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Calling all Data Science Librarians!

e-Science Portal blog - Fri, 04/29/2016 - 12:00

Submitted on behalf of Elaine Martin, DA
Director of Library Services, Lamar Soutter Library
Director, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region
University of Massachusetts Medical School

In the newest issue of Journal of eScience Librarianship, Elaine Martin discusses the role of librarians in data science, and encourages us to take action.

Elaine’s advocacy and leadership in the NN/LM NER eScience Program, has built a strong community of librarians in New England, and beyond, who are truly forward thinking in the expanding discipline of data science.

However, we are seeing some hesitancy on the part of librarians to participate in the data movement. But this is happening at a time when we have seen an increase in the money and involvement in data initiatives from a range of other professions and academic disciplines. Elaine sees this as a critical moment for librarians to actively plan and implement strategies collectively.

In Elaine’s editorial, she proposes a framework for the librarian’s role in data science, believing that the principles and values of the field of library and information science that form the core of our profession need to be part of this new discipline and that we can add unique perspectives and roles. This “User-Centered Framework” consists of buckets: data services, data management practices, data literacy, data archives and preservation, and data policy.

User-Centered Data Management Framework for Librarians. Building a community of data science librarians to evolve the data science discipline.

This is just a taste of Elaine’s vision for the future of librarianship. Please read the article in its entirety (http://dx.doi.org/10.7191/jeslib.2015.1092) and add to the discussion! We encourage all to get actively involved and encourage your comments below.

And be sure to check out all the articles in the newest issue of JeSLIB available now!

e-Science Librarianship: keeping the perspective global

e-Science Portal blog - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 16:38

Submitted by e-Science Portal Editor Daina Bouquin, Assistant Head Librarian, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, daina.bouquin@cfa.harvard.edu

One substantial challenge librarians face as they work with scientists and students in data-intensive fields is the reality that data management is greatly impacted by geographically distributed research teams. Scientists, researchers, and students must constantly consider what approaches are being taken by their peers and colleagues around the world. From the Librarian’s stand point, I believe it’s important to do the same when we consider how we tackle the conversation about the library’s role in supporting those communities’ work. It’s difficult sometimes to keep up to date with everything that’s going on in the quickly changing data librarianship landscape, and sometimes I need to remind myself to make sure I’m taking a global perspective as I try to stay in touch with what other libraries are doing. Through Twitter, conference proceedings, meetings with international attendance, and through one-on-one idea sharing I think Librarians around the world should be forming relationships and working together as much as possible to expand the role librarians have in fostering new knowledge creation in modern scholarship.

Below I’m going to list just a few attention grabbing efforts to approach topics like research data management, metadata, cyber infrastructure, and open science outside of the United States to hopefully inspire readers to keep their eyes open to initiatives abroad.

Even though the e-Science Portal and Community Blog feature “New England Librarians” it doesn’t mean we’re sticking to perspectives just from New England! What sort of global or international projects have caught your eye lately?

Highlights from the 2016 e-Science Symposium

e-Science Portal blog - Wed, 04/13/2016 - 09:00

The theme for this year’s e-Science Symposium was Library Research Data Services:  Putting Ideas Into Action.  If you’re attended one of the e-Science symposiums before, you know how much is packed into one day!  There was too much content to subject you to in one blog post, so I thought I’d focus on just a few highlights.

This is the first time I can recall breakout sessions being held at the symposium.  These sessions split attendees into smaller, more interactive groups focused on four areas:  compliance, data information literacy, data repositories, and informationist tracks.

In his data information literacy session, Jake Carlson talked about his experiences with a couple of different courses.  His approach emphasizes the student’s role as data producer and manager, and has students use their own data for the course as a way to increase their investment in the sessions.  The DIL course currently underway at the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering draws upon guest speakers for part of its curriculum, including an IT specialist, data visualization expert, copyright officer, and director of compliance from the College of Engineering.  Classes last for 2 hours, and they’ve found it most productive to typically split this allotted time into thirds for each session:  first presentations, then discussion, and finally hands-on time for students to work with data.  Jake mentioned that student feedback led them to switch the flow of curriculum a bit so that big-picture ideas and hands-on, detailed work both happen throughout the semester rather than starting with large-scale topics early on and funneling down into details later.

