Allan Cho

Research Commons Librarian, Koerner Library

Recently I had the chance to sit down with our new UBC Library Research Commons Librarian, Allan Cho. What an exciting time to have him leading the team, enabling the team to reach new heights. Here are his responses to the questions I asked him:

What areas do your current projects focus on, particularly in the areas of digital scholarship and the digital humanities?

While digital humanities is an academic field concerned with the application of computational tools and methods to traditional humanities disciplines such as literature, history, and philosophy, my interests shifted to the emergence of new DH work that extends beyond the “traditional” humanities disciplines and its applications in the social sciences or fields that do not easily and neatly fit into the “humanities” paradigm but share the same tools and language that DH practitioners. Examining this rubric of disciplinary domains, I’m analyzing spatially the UBC campus as a network of nodes and edges.

Which Research Commons tools have you been able to use for your projects?

Even before joining the Research Commons, I attended its workshops because the tools they provide helped me manage, collect, and analyze my data and texts. In particular, two popular programming languages — Python helped me do some surface level analysis of text analysis while R has enabled me to conduct statistical analysis. When I found that I needed to organize my collection of journal articles to something manageable and accessible anywhere I go, I turned to Mendeley and Zotero citation management software. I have also enjoyed the tools that researchers share at our Pixelating DH Mixer Series. For example, I’ve picked up open source software such as Palladio and Gephi which has really been game changers in the area of social network analysis. The Research Commons even has a R Study Group for those who want to learn and share their research!

How are you using these tools for your projects?

I’ve enjoyed using NVivo as a tool to connect the dots in making my data faster, easier and more efficient to analyze. NVivo is excellent for social network analysis as it enables me to focus on the links between people or social entities. Sociograms in NVivo can particularly be useful in analyzing social networks by displaying them as a diagram — helping me to visualize connections. That’s just one of the multitude of ways we can use NVivo. As a qualitative data analysis software, NVivo is perfect for those working with very rich text-based and multimedia information, where deep levels of analysis on small or large volumes of data are needed.

To find out more about any of the great resources that Allan mentioned, email us at