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Virtual Knowledge Studio Collaboratory

Most of our experiences mentioned in this course are based on the Virtual Knowledge Studio Collaboratory project.

The original Virtual Knowledge Studio for the Humanities and Social Sciences (VKS) was launched in October 2006 in Amsterdam as the e-research programme of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). The VKS was aimed at studying the implications of ICT for research and assisting researchers experimenting with new forms of collaboration and research. Two campus sites followed at the Erasmus University Rotterdam (2006) and Maastricht University (2007). The studios carry out research programmes with researchers from various disciplinary backgrounds such as social sciences, economics, management research, informatics, history and anthropology.

In January 2011 most of the work of the VKS has been transferred to the e-Humanities Group of the KNAW.

From linking scholarly networks and disciplines...
In order to facilitate collaboration between the research groups at the three locations, each with their international research networks, Erasmus University started a project called Virtual Knowledge Studio Collaboratory, linking scholarly networks and disciplines. The project was funded by SURF, the Dutch higher education and research partnership organization for Information and Communications Technology.

© Ernst Thoutenhoofd

...to understanding scholarly collaboration in practice
The collaboratory project encompassed a guided pilot in which a software system for online collaboration, MS SharePoint, was developed for use by the VKS researchers. The project was very much user-centered. Through interviews, forum discussions, a web survey, a mini symposium, workshops, a discussion board, use cases and distant support via AdobeConnect interactions with the research groups were created. The demands on the system were complex due to multiple dimensions having to work simultaneously and in interaction with each other. The VKS collboratory is an interdisciplinary, multi-sited, national and international venture within which several already existing collaboratories have to be supported. To allow researchers from different disciplines to work together, the software had to be capable of supporting different work patterns and styles of research. Finally, there was the major challenge of anticipating and recognizing the impact of the technological configuration of the collaboratories on the work patterns and work styles within the research group concerned.

More information about this collaboratory project is to be found on the Erasmus Studio website (Dutch only):
- Linking Scholarly Networks and Disciplines (first project - 2008)
- Understanding Scholarly Collaboration in Practice (second project - 2009)
For a short video (in Dutch with English subtitles) about the project, look here.