The other breakout I attended was Margaret Henderson & Hillary Miller’s session on compliance, which  was one of the high points of the symposium for me.  Their presentation was chock-full of great resources and tips.  One of those tips noted the value of Retraction Watch as a source of cautionary tales for researchers who may be more concerned with the possibility of retraction than compliance.  I also loved their suggestion to put together a README file template to help give researchers a leg up on creating good documentation for their datasets.  Dryad has some nice guidance and examples to draw from.

The only downside to the breakout sessions was missing out on the other two offerings – I heard great things about them too.  The poster session was also very lively this year, with over 20 presenters speaking to a variety of topics.  Check out their work here!

That’s just a taste of some of the topics offered up at this year’s symposium.  Thanks to UMass Medical and co-sponsors (Lamar Soutter Library, NN/LM New England, and the BLC) for organizing another great event.


2016 Science Boot Camp — Registration is Open!

e-Science Portal blog - Thu, 04/07/2016 - 10:00

Registration is now open for the 2016 New England Science Boot Camp! For further information and to register, visit the Science Boot Camp 2016 Lib Guide at http://guides.library.umass.edu/BootCamp2016. Scholarships are available for current Library School students!

This year’s Science Boot Camp will be held at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth June 15-17th. Now in its eighth year, Science Boot Camp provides a fun and casual setting where New England science faculty present educational sessions on their respective science domains to librarians.  Science topics for this year’s boot camp include Nursing, Physics and Civil & Environmental Engineering. There will also be a special evening presentation, “Dolphin Politics in Shark Bay” by UMass Dartmouth Professor of Biology Dr. Richard Connor on Wednesday, June 15th. The Capstone on Friday June 17th will feature a hands-on session, “Science Literacy.”

Prior to the official start of the boot camp program, Science Boot Campers can opt to take tours on  Wednesday, June 15:

  • Campus tour featuring the architecture of Paul Rudolph. Tour leader: Bruce Barnes, retired, former head of UMass Dartmouth Library Technical Services
  • Visit the renovated Claire T. Carney Library that has received awards from ALA and the American Institute of Architects. Tour leader: Catherine Fortier Barnes, Assistant Director, Claire T. Carney Library.

Science Boot Campers are also invited to participate in an optional Friday afternoon trip to the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Campers will be responsible for the admission fee. More information on this will be provided as it become available!

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.

This year, UMass Dartmouth is offering overnight accommodations for Tuesday June 14th and/or Friday June 18th, at additional cost to campers. Campers who would like to stay Tuesday and/or Friday evening will pay a separate fee and pay directly to UMass Dartmouth Library. Details about this option can be found on the registration page.

If you’ve never been to Science Boot Camp, visit the e-Science Portal’s Science Boot Camp page at http://esciencelibrary.umassmed.edu/science_bootcamp where you’ll find descriptions, links to past SBC LibGuides, and links to SBC videos!

Are you curious about what you can expect to learn at Science Boot Camp 2016? Here are the learning objectives for the 2016 Science Boot Camp science sessions:

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

The 2016 Knight News Foundation Libraries Challenge

e-Science Portal blog - Thu, 03/31/2016 - 15:48

Submitted by e-Science Portal Editor Daina Bouquin, Assistant Head Librarian, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, daina.bouquin@cfa.harvard.edu
Note for transparency: Daina’s library has a project entered into the challenge discussed below.

The Knight News Foundation recently finished accepting submissions to their annual Libraries Challenge. Each year, the Knight News Foundation holds a “challenge” that supports what they see as “transformational ideas” to promote democracy by ensuring that communities are informed and engaged. Winners of the challenge receive a share of $3 million in funding and support to help advance their ideas (check out the challenge’s previous winner here). This challenge is great for creative librarians across the spectrum, especially librarians interested in supporting computationally intensive science like members of the e-Science portal community; the prompt this year is: “How might libraries 21st century information needs?”

