Thank you for visiting the “eScience Portal for Librarians.” The “eScience Portal” is no longer being maintained by the University of Massachusetts. This regional resource has been adapted by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, and is sustained by the network of regional medical libraries across the country. Please visit for up-to-date data services and resources supported and vetted by the National Libraries of Medicine. We look forward to your continued involvement in the programming in the New England Region and beyond. If you have questions, please contact

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2017 Science Boot Camp — Register Now!

e-Science Portal blog - Fri, 05/12/2017 - 12:00
Registration for 2017 New England Science Boot Camp is open!
Please register before May 19th!

This year’s Science Boot Camp will be held June 14-16, 2017 on the campus of University of Massachusetts Amherst, in Amherst, Massachusetts. At Science Boot Camp you will explore key concepts and research in select subject areas, and engage faculty in their disciplines. This year’s topics are: Geosciences, Mathematics & Statistics, Biomedical Research. All session speakers are still being finalized. This year’s Capstone will cover Scholarly Communications topics in a session called “A Week in the Life of a Scholarly Communications Office.”

Science Boot Camp provides librarians with valuable continuing education at a low cost, and offers three options for attendees–full registration with overnight lodging, commuter registration, or a one day registration option. Registration fees:

Full Registration: $275  (Includes 2 nights lodging, all meals & breaks,3 days instruction)

Commuter Registration: $225  (Includes all meals & breaks,3 days instruction)

One-Day Registration: $125  (Includes 1 day instruction, all meals & breaks, no lodging)


Preliminary Schedule for Science Boot Camp (subject to change):

What can you expect to get out of Science Boot Camp?

For each of the focus topics covered at Science Boot Camp’s science sessions, Science Boot Campers will be able to:

  • Explain the structure of the field and its foundational ideas
  • Understand and be able to use terminologies for the field
  • Identify the big questions that this field is exploring
  • Discuss new directions for research in this field
  • Discuss what questions research in this field is addressing
  • Understand how research is conducted, what instrumentation is used, and how data is captured
  • Identify how researchers share information within their fields beyond publications
  • Share insights into what current research in the field is discovering and implications of these discoveries
  • Share insights into how researchers in specific fields collaborate with librarian subject specialists now and how they might collaborate in the future.
  • Identify new ways that librarians can support their research communities

If you’ve never been to Science Boot Camp, visit the e-Science Portal’s Science Boot Camp page at where you’ll find descriptions, links to past SBC LibGuides, and links to SBC videos!

For further information and to register:

Let us know you are coming on Twitter with #SciBoot17!

We look forward to seeing you in June!

The New England Science Boot Camp for Librarians Planning Committee

For General Inquiries: Ellen Lutz (

JeSLIB Special Issue: Call for Papers

e-Science Portal blog - Tue, 05/09/2017 - 12:00
Call for Papers in JeSLIB Special Issue: “Visualizing the (Data) Future”

Journal of eScience Librarianship Special Issue to be published December 2017!

“Visualizing the (Data) Future”
Guest Editor: Jian Qin, Syracuse University
Expert Commentary: Sally Gore, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Data Visualization is an increasingly important research area due to its wide range of applications in many disciplines. Visualizations provide a visual overview in order to explore, analyze, and present something often difficult to understand.

In the field of data science, librarians have emerged to help address this challenge. In this Special Issue, we are looking for articles on how you are telling stories, using tools, or creating best practices in data visualization.

All submissions are subject to peer-review based on article type.

Please see About this Journal and Author Guidelines for more information.

To submit an article to “Visualizing the (Data) Future”:

Areas of focus include, but are not limited to:

  • Case studies describing the use of data visualization (e.g., healthcare, bioinformatics, sciences)
  • Data visualization and research impact
  • Institutional collaborations in data visualization
  • Visualization as a tool for data science education and explanation
  • Evaluation methods for assessment
  • Reviews of data visualization books, tools or other resources
  • How data visualization fits into the research lifecycle
  • History of visualization throughout science (STEM)

Timeline for Publishing Special Issue:

Submission Deadline: August 1, 2017
Acceptance Notification: September 15, 2017
Final Manuscripts Due: November 1, 2017
Issue Publication: December 15, 2017

Questions? Contact Editor, Regina Raboin,

9th eScience Symposium Video Recordings and Event Materials are Online!

e-Science Portal blog - Fri, 05/05/2017 - 12:00

The video recordings of the presentations from the April eScience Symposium are now available on the New England Region eScience Program YouTube page.

