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  • 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!

  • 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!


  • December 17, 2021 5:18 PM | Elena Azadbakht

    Through a joint effort from the Sponsorship and Membership Action Committees and sponsorship funds from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and NNLM National Center for Data Services (NCDS), scholarships are available to cover registration for the Research Data Access & Preservation Summit 2022 and an RDAP membership for 1 year. 

    Scholarships are available to all but preference will be given to:

    • Current students (undergraduate or graduate) and early career professionals (3 years or less) currently working or interested in research data management and preservation/archiving.

    • Individuals from marginalized and underrepresented groups, and those who are first-time RDAP attendees. In alignment with RDAP’s values, we want to ensure that we are supporting a diverse array of identities that includes, but is not limited to, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, ability, role or specialty, disciplinary approach, or research environment. 

    Scholarship recipients will be expected to attend the Summit and compose a blog post about their conference experience to be posted on the RDAP website. Scholarship winners are also strongly encouraged to write up their RDAP conference experience as a commentary for the JeSLIB RDAP 2022 Special Issue.

    Please submit your application by January 28 through the online scholarship application form. The application should include a personal statement no longer than 250 words describing a bit about yourself and how attending the Summit will inform your scholarship or practice. Contact, if you have any questions. Winners will be notified by February 11.

  • December 07, 2021 11:56 AM | Elena Azadbakht

    What is your name, job title, institution or company, & how long you have been in your current position?

    My name is Helenmary Sheridan (she/her). I’ve served as the Data Services Librarian at the University of Pittsburgh’s Health Sciences Library System since January 2018.Headshot of RDAP member Helenmary Sheridan.

    3 words that describe you/RDAP

    To me, the members of RDAP and the anthropomorphized organization are collaborative, optimistic, and interested in problem-solving. Which is good, because it’s how I would describe myself too!

    What motivated you to attend/join/participate in RDAP?

    I joined RDAP in fall 2020, but I wish I’d signed up earlier. It had been on my radar for several years, but in 2018-2019 I was still feeling out my new data librarian role (which of course would have been aided by participating) and I wasn’t sure how associations like RDAP, CLIR+DLF, RDA, and informal groups like DataCure all fit together. Then I went on leave in 2020 and came back after three months in lockdown with a tiny screaming infant. I was ready to join all the things. RDAP came first because, I’ve got to be honest, membership was free.

    Do you have any roles in RDAP? If so, what do you do and what do you find motivating about your work with RDAP?

    I’m on the Resources and Education Committee, and I co-host the RDAP Journal Club. Both are new for memy committee term started this summer, and we just had the second meeting of journal club v. 2. It’s been enormously rewarding so far for two reasons:

    1. RDAP is a relatively small organization, so the work any one person does really has an impact. If you have an idea for a program, it can probably happen!
    2. The work doesn’t pile on. In my experience, everyone understands that we’re volunteering our time because we want to help our colleagues, and no one has tried to exploit that to get unpaid labor (emotional or mental) beyond what we’ve agreed to. There are definitely stakessince it is a small org, if someone doesn’t do the work they signed up for then it just might not get done—but they’re not “I spent eight hours in a meeting today and I want to crawl into a hole forever” stakes. (I hope that’s the case for the summit planning folks too.)

    Describe your path to your current position/profession.

    I worked with images in an art history/visual resources context for a long time, beginning in my junior year of college and continuing through grad school. One of my primary projects was creating descriptive metadata for photographs of Tibetan Buddhist art for the Rob Linrothe Image Collection at the Northwestern University Library. These were thousands of photographs taken over decades of fieldwork in Tibet, mainly in the Ladakh and Zangskar regions of India and the Amdo province of China, and in addition to the gorgeous murals and thangkas he photographed, he would also capture landscapes of monasteries set before a glacier, or women working at their looms.

