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Fri, 16 Dec 2011 15:20:47 +0000 Miriam Posner 1492@ <p>I return yet again to present you with <a href=";utm_source=at&amp;utm_medium=en">this</a> link to a Chronicle article on start-up-like student workspaces.</p> <p>Edited to add <a href="">this presentation</a> on "Learning Spaces in Academic Libraries: Research and Assessment Methods." </p> Miriam Posner on "Help us design a DH workspace!" Fri, 23 Sep 2011 01:08:45 +0000 Miriam Posner 1394@ <p>Future readers (hello from the past!) might find <a href="">this article</a> useful. </p> Karin Dalziel on "Help us design a DH workspace!" Wed, 27 Oct 2010 15:19:32 +0000 Karin Dalziel 609@ <p><em>Replying to @<a href=''>hopegreenberg</a>'s <a href="">post</a>:</em></p> <p>I love the idea of powering a display with a mac mini + wireless keyboard in a DH space. I do this at home and it leads to many impromptu "look at this cool thing I found on the internet" sessions when friends are over. </p> hopegreenberg on "Help us design a DH workspace!" Mon, 25 Oct 2010 19:16:01 +0000 hopegreenberg 580@ <p>Jumping in a bit late...<br /> We've built, unbuilt and rebuilt several spaces over the years. Some of the things that used to work well no longer apply and some that we thought would be great ideas turned out to be not so great. Here are a few things we like:<br /> - everyone mentions more power but don't forget wired connections as well. Most campus networks still have faster wired than wireless connections which is useful when you need to move large files around. (Oh, and we just pulled out our floor outlets - they were not as flexible as we had hoped.)<br /> - sound bleed: if your space is going to be close to a library quiet space you will have to find a way to accommodate that.<br /> - basic requirements: wheels on furniture, coffee/tea/fridge station and water/sink area<br /> - we ditched our old 3'x 5' SmartBoards recently for two reasons. 1) Size: unless you were projecting for a very small group it was really hard to see small print or details on the screen. Even worse using monitors. 2) we wanted people to be able to come in, plug in their devices and project. This meant that most did not have the SmartBoard software installed so were just using the SmartBoard as a display device anyway.<br /> - also on projection: we've had great experience with a MacMini attached to a projector and using a wireless keyboard. That way anyone can 'drive' - just pass the keyboard around.<br /> - a mix of quiet space and noisy space. You really need both!<br /> - one thing we have kept over the years: a cart of laptops for use by walk-ins and workshops. (We have Macs running Windows as our campus is about half-and-half.) People appreciate not having to lug their laptops around to visit us, and for workshops we can make sure we are all using the same software. </p> Bethany Nowviskie on "Help us design a DH workspace!" Wed, 20 Oct 2010 10:16:46 +0000 Bethany Nowviskie 542@ <p>Oh, yeah -- power outlets! If you can possibly budget for floor drops for power plugs, do. I am told that, depending on the state of the ceiling underneath, these aren't as crazy-expensive as you might think. Besides being the #1 desire of library patrons in physical space surveys, having lots of easily-accessible outlets helps with future furniture shifts. </p> <p>One thing that prevents us from making changes in the Scholars' Lab is that our electricity comes down from the ceiling in just a few spots, into the pillars at the ends of adjoined desks and collaboration carrels, instead of up from the floor in many areas. I'd love, for instance, to have the option to turn the lab on its head and hold talks in the back area (where it's quieter) rather than the front, but the power situation prevents that.</p> <p>Which brings me to... acoustics! Don't forget to think about acoustics if you're imagining a mixed-use space. Just as one little example -- when we hold talks, our clattery, dinging elevator drives people crazy, and there's something about the room that can make it easier to hear low chatter way in the back (we don't close the back of the lab for events) than the questions coming from the audience. </p> Eric Johnson on "Help us design a DH workspace!" Wed, 20 Oct 2010 04:34:48 +0000 Eric Johnson 538@ <p>Building on what others have said, I think it's paramount in a big, flexible, collaborative space with folks running around doing all kinds of interesting things to make sure it is clear to the first-time visitor <em>what they can do</em> and <em>where they can go</em>.</p> <p>In a lot of cases, that means a fair bit of very clear signage. Have fun with it--make big labels of the sort that joebenfield <a href="">suggested</a> or big arrows pointing to the service points or technical resources or designated activity spaces. Use color to draw the eye--paint is cheap, and the place has to be painted, right?