Kristi Holmes, Director, Galter Health Sciences Library, Feinberg School of Medicine, gave the keynote address on “An Impact Agenda for Biomedical Libraries.”

Shea Swauger, Department Head of Researcher Support Services, University of Colorado — Denver, gave a phenomenal breakout talk on data education titled “Sex, Lies, and Data.”

The 2016 e-Science Symposium conference page has also been updated with links to slide decks from the presentations and the PDFs of the presented posters.

Mount Holyoke College Research and Instructional Support team’s poster, “Building Research Data Services at Mount Holyoke College” was awarded “Best Poster Overall.”

Check out the great materials from the eScience Symposium!

Supporting Researchers with the Research Bazaar

e-Science Portal blog - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 12:50

Submitted by guest author, Jennifer T. Nichols, Digital Scholarship Librarian, University of Arizona Libraries,

Every day at universities around the world, researchers are looking for answers to problems. Sometimes those problems are about how to write a script to efficiently accomplish a task, how to share code with other collaborators, or how to work with geo-spatial data. Now that computing is integral to how we accomplish our research, we often find ourselves alone and struggling to find someone with the expertise to assist us.

Research Bazaar Arizona (ResBazAZ) debuted at the University of Arizona to address this issue. A two-day, free conference, ResBazAZ combined individual lightning talks, spontaneous unconference style meetups and more focused, in-depth workshops. We learned from the open model of Research Bazaar (ResBaz), the global festival originating in Australia at the University of Melbourne, which aims to “equip researchers from all career stages with the digital skills and tools required to do their research better, faster and smarter.”

Most ResBaz events were in universities in Australia and New Zealand, but this year expanded globally to include three North American universities. Other global sites include Oslo, Norway, and Cuenca, Ecuador. While most events around the world were held during the month of February, the Tucson event was March 31 and April 1.

The principal organizers at the University of Arizona (UA) were a loose group of software developers, programmers and post-docs, many of whom have volunteered to teach Software Carpentry to research scientists on campus. They started to realize that more support was needed beyond the weekend workshops, where people would get their initial start but afterwards find there was little to no ongoing support. After one of the developers met Research Bazaar founders at SXSW, they were inspired to implement their model and create Thursday evening Hacky Hour events at a nearby campus bar, coupled with Tuesday early morning PhTea events, both designed to be drop-in help for any sort of research computing needs.

Meanwhile at the UA Libraries, we had been hosting a Friday Tech Talk series, inviting faculty and students to present on the tools they use in their research and teaching. The goal of this program is to connect people to others across disciplines who may be using the same tools, and support the formation of a learning community. Eventually we found one another, and joined forces to plan the larger two-day ResBazAZ.

Intrigued by the first Australian events, with Moroccan style tents and outdoor lounges for social gatherings, we thought our Tucson weather would allow us the perfect opportunity to host an equally appealing event. The University of Arizona has a beautiful sprawling mall of grass through the center of campus. We set up shop in the middle of the mall with two pop-up tents, Mexican blankets, a few chairs, one monitor, and lots of coffee. In Tucson, late March weather can be unpredictable. And as Murphy’s law would dictate, we welcomed our event with an unseasonably cool 60 degrees, 25 mile/hour winds and just a tease of rain.

Participants were invited to give short lightning talks on Friday. Software engineers, research faculty, librarians, computer science students, geneticists, social scientists, and journalists converged to discuss a wide range of topics, including high-performance computing, data rescue efforts, and gender equity in the STEM fields.

Saturday workshops were hosted in a large collaborative classroom in the Science-Engineering Library to accommodate more focused learning. Throughout the day, 19 workshops were taught by organizers and participants alike. Everyone came together midday for a rich conversation with the Open Science and Reproducible Research panel. This panel featured faculty at the University of Arizona (Uwe Hilgert, Bonnie Hurwitz, Nirav Merchant and Jeff Oliver), and Hao Ye, a Mozilla Science Lab Open Project lead and post-doc from Scripps.

Though planning was a weekly affair for several months, we were able to fund this event on a shoestring. CyVerse was our principal sponsor, supporting tents and coffee; the University’s Office of Research, Discovery and Innovation sponsored lunch; the Libraries provided facilities; and our corporate sponsor Overleaf funded drinks, swag, and trial access to their service for all participants.

As a first time event, we were thrilled to have 73 participants join us, 32 of which were walk-ins who either discovered us incidentally when they passed by, or did not register in advance.

For the coming year we hope that participants will continue to attend our weekly events and to grow our grassroots learning community. Enough time has passed that we are finally looking forward to next year, where we hope to double attendance, and widen our reach across disciplines.

