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  • 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

  • April 20, 2021 11:25 AM | Laura Palumbo

    The following post was written by an RDAP 2021 Summit Scholarship recipient. Scholarships were prioritized for those from under-represented groups, first-time RDAP attendees, early career professionals, and current students. Each recipient was asked to write a brief post on their conference experience.


    I am Olusola Ige O. Adetoro, a Postdoctoral researcher and Affiliate Staff at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA.

    This summit, with a conference theme titled Radical Change and Data, expanded my understanding on data practices and its relevance for solving varieties of specific and general fundamental problems in the world.  The focus also explored the potential of multidisciplinary approaches in data practices. The Summit emphasized the reuse of data to solve different problems and at the same time achieve quality results. The session Supporting Responsible Research with Big Social Data by Connecting Communities of Practice, by Sara Mannheimer, where she described Big social data to represent radical ways of securing data attracted more of my attention. Most of the data reused are used to advance discoveries in social science, which also considers present challenges in context, content, privacy, and intellectual property. This session added more value to the opportunity I have as a member and one of the coordinators of a laboratory called Space Applications and Environmental Science Laboratory (SPAEL) in Africa. This laboratory houses the GIS and Remote Sensing Unit, Climate Observatory Unit and the Monitoring of Environment and Security in Africa Hub where earth observation data is archived and made accessible as open-source data for STEM and social science researchers and professional bodies.

    The summit was able to clarify the confusion I had about data practice sustainability. This is an aspect of concern to me as many fields presently engage in data curation and analysis. Many researchers are identifying themselves as Data Research Scientists or Analysts. This is a good idea to collaborate data practices both in the areas of data reuse and availability. However, it is important to strengthen data practice sustainability, which was clearly discussed during the summit. Another key issue discussed is the need to strengthen the power of multidisciplinary collaboration and partnership. This involves continuous dependence on data clusters that can be accessed not only within an institution or a local community, but globally. Many research institutions and organizations are beginning to enforce the rules on research students to submit all data acquired, captured, or utilized during their study before leaving the university or institution. The data achieved and used during the workshop session provided a bigger picture of the power of data. I am beginning to envisage what the world could become in the near future, with data practices/data archiving/data analysis. Another interesting aspect of the summit for me was the new approach to teaching of data management. We are presently in an era of high influx of people on online teaching modes basically caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic and this has increased the need for new teaching methods, one of which is storytelling. I was really impressed by the crowd sourced activities and this has enlightened and imparted me with another teaching method for data management.

    Finally, my overall experience during the summit was productive and propelled a greater desire to improve my data practice skills.

  • April 13, 2021 8:35 PM | Cameron

    The following post was written by an RDAP 2021 Summit Scholarship recipient. Scholarships were prioritized for those from under-represented groups, first-time RDAP attendees, early career professionals, and current students. Each recipient was asked to write a brief post on their conference experience.


    Where does the time go? Has it really been a month since the conference? My name is Jennifer Latessa. I am in pursuit of my Regional Development Planning Ph.D. at the University of Cincinnati, I serve the University of Cincinnati Libraries as a Data & Geographic Information Systems Consultant, and as I reflect on the 2021 RDAP Summit and what I learned, I think about the tools and topics discussed that most impact my current research, work, and daily life. Namely, the ways in which libraries support community engagement through information science, and how data structures and management practices affect future research, interoperability, accessibility, collaboration, security, and social constructs. For me, the “RDAP 2021: Radical Change and Data” program helped to establish an understanding of how information professionals are learning and adapting with data as a means to better socially engineer our collectively built society. I very much enjoyed Dr. Tonia Sutherland's keynote presentation and had not thought much about negotiating life after death data strategies to promote positive societal change, where progress is founded on the notion of capturing and retaining personal respect and well-being. It is an important topic for me professionally, as I look to focus on recommended procedures when developing viable spatial data structures across time and place, and personally, as I witness the decline in my aging parents' health. This discussion, along with others presented at the conference, inspired me to acknowledge that behind every recorded entry there is a story, with unique considerations, and constant (sometimes even radical) evolution. And, what's more, with Margaret Janz's "Using Storytelling for Teaching Data Management" workshop, I acquired familiarity and experience, so I am well equipped and more able to story tell the stories! The RDAP Association's 2021 Summit promoted teaching and applying best data management methods for open, preservable research data, aiming to radically affect present-day results and instill important questions to contemplate for the world to come. It was truly a pleasure to meet, connect, and discover new skills and knowledge from the wisdom shared and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved.

