At DH2013, we presented a poster to ask researchers what they need from a National Library. The responses varied from ‘Nothing, just give us your data’ to ‘We’d like to be fully supported with tools and services’, showing once again that different users have different requirements. In order to accommodate all groups of researchers, the Collections department of the KB, who ‘own’ the data, and the Research department, where tools and services are developed, combined efforts and spoke to scholars to  discuss the best method of supporting their work. However, we noticed that it was still quite difficult to get a good idea of how they used our data and in what way our actions and decisions would benefit them. Also, it seemed that researchers were often not aware of what activities the we undertake in this respect, which led to work being done twice.

In order to bridge this gap between our services and the needs of the scholars, a researcher-in-residence program was set up in the summer of 2014. In this program, we invite researchers into the library to work with our data, programmers and in our virtual research lab to learn how the scholars conduct their research, but also to benefit from their expertise to further our services. The program is aimed at young researchers in the early stages of their career (PhD or postdoc), in order to provide new opportunities for young scholars, and consists of a short research project (3-6 months) in the KB. The researcher is supported by programmers and experts from the KB. The results of the projects feed back into the KB, either by means of a post on this blog, or by deploying a prototype in the KB Research Lab, and are often accompanied with a publication.

The first three placements of the program were set up as pilot projects. For these projects, we invited three Dutch universities that currently use our data to join the program. This resulted in the selection of two historians, one media researcher and two computer scientists from the University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University, Erasmus University Rotterdam and CWI. The latest researcher is about to start his work at the KB and as we are very enthusiastic about the program, we have decided to start blogging on the work that is done by the researchers. We will evaluate the program in the summer of 2015 and hope to successfully evolve from pilot phase to full-blown residencies.

Our first blog post is written by Dr. Jiyin He, a computer scientist from the University of Amsterdam, who was a researcher-in-residence at the KB from July – October 2014, and will be posted next week.

The researchers that have joined the program so far are:

Do you want to know more about our efforts to work with researchers and this program? Come visit us at our poster presentation at DH2015 or come find the KB at the poster sessions of DHBenelux!