Connect to the Research Bazaar community.

Learn more about the birth of Research Bazaaar on Dejan Jotanovic’s blog post.

Save the Date: 2017 Midwest Data Librarian Symposium

e-Science Portal blog - Tue, 04/18/2017 - 12:00

Posted on behalf of Heather Coates, Digital Scholarship and Data Management Librarian, IUPUI University Library – Center for Digital Scholarship

The 2017 Midwest Data Librarian Symposium will be held at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana on October 9 – 10, 2017.

The Midwest Data Librarian Symposium (MDLS) is intended to enable midwestern librarians who work with research data management issues the chance to network; however, it is open to all who wish to attend, including future data librarians and data librarians situated outside the Midwest.

Details forthcoming! More information:

Tag the conference and join the conversation with hashtag #MDLS17!


Notes from the March New England RDM Roundtable Discussion

e-Science Portal blog - Wed, 04/12/2017 - 12:00

The fifth New England Research Data Management Roundtable was held March 2, 2017 at the University Massachusetts Amherst. These series of roundtable discussions are targeted for New England librarians who are engaged in research data management services or who want to learn more about data librarianship. Sponsored by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region, the NE RDM Roundtables provide opportunities for New England librarians to compare notes, ask questions, share lessons learned, explore new working models, acquire fresh ideas for their workplaces and develop new partnerships.

The theme of March’s event was “Breaking Down RDM Instruction.” The day featured a workshop taught by Brian Baldi, UMass Amherst Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development. Brain’s presentation “Transparency in One-Shot Library Sessions” built upon the Transparency in Learning & Teaching (TILT) project developed by Mary-Ann Winkelmes (University of Nevada, Las Vegas). Workshop participants were given time to design transparent assignments for one-shot sessions, and to discuss and evaluate their examples with their peers. This workshop was a great follow up to the discussion held at the RDM Roundtable last June at Boston College.

The roundtable discussions were held in the morning and in the afternoon.

To start the day off, a panel of Research Data Management librarians talked about developing learning objectives, and best practices for creating RDM instruction learning objectives.

Moderator: Patti Condon
Panelists: Thea Atwood, Megan Bresnahan, Zac Painter

Moderator Panel Questions:

  • Why do you think it’s important to create learning goals/objectives (for workshops, one-shots, etc.)?
  • Have you received formal training on teaching, lesson plans, or learning? goals/objectives? (If so, how did you receive this training? If not, how have you acquired the skills?)
  • Can you walk us through your process for creating lessons plans and learning goals/objectives?
  • How has your process for creating learning goals/objectives changed over time?
  • Is teaching RDM different than other subjects?
  • Can you share an example?

The following Roundtable focused on experiences creating RDM instruction learning objectives.

Learning Objectives

  • Based on the strategies used by the panelists, do you think there are things you can use in your own practice?
  • Think about any of your workshops or classes. What learning objectives do you use, and how effective do you think they are?
  • What do you still want to know? In what areas do you still need help?
  • What makes you uncomfortable about creating lesson plans and learning goals/objectives?
  • From what you have heard today, how can you change your practices?

Takeaways from the panel:

  • Framing outcomes in Bloom’s taxonomy, how to teach is a long term learning process; progression not perfection
  • Similar experience trying to do everything, can’t make everybody happy because there are still some people who are looking for more on a particular topic
  • Asking for what people want covered during the beginning of the class, Team has good structure but not any RDM classes but we are not a graduate institution, who are we going to teach to? Undergraduate doing thesis work?
  • Teach concepts not tools
  • A lot of material focused on grad students and not undergraduates but would love to move into that area
  • Focused on what to teach/ have to present
  • LO gets you to focus on what you want people to hear
  • Use concept mapping in RDM classes – have students draw research process, circle points where products/uses data, ID points on process where struggled, pair up to discuss mini RDM plans

Other feedback on Learning Objectives:

  • How many objectives can you cover in a class, ultimately more than 2-3 is too muc
  • Can we build a community to keep ourselves honest and posting learning objectives, then coming back after and saying how it went?
  • Trying to think what is the next step for learners afterwards when making objectives
  • Find other words than “understand” in objectives
  • Insurmountable chore
  • Approach as presentation us as education lesson plan template helps
  • Use ACRL info literacy- read regularly here is more- accept and be ok
  • Feedback from data librarians on active librarians and other learning strategies

The final roundtable of the day focused on assessing and reflecting on RDM teaching.