Over 600 ideas were submitted to address this question, and they are fascinating. Just a quick glance will tell you there are a lot of libraries out there interested building out digital technologies that support data-intensive research and education. Some themes I’ve seen among those entries seem to be:

  • Improving accessibility to digital collections (including research data)
  • Developing novel data visualization tools
  • Building tools for creating digital media (databases, music, e-books, art etc.)
  • Leveraging/aggregating data sources from communities and external sources
  • Maker spaces of all kinds
  • Literacy initiatives focused on data and data science skill sets

What many of these ideas have in common though is that the ideas themselves rely heavily on the ability of libraries to use skills like web development and data wrangling and preservation to help their communities. This in itself is a sign that librarians are focusing on the need to continually develop new skill sets and retool when necessary, which to me is a great sign for librarians everywhere looking for support in continuing their professional development (it’s a sign that you’re not alone if you’re trying to re-tool!)

If you haven’t entered the challenge, you can still support your favorite ideas by giving “applause” to libraries’ proposals (clicking on the heart), commenting to show your support, and sharing the links you like the most with friends. Reading through these ideas will hopefully inspire you to try something new and support members of the community who are doing the same!

Upcoming Webinar: Complying with the NSF’s New Public Access Policy and Depositing a Manuscript in NSF-PAR

e-Science Portal blog - Wed, 03/30/2016 - 11:00

Hosted by the University of Massachusetts Medical School, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New Engalnd Region

Presented by Hope Lappen and Andrew Creamer from Brown University

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016 12PM-1:30PM EST

In 2016 the National Science Foundation (NSF) rolled out its new online public access repository, NSF-PAR for investigators funded by the NSF to deposit their manuscripts to comply with its new Public Access Policy. The NSF’s policy and its new publications repository differ in several key ways from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) public access policy and PMC, particularly in terms of requirements for compliance and procedures for deposit. While NIH grants may make up the majority of biomedical institutions’ research funds, the NSF is also an important source of biomedical funding, especially for career awards, research training grants, and translational research. In this webinar we will walk participants through the requirements for compliance and the process for deposit and share insights provided by the NSF Policy Office.

Hope Lappen is the Biomedical and Life Sciences Librarian at Brown University. Prior to coming to Brown, Hope served as the Science and Engineering Librarian at George Washington University and the Eugene Garfield Resident in Science Librarianship at University of Pennsylvania.

Andrew Creamer is the Science Data Management Librarian at Brown University. He helps students and faculty researchers with NSF data management plans and digital curation projects. Prior to Brown, Andrew worked on research data management initiatives at the NN/LM NER.


Librarians Helping with NIH Grant Requirements

e-Science Portal blog - Fri, 03/25/2016 - 15:43

Being a data librarian shouldn’t just involve helping with a DMP or discussing policy or helping set up an organization system. Data librarians, really any research librarian, should have an understanding and awareness of the multiple factors that impact the researchers they are trying to help. In the realm of biomedical sciences, most of our patrons have or are trying to get NIH grants, so it is helpful to keep up things at the NIH that might have an impact on them. The Extramural Nexus blog is good to follow because it is a nice mix of NIH news and grant information. You can also check Notices of NIH Policy Changes for grant specifics and the NIH News & Events page for more extensive coverage

For instance, one of the recent notices NOT-OD-16-081 covers NIH and AHRQ grant application changes for due dates on or after May 25, 2016. This includes changes to biosketches, which many librarians help with, a new “Data Safety Monitoring Plan” attachment that will need to be included for clinical trials, and new requirements in the area of rigor and transparency.

A quick look at the biosketch change shows that it is a clarification of biosketch instructions and includes the note that research products can include conference proceedings such as meeting abstracts, posters, or other presentations, but the only URL to a publication list has to be to a .gov site like my bibliography (so ORCID is out).

The Data Safety Monitoring Plan is a bit more problematic to research. I have had somebody ask about it recently though, so I took the time to follow some links. There has been a requirement for a plan since 1998, but the notice seems to be indicating that it is now a supplement to the research plan that can be attached as an additional pdf. Instructions vary from institute to institute, but links have been collected. Librarians can’t help with all the details of these plans, but when gathering information about data security for data management plans (DMPs), learning about the secure systems used for patient data and asking for boilerplate language to describe the system can be helpful for this requirement. Knowledge of who to contact in IT or the research office, especially those helping with the Institutional Review Board (IRB), can also be of help to a grant writer.