    As I assigned descriptive metadata terms to all of these, I got to thinking about “collections as data” and about how these images could be useful to someone outside a strict art historical setting. We had photographs showing the same landscape over thirty years; could that interest someone studying climate change or urbanization in the Himalayas? What about the variety of looms? I could find very little in the literature about them; could that be evidence for an archaeologist or a textile historian? And if so, how could I make these images—these data—more findable to those sorts of “off-label” uses? So even before I began the data curation specialization in my MLIS program, I began orienting myself around data.

    What is a current project you’re working on that you’re excited about?

    I recently joined the project team for the MIDAS Online Portal for COVID-19 Modeling Research as an adviser for metadata and making data FAIR, with a particular focus on the MIDAS Catalog. This catalog brings together and describes hundreds of datasets, dashboards, and software packages related to tracking and forecasting COVID-19, which in their natural state all float around the web with various levels of findability and documentation. The data curators for this project are doing a lot of hard work creating metadata for these resources, so our team is looking at creating recommendations and “starter kits” to help researchers in the MIDAS network and the broader infectious disease modeling community make their data and code more FAIR from the start.

  • September 21, 2021 5:47 PM | Elena Azadbakht

    What is you name, job title, institution or company, & how long you have been in your current position?

    Name: Hannah Gunderman (any pronouns)

    Job Title: Data, Gaming, and Popular Culture Librarian

    Institution: Carnegie Mellon University Libraries

    Length in Current Position: A little over 2 years (started in July 2019)

    Twitter: @HannahGunderman 

    What are 3 words that describe you? Hannah Gunderman

    Three words that describe me: Gamer, Introvert, Neurodivergent 

    What motivated you to attend/join/participate in RDAP?

    I wanted to get involved in RDAP because when I first started in my role 2 years ago, I was completely new to data librarianship and was feeling confused about how to start building my network. RDAP was a great way to meet new people and learn about the research happening in this field!

    Do you have any roles in RDAP? If so, what do you do and what do you find motivating about your work with RDAP?

    I do not, but I hope to be more active in an RDAP committee in the future! 

    Please describe your path to your current position/profession.

    I am a cultural geographer by training (specializing in popular culture), and have always had an interest in exploring unique forms of data such as images, text, and video - all data that is super common in cultural geography research! I decided to pivot my career towards data librarianship so I could help other researchers navigate the world of data, and pursued a postdoc at the University of Tennessee with the DataONE team working on data management research and resources. I was then hired as a Research Data Management Consultant at Carnegie Mellon University Libraries, and after a few months I explored teaching data management concepts through a pop culture lens. Several months later, we transitioned my role to the Data, Gaming, and Popular Culture Librarian in recognition of my niche skills in data management support and popular culture research background. 

    What is a current project you’re working on that you’re excited about?

    I’m currently working on my YouTube-based webseries called Pixel Datascapes, where I explore the data management lessons we can learn through video games! Each episode features a different video game, including Pokémon, Untitled Goose Game, GRIS, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. New episodes will continue to come out during the remainder of 2021! 

  • August 09, 2021 10:33 AM | Laura Palumbo

    What is your name, job title, institution or company, & how long have you been in your current position?

    My name is Chao Cai. I am an Assistant Professor and the Plant Sciences Information Specialist with the Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies. I started this position in August 2018, so it’s been 3 years since I’ve been on this job.

    What are 3 words that describe you? What are 3 words that describe RDAP?

    Me: newbie, learning, passionate

    RDAP: my, professional, home

    Do you have any roles in RDAP? If so, what do you do and what do you find motivating about your work with RDAP?

    I am currently a member of the Conference Planning Committee in RDAP. Along with other members of the Conference Planning Committee, I help to plan and organize the next RDAP Summit. I consider RDAP as “my professional home”, so it is quite rewarding that I have the opportunity to make some contributions to this “home”. Also, being able to work with experienced colleagues from other institutions is really a great learning experience for me, which is another big motivation.