  • How do you evaluate the success of your courses?
  • Would you consider giving a quiz, test, or assignment (graded, if appropriate) during your instruction session or workshop?
  • How would your assessment results influence your teaching (how can you tie them into reflective practice)?
  • Would you find it useful to incorporate assessment as a component of your own lessons?
  • What questions do you ask yourself and reflect upon when you have completed a teaching session?

Current examples of evaluation practices:

  • General feedback survey in Qualtrics
  • Muddiest point (ex: Online or on paper – students put name, contact, and muddiest point)
  • No uniform way of collecting feedback on sessions
  • Pre-assessment to find out if students are all on the same page
  • Reflections at the end of the class (What did you learn; Interactive reflection; Active listening)

Evaluation strategies to apply:

  • No to quizzes, yes to assignments
  • There is an online quiz that is RDM Jeopardy
  • Visually see them (students) walk away with object reflective assessment
  • Experiment with assignments – constantly updating based on quality of assessment (self-assessment)

Questions to consider:

  • Collect data but then what? No point collecting if not using…
  • How do you do assessment outside of surveys, quizzes, grades?
  • How do we change the culture of assessment? Why do we collect bad data?
  • What do you do with the feedback you get? Especially with standardized courses taught by multiple people?


Webinar: Emerging Trends in Visual Science Communication

e-Science Portal blog - Wed, 04/05/2017 - 12:30
Emerging Trends in Visual Science Communication: How to create informative and inspiring graphics for journals and presentations

More information:

Effective science communication is highly dependent on clear, effective and eye-catching visuals. However, most scientists or research organizations do not have the resources to hire professional studios nor have an on-staff design team. Additionally, some research may involve proprietary information that make it difficult to bring on external team members on a whim. Luckily, there are ways to obtain or create an effective image to communicate complex science topics, whether it’s for a journal figure, a keynote presentation, internal team discussions, or the general public.

This webinar will cover a few key design and rendering techniques that any non-artist can implement when approaching graphics, schematics, or general presentation of scientific information (including proper layout, basic color or font choices, and when to include images). We’ll also discuss a few useful and free (or affordable) alternatives to the current option of spending hours in MS Word or Paint.

Instructor: Shiz Aoki, MA, CMI
Shiz Aoki graduated from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine through the Art as Applied to Medicine program after obtaining a B.Sc. in pre-medical sciences, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Illustration from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. In 2010, she was hired straight out of school as a science illustrator for National Geographic Magazine at their HQ in Washington, DC. Shiz is now Lead Science Artist at National Geographic, and Founder and Lead Illustrator at Anatomize Studios and, a scientific graphics production studio that services hospitals, journals, pharma and biotech companies. She has serviced other renowned clients including Scientific American, HHMI, NIH, McGraw Hill, Stanford University, and many others.

Aoki hopes to democratize the process of visual science communication to scientists at all stages of their careers. Her team is currently creating new tools and resources for scientists to create science visuals (such as graphical abstracts, journal figures, presentation slides).

Follow her on Twitter: @ShizAoki
Learn more at

Register for this free webinar:

In Review: Data Rescue Boston@MIT

e-Science Portal blog - Mon, 04/03/2017 - 12:30

Submitted by Guest Author Howard Silver, Head of Data and Specialized Services, MIT and NER eScience Advisory Board Member,

Data Rescue Boston is part of a national effort inspired and coordinated by the combined organizing efforts of Data Refuge and Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI).  These efforts are creating avenues for scientists and citizens to constructively engage in supporting science and research at a national level.

Since the start of 2017 a community-of-action has formed in the New England region dedicated to identifying and capturing government-generated data that may be at-risk. Data Rescue Boston has brought together students, scientists, community members and librarians to organize data gathering efforts.  Since the beginning of February there have been organized events at Harvard, UNH, MIT and Northeastern.

The Data Rescue Boston@MIT hackathon took place on Saturday, February 18. It was a student-led event with considerable institutional support from the Libraries, MIT Center for Computational Engineering, MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative, and the MIT Graduate Student Council Initiatives Fund. 130 participants spent the day researching and harvesting URLs and data, and mapping Federal agency data profiles.


“Data Curation for Reuse” at the ACRL 2017 conference

e-Science Portal blog - Tue, 03/28/2017 - 13:12

Submitted by Portal Editor Laura Palumbo, Chemistry & Physics Librarian/Science Data Specialist, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) biannual conference, held last week in Baltimore, Maryland, presented a variety of informative sessions for academic librarians. There were several on data management topics, and I wished that I could have seen all of them. One that I attended was “Data Curation for Reuse: (Why Open is Not Enough)”, presented by Jared Lyle, Linda Detterman, and Elizabeth Moss, all of the Interuniversity Consortium for Political  & Social Research, at the University of Michigan, better known as ICPSR. The following synopsis includes only some of the interesting information presented during this session.

