Building a Research Commons in a University Library: Connecting Scholars with Technology, Expertise, and Each Other
Emory’s Robert W. Woodruff Library opened the Research Commons in the Fall of 2011. The 5,000 square foot space is dedicated to graduate students and faculty who are engaged in collaborative scholarly work which takes advantage of digital technology. This presentation will focus on the mission, the space, and the way the Research Commons takes advantage of its place in the library: the Research Commons provides neutral space where interdisciplinary groups of scholars can work collaboratively. Almost all of the furniture is mobile, enabling users to configure the work areas to suit their needs. This open design also allows scholars to see what others are working on and to be inspired by what they see. These unplanned and serendipitous encounters, along with more formal events, allow the Research Commons to establish and nurture an interdisciplinary community of scholars interested in digital scholarship. Housed within the Research Commons is the Mellon Funded Digital Scholarship Commons (DiSC). The mission of DiSC is to work with scholars whether they require instruction on simple tools or need help planning and executing a larger project.