iSchool's DataLab works to bridge a knowledge gap for researchers

The iSchool’s DataLab has partnered with JSTOR, a nonprofit digital library, to help close a gap in the understanding of scholarly work.

For scholars working in interdisciplinary fields, it can be daunting to navigate literature outside their areas of expertise. An algorithm developed by the DataLab, combined with an index of more than 1,500 key terms provided by JSTOR, aims to help researchers introduce themselves to topics and publications from other fields quickly and easily.

The results of their work have been incorporated into JSTOR Sustainability, a new site that contains scholarly articles and research reports dealing with environmental stresses and their effect on people. The site, currently in beta testing, features topic pages that provide overviews on key areas of sustainability, featuring topic descriptions, important journals and authors, and related topics.

The teams at the University of Washington and JSTOR in New York collaborated on “flash builds,” which meant they were up and running within a week.

“I’ve never seen something progress from an idea to a viable, production-grade feature in such a short amount of time,” said Jevin West, an assistant professor at the Information School. “I think that the results of this project can serve a broad range of disciplines, and we’re looking forward to more collaborations with JSTOR to continue exploring new tools for researchers.”

Read more about the project at JSTOR.