Digital Scholarship at Robarts Library

Robarts Library is redesigning its fifth floor into an innovative space for digital scholarship. By delivering a series of student and staff feedback sessions, the Innovation Hub is exploring how students and staff use and experience library spaces for digital scholarship, including the Map and Data Library, digital humanities, and more. Insights generated from the feedback will be used during the design process of the new library space at Robarts Library in order to ensure everyone’s needs are met.

Our Findings

Our work with Digital Scholarship at Robarts Library began in Fall 2020.

Fall-Winter 2022-23

We found that students, faculty and staff are doing groundbreaking research and work in their respective fields of study using digital tools. This growing community wants to come together to share ideas and redefine how the digital world can be recognized in an academic context. The Robarts fifth floor is well positioned to be a place that unites and empowers digital scholars in a vibrant community and offers the most current digital tools to its users. 

Our vision for the project is that the future of the Robarts Library fifth floor celebrates the novelty of a digital era in an academic world.

Our findings play out in five themes:

  • Charting an Identity
  • Dialogue as Scholarship
  • Getting Work Done
  • Navigating Complexity in New Ways
  • To Be Inspired

Robarts fifth floor redesign will need to accommodate the transdisciplinary and rapidly evolving nature of digital scholarship to meet the needs of its users. The redesign will empower users of the fifth floor to pursue the nontraditional areas of research they work in and inspire both early-career researchers and those with more experience to innovate. Learn more by accessing our report, which is linked below.

Robarts Theme Visual

Fall-Winter 2020-21

Whether it’s studying, relaxing, or chatting with friends, students spend a lot of time in campus libraries. By delivering a series of student and staff feedback sessions, the Innovation Hub explored how students use and experience library spaces. These insights will then be used during the design process of new library spaces at Robarts Library in order to ensure student needs are met.

Through our analysis, we found that libraries evoke a sense of wonder that inspires students to explore new possibilities. This key finding can be broken down into three main themes:

  1. Libraries are Catalysts for Student Development: they allow students to find growth and inspiration in both the negative and positive moments of their student experience 
  2. Libraries are the Home of Conversations: they facilitate the discourse between students and themselves, their work, as well as the many others around them, encouraging the development of a sense of wonder through these connections
  3. Libraries are a Place of Opportunity: libraries serve as the great equalizer for students and provide the fundamental toolkit that each student needs in order to thrive.  

These themes and insights supported developing design principles & checklist to support the design of future library spaces at UofT.

A book is opening up with thought bubbles and imagination flowing out of it.