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  • May 17, 2022 5:23 PM | Elena Azadbakht (Administrator)

    The 2022 RDAP Summit was a phenomenal and informative experience for me. I was truly honored and surprised to have been chosen as one of the scholarship recipients and sought to learn as much as possible from this event. As a newer librarian who has become immersed in the Research Data Services (RDS) team at my university, I was truly intrigued by the various data-related initiatives that many institutions were implementing, and I fully intend to bring some of these ideas to my team as inspiration for our growing services. I attended nearly every talk I could, so I will speak on the few that touched on areas that affect my role on the RDS team.

    I was truly impressed by the UC Berkeley Data Lab, headed by our Keynote speaker Claudia von Vacano. The Data Lab gave graduate students an opportunity to grow professionally in the data space. Students were able to develop programming skills and technical skills, both of which are very important when performing quantitative and even some qualitative research. Providing students with that type of training upon graduation is a fantastic way to prepare students for the job market, which is becoming inundated with a need for those with data-related skills such as these. This is an initiative which is like what our RDS team has tried to implement, but now we have somewhat of a blueprint to follow. What a wonderful talk that was! There was also a talk on the Data Fellows at Florida State University, which had similar threads to this talk. The fellows would be mostly graduate students, though there were also undergraduate fellows, and they would co-teach workshops, man the data ‘Ask Us’ service, perform Love Data Week outreach and then work on those projects throughout the semester. We (our RDS team) are always engaged in thinking about how to engage our students in a data-related capacity, and these two talks had me brimming with ideas!

    There was a fascinating talk where researchers were to fill out a questionnaire on what data they wanted to use for research purposes and what potential risks data sharing may have. Then, those researchers would receive tips on how to avoid this. Our RDS team works closely with the Office of Grants and Research at our institution and would benefit highly from a form/questionnaire such as this. I was thinking that this form (or some iteration of this form) could also give the RDS team an idea of the training, workshops, and resources we need to provide to ensure researchers are given an easier avenue to follow proper protocol when doing research.

    As the Data Visualization specialist on our RDS team, the one talk that sparked my personal interest was from Negeen Aghassibake who spoke on the "Best Practices to Inclusive Practices." Though I understand the mechanics of data visualization tools, this talk really opened my eyes beyond the technicalities and exposed me to the many ways that data visualization can be inclusive, but also non-inclusive if one is not careful and cognizant about visualization decisions being made. The solutions provided were very helpful, and I intend to incorporate some, if not all, of these practices into my work.

    Overall, RDAP Summit 2022 was a success! I was so engaged throughout and was #1 for engagement! I met a lot of wonderful people and am now collaborating on a study with 3 other individuals from institutions I may not have communicated with otherwise. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at this summit, and I cannot wait for the next one!


  • May 04, 2022 10:14 AM | Laura Palumbo

    As a statistics student and data fellow at Florida State University, not only is this the first RDAP conference I have ever attended, but RDAP 2022 was my first experience with any data conference. I was eager to learn some new things and expand my horizons as an aspiring statistician. While I am part of the LGBTQ community, it’s not a topic that would have struck me as notable for my professional development and career. I am not used to being addressed within the sphere of data analysis outside of the rare times where another researcher has considered inclusive survey design or times where LGBTQ+ data is the specific topic of a study. So, I was interested in what the theme of “Envisioning an Inclusive Data Future” would look like in practice with my personal goal for RDAP: gathering as many resources as possible to implement at FSU.

    One resource from RDAP 2022 that stuck with me is the book “Queer Data” by Dr. Kevin Guyan. I did expect LGBTQ+ data inclusive data futures — however, I was pleasantly surprised with how extensive this reference was. RDAP 2022 has been the first time I have seen something about LGBTQ+ data beyond a small footnote, and I would like to hope that an inclusive data future includes LGBTQ+ statisticians like myself who can step in and provide context for the data that impacts our lives.

    Another resource that stuck with me was the website littlesis.org. Some of the work I do for my data fellowship in FSU Libraries involves work with data visualization and advocating for data literacy. Hence, the fact that Little Sis breaks down complex data and turns it into effective data visualizations for the general public is interesting. Additionally, the data that Little Sis works with deals with information that is relevant to populations that are different from me; namely, they have data visualizations on topics such as corporations that impact immigration rights and racial justice. Hence, I found it to be extremely important for making a more inclusive data future and seems like a way to introduce as many different marginalized groups as possible to data.