</p> <p>In other cases, the organization of the space itself will help. Try to think like somebody who will be walking in there for the first time. Where should they go first? Who should they talk to first? Is that obvious no matter what else is going on? Will they have to walk through the whole room to find staff/direction? Do what you can to assuage "DH lab anxiety."</p> <p>Think about the service model, too--an imposing fortification of a reference/information desk probably doesn't lend itself to a nimble DH workspace, as Bethany said. But some kind of permanent desk might be helpful as a "go-to" spot. On the other hand, can it be staffed by people who are clearly willing to get up and move around to talk to those who need help or a consultation? Or is there a way for folks to signal that they need help but otherwise leave the staff to their own devices? Those are more service philosophy questions, but they have an impact on the design of the space (just make sure it's clear to the visitor how they should interact with the staff).</p> <p>And related to the points about behind-the-scenes staff support, think about how the staff might grow (we can dream, right?) or change in the next several years. It's tough when a staff space is designed for the minimum number of staff and then has nowhere to grow if personnel increase. And personnel in this case isn't just permanent, full-time staff; remember that lots of grad/undergrad student workers may be used in place of FT staff, but all those bodies need a place to work when they're there at the same time.</p> <p>I love the ideas being thrown out by everybody. Flexibility and comfort are key for the whole thing. And power plugs! </p> Dorothea Salo on "Help us design a DH workspace!" Wed, 20 Oct 2010 02:35:23 +0000 Dorothea Salo 532@ <p>Can I just say -- wow, this is the greatest thread ever! I have recommended it to several people on my campus, and I can see I'll be recommending it to more. </p> Miriam Posner on "Help us design a DH workspace!" Tue, 19 Oct 2010 22:15:35 +0000 Miriam Posner 529@ <p><em>Replying to @Bethany Nowviskie's <a href="">post</a>:</em></p> <p>Aha! I see! Thank you, ma'am. I know we'll be facing similar issues of flux-iness, so I think we'd be well advised to keep things very flexible. </p> Bethany Nowviskie on "Help us design a DH workspace!" Tue, 19 Oct 2010 20:30:25 +0000 Bethany Nowviskie 527@ <p><em>Replying to @Miriam Posner's <a href="">post</a>:</em></p> <p>Hey, Miriam - Let me clarify on the issue of the service desk. When the Scholars' Lab was being designed, there was a lot of discussion (since we combined two UVa Library labs -- the old Etext and GeoStat centers -- with a Research Computing Support center from our central IT division) that this would be a "one-stop shop" for faculty and students doing digital work in the humanities and social sciences. I think the one-stop shop is kind of a pipe dream, and our "service model" is much more oriented around training and do-it-yourself DH. Times are more lean, too, and we are no longer funded to staff a service desk (as we used to) from 8am to 11pm every day (with two students in place during peak hours!). It does still make good sense to have a reference desk or reception point in a big, open space like the SLab -- my only suggestion would be that the physical design of the space not necessarily be <em>centered</em> around the service desk. In the Scholars' Lab, everything about the architecture (an unconventional ceiling treatment, the patterning of floor tiles, the angling of a bank of computers, the use of accent colors on dividing walls, etc.) is beautifully geared to guide Library patrons to the service desk -- where, now, at many times during the day, they won't see a smiling face.</p> <p>I guess the general lesson is more about flexibility in design. You may not be able to predict how your service model, or ideal use of the space will evolve over time. Daring architectural interventions (like our crazy ceiling) may ultimately highlight an absence rather than an asset. </p> Miriam Posner on "Help us design a DH workspace!" Mon, 18 Oct 2010 23:29:30 +0000 Miriam Posner 505@ <p><em>Replying to @Bethany Nowviskie's <a href="">post</a>:</em></p> <p>Bethany and Julie, I confess that the Scholars' Lab is one image that comes very quickly to mind when I think about what our space could look like. It is indeed awesome. <a href="">Here's</a> a set of photos we took on our visit. </p> <p>Bethany, can I get you to say more about the public service desk? Would you advocate getting rid of it entirely? Is there a place for something like a reception station in an environment where lots of potentially confusing activities are taking place at once? </p> Bethany Nowviskie on "Help us design a DH workspace!" Mon, 18 Oct 2010 22:48:47 +0000 Bethany Nowviskie 504@ <p>Thanks, Julie! We are