The NIH has a large FAQ page on Rigor and Transparency, but the big questions are space. Grant writers only have 12 pages to write about the research so they want to know where they have to write about it. So I found this:

“Three elements of the policy (scientific premise, scientific rigor, and relevant biological variables such as sex) should be addressed within the Research Strategy section, as these elements are integral to the research plan. Since scientific premise will be reviewed and scored as part of the Significance review criterion, it is suggested that applicants address premise as part of their corresponding Significance section in the research strategy. Scientific rigor and relevant biological variables will be reviewed and scored as part of the Approach review criterion.
Authentication of key resources will be addressed in a separate attachment, not to exceed one page in length.”

The rigor and transparency requirements are based on the Rigor and Reproducibility training and research being done at the NIH. Because there are elements of analysis, experimental design, methodology, and reporting of results in these new requirements and goals, I feel it is important for data librarians to be aware of what is going on. Our work might not make it into the actual grant, but making sure the raw data is always saved, and encouraging researchers to keep copies of analysis code, and making sure data doesn’t get lost, all contribute to better research.

In light of many retractions coming after the 5 year preservation limit for most grants, and the OSTP memo suggesting that digital data must be made public, I’m recommending to the researcher I help to make a special folder for each publication they have. In that folder they should include the article pdf, if they want to share it as allowed by their contract, the final manuscript copy, in case the publisher doesn’t get the article into PubMed Central, and all the data to back up that article. Along with the data files should be a Readme file with all the information about what the data files contain, and any extra methods that might not have made it into the article. Software code should also be included. I’ve told them to make sure the folder has everything somebody else might need to get the results they did for the paper.

It does take some extra time to learn about things that are often tangentially related to what you think is your job, but I have found that having that extra bit of information to help a researcher can help change perceptions and make you more of a faculty colleague.

Recap: JupyterDays Boston

e-Science Portal blog - Fri, 03/25/2016 - 00:00

Here’s a quick recap of JupyterDays Boston, held at Harvard Law School on March 17-18 and organized by Project Jupyter, O’Reilly Media, and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

What is Jupyter? From jupyter.org, “The Jupyter Notebook is a web application that allows you to create and share documents that contain live code, equations, visualizations and explanatory text.”  Think of them as interactive notebooks that can include a variety of different kinds of content – everything from data visualizations to code to audiovisuals to text. The really nifty thing is that notebooks can have cells that act as interactive widgets – such as executable code – that when shared with others, allows them to run a bit of code and make something happen. Data can be pulled in, parameters set, analyses run, and interactive data visualizations produced – all within the notebook.

The first day’s sessions devoted considerable time to uses of Jupyter Notebooks – and related tools like Binder and Docker – in classroom settings. Several presenters mentioned that they liked using notebooks in part because these browser-based solutions avoid the inevitable headaches and time-sinks that can occur with software installations, especially in BYOM environments.  So rather than wrestling with the mechanics of downloads and installs, students can instead jump quickly into working directly with code and data. This reflected a common thread that seemed to run through many sessions; rather than trying to force non-coders into learning how to code in order to get things done, the emphasis instead is on lowering barriers to coding so that people can get on with doing their work and telling their stories.

These points were driven home by some presentations from folks using Jupyter notebooks in their teaching, including a wearable signal processing project from Harvard that has students working with their own physiological data such as heart rate, accelerometer data, and electro-dermal activity, as captured by Empatica E4 wearables and processed in Jupyter Notebooks.

The student perspective was represented as well. A breakout session on texts and other educational materials in Jupyter included a student from Olin College talking about how he liked using Jupyter notebooks written in textbook style, as they intersperse traditional text explaining how to do something followed by ‘now write this code’ cells that immediately force the student to apply what they read. During a panel discussion, a Wellesley professor talked about surveying her students on their use of Jupiter Notebooks in her computer science course. She said that most responded positively to working in Jupiter Notebooks, including one student who said she couldn’t imagine learning the content without them. Some students did feel that the presentation of material was a bit overwhelming when viewed in the notebook, and thought it might be more digestible if it could be presented in smaller chunks.

JupyterDays also afforded the opportunity to play with some systems like running JuypterHub on Docker, running data analysis (on Cambridge city pothole data) with Python and R, and data mining and network analysis using Wikipedia data. All in all, it was a worthwhile event featuring some really interesting, potentially disruptive technologies – many thanks to the host and organizers for putting it together.

