October 05, 2017, BY Beth Kaszuba

Two Bucknell research fellows pose on campus.
Minglu Xu '20 and Justin Guzman '19, members of Bucknell's first Digital Scholarship Summer Research Fellowship cohort, will present their work at the University's upcoming Digital Scholarship Conference. Photo by Emily Paine, Division of Communications

Not every academic conference appeals to students, faculty, librarians, instructional technologists and administrators alike. But Bucknell's Digital Scholarship Conference has bridged those gaps — and crossed interdisciplinary lines — to expand a growing conversation about how to use ever-changing technologies to enrich scholarship and enhance learning.

The conference, now in its fourth year, will be held on campus Oct. 6–8. Keynote speakers include a performance artist who presented his doctoral dissertation as a rap album, a sculptor who digitizes location data to create art, and a homeland security expert who analyzes global news coverage to predict societal behaviors.

Three Bucknell students will also share research conducted under the auspices of a new Digital Scholarship Summer Research Fellows program initiated by Library & Information Technology.

Justin Guzman '19, an English-film/media studies major, will share the results of his study of representations of LGBT characters and themes in films released by major and independent studios between 2012 and 2016. Guzman collected data on approximately 1,800 films and analyzed the information using Tableau, a robust data visualization program.

Economics major Minglu Xu '20 will present her research on the rapid growth of internet usage and availability in China over the last decade. Xu used a geographic information systems (GIS) program to create visual representations of internet use expansion in several Chinese provinces. She then analyzed related social implications. Xu, who was born in China and raised in Singapore, said there are "misconceptions about what people think of China and the internet," and that she "wanted to shed light on what's really happening."

Rennie Heza '18, a mathematics major, will share his research related to sports analytics. Heza used metrics and statistics to create a model that seeks to explain the regular-season successes of National Hockey League teams.

A fourth student, Tyler Candelora '19, a Spanish and comparative humanities major, also served as summer fellow. Candelora, who is currently studying abroad in France, researched monuments to coal miners in the Pennsylvania anthracite region, creating a database, timeline and map.

Tyler Candelora '19 visits a monument honoring the coal miners of Pennsylvania's anthracite region as part of a summer digital scholarship fellowship. Photo by Emily Paine, Division of Communications

"The students were really invested," said Carrie Pirmann, a Bucknell librarian who helped oversee the fellowship program with fellow librarian Courtney Paddick. "They were conducting research they were passionate about, and it showed in their final projects."

The conference, which will bring together representatives from 59 institutions, will enable members of the academic community to "share their challenges and successes" with digital scholarship, according to organizer Matt Gardzina, director of digital pedagogy & scholarship.

"We were one of the first universities to host something like this," he added, explaining that the conference is supported by a $700,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. "We have amazing resources here."