    One last resource that stuck out to me was the WAVE browser extension (https://wave.webaim.org/extension/) in the context of accessibility of academic databases. This was a resource I found interesting from the perspective of someone who is able-bodied but values inclusivity. When thinking about accessibility of resources, it made me think back to the accessibility of FSU Libraries research databases, and how that might be a useful tool for future work on our diversity and inclusion efforts.

    In conclusion, I would like to say that RDAP’s theme of “Envisioning an Inclusive Data Future” was surprisingly refreshing and informative. Not only did the conference provide me with the confidence to think of myself as included as an LGBTQ person in the field of statistics, but it also illuminated ways to include other groups that are also historically under-represented in the field.

  • May 04, 2022 10:08 AM | Laura Palumbo

    Open research data sharing is like a double edge knife. It has a lot of features and benefits of transparency and collaboration. However, it may bring other issues of ownership, license, and other trust challenges. Many scientists are divided over the pros and cons of open research data. I had those thoughts when I decided to come to the RDAP Summit 2022. RDAP Summit 2022 is my first conference that has focused on research data management (RDM). I’m currently in the process of writing my dissertation on open research data in health sciences research. Therefore, an event like RDAP Summit 2022 helps me to understand research data management, open data, and data sharing in various fields. RDAP Summit 2022 presented the dynamics of open research data in various environments. RDAP Summit 2022 was not only about serious discussions, however, but also loaded with some social and games events to make the event more fun and enjoyable.     

    From the very beginning, the RDAP summit 2022 hooked the audience and me with interesting talks and presentations. RDAP Summit 2022 is a single-track summit with some parallel sessions. On day 1, I joined the workshop “Workshop 1: Open Science Data Curation, Preservation, and Access by Libraries.” This workshop guided us on how to use the Internet Archive, which is a very easy-to-use platform for archiving and sharing data.     

    On the second day of RDAP Summit 2022 I found the first session interesting, learning about capacity building and skills needed for data professionals. I appreciated the new member event, where new members can join and have a chance to know RDAP better. This was useful to me since I’m new to the Summit, and I got to know the people behind RDAP, the committee, and other professionals and scholars who have similar interests as mine. We also played some games and quizzes about many things. Even though I was lost, it was super fun!     

    The third day of the summit was packed with even more interesting talks and discussions. The presentation was full of new interesting info and knowledge. The sessions were fruitful for me as I can learn a lot from experienced presenters who were doing a great job sharing that knowledge with the audience. All presentations in the second session Track A (Woodbrook, Wood, Hahn, and Loera) left me with the good impression that data management is also about community. How libraries support communities and individuals whom they served. The poster sessions are also as interesting as finished study presentations. The other sessions on the third day are also about increasing and expanding access to minority and bigger-scope audiences.     

    The fourth day is the last day of the RDAP Summit 2022. It starts with a social event to let participants get to know each other better with light everyday topics. The session was followed by the second poster session. This is where I learned a lot from one of the poster presenters, Andrew McKenna-Fosterone’s presentation of “State of Open Data 2021: Focus on Motivations for Sharing and Credibility of Open Data.” This study helps me with what is going on with open data, which is related to my dissertation study. The last session was the talk discussing the need for data support services.    

    I can’t believe the RDAP Summit 2022 ended so fast. I learned a lot from the presenters. Next time I go to the RDAP Summit, I would like to present as an author of a paper or as a poster sharing my ideas, thoughts, and even publications.  

  • May 02, 2022 4:26 PM | Elena Azadbakht (Administrator)

    I think about my experience with managing scientific data like I have been looking through a camera lens. When I started my degree in information sciences, I wanted to see the data science field with the widest lens possible. My view was far-reaching, encompassing numerous career opportunities, but the details were blurry. A year ago, I started working at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Data Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. I felt like I switched my wide-angle lens to a macro lens. I focused in on tiny details, soaking up the ins and outs of the repository, tools, and atmospheric research. 

    Participating in the RDAP summit has been beneficial to start widening my lens again.  Organizations that were in my periphery have taken clearer shape, exhibiting detailed priorities and technical expertise. The summit’s theme, “Envisioning an Inclusive Data Future,” was conveyed in many of the speeches and posters presented. I believe what connects research data professionals across academic and other environments is the desire to create a comfortable and inviting space for data storers and data finders.  The summit has inspired me to widen my definition of these groups to encompass individuals from varying backgrounds and with different needs. Therefore, I intend to seek out opportunities for the ARM Data Center to reach more data users.    

    I am very grateful for this opportunity to attend the RDAP Summit and participate in the RDAP professional society. I am looking forward to continuing to open my eyes to the industry, fine-tune my career, and become more active in the research data community.

