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Digital Social Sciences Fair Highlights Online Resources 

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Geographic Information Systems Technician Whitley
Frost, left, talks with one of the attendees of the Digital Social Sciences Fair.

November 12, 2009 – Even experienced researchers can be daunted by the multitude of digital resources available through the Harvard libraries, where holdings include thousands of e-journals, online databases, mapping tools and image collections. To help faculty and researchers remain up-to-date on the digital tools at their disposal, nearly a dozen staff from Harvard College Library (HCL) and other Harvard libraries recently offered consultations and tutorials as part of the Digital Social Sciences Fair at the Center for Government and International Studies.  

Library participation in the fair, which was hosted by the Division of Social Sciences and Academic Technology Group, was organized by Michael Hemment, Head of Research, Teaching and Learning for HCL.

“The fair offered us a different kind of venue for informing researchers about the vast universe of online resources available for the social sciences,” said Hemment. “We illustrated various digital tools, distributed handouts, and even fielded some substantial research questions related to our Government Documents and Numeric Data collections.”  

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Among the e-resources highlighted by library staff were the Harvard Geospatial Library, CQ Press Electronic Library, Open Collections projects, IQSS Dataverse Network, library Research Guides and online tutorials, and VIA, Harvard’s catalog of visual resources.

“As a new faculty member, I found the Digital Social Sciences Fair to be an extremely useful introduction to the huge variety of digital resources available here at Harvard,” said Assistant Professor of Anthropology Matthew Liebmann. “I was able to learn about several sources of information of which I was previously unaware; as an archaeologist working on issues of European-Native American contact, I was particularly excited to learn about the cartography and GIS resources available through HCL.”  

Staff from a handful of HCL units took part in the event, including Bonnie Burns and Whitley Frost from the Harvard Map Collection, Diane Sredl and John Baldisserotto from Numeric Data Services, and Vida Margaitis from Government Documents. Participating staff from other Harvard libraries included Corinna Baksik and Wendy Gogel from the Office of Information Systems and Carla Lillvik from Gutman Library.