The Digital Scholarship Certificate Program is a free, non-credit-bearing undergraduate learning opportunity, led by a team of UCR Library staff. The program runs for 6 weeks, concurrent with the 2023 Summer Sessions (June 26 to August 4). Students who complete the required components of the program will receive a printed Certificate of Completion.

Undergraduate students currently enrolled at UCR are eligible to apply to participate in this program, which offers an opportunity for students to engage deeply with primary sources that highlight student activism and BIPOC student voices at UCR. Through six workshops and ample hands-on practice time during afternoon lab sessions, students will develop practical skills with digital research tools and methods. The program is designed to complement students’ summer coursework and involves a mix of instruction formats. The weekly program schedule will include virtual cohort check-ins over Zoom, hybrid (Zoom and in-person) workshops, and on-campus lab sessions in Orbach and Rivera Libraries. The total completion time for the program is 24-30 hours, spread across the 6 weeks of the program.

Download the full information packet here

Summer 2023 Digital Scholarship Certificate Program

Information for Undergraduates

Are you an undergraduate student who wants to explore interesting primary sources and help tell the stories of people, communities, or places from the past? Are you interested in learning more about digital research and digital collections?

By participating in this program, you will learn… Research skills: how to search for, analyze, and handle archival materials. Photography skills: how to properly photograph archival materials. Data skills: how to organize files and photos on your computer. Critical analysis skills: how to use text analysis and other digital research methodologies. You will get to explore interesting collections and learn how to select archival documents and images that can together tell the stories of people, communities, or places from the past. You will learn about the important decisions that have to be made in order to transform physical documents and artifacts into digital images and texts that can be shared online with the world. You will get hands-on experience using different kinds of software to analyze those digitized materials and produce new knowledge about the past, and will have the chance to curate your own digital exhibit. In short, this program is designed to prepare you to take upper-division or graduate level Digital Humanities courses and conduct your own archival research projects. 

Information for UCR Instructors

Are you an instructor who wants your students to gain a perspective on research that is anchored in hands-on practice with materials reflecting student experiences and voices? Do you mentor students who might enjoy learning and applying digital literacy and research skills? 

In this program that complements summer session coursework, your students will have an opportunity to dive deeper into archival collections than is often possible within the context of a credit-bearing course. They will get the chance to work 1:1 with librarians to learn and apply digital literacy and research skills, supported by a cohort of peers majoring in different disciplines. They will practice working both independently and collaboratively, and will walk away with new knowledge and a concrete achievement they can list on their CV or Resume, particularly helpful for those students preparing to apply for graduate programs that involve archival or digital research.


Call for ApplicationsJanuary 3, 2023
Info SessionFebruary 24, 2023
Applications DueApril 28, 2023
Notification of AcceptanceMay 2023

Watch Info Session

Watch our Info Session on YouTube here to learn more about the program.

How to Apply

Application Instructions:

  • Step 1. Determine eligibility: applicants must be currently enrolled as an undergraduate student at UC Riverside. There are no other prerequisites for application to the program.
  • Step 2. Fill out the online application form by April 28, 2023. The application form asks applicants to share their contact information, describe their previous related experience, and identify how the program aligns with their academic, personal, and professional goals.

Application Process:

We especially encourage applications from students from marginalized backgrounds and identities. 

A maximum of 30 applicants will be accepted into the program. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance status in May 2023.

Applications will be reviewed by the UCR Library Digital Scholarship Program Team: Rachel Starry (Digital Scholarship Librarian), Krystal Boehlert (Digital Initiatives Specialist), Sandy Enriquez (Special Collections Public Services, Outreach and Community Engagement Librarian), and Alvaro Alvarez (Innovative Media Librarian). 

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact:


Orientation Session:

During Week 1 of the program (June 26-30), a welcome session will be held to orient participants to the program schedule, check in with students about their individual learning goals, and introduce issues surrounding digital collections and archives that will be discussed throughout the program.

Cohort Check-ins:

At the beginning of each week, a 30-minute meeting will be held over Zoom to check in with students about their progress, questions, and concerns, and to introduce the schedule of activities for the week.


