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  • August 28, 2023 8:30 AM | Rachel Woodbrook (Administrator)

    In order to prioritize RDAP’s commitment to foster sustainable diversity and inclusion (Strategic Plan 2023-2026 Goal 2) and add to RDAP membership value (Goal 4), we are looking for one or two volunteers from RDAP membership to contribute to a 1-year (Sept. 2023-24) Task Force exploring options to integrate hybrid elements into the annual RDAP Summit beginning in 2025.

    Membership on the Task Force will entail attending regular (suggested monthly) meetings, building on materials gathered via survey and generated at the June 16, 2023 RDAP Hybrid Summit Town Hall, and reviewing emerging research and recommendations on best practices for conferences, toward the goals of 1) making recommendations to RDAP Leadership and 2) generating and documenting next steps for the organization to implement its decided course of action. You can find the full Task Force charge here.

    RDAP members in good standing are eligible to serve on the Task Force; to volunteer, please send a short email indicating your interest and mentioning any relevant experience to by EoB this Friday, Sept. 1, 2023. If there are more volunteers than the Task Force can accommodate, RDAP Leadership will reach out to volunteers to coordinate a selection process.

  • May 23, 2023 12:02 PM | Elena Azadbakht

    Attending the RDAP Summit was a great opportunity for me, and it allowed me to learn new skills and consider new perspectives that I am already integrating into my work. I am currently the Liaison and Communications Librarian at A.T. Still University, a graduate-level health sciences university. In this role, I split my time between being a liaison to several programs and overseeing the marketing for the library. Recently, I have taken the lead on re-launching our data services after the departure of another librarian, and I am acting as our data librarian for the whole university.

    In this context, the RDAP Summit could not have been better timed, as it allowed me to see current trends and activities happening around research data management, and has helped me refine my approach to data services at my institution. I attended a wide variety of sessions on teaching, data curation, and data sharing, focusing on what is most applicable to my position. Of these, the "A Curation Primer for Data Accessibility" session deserves special mention, as it had me thinking about data accessibility in ways I had not considered before, and left me with a resource I can refer back to and share with others as I start to think about starting discussions at my institution about data accessibility. This session also echoes the keynote session on Indigenous data stewardship, a topic that I am continuing to learn more about and am hoping to start addressing soon with researchers at my university. These two sessions in conversation made me think about how little data accessibility and inclusivity have been addressed, at least in my own experience, in both librarian circles and among researchers and other stakeholders at my university.

    One of the highlights of the Summit for me was the communities feature in the conference web app. Just peeking in on some of those conversations gave me new ideas and insights. I also found it incredibly helpful in orienting myself to ongoing conversations around research data, identifying new resources and readings, and helping me to feel a bit more like a member of the RDAP community. A special shout-out has to go to the Pets discussion board, which is the best way I’ve seen to help break up a long day of Zoom webinars.

    To me, the most valuable part of the summit was simply being able to be a part of a wider community and participate in current conversations around research data. As a newcomer to research data management and data librarianship, this conference has really helped to inspire me and push me in new directions as a librarian.

  • May 23, 2023 12:01 PM | Elena Azadbakht

    My name is Lan Li, and I am a fourth-year PhD student from the School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. There is one work from #Data Curation session that impresses me a lot: “Describing Data Transformation Work in a Changing Data Curation community.”

    Data curation is an essential process that involves various activities that help ensure the quality and long-term usability of a dataset. The process includes activities such as data selection, cleaning, formatting, and preservation. The primary objective of data curation is to maximize the usefulness of the dataset, which is consistent with FAIR principles.

    To achieve this goal, I have been studying FAIR principles on improving the transparency, reusability, and reproducibility of data cleaning work through provenance analysis. This approach involves tracing the lineage of data and metadata transformations that occur during data cleaning. Provenance analysis helps enhance the FAIR principle of data transformations in the data cleaning area by providing information on the origin, flow, and transformation of data.