pretty lucky to have some fabulous spaces for digital humanities work at the <a href="">Scholars' Lab</a>! What I most like about them is that they are so varied. </p> <p>In the main lab, we've got a wide-open space that (at least once a week and often more) we reconfigure from a jumble of cushioned chairs and coffee-tables to more formal seating in circles or rows (with a wheel-in podium) for public lectures. There are fixed workstations with gigantic monitors out there some in single stations in the airy portion of the lab and some in pairs or trios in "collaboration cubicles" in the back. (Each collaboration cubby also has its own whiteboard and half-height, semi-transparent walls.) Also in the main portion of the lab are these great tables from Herman Miller's "<a href="">Intersect</a>" line, that fold down to almost nothing, so they're easy to get out the way when not needed. (They're also nice because they have a hole in the middle for power cords.)</p> <p>We've got two rooms that adjoin the main lab. One is a classroom, which we've recently converted from having rows of workstations to a big conference table in the middle (actually three of the tables I mentioned above) with seven or eight workstations around the edges. This conversion was possible because we'll be able to do more and more of our instruction on students' own laptops using UVa's "Hive" <a href="">software virtualization</a> program. It makes the room much more flexible for different kinds of teaching and meetings. There are fixed whiteboards in there (but my next project is to paint the whole thing with whiteboard paint.)</p> <p>Two of our full-time staff have offices in what they call "hexicles" out in the SLab public space. They claim the low rumble of student conversation is not a bother, and their area is a bit secluded behind the big semi-circular public service desk. (That's one thing I would *not* advocate including in any space plan -- the service model for libraries is changing to a degree that it no longer makes sense (economic or otherwise -- in a digital lab, anyway) to design a space to point visitors at a big, authoritative reference desk.)</p> <p>Finally, we've got a little, glassed-in room called the "ThinkTank." We remodeled it ourselves on a shoestring, from a very antiseptic meeting room with a single table and a desktop computer on a massive media cart, to a very intimate (not to say funky) conversation space. We painted the two un-windowed walls a very dark grey, brought in two leather 1920s fainting sofas from the Library's surplus shed, a couple of floor-lamps with gorgeous red shades, and created a coffee table ourselves from a surplused glass Special Collections display case. (We took a hacksaw to the legs, and filled it with motion-sensitive LEDs that sparkle and ripple with light when you set your coffee-cup down. (This did involve a conversation with Procurement on why we were placing parts orders with a company called <a href="">Evil Mad Science Dot Com</a>.) There's a small whiteboard in there and an enormous, wall-mounted flatscreen TV with laptop hookups. I love having this room as part of the public spaces of the Scholars' Lab, because gives an entirely different vibe. If the rest of the SLab (with its black-and-white tiled floors and mid-century Modern Eames fabrics) is <em>The Jetsons</em>, the ThinkTank's a space-age Victorian opium den. People use it so much more often to have real conversations and planning meetings now.</p> <p>Back in our staff office area, we have a little kitchenette (so nice to have!) with fridges, a microwave, coffeepots, and a sink -- and also a water cooler. Our Grad Fellows in Digital Humanities have free run of this, along with our staff. That's good, because right around the corner is a nice room with big windows that we've given over to our Fellows as their office and hang-out space. We put small tables along the wall with power hookups for their laptops, a big, rolling whiteboard, and another flatscreen TV in there. It also has bookshelves which they can use for their stuff and on which most of our staff store their hard-copy tech manuals. Some cushy chairs and ottomans, too.</p> <p>On staff offices: I'm the only one with a private office, although three of the people who work in R&amp;D (software developers attached to the SLab) have a shared office with a door that closes. Most of our staff -- five or six others -- share a big office in which everybody has a dedicated workspace, but which is laid out so that there's a big, open, central area for conversation and collaboration. One desk in that room is secluded in a kind of traditional cubicle, and others have some privacy because they're in corners, but the open feel, the glass door, and the big windows in that room give a sense of shared space.</p> <p>We have a couple of white-boards-on-wheels that we make excellent, regular use of. Everyone has either one very big external monitor or (for designers and GIS types) two.