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  • March 25, 2024 9:35 AM | Jennifer Chaput (Administrator)

    My name is Amara Hays, and I am a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. I am currently an MLIS student at the University of South Florida. I heard about RDAP through American Indian Library Association (AILA). I decided to apply for a scholarship to attend the virtual conference. I am grateful to have been chosen for a scholarship. I applied to attend the conference because I wanted to learn more about data librarianship. Specifically, I wanted to learn more about what data librarians do and how data librarians contribute to information science. I came into the conference with no prior knowledge of data librarianship or experience in the field.

    Overall, I liked the varied content of the presentations, lightning talks, and posters. It really showcased the current research that is being conducted in the field. I felt that the conference topics and content were interesting and thought provoking. I appreciated that the presentations, lightning talks, and posters were clear and concise. I am a novice, and I found the research findings easy to comprehend. Some presenters went over their key findings more than once, which made their presentations easy to follow. I also liked that users had the opportunity to engage with the presenters in a Q & A at the end of each session. I was surprised by some of the issues that data librarians currently face. I had no idea that metadata could present so many issues. It was interesting to see the connection between my coursework and some of the topics covered in the presentations and lightning talks. I have gained a whole new appreciation for data librarianship and all that data librarians do by attending the conference.

    I found the Pheedloop portal easy to access and navigate. I loved that I could attend the conference from the comfort of my home and choose which sessions I wanted to attend. I also liked the fact that there were many ways for people to interact with each other during the conference. I think this added to the whole experience and made it feel like I was attending in person. I can see myself attending another RDAP conference in the future, whether in person or online. Thank you for the wonderful experience.

  • March 19, 2024 11:33 AM | Jennifer Chaput (Administrator)

    At this year’s RDAP conference, I picked up a number of helpful tips for increasing the library’s involvement in data services. I belong to an R1 institution; however, our library doesn’t play a particularly active role in the data services provided on campus. As our Scholarly Communication Librarian, I manage our institutional repository and, as such, I am excited to have taken away a few more strategies for supporting researchers in the era of the Nelson memo.

    From Iratxe Puebla’s keynote address, I discovered that our datasets—though they have assigned DOIs—may not be getting great exposure in the Data Citation Corpus. I hadn’t heard of the Make Data Count project and am looking forward to investigating further. Along similar lines, Ali Krzton delivered a lightning talk highlighting the need to enrich DataCite records with metadata maintained in repositories. This is something that our datasets would also benefit from as we have sometimes used rather minimal metadata when registering DOIs in DataCite.

    I was interested to hear as well about data catalogs, as described by Anthony Dellureficio and Klara Pokrzywa from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. At Washington State University (WSU), we use an Ex Libris product for our institutional repository. It’s a tool that emphasizes integration between various kinds of scholarly outputs, but I am still intrigued by the capabilities of the data catalog to track use/reuse of datasets while also connecting researchers. I’m looking forward to investigating further, and I’m also interested in reaching out to our instruction team to see if we can try out some relatively low-stakes opportunities for increasing engagement around data. For instance, Elena Azadbakht and Teresa Schultz described a promising technique for delivering data management tips via email, using incentives to encourage campus involvement. We’ve tried something similar at WSU and I think we would benefit from circling back to this idea with some tweaks and improvements.

    Many thanks to the presenters at RDAP for sharing their ideas and the Membership Committee for allowing me to participate in this year’s conference.

  • October 27, 2023 1:02 PM | Rachel Woodbrook (Administrator)

    Like many of you, the Executive Board is left heavy-hearted almost beyond speech by the atrocities of the last few weeks in both Israel and Palestine, and the escalation currently ongoing. 

    I am not an expert in this history, and do not have direct ties to the communities most impacted—I cannot speak for anyone but myself. But I have been listening, and the world is more connected now than it has ever been. I know members of our community are grieving deeply. Some of those we know and love may have faced almost unimaginable losses already. At the same time, the U.S. is encouraging escalating military force without restraint, in some cases even using language supporting ethnic cleansing or genocide—and I am implicated, too, because my tax dollars are part of the funding that seems to be available for death but too rarely in service of life, in the U.S. or elsewhere.

    I know there is no perfect way to account for the generational pain, trauma, and myriad different perspectives of many in a short statement. I hope everyone is listening to the voices of those most affected who are managing to speak out. But there are situations in which to say nothing amounts to complicity with the narrative of violence as a solution, and governmental lack of respect for human life. This is asymmetric state violence. Islamophobia and Antisemitism are being used to stoke hatred and aggression across the world, including in the U.S. If we as an organization care about truth, data, and DEIA (and I believe we do)—if we care about each other—we need to support one another.

    What I do know, in my bones, is that even when arguments can be made for the necessity of violence, the dehumanization of others is always evil, and leads to ever greater evils—and we are seeing it happen (yet again) before our eyes. People have inherent dignity; governments do not. No one deserves to be wiped from existence because of their identity. It is past time for a ceasefire, including a cessation of the blockade and widespread bombing of Gaza, and the release of Israeli civilian hostages. 

    I know that I still have a lot to learn, and will make mistakes, but my heart is with those who are suffering; you are seen and valuable, and you do not deserve this.

  • 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.


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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