    In data cleaning work, various data transformations are required to make the data fit for use. These transformations can range from simple data formatting to complex data merging and restructuring. The mechanism of data transformations affects the dataset space and, as a result, the extent and difficulty of reusing data transformations can vary. My previous research focused on how data transformations affect the reusability of data cleaning tasks through provenance analysis.

    On the other hand, this study on data transformation at a major data science data archive presented a qualitative analysis of the extent and manner change of data transformation during a 16-year period of organizational change. The study analyzed the code in data transformation syntax files and covered the size, diversity, and breadth of the code, comparing the characteristics over the years.

    The study found that during the period of organizational change, the number of lines of code and the number of commands used to transform data decreased significantly, indicating increased standardization and efficiency. However, the diversity of data transformations increased, which may have been due to changes in data formats, technologies, or research practices. The reorganization had goals of increased standardization and efficiency, which were achieved through the adoption of standardized processes. The study highlights the importance of continuous evaluation and improvement of data curation processes to ensure that datasets remain FAIR and fit for use over the long term. Those findings can inspire me a lot when I continue the study on reusing data transformations from multiple people over the years.

  • May 23, 2023 11:56 AM | Elena Azadbakht

    I am currently a student at the University of Alberta, and I am in my second year of the Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) program. In the Fall, I took a course on database design for information management and became really interested in this area. This pushed me to want to learn more and informed my attendance at the RDAP Summit. The skills and knowledge I gained at the Summit will help me as I work towards completing my MLIS. For example, Ruby MacDougall’s talk, “Connecting the Links: Helping Humanities Researchers Use the Digital Infrastructure,” inspired me to investigate digital humanities courses at my institution that I can take as part of my degree. Before her talk, I had never even considered taking a digital humanities course. I thought that the data quality checking guide that Wei Zakharov presented in her talk, “Student Inclusion as Co-Creators to Develop a Data Quality Checking Guide,” was very interesting and it is something I hope to utilize as I continue to work through my program.

    One of my favorite parts of the Summit was Dominique David-Chavez’s opening keynote. It really emphasized to me the importance of Indigenous communities being involved in any research about them. Indigenous people have always been data stewards and it is important that we recognize Indigenous intellectual property. I left the talk wanting to learn more about Indigenous data sovereignty, especially here in Canada, and have already started exploring the First Nations Information Governance Centre website.

    The Summit exposed me to new ideas and ways of thinking, and I can also use it as an experiential artifact. At the end of my program, I need to complete a capping project and provide artifacts that show I have met the Program Level Learning Outcomes. One of those outcomes is “Professional Engagement” and attending this Summit is one way I can demonstrate this.

    I really enjoyed how the Summit was online. As someone who works full-time and has two young children, the virtual format made it more accessible for me to attend. I was hoping to participate in some social activities and network more, however, my youngest daughter was sick (story of my life lately) so that kept me busy outside of conference sessions. Overall though my first Summit was a great experience. I left feeling motivated and inspired, and I hope to return next year.

  • May 22, 2023 3:34 PM | Elena Azadbakht

    Attending the 2023 RDAP Summit was an informative and rewarding experience. I am grateful to be chosen as a scholarship recipient and to get the opportunity to meet so many diverse people in the data and information fields. I attended only a couple of presentations for the full duration. One of the sessions that I attended was “Communication Skills for Data & Information Science Professionals” facilitated by Christopher Eaker. Professor Eaker’s presentation made an emphasis on effectively communicating. He broke down the presentation into three parts:

    • Communicating with a Purpose
    • Communicating about Problems
    • Communicating about Complexity

    The topic of purpose Professor Eaker emphasized getting to know the audience. Whether you are making introductions for the first time or meeting people you have met in the past, the point is to establish a familiarity so that sharing your ideas and interests is more acceptable. Once your audience is open and engaged with your presentation, providing resources of information, materials, or processes would be a bit easier to present and put into context. This session was an excellent presentation on how to explain complex topics to a wide variety of people.