</p> <p>Everybody seems to like <a href="">their chairs</a>, which are pretty ergonomic and nicely adjustable. The brand we got come with or without pads, and everyone got to make a choice -- and everyone argues his or her choice was the right one. Anyway, if you can splurge a little on chairs for the staff who will spend a lot of time in them, you should.</p> <p>Cut a hole in a wall to make a window if you have to -- people need natural light.</p> <p>That's it! I'm tapped out. I should take some good pictures of our spaces to share, but there are some small and ill-staged ones attached to my last two "Day of Digital Humanities" posts (<a href="">1</a> and <a href="">2</a>).</p> <p>I know the Emory crowd saw our space -- it was great fun to host you guys! -- but thought I'd share this quick overview for others who may be thinking along similar lines. </p> Julie Meloni on "Help us design a DH workspace!" Mon, 18 Oct 2010 20:29:09 +0000 Julie Meloni 500@ <p>Since I don't work there, I can comfortably say this without looking like I'm saying "neener neener neener": take a photo of all the areas in Scholars' Lab and start there. Cross-reference the items in the photos with the things in the list above and see what's left over. </p> joebenfield on "Help us design a DH workspace!" Mon, 18 Oct 2010 19:50:16 +0000 joebenfield 495@ <p>I had the chance to do a little of this a few years ago at Wooster with a space I both resided in and supported in their media lab. I'm sure I'll repeat some of what's already been posted, but here's my two cents:</p> <p>Assumptions:</p> <p>Most people will bring their own laptop, collaborative work, brainstorming, casual atmosphere?</p> <p>Connectivity:</p> <p>Floor boxes every 4-6 feet or so in each direction with data and power,and also frequent data/power on wall. IMHO, you just can't have enough of these. Have a box of 4-6ft. data cables around because most people won't have one. Also, a box of all of those silly mac video adapters and some vga/dvi adapters. At my current school we cover these in bright pink tape to cut down on theft =)</p> <p>Great wireless signal and bandwidth. </p> <p>Displays:</p> <p>You can probably find some small LCD TVs for less than the cost of large computer monitors. Whatever size you think you want, add at least 4-6" onto that (seems we always wanted something bigger, even if the size sounded right) or see if you can "try out" some sizes. Mount them on mobile stands along with a power strip and make sure it has a long cord. </p> <p>I think one main display is nice too. Depending on the size of the room and your budget, LCD may be a better option than projection as it is not as affected by fluorescent lighting, which means if you want to use it you won't need to dim things and potentially disturb other groups/staff in the space. That said, size is cheaper with projection if the space is large and you can always zone the lighting. It might be nice to have an inexpensive machine connected to the main display while still allowing a laptop connection. </p> <p>Furniture:</p> <p>Everything needs wheels! Nothing too big. Everything comfy. I would say the "student desk" type of chair is a must-not-have - gosh I hate those things. Smaller, mobile whiteboards in addition to wall-mounted ones are really nice too. Depending on the size of the space and size of the groups working together, maybe a mobile partition or two is a good idea as well. </p> <p>Messages and Decor:</p> <p>If you have examples of the type of work you hope the space will encourage, try to illustrate or highlight those things in the space in some way (posters, images). I'm also a big fan of "move me" and "plug me in" types of signs just to assure people that reconfiguring is encouraged. Dull, institutional paint colors are must-not-haves for sure! </p> <p>Staff Space:</p> <p>I always wanted a way to better "hide" myself at times when I was not the active support in our collaborative space. Unfortunately, I sat in a glass office in the corner without much privacy and this made it hard to bury myself in a project when I wasn't supporting the lab. </p> <p>..this is really long now, so I'm going to stop. These are my favorite types of spaces, though - please share pics when you are all done and thanks for crowdsourcing it! </p> Patrick Murray-John on "Help us design a DH workspace!" Mon, 18 Oct 2010 18:37:35 +0000 Patrick Murray-John 490@ <p>Also, don't forget to include a spot for the unicorns. </p> Stéfan Sinclair on "Help us design a DH workspace!" Mon, 18 Oct 2010 17:43:29 +0000 Stéfan Sinclair 489@ <p>We're planning a similar-sounding space – beyond the technologies, I've been obsessed (to the exasperation of some of my colleagues) with some of the decor, including plants, an aquarium, and a high-end espresso machine. Just saying :) </p>