A Master Class in Beirut: A Class of its Own

Master Class
Raising a Culture of Research Digital Tools
How to be a Human and Social Sciences PhD Student in 2014

June 18-20, 2014
University of Saint Joseph (USJ) and Lebanese University (UL)

Take 21 participants, all PHD students, from Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, and Cyprus; take two proficient – though self-taught – professors-animators; take a dynamic team of assistants, research directors, and an urban academic setting: what do you get? You get a Master Class.

A Master Class being one where experts talk, two experts – Marin Dacos, Research Engineer at the French National Center for Scientific Research, and Head of the Center for Open Electronic Edition; as well as Alexander Gefen, literary critique, General Secretary of the Literary Monitor – did talk for three days about digital tools and digital research resources. Yet, though they mastered the topic quite well, that of the digital tools to be used in order to make research easier, they made the topic quite accessible and always answered questions saying that no question is ever stupid.

Going from general information such as the evolution of the web and the more accessible tools as Wikipedia and WebCite, the animators moved on to more specific and specialized tools, though some presentations were quite quick – too quick actually – as was the case for Zotero and Evernote.

You come out with a feeling that this digital world is one of its own, so remote yet so close at hand, since it is only one click away. As the title says it, digital habits need to become part of one’s culture, but is only by using these tools over and again that one grows to get used to them in order to make the most of them.