    I got a chance to attend Malik Redwood’s presentation “Python for Quantitative Research” which was an introduction to how Python was used for quantitative research along with programming Python tutorials. Malik’s presentation defined the differences between quantitative and qualitative analysis. In his presentation, he defined what descriptive data was used for determining mean, median, and mode along with how inferential data is used to determine correlations or regressions using quantitative methods. The most rewarding part of the presentation was going through the tutorials on coding challenges as a group. The tutorials were a great addition to the presentation which provided insights on how to use Python to provide quantitative analysis.

    The RDAP Summit has been a fun and rewarding experience for me. The communication session I attended helped me better understand how to break the ice with introductions which should relax the audience and it should help me become a better presenter. I enjoyed the Python sessions because of the tutorials that I can go over later in the summer for practice. The most surprising thing about the summit was meeting so many interesting people working in different fields of industry and learning how data can be and should be used. I plan to attend the summit next year and hopefully attend more sessions.

    Michael Rozier, Master of Science in Information Management student, University of Washington

  • May 22, 2023 3:32 PM | Elena Azadbakht

    My name is Rachel Austin, and I am currently a student at the University of Southern Mississippi. I am working towards my Master of Library and Information Science and a certificate in archives. I have become increasingly interested in data and wanted to learn more about how to work with it in the library field. I am so glad to have gotten the opportunity to attend the RDAP summit this year because now I feel confident that I would like to explore research data positions as a librarian in the future!

    The first skill I was able to learn at the summit was Python. The Introduction to Python workshop was very informative and allowed me to gain a new skill. I learned how to use the code to present data in various ways. During the remainder of the summit, I learned about the research data field and what professionals were accomplishing. This really inspired me to network with fellow professionals, which Whova made very easy. I was able to put myself out there and share my experiences and qualifications with others. I also saw who around me were professionals in the field and what opportunities were available.

    One speaker I felt very inspired by was Amy Neeser. As an aspiring librarian, Amy showed me the wide world of research data in academic libraries. Amy spoke about how we can make the field more accessible and open to everyone. This gave me ideas of how to be a great leader in the field and the progress that we can make to involve everyone and hold diversity and inclusion as a top priority. This presentation inspired me to do similar work and made me excited for my future profession.

    The summit has helped me grow as an early career professional. I have gained skills by attending workshops and hearing from other professionals. This will help me find opportunities in the research and data field. It allowed me to explore my interests that will help me reach my career goals. I look forward to contributing to RDAP in the future and attending the summit next year.

  • May 19, 2023 11:37 AM | Elena Azadbakht

    The Research Data Access and Preservation Association (RDAP) Summit 2023 was a huge success, with attendees from various academic institutes, research centers, and respective industries. The event brought together researchers, data managers, librarians, and other experts to discuss the latest trends in this field.

    The key theme of this summit was “Building on Experience: Centering Communities in Data Creation and Access” which beautifully addresses inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (IDEA) emphasizing the importance of including all voices and perspectives in the creation and use of data. When communities are centered on data creation and access, it ensures that the data reflects the diversity of the people it is meant to represent. This can help to improve the quality of the data and make it more useful for decision-making. Additionally, centering communities can help to build trust and relationships between data users and the communities they serve. There is no doubt that centering communities in data creation and access is an important way to promote IDEA and create a more inclusive and equitable society.

    These are some of my takeaways from the sessions like repositories, teaching, outreach, and research data management ecosystem:

    • Approach to design responsible conduct of research training;

    • Data quality and various pertinent elements;

    • The different aspects of building a reliable data repository;

    • How librarians at a range of institutions are helping a specific discipline like humanities navigate the digital infrastructure by building stronger ties with their respective scientists; and

    • Implement a mentorship program and build scalable analytical tools to facilitate research engagement with web archives with scholars.

    I found the closing note very informative and insightful, especially in showing the steps to getting from a librarian to a research data advisor and combining data and computing. Moreover, this was my first time attending a virtual poster display which I found productive. The platform was Whova, an all-in-one event management platform that creates engaging and interactive events like this.

    This summit provided a wealth of information and resources that will be helpful to all professionals engaging in this field. My gratitude goes to the RDAP for organizing such a successful event. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to attend this year, and I really appreciate it.