ICPSR is one of the oldest data repositories, and is operated by a consortium of over 750 institutions (ICPSR, 2017). The presenters discussed the curation activities undertaken by ICPSR, that enable their data to be discoverable and usable. Although dealing exclusively with social science data, the curation activities discussed are applicable to repositories in other areas as well. Some of the problems that can be encountered when datasets aren’t curated are a lack of metadata, which could render data unintelligible or hide possible biases; exposure of sensitive or personal data; and a lack of connection from the data to the published paper containing the analysis.

Ensuring good metadata is an important part of the curation process at ICPSR. Some of the significant metadata fields for social science data involve capturing the specifics of the population, the scope of the research, geographies, time periods, the number of respondents, and links to the survey instrument and codebook. Subject keywords are also important for discovery; and an indication of the existence of funders in order to uncover any biases that might be present. Provenance and versions need to be carefully maintained for accurate reuse. Links to publications, and data citation with DOIs are best practices that ICPSR uses and promotes.

In addition to making sure that the data is discoverable an intelligible, ICPSR also reviews and cleans the data it receives, to ensure that there is no risk of exposure of sensitive data through triangulation. In addition, it scans data deposits for personal information, such as social security numbers. Some sensitive data or data containing personal identifiers may be used with permission, and measures such as secure downloading, and virtual or even physical enclaves can be employed. ICPSR also has legal counsel and professional staff who oversee data security and related legal issues.

ICPSR, while doing all of these curation activities behind the scenes, allows for self-deposit of data. Depositors are encouraged to fill in some required metadata fields, and are reminded to review and clean their data before submitting it. Depositors have the ability to restrict access to sensitive data, and to share data through secure measures. Curation at ICPSR is quite an undertaking, and not one that everyone can replicate. Librarians who don’t have institutional repositories equipped to deal with this kind of data, were told that their efforts in research data management services such as planning, best practices, referrals to appropriate repositories, and help with metadata can benefit researchers as well as repositories receiving their researchers’ data.



Library Carpentry, Boston

e-Science Portal blog - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 12:30

MIT, NEASIST and NNLM NER are teaming up to bring Library Carpentry to Boston!

What is Library Carpentry?

Library Carpentry is made by librarians, for librarians to help you:

  • automate repetitive, boring, error-prone tasks
  • create, maintain and analyse sustainable and reusable data
  • work effectively with IT and systems colleagues
  • better understand the use of software in research
    and much more…

This Library Carpentry, one-day, hands-on workshop will cover jargon busting, data structures, using regular expressions for pattern matching, use of the Bash shell (aka the command line) to speed up and automate tasks, and using OpenRefine for data cleanup.

Who: The course is for librarians and information workers. You don’t need to have any previous knowledge of the tools that will be presented at the workshop –  beginners are welcome!

Where: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Building 14N-132

When: 15 May, 2017

Cost: $30 – $45 per registration

Apply for a NNLM NER Sponsorship and attend the workshop for free! 5 spots available!
Fill out this quick form with information about your background and interest.
NNLM NER will cover the registration fee and travel to the workshop. Sponsored attendees will be required to submit a blog post about the workshop and their experience to the eScience Community Blog.

Check out more details about Library Carpentry Boston.


Belinda Weaver
Belinda Weaver organised the 2016 global sprint that took Library Carpentry from a single London workshop to a growing global community. A former librarian and repository manager, she now provides eResearch infrastructure to researchers at Queensland universities. Based in Brisbane, Australia, she is a certified Software Carpentry instructor and instructor trainer and serves on the Software Carpentry Steering Committee. She runs local skills and outreach events such as Research Bazaar and Hacky Hour and tweets as @cloudaus.

Juliane Schneider
Juliane Schneider has had a long, weird library career, with data and discovery as the common thread. She has worked as an insurance librarian, a medical librarian, as a database designer for EBSCO, a research data curator and is now the Lead Data Curator for Harvard Catalyst, and In 2016, with fellow UCSD librarian Tim Dennis, she organized and taught the first Library Carpentry workshop in the United States, and is a certified Data Carpentry instructor.

Library Carpentry
National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region
New England Chapter of the Association for Information Science and Technology

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