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Scholarship winners reflect on RDAP22- Vinson Li

April 01, 2022 5:10 PM | Laura Palumbo

Hello world! My name is Vinson Li (he/they), and I am the Reference Intern at the W.K. Kellogg Health Science Library at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This past March, I attended the RDAP summit for the first time, and I am honoured to have received a scholarship from the sponsors who have allowed me to come.

Subhanya Sivajothy’s lightning talk ‘Moving Beyond a Transparency Model: Creating Data Visualizations that Empower Communities’ really presented a new perspective to me. I am taking a class on data visualization, but I have never seen how it could be utilized to help marginalized communities. When I did a project centered on homelessness in Halifax, I had focused on homeless shelter data, which now I learnt is damage-centered. If I were to do another take, informed by this lightning talk, I would focus on the external factors such as the housing market.

The conference theme “Envisioning an inclusive Data Future” really made me feel seen. As someone who comes from a STEM background, representation of LGBT+ contexts was lacking compared to other fields. Seeing so many different researchers and their perspectives on the intersection of LGBT+ topics and STEM data research really inspired me to pursue a similar degree of incorporation into my career as a librarian.

A group of speakers that inspired me were Sebastian Karcher, Abigail Goben, and Randy Colon with their presentation “Actually Accessible Data: A Call To Action”. During my internship, I had attended a seminar on making LibGuides accessible and put what I had learned into practice when I created Dalhousie’s Knowledge Synthesis LibGuide. What really inspired me in this presentation was the notion that accessibility can have benefits outside the target population. Even as a fairly abled person, I often find many user interfaces frustrating to use. If people were more mindful of accessibility principles when designing interfaces, everyone would benefit and I think that would see a lot of buy in from stakeholders.

For my first conference, the RDAP summit was a wonderful experience. There was so much to see, so much to learn, and so many people to meet. I had an especially great time during the poster sessions where I could speak more casually with the presenters. I am looking forward to RDAP Summit 2023!



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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