  • May 19, 2023 11:36 AM | Elena Azadbakht

    Greetings, my name is Talisha, and I am an MLIS student at San Jose State University and a Library Public Services Assistant of 11 years at an academic library located in Central Florida.  A few years ago, I started learning about data science and data librarianship. While I was conducting my own research on these topics, I learned about RDAP, so when the organization announced their annual RDAP Summit, I wanted to attend. 

    As someone who is new to RDAP, I signed up for the RDAP Summit Buddy Program and was paired with a great mentor. We spoke via Zoom ahead of the summit and had a great discussion on various aspects of librarianship and we are going to continue to stay in touch. I recommend new members to sign up for the program when they get a chance. 

    I attended each day of the summit and had the opportunity to attend two of the workshops that occurred on Monday before the summit officially kicked off. The two workshops I attended were “Communication Skills for Data and Information Science Professionals” and “What if It [Didn’t] Happen: Data Management and Avoiding Research Misconduct.” Both were very informative and insightful. I also liked that we were able to break out into smaller groups and interact with other attendees. 

    Throughout the summit, I found myself learning about new things regarding data science and data librarianship. I will say that because I am still a newbie on these topics, there were many times where I was not fully understanding the terminology being discussed, but aside from that, I did enjoy the sessions I attended. It was hard to pick a session because of my curiosity regarding the topics presented, but I did appreciate that for most of the sessions, slides were available for almost each presentation. 

    One of the sessions that I found enjoyable was the “Social: New Members and First-Time Attendees” session. It was helpful in explaining more about RDAP and there was a game portion of the session which was fun! In every session, the presenters did an excellent job of conveying the information that they wanted to share with us. They were very passionate about what they were doing and even answered the many questions that came their way effectively. One speaker that I was inspired by was the opening keynote speaker Dominique David-Chavez-who spoke on “Indigenous Ethics and Data Stewardship: Enhancing Protocol, Policy, and Practice for Our Shared Data Futures” - as she was passionate about her work.

    Overall, I enjoyed the RDAP Summit, and I would like to attend next year. It was an excellent experience and it got me more interested in learning more about data science and data librarianship. I encourage RDAP members to attend. 

  • April 06, 2023 1:45 PM | Elena Azadbakht

    The deadline for both RDAP Executive Board nominations and action committee volunteers this year is April 14, 2023.

    Please consider running for a position on the Executive Board! The Treasurer and President-Elect positions are open this year. You can access the nomination form here.

    RDAP is also looking for volunteers to serve on - and in some cases, chair - one of our several action committees. Indicate your willingness to serve and your preferences by filling out the volunteer form.

    You must be a member of RDAP to run for a position or volunteer on an action committee. You can check your membership status on the RDAP website (under your member profile), or you can join today.

    If you have any questions about the RDAP elections or volunteer recruitment process, please email our current President-Elect, Rachel Woodbrook, at

  • September 13, 2022 5:23 PM | Elena Azadbakht

    The Research and Data Access and Preservation Association applauds the OSTP and the proposals put forward in the 8-25-2022 Office of Science and Technology Policy Nelson Memo to ensure immediate and free access to federally funded research outputs. RDAP has long advocated for free access to research output including data, and this memo is a needed step towards developing national policies that promote this access. The memo leaves out many details on how to accomplish the goals set in the memo, particularly with regard to needed infrastructure and metadata standards to achieve FAIR data. For example, currently there is not a national repository infrastructure to host all of the data generated through federal funding. Research data information professionals at many research institutions can advise on writing data management plans, using institutional repositories or finding other repositories, identifying metadata schema or enriching metadata, and much more. The many members of RDAP stand ready to assist researchers in complying with funder mandates that result from this memo. We hope that the national conversation continues in this direction of this memo toward an open research culture of excellence.

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The RDAP community brings together a variety of individuals, including data managers and curators, librarians, archivists, researchers, educators, students, technologists, and data scientists from academic institutions, data centers, funding agencies, and industry who represent a wide range of STEM disciplines, social sciences, and humanities.


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