An environment for fresh ideas: Collaboration space underway for digital scholarship, data management, and publishing

Nov 10, 2021

Architect rendering of digitial scholarship space, modular furniture, computersA 3D printer and scanner, high-powered computer workstations, digital diplays, and modular seating are just a few new features library users can expect in the coming months. Room 199, once a quiet underutilized reading room, is being transformed into a digital scholarship space designed with interdisciplinary collaboration in mind.

Scheduled to open this spring, the nearly 3,000-square-foot room will serve as the library’s hub for digital scholarship, research data, and publication services. Beyond its modern aesthetic and features, the space will integrate expert assistance, hands-on training for classes, software and hardware, and specialized research support services, expanding the library’s capacity to support the evolving needs of the Iowa State community.

Architect rendering digital scholarship space, modular furniture, computers, work areasHilary Seo, dean of the University Library, said the room differs from other collaboration spaces in Parks Library.

“Our focus here is to create an experiential learning space where we can directly engage with our users, working side-by-side with them on their ideas from beginning to end.”

Whether you are interested in data management plans, data visualization techniques, or Open Access publishing platforms, the space represents a unique fusion of services across three library units, including Digital Scholarship and Initiatives, Research Data Services, and the ISU Digital Press.

The teams, which often intersect, will occupy interconnected offices designed to increase collaboration and public access. Identified as growth areas within the library, the units will use the space to expand services and increase campus-wide partnerships, prioritizing digital research, Open Access initiatives and accessibility to scholarly outcomes. 

“We are filling needs on this campus in areas where our skills are best used and evolving how people see and collaborate with the library,” Seo said. “This project goes beyond transactional services and fosters partnerships that advance and increase the visibility of Iowa State’s research and scholarly outcomes through digital scholarship.”

The project stems from a comprehensive feasibility study conducted to reconceptualize Parks Library and meet the learning and research needs of a 21st century library. The study confirmed additional, technology-equipped collaboration and experiential learning spaces are integral to ensuring the library advances with the changing education and research landscapes. The need for digital scholarship and research data training was identified through a university-wide survey in 2020.

The space, scheduled for completion in April, was made possible by a $225,000 contribution from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust of Muscatine, Iowa. A public open house will be scheduled for spring.  

Nacuya Rucker, University Library external relations director, 302 Parks Library, 515-294-2155