  • May 02, 2022 4:24 PM | Elena Azadbakht (Administrator)

    My name is Josiline Chigwada, the Deputy Librarian at Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) in Zimbabwe. It has been an honour to receive a scholarship to attend the RDAP summit in 2022. This was my first time to attend the RDAP summit and I am grateful to the sponsors who made this a reality and the conference organisers. 

    I have learnt a lot during the 2022 summit but of note is the issue of responsible and inclusive data ethics. Our library assists researchers with research data management services and as an author myself I also archive my research data in various data repositories as well as use the data for research purposes. I learnt that it is important to make data analytics ethical since there are bad ways of presenting graphs and charts when doing data visualisation; for example, the use of colour to represent ethnicities in communities. As a researcher, people should be wary of expressing racial discrimination during the process. 

    A topic that I had never thought of before was the extraction of data from graphs digitally. Previously, I thought graphs can only be done after analysing the data. As a result, the software tools that were created to automate the steps in the data extraction process can be very useful to accomplish such tasks. 

    The topic on embedded librarianship thrilled me where the presenter indicated the need to enroll in an undergraduate course of a school or faculty that a subject librarian is serving. This would help in bringing more knowledge and skills in assisting the students within that school/faculty. This quote was very useful to me: “For university data librarians, informally embedding in undergraduate coursework can help us understand our communities and be more effective librarians.” This shows that as librarians, we should have the knowledge of the subjects covered in faculties/schools that we serve. This was an inspiration and we will consider that in our institution through encouraging our subject librarians to enroll in courses within their schools to be specialists.

    The conference theme, from my own understanding and experience, speaks more about open data whereby researchers are able to access all data facets without restriction.

  • April 19, 2022 11:51 AM | Laura Palumbo

    The Research Data Access and Preservation Association (RDAP) and the Journal of eScience Librarianship (JeSLIB), pleased to continue their partnership for a fifth year, announce the forthcoming Special Issue published by JeSLIB for the 2022 RDAP Summit. See the official Call for Proposals for more information and to access the submission link.

    The 2022 Special Issue will focus on the Summit’s theme, Envisioning an Inclusive Data Future. In order to promote diversity and inclusion, we encourage submissions from presenters who focus on DEI-related topics or identify as a member of an underrepresented group. You can submit your work in a range of formats, from full-length papers to commentaries to video articles. All full-length and e-Science in Action papers are subject to double-blind peer review, while commentaries will be read and reviewed by the guest editors and editor-in-chief.

    Manuscript submissions are due June 3, 2022 for publication in the November 2022 special issue. Mentorship is available to support submissions. Please reach out to the guest editors at publications@rdapassociation.orgwith questions or if you would like to be paired with a mentor.

  • April 11, 2022 11:49 AM | Elena Azadbakht (Administrator)

    Attending my first RDAP Summit was an incredibly informative and valuable experience.

    As the Data Associate at Global TIES for Children, an international center dedicated to improving the lives of refugees and other children in crisis areas of the world at New York University, I work directly on managing, processing, and curating quantitative research data. On a day-to-day level, it is very easy to get lost in the technical aspects and not necessarily consider wider issues. The Summit exposed this gap to me, and I feel like I walked out with a whole new vocabulary, new resources, and the beginnings of a bibliography that will inform and strengthen my practice to make sure our published datasets are as inclusive as possible.

    Several talks and presentations stick out in my mind. Sara Mannheimer’s presentation on collaborating with the Center for American Indian and Rural Health Equity (CAIRHE) was a great example on how to responsibly store and set access procedures that respect data sovereignty. I felt that Subhanya Sivajothy’s talk about using counter-knowledges and crowdsourcing to create empowering data visualizations highlighted important lessons when choosing conceptual structures and controlled vocabularies in metadata. Finally, both Berenice Vejvoda and Negeen Aghassibake’s presentations concretely showed ways to mitigate the dangers and potential harm caused by data collection and publication. From these and other talks, presentations, posters, and workshops, I took away how important it is to incorporate the subjects' agency when creating and curating datasets. By making the metadata and documentation plural, we as data collectors, owners, publishers, and researchers can both protect and empower the subjects of the data.

    At the end of the Summit, I couldn’t help but to be excited about joining such a dynamic and thoughtful organization. RDAP opened my eyes to critical data theory and I can't wait to see what I learn and how I grow from RDAP in the future.