  • April 13, 2021 8:34 PM | Cameron

    The following post was written by an RDAP 2021 Summit Scholarship recipient. Scholarships were prioritized for those from under-represented groups, first-time RDAP attendees, early career professionals, and current students. Each recipient was asked to write a brief post on their conference experience.


    My name is Winny Nekesa Akullo and I work with the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority – Uganda as the Head of the Library and Documentation Centre Unit and currently the IASSIST – Africa Regional Secretary. As a research data librarian, I was intrigued about the theme of the summit “Radical Change and Data.” I looked forward to gain knowledge on research data management in the different situations and be able to share with my colleagues. I was therefore glad to participate in the RDAP Summit. First, it was unique for me that there was a “new comers” session that new comers were invited to attend. This session was a groundbreaker for me, because it exposed me to RDAP, the executive committee, and other new comers. I also got to know what the association does and how I can be involved as a member. This was unique for me because it was my first time to attend a first timer session virtually.

    Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend all the sessions because of the time zone. I was, however, able to attend some of the sessions. I found the following presentations very useful to my current needs: Supporting Responsible Research with Big Social Data by Communities of Practice – this presentation emphasized how big social data represents a radical change especially in ways research is conducted and curated, and therefore, needs to be framed as a form of qualitative data reuse. The Radical Change for RDM in Canada – Stakeholders, Services and Synergies emphasized the need to make data more open and discoverable to the different stakeholders. In addition, the basics of accessible data visualizations during one of the lighting talks, which is very applicable to my work.

    I am grateful for the scholarship which enabled me to attend the RDAP 2021. It was an opportunity for me to gain knowledge about best practices from other researchers and data professionals. Thank you very much!

  • April 13, 2021 8:33 PM | Cameron

    The following post was written by an RDAP 2021 Summit Scholarship recipient. Scholarships were prioritized for those from under-represented groups, first-time RDAP attendees, early career professionals, and current students. Each recipient was asked to write a brief post on their conference experience.


    To me, academic conferences are both exciting and disappointing. They’re exciting because they provide us with so many new ideas and concepts to think and ponder about. But they’re disappointing because after attending a conference you realize how little time you actually have to spend on these exciting new ideas and concepts.

    Dr. Tonia Sutherland’s keynote is the quintessential example of the Summit’s theme “Radical Change and Data” and drove me to think not only about the specifics of her presentation, but to also consider all the tangents associated with her topic (of which there are many). Dr. Sutherland’s presentation is a great example of a new idea or concept that I would love to spend more time thinking about, but it is also representative of a topic that is quite complex and difficult to integrate into existing research data management practices at a university. Along with ideas and concepts around Indigenous data sovereignty, the concept of feminist data practices require a systemic change not just to written policies and procedures, but to the very way researchers think about, collect, use, and share data (and we all know how flexible and adaptable academic researchers can be!!).

    As a librarian at Canada’s largest university -- the University of Toronto -- I would love to see Indigenous, feminist, and racialized data policies put into place. I would also love to see the university promote and drive such changes from the highest levels, rather than leaving it up to individuals to try to push the change from the bottom up. If a university with the prominence and size of the University of Toronto were to promote such changes, there’s a higher probability that other universities and colleges in Canada would follow suit.

    I suppose this is another disappointing aspect of attending conferences. You learn about great ideas and concepts that you’d like to see implemented more widely, but then you realize the massive challenges that exist to even convince people to listen to the idea, let alone implement the idea. Why does doing the right thing always require such a crazy uphill battle? It makes me realize how much resilience and perseverance long-term activists have and how exhausted they must be.

    At the moment, I fear that many universities (in Canada and beyond) simply implement equity, diversity, and inclusive (data) policies and procedures at the lowest level possible in order to satisfy the most minimum of requirements. These policies and procedures are implemented in order to make some people feel less guilty, but they do very little to make people truly feel equitable, diverse, and included.

    While difficult, this uphill battle is worth the effort. Plus, the journey associated with such a battle is just as important (and educational) as the destination. I am looking forward to investigating how I may be able to contribute to these systemic changes by creating or updating policies and procedures in my department. I am grateful to Dr. Sutherland, and other academics and librarians I’ve heard speak previously about these topics, for providing me with the ideas and concepts to pursue in my own organization.

    I would also like to thank the Research Data Access and Preservation organization and sponsors Figshare, Northeastern University Library, Syracuse iSchool, and generous RDAP members for the opportunity to attend the RDAP Summit at no cost.

    By Alicia Cappello MA | MLIS

    Dataverse Preservation & Policy Coordinator

    Scholars Portal | University of Toronto Libraries

  • April 12, 2021 6:45 PM | Cameron

    The following post was written by an RDAP 2021 Summit Scholarship recipient. Scholarships were prioritized for those from under-represented groups, first-time RDAP attendees, early career professionals, and current students. Each recipient was asked to write a brief post on their conference experience.


    This year’s RDAP Summit introduced me to perspectives on data that I had not considered before. In addition to seeing data management put to action in the development of amazing projects, I gained a deeper understanding of how the retention, reproduction, and presentation of data can have profound social impact. As a newcomer to RDM, these insights were very significant for me.

    Just last September, I started in a new job where one of my responsibilities is teaching about RDM and assisting researchers in applying best practices. Although I had a general notion of what data management involves, I knew I had a lot to learn. I’m sure many people reading this found themselves in a similar position at some point. Needless to say, it can be a bit daunting.

    Luckily, as has been my experience in other areas of librarianship, I discovered a very collaborative community of folks who work with RDM and openly share their knowledge. I quickly found libguides, videos, online courses, journals, and blogs that helped me get up to speed. At one point, my supervisor told me about the RDAP Summit and suggested I attend.

    The Summit was everything I expected and much more. The opening keynote by Dr. Tonia Sutherland was an absolute eye-opener. I had not considered the concept of people’s digital remains and how contested this subject can be, particularly in highly-publicized tragedies like the murder of Michael Brown. In cases like this one, lives and bodies quickly become commodified for mass consumption, with the most affected parties having little or no say in the issue.

    I was also moved by Dr. Sutherland’s argument in favor of adopting a critical mindset when digitizing historical sources, such as documents related to slavery, in order to not repeat the dehumanization that often characterized previous recording practices. Instead of simply copying old records to digital media, we can give new meaning to these documents. We can find ways to emphasize the human stories frequently silenced by archival methods of the past.

    This keynote talk really broadened my conception of what can be considered data in our digital times. It reminded me that in addition to working with the data itself, it is important to think about the implications of who maintains control over it and how it is ultimately disseminated.

    There were many other talks that I found tremendously enriching. I loved Research as Design-Design as Research by Cinthya Ippoliti and Kay Bjornen because it made me think about ways to engage more closely with researchers at my institution in order to design RDM services that really work for them. Also, I was blown away by Radical Change for RDM in Canada – Stakeholders, Services, and Synergies. It’s very inspiring to learn about a project that combines the work of so many people plus the national government in an effort to make data more open and accessible. 

    I would encourage anyone new to data management to consider joining RDAP. In particular, I would encourage other Latinx people like me to tell our colleagues in Latin America and the Caribbean about the organization. In many of our institutions, RDM is still a relatively recent topic. When you’re beginning to learn about any subject, it always feels good to have access to a community. From my experience in the Summit, I think RDAP is a great place to find that welcoming community feel and gain knowledge about all aspects of working with data.


    José J. Morales-Benítez

    University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez

  • April 12, 2021 6:44 PM | Cameron

    The following post was written by an RDAP 2021 Summit Scholarship recipient. Scholarships were prioritized for those from under-represented groups, first-time RDAP attendees, early career professionals, and current students. Each recipient was asked to write a brief post on their conference experience.


    My name is Omolola Adedokun. I am the Collection Development Librarian at the Kenneth Dike Library, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria. The Research Data Access and Preservation conference has really motivated me to a higher level of research and data application in my work.

    As Collection Development Librarian and a researcher, I work with data more in my research. I gained new knowledge in every session of the conference and my knowledge was also renewed that I have to apply to my work and research. I was firstly impressed by the opening keynote given by Dr. Sonia Sutherland, The Feminist Data Manifest-NO – A declaration of refusal and commitment. This was my first-time hearing of the manifest-NO; it refuses harmful data regimes and commits to new data futures. I learned how balanced the use of data is and could be regulated by these declarations now and in the future if we could all accept and apply them. It cut across and addresses all facets of data use. I have downloaded it and read it over and again!

    In the Collaborative Data Projects: No-nonsense,‌ ‌Practical‌ ‌Guide‌ ‌to‌ ‌Implementing‌ ‌Effective‌ ‌Data‌ ‌Practices‌ presentation by‌ Maria‌ ‌Praetzellis‌, I learned that effective data practices go beyond an individual decision or work. It involves all stakeholders and communication among them. Stakeholders are allowed to participate fully in identifying achievable concrete goals that are practicable in their own and other organizations. It is a pyramid that works to involve stakeholders’ collaboration. It concludes by creating a workable toolkit based on report and recommendations.

    The discussion Research as Design-Design as Research: Developing a Researcher-Driven Collaborative Model for Data Services by Kay Bjornen and Cinthya Ippoliti helped me to see the weaknesses in data management. Instead, it could have a positive effect if librarians, helped researchers manage their data not just for a while but throughout the entire project lifecycle. I learned about the various methods that can be used to gather data and how the limitations in these methods affords the opportunity to learn something new and do it better. Managing project results can also be a challenge because of constraints such as file sizes and platforms, making data easily searchable, data organization, unclear documentation on used variables, storage space, time, and security. These are some issues to consider critically. There is a lot of diversity in terms of disciplines and research topics, as well as detailed questions and templates, which makes design questions hard to formulate. There needs to be training for graduate assistants before the projects begin. As a lab partner with subject matter experts, my role includes training or mentorship programs, budget requirements, file sharing and storage, and end of project debriefing. As librarian, I will help more faculty members not just get research materials but also keep track of their data, for storage, sharing, and security until the project period is completed.  

    There is no doubt that there needs to be radical change in regards to data management. The availability of more resources opens up more of the challenges we need to overcome and this implies that research concerning data is non-stop, with continuous feedback for further improvement. - Omolola Adedokun

  • April 08, 2021 1:47 PM | Laura Palumbo

    The following post was written by an RDAP 2021 Summit Scholarship recipient. Scholarships were prioritized for those from under-represented groups, first-time RDAP attendees, early career professionals, and current students. Each recipient was asked to write a brief post on their conference experience.


    I am the health-sciences librarian at the John Peace Library at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). When I started here, a little over three years ago, one of my first duties was to take over the research data management classes for the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training that is required for all incoming researchers. I also began hosting campus-wide workshops on best practices and this eventually lead to becoming the leader of our library’s Data Services team and the resident research data specialist at UTSA. 2021was my first year to attend the RDAP Summit and I am very grateful to the event sponsors for providing the opportunity to me.

    I found the sessions regarding the new virtual modality of instruction, like Reflecting on Teaching Carpentries Workshops Online and The Zooming Winds of Change: Developing a New Curriculum for RDM Instruction from the Virtual Ground Up, to be very useful for my current needs as I too had to adapt my instruction to virtual. The insight offered into differences and challenges of the virtual learning environment, as well as the experiences of others in adapting or their programming and/or creating new content to meet learner needs will be very helpful for my instruction offerings, especially the use of interactive components.

    Our university, at an administrative level, has recently begun to closely examine the impact of open data sharing mandates and policies as well as the implications for UTSA in terms of necessary governance. Fortunately, thanks to support garnered through the RCR program, I have been able to be involved in those conversations. Thankfully there were several sessions with useful tips and information that I plan to incorporate into our discussions. The “Collaborative Data Projects” sessions, especially No-nonsense, Practical Guide to Implementing Effective Data Practices and Research as Design-Design as Research: Developing a Researcher-Driven Collaborative Model for Data Services, contained information that I think will be especially helpful as we move forward through the process of implementing a governance team and begin working with researchers to support their needs in incorporating ethical and open data practices into their existing research workflows.

    I look forward to all the benefits of my RDAP membership as our institution moves forward through this progression toward FAIR data at my institution and I am also excited at the prospect of attending RDAP 2022.

  • April 05, 2021 2:45 PM | Laura Palumbo

    The following post was written by an RDAP 2021 Summit Scholarship recipient. Scholarships were prioritized for those from under-represented groups, first-time RDAP attendees, early career professionals, and current students. Each recipient was asked to write a brief post on their conference experience.


    As a Digital Services Librarian who wears many hats at the CUNY Graduate Center, I had mixed feelings regarding the RDAP Summit/Conference. Because I am relatively new to the field of Data Management, I was hoping for more tangible and practical moments regarding the actual development and composition of Data Management Plans and best practices in regards to actually managing data; for example, how to actually construct a strong plan and the best practices for preparing and storing data.  Maybe, I should have enrolled in the workshops, but a review of the workshop listings suggested that none were foundational, so I opted not to and hoped that the core conference sessions would touch upon and nourish missing elements in my toolkit.   However, I definitely appreciated that many of the sessions provided social, economic and cultural contextualization of data management. 

    In selecting presenters, the Summit’s organizers were definitely consistent with Radical Change and Data, the conference’s theme.  Dr. Tonia Sutherland’s keynote set the table, tone, and tenor and accurately foreshadowed the rest of the conference, when Sutherland elaborated on the commodification of ‘digital remains’ which, for me, catalyzed much thought on how even the most innocuous of data could easily be manipulated to perpetuate inequities and how there should be [possible] right to be forgotten [digitally].  Some of the content within the presentations of Diversity Scholars' Data: Practices, Gaps, and Potential Resources session clearly emphasized how practices and structures have racism embedded in them and how these practices inform and influence future research. For example, the construct of ‘Asian American’ as a category is not scientific, but was policy orientated for administrative tracking purposes and how race was/is a method used to choose who to exclude. Yes, Heather Ganshorn Zahra Premji’s and Praetzellis’ sessions definitely had more practical moments to think about and I particularly enjoyed learning about Portage Network’s libguide to support the DMP Assistant tool, I still felt like many of the conversations felt insular and I was left needing more than just the sample. Although I was not fully nourished and foundational skills were not established during my first RDAP summit, thus I am probably not yet fully ready for primetime as an expert consultant to faculty and students in the art of data management plans, I definitely appreciated the thoughtfulness and theory surrounding the discipline shown by the summit presenters, suggesting that this corner of librarianship and archives management is occupied by those who are engaged and sensitive to the actual implications of their practices.


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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