Log in

RDAP Association logo

Log in


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

    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.


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

    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!

  • 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.


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.


Mailing Address:
1985 W. Henderson Road, #2321
Columbus, OH 43220



Open Science Framework

Copyright © Research Data Access & Preservation Association, Inc. | Privacy Policy | Internal

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software