Data Practices: Harnessing Cultural Heritage Data to Support Scholarly Practices

Join us for a talk and discussion with Prof. Unmil Karadkar at the Semaphore Demo Room at Robarts Library on March 17 , 4pm-5pm:


In this talk, I will present two examples of projects that exemplify my research agenda, which synthesizes information-centered studies of scholarly work practices and user experience-centered studies for designing and evaluating software.

In the Scholars Tracking Archival Resources (STAR) project, we are studying the strategies and techniques adopted by scholars in order to manage, track, and collate primary source documents both while working in the archive reading rooms and during the writing process after they have gathered the necessary documents. I will present our findings from 26 interviews conducted with humanists from eight countries, several humanities disciplines, and at various stages of their career. Based on these findings and accounting for the preferences expressed by these scholars, we are designing a mobile app to help scholars in long-term curation of their evolving personal collections, which include data from multiple sources and gathered via diverse modalities (cameras, notebook, cloud storage, email, and CD-ROM).

In the Computational Collection Descriptions (CCD) project, we are studying mech
anisms for semi-automatic generation of collection-level description for large metadata aggregations. Multi-institutional aggregations, such as the Digital Public Library of America and Europeana are making unprecedented quantities of archive, special collection, and museum items available for scholarly use. While digital metadata in these collections is recorded at the item-level, this information is insufficient–and often overwhelming or counter-productive–when deciding the suitability of these materials for scholarly purposes. I will present the mechanisms that we have developed for augmenting DPLA collections with computationally generated overviews from item-level metadata to assist scholars in selecting collections for use in their research.



Unmil Karadkar is a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the School of Information at The University of Texas at Austin. He studies mechanisms for maximizing the value of data sets by integrating threads from data science, human-centered computing, and digital curation. He has published in major digital libraries conferences and information science journals. He serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Digital Libraries. Unmil’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Texas General Land Office.  He holds a PhD in Computer Science from Texas A&M University.






The Semaphore Demo Room is at the ground floor of Robarts Library, room 1150 as marked below: