Category: Projects

These are the projects that UC3 is currently engaged in.

Skills Training for Librarians: Expanding Library Carpentry

In today’s data-driven, online and highly interconnected world, librarians are key to supporting diverse information needs and leading best practices to work with and manage data. For librarians to be effective in a rapidly evolving information landscape, training and professional development opportunities in both computational and data skills must be available and accessible.

OIMLS logover the past couple years, an international Library Carpentry (LC) movement has begun that seeks to emulate the success of the Carpentries — both the Data Carpentry and Software Carpentry initiatives — in providing librarians with the critical computational and data skills they need to serve their stakeholders and user communities, as well as streamline repetitive workflows and use best data practices within the library. This Library Carpentry community has already developed initial curriculum and taught more than 40 workshops around the world.

We are excited to announce that California Digital Library (CDL) has been awarded project grant funds from IMLS to further advance the scope, adoption, and impact of Library Carpentry across the US.  CDL’s 2-year project will be conducted by their digital curation team, University of California Curation Center (UC3), and will focus on these main activities: 

  1. development and updates of core training modules optimized for the librarian community and based on Carpentries pedagogy
  2. regionally-organized training opportunities for librarians, leading to an expanding cohort of certified instructors available to train fellow librarians in critical skills and tools, such as the command line, OpenRefine, Python, R, SQL, and research data management
  3. community outreach to raise awareness of Library Carpentry and promote the development of a broad, engaged community of support to sustain the movement and to advance LC integration within the newly forming Carpentries organization

Why Library Carpentry?

Library Carpentry leverages the success of the Carpentries pedagogy, which is based on providing a goal-oriented, hands-on, trial-and-error approach to learning computational skills, and extends it to meet the specific needs of librarians.

It is often difficult to figure out what skills to learn or how to get started learning them. In Library Carpentry, we identify the fundamental skills needed for librarians and develop and teach these skills in hands-on, interactive workshops. Workshops are designed for people with little to no prior computational experience, and they work with data relevant to librarians (so that librarians are working with data most applicable to their own work). WAnd workshops are also friendly learning environments with the sole aim of empowering people to use computational skills effectively and with more confidence.

How does this relate to the Carpentries?

Two sister organizations, Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry, have focused on teaching computational best practices. The ‘separate but collaborative’ organizational structure allowed both groups to build a shared community of instructors with more than 1000 certified instructors and 47 current Member Organizations around the world.  However, as Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry grew and developed, this ‘separate but collaborative’ organizational structure did not scale. As a result, the governing committees of both Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry recognized that as more mature organizations they can be most effective under a unified governance model.

On August 30, 2017, the Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry Steering Committees met jointly and approved the following two motions, which together form a strong commitment to continue moving forward with a merger.  As part of this merger, the new “Carpentries” organization will look to increase its reach into additional sectors and communities.  The nascent Library Carpentry community has recently met to decide they aim to join as a full-fledged ‘Carpentry’ in the coming year.

This grant will help LC solidify approaches to learning and community building, while also bringing resources to the table as we embark on future integration of LC within the merged Carpentries organization.

How does the Carpentries model work?

In the Carpentries model, instructors are trained and certified in the Carpentries way of teaching, using educational pedagogy, and are asked to commit to offering workshops in their regions and reworking/improving and maintaining lessons. These instructors teach two-day, hands-on workshops on the foundational skills to manage and work effectively with data. The goal is to become practitioners while in the workshop and then continue learning through online and in-person community interaction outside the classroom.

With the “train-the-trainer” model, the Carpentries are built to create learning networks and capacity for training through active communities and shared, collaborative lessons. They have used this model to scale with parallel approaches of developing lessons, offering workshops, and expanding the community. The LC community has also used this model and our grant project aims to extend this further.

Next Steps

As an immediate next step, CDL has begun recruiting for a Library Carpentry Project Coordinator.  This will be a 2-year and grant funded position.  You can apply at the UC Office of the President website.  Due date is November 30, 2017.   

While this position will report to CDL’s Director of University of California Curation Center (UC3), this position will focus on extending LC activities in the USA and working globally to gain capacity and reach for the Library Carpentry community and Carpentries staff.

For more information on this project, please feel free to contact CDL’s UC3 team at uc3@ucop.edu You can also follow UC3 on Twitter at @UC3CDL.  To learn more about Library Carpentry, you can visit https://librarycarpentry.github.io and follow on Twitter at @LibCarpentry.

We look forward to these next steps for Library Carpentry and a growing network of data savvy librarians.

Dat-in-the-Lab: Announcing UC3 research collaboration

We are excited to announce that the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has awarded a research grant to the California Digital Library and Code for Science & Society (CSS) for the Dat-in-the-Lab project to develop practical new techniques for effective data management in the academic research environment.

Dat-in-the-Lab

The project will pilot the use of CSS’s Dat system to streamline data preservation, publication, sharing, and reuse in two UC research laboratories: the Evolution: Ecology, Environment lab at UC Merced, focused on basic ecological and evolutionary research under the direction of Michael Dawson; and the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis, dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of water challenges.  UC researchers are increasingly faced with demands for proactive and sustainable management of their research data with respect to funder mandates, publication requirements, institutional policies, and evolving norms of scholarly best practice.  With the support of the UC Davis and UC Merced Libraries, the project team will conduct a series of site visits to the two UC labs in order to create, deploy, evaluate, and refactor Dat-based data management solutions built for real-world data collection and management contexts, along with outreach and training materials that can be repurposed for wider UC or non-UC use.  

What is Dat?

The Dat system enables effective research data management (RDM) through continuous data versioning, efficient distribution and synchronization, and verified replication.  Dat lets researchers continue to work with the familiar paradigm of file folders and directories yet still have access to rich, robust, and cryptographically-secure peer-to-peer networking functions.   You can think of Dat as doing for data what Git has done for distributed source code control.  Details of how the system works are explained in the Dat whitepaper.

Project partners

Dat-in-the-Lab is the latest expression of CDL’s longstanding interest in supporting RDM at the University of California, and is complementary to other initiatives such as the DMPTool for data management planning, the Dash data publication service, and active collaboration with local campus-based RDM efforts.  CSS is a non-profit organization committed to improving access to research data for the public good, and works at the intersection of technology with science, journalism, and government to promote openness, transparency, and collaboration.  Dat-in-the-Lab activities will be coordinated by Max Ogden, CSS founder and director; Danielle Robinson, CSS scientific and partnerships director; and Stephen Abrams, associate director of the CDL’s UC Curation Center (UC3).

Learn more

Stay tuned for monthly updates on the project. You can bookmark Dat-in-the-Lab on GitHub for access to code, curricula, and other project outputs.  Also follow along as the project evolves on our roadmapchat with the project team, and keep up to date through the project Twitter feed.  For more information about UC3, contact us at uc3@ucop.edu and follow us on Twitter.