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University Library’s Researcher-in-Residence (LRiR) program launches welcoming Assistant Professor Linda Zhang as inaugural resident researcher.

In Spring 2021, the University Library introduced a pilot Research-in-Residence (LRiR) program designed to foster, enhance and expand its role as a centre of innovative and collaborative interdisciplinary SRC on campus. 

This past fall, Assistant Professor Linda Zhang from the School of Interior Design was selected as the inaugural resident beginning January 10, 2022.

Zhang’s work focuses on innovation in community engagement methods, sustainable material fabrication, and visual data collection through architectural heritage technology (namely virtual reality, augmented reality, video games, 3D scanning and machine learning). 

During her residency, Zhang will be working to further develop and build her research plan for her current projects, and to collaborate with the SRC expertise of librarians and other faculty from across campus.  

“I am humbled and honored to be selected as the inaugural resident researcher,” says Zhang. “The university library has had such a remarkable impact on my career growth and trajectory since my first year at X University. Collaborating with the Library has propelled my research in ways I would have never imagined. I am so grateful to have this opportunity to delve in deeper within such a generative, innovative and experimental environment. I can’t wait to get started.”

Throughout the year, she will be conducting research on two existing projects, developing a research data management plan and providing open access for data collected. 

While the technologies (VR, AR, video games and 3D scanning) she uses in her work have provided opportunities to explore new and more equitable methods for engaging in community research, they create new types of visual and spatial data not traditionally collected or considered in research.

This new type of data presents challenges and opportunities for innovation in research data collection as well as unique open access for datasets. 

The LRiR program gives Zhang an ideal opportunity to further develop solutions for accessing, sharing and managing these types of datasets. Working with librarians and library staff, Zhang will explore the potential for the Library’s new digital repository in expanding access to this type of research, while also utilizing open access publishing tools to create opportunities for sharing more broadly. 

In addition to her work with research data collection and open access, Zhang will utilize the Library’s newly installed 360 Immersion Studio to explore additional methods of working with and understanding data, as well as how to make data more accessible to a wider audience including community researchers.

“The Library’s Researcher in Residence program is an excellent new addition to the Library’s work in SRC innovation and capacity building,” says Chief Librarian, Carol Shepstone. “I am thrilled Linda is our first Researcher-in-Residence and I look forward to seeing what is possible through these kinds of deep research collaborations.”