A total of six, 90-minute morning workshops will be held over the course of the program. 

Encountering Archives: Materiality and Space

  • “Encountering Archives” is an introduction to conducting research with archives and special collections. Students will learn how to navigate archives and analyze primary sources using a critical lens that emphasizes materiality and space. Students will practice finding, requesting, handling, and analyzing archival materials.

DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Imaging in the Archives

  • This workshop will prepare students for an independent visit to an archive where you can capture reference images for your own research. We will discuss best practices for taking photos in an archive or special collections. We will also share some tools for 2D and 3D image capture as well as tips for photographing in archival settings.

Metadata & Data Management for Digitized Archival Materials

  • Metadata, or “data about data,” plays an important role in our ability to preserve, organize, and find library and archives materials. In this workshop, we will introduce the concepts and principles behind metadata, explore how we can use it in archives research and digital exhibits, and practice creating our own metadata to describe and organize digitized images.

OCR (Optical Character Recognition): Turning Digitized Documents into Searchable Texts

  • This workshop will introduce students to the importance of human decision-making in the process of turning images of text into fully searchable documents. We will discuss what OCR is, and will look at how different software programs can produce different results from the same digitized documents.

Close and Distant Reading: Quantitative Text Analysis for Archival Materials

  • This workshop is a basic introduction to quantitative text analysis. We will discuss critical definitions and spend time getting familiar with the interface for a particular program called Voyant Tools, which allows users to compare the actual texts in a corpus of documents (“close reading”) to visualizations and statistics about the words and phrases in those documents (“distant reading”).

Curating Digital Exhibits

  • This workshop will introduce students to the basics of curating digital exhibits. We will discuss decisions that need to be made when selecting archival materials in order to create a narrative with them. We will also compare a couple tools for creating a digital exhibit and consider why you might choose one tool over another when curating a particular kind of exhibit or working with particular kinds of research materials.

Lab Sessions:

Following each workshop, participants have the option of attending either or both of two related afternoon lab sessions, held in-person at Orbach or Rivera Library. Each lab session will include a short, self-directed activity that enables participants to practice applying the knowledge they gained during the related workshop. Instructors will be present at all lab sessions to answer participants’ questions and support their work on their assignments.



  • Each participant will be required to keep a “failure log” during the program and submit it as either a final, cumulative reflection essay or as a series of shorter reflections written throughout the program, describing what the participant learned from their experiences of failure. 
  • Over the course of the program, each participant will assemble a selection of digitized archival materials (2-5 items) that are connected by a particular theme or narrative they identify. In week 6, participants will have the opportunity to attend lab sessions dedicated to working on their final assignment: submission of a short, 3-minute video or audio clip in which they present their selected archival items and describe the theme or narrative of a digital exhibit they would like to make comprising those items. 


  • Students will have the option to assemble their items into a small digital exhibit, to be hosted in Omeka S by UCR Library, should they wish to do so. This component of the program is entirely optional; creating or not creating an exhibit will have no bearing on the awarding of the program’s Certificate of Completion.

Certificate Ceremony:

Week 6 of the program will wrap up with a final cohort check-in, including a guided reflection exercise to help participants summarize and consolidate what they have learned. Following this reflection session, all participants are invited to participate in a celebratory lunch that will include the certificate award ceremony.

Certificate Requirements

Participants must complete the following requirements in order to earn the program’s Certificate of Completion:

  • Attend a minimum of 4 workshops.
  • Attend a minimum of 6 lab sessions (at least 4 of which must be post-workshop sessions - i.e. a maximum of 2 final project lab sessions will count towards this total). Lab sessions are scheduled in 3-hour time blocks; participation for 2 hours is sufficient to count towards attendance at any given lab session.
  • Submit a 500-word reflection essay (“failure log”).
  • Submit a 3-minute video or audio clip that presents the participant’s selected archival items and describes the theme or narrative of a digital exhibit comprising those items.

Total completion time: 24 hours