    Please describe your path to your current position/profession.

    I think I have a relatively unique path towards my current position as an information/data professional. I was trained as a plant biologist, and my PhD work was about fern biology. I’m familiar with research data as I have extensive training on bioinformatics and statistical analytics. So, I became one of the co-instructors for a graduate level research data management course, and work with research groups for their data management practices.

    What is one thing about research data that excites you?

    One thing that excites me about research data is the education on best practices of research data management, which is something that I wish I had exposure to when I was a graduate student and postdoc. It is really a fundamental skill that every researcher in training should obtain, but mostly neglected/left out of the graduate curricula.

  • May 21, 2021 5:34 PM | Cameron

    The RDAP Association is pleased to announce the following free webinar on June 3, 3-4 pm EST:

    Using Social Media Research Data Responsibly: Considerations for Librarians and Researchers

    Presenters: Aditya Ranganath and Jordan Wrigley

    What is the role of privacy and consent in social media research data? What are the potential political, institutional, and ethical issues that researchers should consider when developing projects that utilize social media data? Social media-based research has proliferated in recent years, and as researchers increasingly view social media platforms as a source of valuable and easily mined data, this trend is accelerating. However, the norms, policies, and ethical considerations that regulate the use of these data remain confusing and vague. This webinar will overview the current political, legal, and ethical issues surrounding social media based research. It will also discuss practical steps that researchers and those in research support roles can take to minimize the potential risks that arise when using social media data. Such steps include developing plans to safeguard participant privacy and consent, and understanding Terms of Service or User Agreements.

    Register for free in advance for this meeting:

    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. The webinar will also be recorded for those interested in watching it at a later date.

  • May 10, 2021 5:47 PM | Cameron

    Strategies for Writing More Equitable Job Postings: Results from Analyzing Librarian Job Postings

    May 20, 2-3PM EDT (11AM-12PM PDT)

    Presenters: Amy Neeser, Wanda Marsolek and Joanna Thielen

    While diversity, equity, inclusion & accessibility (DEIA) is often centered in much library decision making, the hiring process has seen less focus. Many libraries/institutions have paused or slowed down hiring due to the pandemic. Now is an ideal time to revamp and reconsider longstanding hiring practices. This webinar will discuss results of two research projects that analyzed librarian job postings from a DEIA lens and then the discussion will broaden to the hiring process as a whole. We hope to provide general ideas and give attendees ample opportunity to share their questions, comments and experiences as job seekers, search committee members, and hiring managers. We will be discussing the following questions:

    • What are some DEIA activities/actions that your institution has done for job postings or the hiring process? 
    • How do you think job postings could be more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible? 
    • If you think you might receive pushback about changing how job postings are written or other aspects of the hiring process, how would you address it? Or if you have, how did you address it? 
    Due to the sensitive nature of this topic, the webinar will not be recorded.

    Register for free at

    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

  • April 27, 2021 3:51 PM | Cameron

    RDAP Member Highlight: Teresa Schultz

    Portrait of Teresa Schultz

    What is your name, job title, institution or company, & how long have you been in your current position?

    I’m Teresa Schultz, the Social Sciences Librarian at the University of Nevada, Reno, which means I wear a lot of different hats, including helping to oversee our research data management support services. I’ve been in this position since 2018.

    What are 3 words that describe you? What are 3 words that describe RDAP?

    Me: Pragmatic, frank, and intentional
    RDAP: Growing, learning, and fighting

    What motivated you to attend/join/participate in RDAP?

    I was interested in diving more into research data management and had heard others talk about the RDAP Summit and what a great event it was (this was before we became our own org). My first Summit was in 2018 in Chicago, and it was great. I loved the size, the variety. I was also able to make some connections there and decided I wanted to make more by getting involved in committees.

    Do you have any roles in RDAP? If so, what do you do and what do you find motivating about your work with RDAP?