  • April 06, 2022 3:10 PM | Elena Azadbakht (Administrator)

    Representation, Equity, and Speaking Up in the World of Research and Data: What a disabled, queer, librarian took delight in at the 2022 RDAP Summit

    Laura Carpenter, MLIS (She/They)

    I’ve worked everywhere. That’s the simplest way to answer that deceptively easy question. Airlines, hospitals, restaurants, bars, group homes, the YMCA, park systems, chain bookstores, independent bookshops, coffee shops, libraries, sociology labs, anthropology labs…I could go on.

    But what’s relevant now is my background as a librarian in public libraries, as well as having just graduated with my Master of Library and Information Science degree this past December. Currently, I’m working as a writer for an early-childhood-literacy start up, a caretaker for a disabled adult, and an independent visual artist, as well as a volunteer story time performer, though I am also actively pursuing full-time librarian positions with universities. I’ve spent the past two years of graduate school focusing my work and research on how the information professions can help to dismantle systems of oppression. Which brings me to my favorite session of RDAP’s 2022 summit, “Presentations Session 4.”

    As I dive into this delicious content, and start speaking on issues of accessibility and equity, it is relevant to know that I am also a disabled or differently-abled person, with autoimmune issues, gastrointestinal disorders, PTSD, and depression and anxiety. I also belong to the LGBTQ+ and genderqueer communities, and am a survivor of sexual violence. I have also definitely experienced privilege in my life: I identify as and am perceived as white in a culture built for whiteness. I do not require a mobility device to physically navigate my surroundings. My vision and hearing are fully functional.

    Excellent points were made during the presentation in Session 4 about how practices designed to provide equitable access to information for those with disabilities are also frequently helpful to non-disabled people. Making information easy to access and digest helps everyone.

    Berenica Vejvoda’s (Research Data Librarian at the University of Windsor) presentation, Applying a Critical Lens across the Research Data Life Cycle to Foster Greater Data Inclusivity: An LGBTQ+ Case Study, was amazing and I was very emotional about it. Their intentional perspective of enabling growth mindsets was incredibly affirming and appreciated. I also appreciated the focus given to intersectionality, and encouraging a wider perspective on identity. These are timely and relevant points that I’m always thrilled to see obtain recognition and discussion.

    Negeen Aghassibake’s (Data Visualization Librarian at the University of Washington) wonderful presentation, “From “Best” Practices to Inclusive Practices: Critical Approaches to Data Structures, had me glad I was automatically muted in the Zoom meeting because I was enthusiastically yelling “YES!” “YESSSSSSSS!” and thumping my hands down onto my desk in delight at every other sentence she said. Truly putting her presentation’s content into practice, she opened with an acknowledgement of the Indigenous peoples whose ancestral lands she and the university operated on, as well as a very on-point discussion of that topic, then branching into the decolonization of data. Her discussion flowed seamlessly into then examining systems of oppression. Negeen’s discussion on Indigenous ways of knowing and inclusive data practices was incredibly on-point and relevant. I loved it. 

    She made excellent points about census data and the politicization of race, artificial inflation, erasure, and Middle Eastern and North African peoples being made invisible in the data under the Trump administration. She also mentioned the same forced-invisibility or lack of accurate choices in relation to gender and queerness. This is something I've dealt with, as a person who uses “She/They” pronouns. I’m often presented with a list and told to select one of the following: She/Her, He/Him, or They/Them.” Negeen ended her presentation with a helpful slide focused on solutions. The solutions listed were, “Use other practices, such as Indigenous and participatory methods, that create a substantive relationship in research and participant ownership of information. Focus on local contexts. Other fields to explore, such as critical algorithm studies” (Aghassibake, 2022).

    I was so excited to hear Berenica and Negeen’s presentations, as much of my own work has tackled similar concepts, striving to provide resources to further the cause of inclusive data (and links to several of the following deliverables were also provided in the ‘Resources/Shared Notes’ section of the conference) such as:

    Hearing others talk openly about topics that are so centrally integrated into who I am as a person, into my life experiences, my academic work, and my future professional goals was a rejuvenating experience. I often feel as if I am walking around banging on a pot with a spoon, making noise, trying to help people understand issues of accessibility and equity. But frequently, it feels as if no one can hear me. Or that any sound I make that is miraculously heard by someone, nevertheless still gets sucked into a vacuum of Not Creating Change. Of disappearing right back into The Sameness that existed before. So I want to say to the presenters and attendees at the RDAP 2022 Summit: I hear you. And I appreciate the valuable, beautiful, work that you’re doing. Thank you.

