparency of Gale’s product development process.
- Improve the user experience for digital humanities instructors, researchers, and students.
What was the selection process for the Digital Humanities User Engagement Program?
We wanted to tap into new voices for the program and ensure that it was representative of users across a range of roles, institutions and experiences. To achieve this, we put together a brief application survey and distributed it to institutions that had access to either Gale Primary Sources archives or Gale Digital Scholar Lab.
We were absolutely blown away by the response, receiving over one hundred brilliant applications from a diverse range of users! With so many qualified and outstanding potential group members, it was extremely difficult to narrow down the list! After a number of rounds of review, including discussion with the wider Digital Humanities Product team at Gale, we finally selected our members and invited them to join this year’s Digital Humanities User Engagement Program.
Despite originally planning to have six members, the quality of the applicants was so high that we expanded the program to eight, allowing us to gain an even better insight into the needs of our users.
We’re excited to be working with our new Digital Humanities User Engagement Program team to learn more about their thoughts on the Gale products, making Gale Primary Sources and Gale Digital Scholar Lab better than ever!
Meet our Digital Humanities User Engagement Program Members for 2022-2023:
Internal Gale Staff
Becca Bowden is the Product Manager forGale Digital Scholar Lab. Based in the UK, she started her career at Gale working in the Gale Primary Sources editorial team before taking on Gale Digital Scholar Lab in January 2022. She is loving exploring the world of DH and is excited to work with the Digital Humanities User Engagement Program to continue developing Gale Digital Scholar Lab.
Based in Gale’s main office in Michigan, Megan Sullivan is the Product Manager for Gale Primary Sources. With a background in Library Science, she has a strong personal interest in her work with digital archives and is excited about the program because she strongly believes that user-centered development is the key to a positive user experience.
The Program Members
Jose Intriago Suarez
Jose Intriago Suarez is a PhD candidate at Marquette University whose research looks at how cultural products in English language are consumed in international markets and their place in international relations. He currently is working on a project that looks at literary awards as actors in international cultural exchange. His work also researches the ways in which university writing centers and their student tutors can better serve Latinx students and other minority students. He also serves as an Assistant Director at the Ott Memorial Writing Center. He is excited to be a part of Gale’s Digital Humanities User Engagement Program to get a sense of what happens on the other side of the platforms.
Luis Galan-Guerrero is currently finishing his PhD at the University of Oxford. He researches modern British history and Latin American history, focusing on Colombia and looking at state formation and the upper classes. He is excited to be a part of the Digital Humanities User Engagement Program and the opportunity it presents to learn and expand his knowledge of digital tools, digitization and engagement with researchers and educators. He hopes to be able to take some of these methodologies back to Colombia.
Qiuyang Chen is a PhD student at the University of Warwick, researching gender history in modern contemporary China, although she has previously looked at the Chinese community in London. She first learned about Gale Digital Scholar Lab through Warwick’s DH certificate and is interested in using similar digital analysis techniques in combination with digital newspapers primary sources in her own work. She is also looking forward to exploring how these concepts can be introduced to undergraduate students.
Based in Washington State, USA, Caitlin Bagley is a librarian at Gonzaga University. She is particularly interested in maker’s spaces and digital labs and how she can bring these ideas to students and researchers on her campus. She is excited to be able to connect directly with Gale and provide feedback to help develop their platforms.
Oihane Etayo is currently finishing her PhD at the University of Warwick, co-based in the History Department and the Center for Interdisciplinary Methodologies. Her research looks at women’s protest performances during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, using different experimental methodologies to get a situational outlook on the sources. She learned about Gale Digital Scholar Lab via the library, and used it as an entry point into textual analysis. Throughout the pandemic she has found herself using digital primary sources even more, and has been sharing this and textual analysis approaches with her undergraduate students. She is excited to be working with Gale as part of the Digital Humanities User Engagement Program.
Kathrina Perry is a graduate student at the University of Northampton (UK); her research interests center on women’s history in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, especially philanthropy and charity. Within her work she has relied heavily on digital primary sources, particularly newspapers and periodicals, and is interested in gaining a better understanding of Gale’s platforms and how they work behind the scenes.
Susan Cogan is an historian of late medieval and early modern England. Her research interests include the history of architecture and gardens, religion, and gender. She offers undergraduate classes on medieval, Renaissance, and Early Modern European history, Tokugawa Japan, and graduate courses in English paleography and environmental history.
Catherine Nichols is a museum anthropologist and digital humanist interested in historical and contemporary movements of museum objects. Currently at Loyola University Chicago, she directs the May Weber Ethnographic Study Collection and is the Interim Assistant Director at Loyola’s Center for Textual Studies and Digital Humanities. In addition to teaching introductory and upper-level undergraduate courses in anthropology, her research focuses on the history of museums and their collections.
If you enjoyed reading about the Digital Humanities User Group Program, you may like the “Notes from our DH Correspondent” series, which includes posts such as:
- Separating the Wheat from the Chaff: Identifying Themes and Topics in Archives Using Gale Digital Scholar Lab
- Doing the Digital Laundry? Notes on Cleaning Unstructured Text Data
- Creating an Export Workflow with Gale Digital Scholar Lab
- Practical Pedagogy with Gale Digital Scholar Lab, Part I: Developing Your Syllabus and Learning Objectives
- Practical Pedagogy with Gale Digital Scholar Lab, Part II: Approaches to Project-Based Teaching and Learning
- A Sense of Déjà vu? Iteration in Digital Humanities Project Building using Gale Digital Scholar Lab
Blog post cover image citation: Image by @charlesdeluvio, available on Unsplash.com.