    I am a member of the Membership Committee, which is in its first year. That’s been really exciting because it means we’re coming up with everything! We’ve had some great ideas about how we can make the organization truly meaningful, how we can be inclusive and equitable, and how we can also just have fun, like our welcoming event for new members just before this year’s Summit. I’m also on the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Task Force, which is also new and therefore exciting as well. It’s tough work, but I’m so happy that we’re helping build equity into RDAP early on. 

    What advice do you have for people who are new to library & information/research data management roles?

    Seems like a token answer, but get involved with RDAP! I’ve met people through it who have really helped me learn and grow as a data management professional. I’ve also gotten lots of ideas about learning opportunities and other conferences through the RDAP listserv. And start following these people on social media. A lot of them are pretty active and share their work on places like Twitter. Also, don’t be afraid to check out other professional groups as well that are related, such as ACRL’s Digital Scholarship Section, if you’re able to afford them (cost is definitely an issue). But whichever group you join, try to get involved in some way, even if it’s small. This really helped me form relationships with other data management professionals, and I now have people I can go to for help. 

  • April 27, 2021 3:45 PM | Cameron

    Teaching Carpentries Workshops Online

    By Esther Plomp

    Due to the pandemic the majority of teaching that would normally take place physically now had to be hosted virtually. This shift to online teaching has not been without hurdles. During RDAP 2021, Ben Chiewphasa, the Economics and Librarian at the University of Notre Dame, presented his lessons learned from taking the Data Carpentries workshops online. This blog post presents a short summary of these lessons.

    The Carpentries “teach foundational coding, and data science skills to researchers worldwide.” Carpentries workshops are traditionally held in-person as the general consensus is that learning coding is most effective in a physical classroom setting. A safe learning space is ensured thanks to the code of conduct all the workshop adhere to.

    Ben Chiewphasa was involved as an instructor in two online workshops in 2020, taking place via Zoom (two full days from 9AM to 5PM). During the workshops there was another instructor (PhD student) and one helper present. The online workshops provided space for 12 participants. In an in-person context, the same amount of instructor/helpers could support 20 participants. Ben described the role of the helper as particularly critical in the online setting as they are essential in helping out the participants when they have questions or when they run into problems executing the code. In an online workshop the trouble shooting is generally done in a breakout room and it requires more time and effort compared to a physical workshop. There are several other issues that have to be addressed in the online setting, such as the issue of information overload on the computer screen: Learners need to manage the Zoom window and chat, their own interface and perhaps a third window if any other software or tools are used during the workshop.

    Ben recommended to take more breaks during online workshops. This, together with the trouble shooting taking up more time, means that the amount of materials that can be covered during online workshops is less compared to physical workshop. In an online workshop you really need to think about what the minimum amount of information is needed for the learner to understand the general concepts. Rather than trying to rush through all the materials you should prioritize the skills that are both useful and don’t take a long time to master.

    The carpentry curriculum is generally really jam packed and even in an in person workshop it is rare that instructors actually finish the entire session. In an online session you’ll need to adjust your expectations even further” – Ben Chiewphasa

    Online teaching is possible but it does take a lot more planning, thought, and a willingness to adjust to new tools and approaches! At the Delft University of Technology we experienced similar difficulties in taking the Carpentries workshops online and we still struggle to get the timing right. We have shared our experiences in a blogpost on one of these workshops, the first online Genomics Workshop. As Ben said during his presentation, “Putting together and running these workshops can take a village” and at Delft we are lucky to have a team of Carpentry instructors and helpers present to be able to host these workshops.

    Screenshot from the online Genomics Workshop at TU Delft

    More resources:

    Mapping & Planning a Live Coding Workshop for Digital Delivery (Carpentries)

    Online Workshop Logistics and Screen Layouts (Carpentries)

    Recommendations for Teaching Carpentries Workshops Online

    Bonus Modules for Carpentries Instructors for online workshops


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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