    References

  • April 06, 2022 3:04 PM | Elena Azadbakht (Administrator)

    My name is Maddie Hare, and I am a Master of Information student at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada. I was a first-time attendee of the RDAP Summit; drawn particularly to the important 2022 theme “Envisioning an Inclusive Data Future.” I currently work as a research assistant with a team developing an open-access database for LIS research in Canada. As a student new to data-intensive research, I wanted to learn more about inclusive data practices so that I can develop projects using methods that consider the impact of the decisions we make while doing data work. 

    I found Workshop 1, which discussed the Center for Open Science’s Open Science Framework and Internet Archive’s mission to provide open, cooperative infrastructure for the research lifecycle, to be enlightening about the ways we are evolving towards open research practices. I was inspired by Dr. Claudia von Vacano’s keynote address on Radical Inclusion for the Future of Data and Computationally Intensive Social Science Research Support. The D-lab professional learning community model employs a transdisciplinary, non-hierarchical, collaborative environment. I reflected on how I can foster a similar environment focused on empowerment, mentorship, and the transgressive power of education in my work as a researcher in Dalhousie's Quantitative Science Studies Lab. Dr. von Vacano’s remarks on it “being okay not to know '' resonated with me deeply; upon beginning my program I had a background in the social sciences, but diving deep into data-intensive research methods was a bit of a learning curve. Through assisting on various projects and with the support of peers, faculty, and visiting postdocs I gained the skills and confidence to formulate data-intensive research projects of my own. The possibilities that peer-to-peer learning possesses and the capacity of groups like D-lab to serve everyone in their network and not just researchers, as Dr. von Vacano noted, should be embraced. The keynote address paired with other themes explored throughout the Summit, such as how innovation is influencing research data accessibility and services, left me more informed and envisioning the inclusive possibilities of open access data. 

    My overall takeaway from the Summit was that data can and should be used in more inclusive ways. RDAP imparted me with ideas, inspiration, frameworks, and models to apply in my own research. I particularly enjoyed the poster sessions, which allowed me to engage with other scholars on a diverse range of topics. I benefited from learning about how health sciences librarians are uniquely positioned to promote research reproducibility and was given tools on how to do so; this is a field I will be entering in the near future. There is something for everyone at RDAP, and I hope to present research at a future Summit that has been shaped by what I learned this year from scholars across the globe. I would like to sincerely thank the Sponsorship and Membership action committees and other donors for the sponsorship funds to attend the RDAP 2022 Summit.

  • April 01, 2022 5:11 PM | Laura Palumbo

    As many know, connecting students with the academic library is not always an easy feat. Outside of orientation tours and course instruction, many students only use the library as a meeting/study space. The reason for this limited interaction is much more complex than placing blame on the library or the students themselves. Instead, libraries must be committed to creating lasting connections with student patrons as this population is not as involved in scholarship as faculty patrons. During this year’s RDAP Summit, Ariel Hahn and Alyssa V. Loera introduced a new method of getting students with the library through data literacy. 

    When I came across the description for Hahn and Loera’s presentation, I immediately knew I would attend the session. My passion for the information profession has always been influenced by my interest in social activism. In their presentation, Hahn and Loera detail the creation, implementation, and evaluation of a data literacy instruction program aimed at empowering student activists. Through a series of workshops, the presenters taught student activists to leverage online data to trace economic and social power related to their respective causes. Student activists are often written off as agitators acting on angst and without reason, especially if they represent the interest of a historically marginalized group. Hahn and Loera’s decision to engage this specific community struck me as novel because it offered the library a chance to engage with students in a non-academic context. This is especially important for libraries as we are operating in a post-modern, post-truth society. Instruction in data literacy, like instruction in information literacy, can provide students with the metacognitive ability to question authority and institutionalized power structures. Furthermore, instructing students in data literacy helps them re-imagine the utility of the library, setting the stage for librarian-student relationships that are as established as librarian-faculty relationships. 

    As I reflect on my time at my first RDAP Summit, I am encouraged more than ever to help libraries re-envision their role in data services. Though data services librarians are known for their expertise in data curation and management, services in critical data analysis and discovery have the potential to expand the reach of the academic library. Through this reach, academic libraries can help patrons understand the importance of multiple literacies needed to conduct rigorous research and decision-making.

    I would like to thank the Sponsorship and Membership Action Committees, the University of Wisconsin-Madison  and the Network of the National Library of Medicine - National Center for Data Services (NNLM NCDS), RDAP members for sponsoring my RDAP participation! I would also like to thank Ariel and Alyssa for engaging in such sensitive work! Looking forward to attending next year!

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