Want to learn more?

See here for examples of IPython notebooks in a variety of disciplines.  My favorite is the section on reproducible academic publications that couple journal articles with notebooks “…that enable (even if only partially) readers to reproduce the results of the publication.”  You can imagine how powerful something like this can be as a record of a research process – and in fact, several participants touted the ability of Jupyter Notebooks to make the research narrative more transparent and reproducible.

Check out this Jupyter notebook that generates an interactive Hans Rosling bubble chart using Plotly.

For more information on JupyterDays events and speakers please see the detailed write-ups for Day 1 and Day 2 by fellow editorial board member Daina Bouquin.

Upcoming Webinar: Introduction to Medical Librarianship

e-Science Portal blog - Mon, 03/21/2016 - 13:00

Webinar hosted by Simmons School of Library and Information Science Continuing Education

Presented by Elaine Martin, DA, Director of UMass Medical School Lamar Soutter Library & Director of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region

Tuesday, March 29, 12:00-1:00pm EST

This webinar will introduce attendees to the exciting career of medical librarianship. The webinar will present an overview of the field, including a discussion of what medical librarians do, who they serve, the settings in which they work, and the types of resources they use. Medical librarians play an important role as members of the patient care team, support the educational mission of students in the health professions and partner with researchers in advancing scientific discoveries from the bench to the bedside. New roles for medical librarians such as: conducting systematic reviews to inform patient care decision making, designing health literacy programs and services, teaching the principles of evidence-based medicine, and creating research data management services will be emphasized.

For more information: https://slis.simmons.edu/ce/node/362

2016 Science Boot Camp — Save the Date!

e-Science Portal blog - Mon, 03/14/2016 - 10:00
Save the Date for the 2016 New England Science Boot Camp!

This year’s Science Boot Camp will be held June 15-17, 2016 on the campus of University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Science Boot Camp is a fun and affordable 2 ½ day immersion into science topics offering opportunities for librarians and library students interested in science, health sciences, and technology to learn, meet and network in a fun, laid-back atmosphere. Now in its eighth year, the New England Science Boot Camp has been hosted on multiple New England campuses and has been attended by librarians and library students from various regions of the US and beyond—and inspired the development of other Science Boot Camps in the West, Southeast, and Canada!

The topics for this year’s SBC science sessions include:

  • Nursing
  • Physics
  • Engineering

Each science session will include one scientist presenting an overview of the field, a second scientist discussing research applications within the field. The Capstone session will feature Science Literacy.

Registration for Science Boot Camp will open in April and will be announced via e-mail, the
e-Science Community blog, and on Twitter @NERescience.

Please Save the Date for 2016 New England Science Boot Camp June 15-17, 2016 at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth!

For further questions, please contact Barbara Merolli at bmerolli@holycross.edu.


Supporting Young Library Professionals to Achieve Career Goals

e-Science Portal blog - Wed, 03/02/2016 - 10:00

Submitted by eScience Portal Editor Julie Goldman, eScience Coordinator, NN/LM New England Region, University of Massachusetts Medical School, julie.goldman@umassmed.edu

Library and Information Science (LIS) education is changing to address the needs of libraries and librarians today, in order to give students the hands on training they seek. Therefore, library and information science programs incorporate internships, practicums, work study and specialization into their programs. However, there is still a need for training new generations of science and health science librarians. If recent MLS grads are not receiving the training or education they require to enter the medical librarianship field, how will this crucial discipline progress and recruit new librarians?

The Fellowship Program at the Lamar Soutter Library, is a great experience for young professionals to learn about health science librarianship in a special setting. The librarians at Lamar Soutter Library are constantly breaking the bounds of stereotypical librarians by becoming more embedded and establishing partnerships in the community, working in teams and being more active in the library and beyond. Fellows are exposed to a variety of tasks and areas across the library, becoming very versatile and comfortable with multitasking.

Fellows to date have come from programs at Pratt Institute, Simmons College and University of Washington. While all interested in health sciences librarianship, fellows have specialized interests including outreach and education; technology in education; data management and information literacy; and librarian/research interactions and relationships.

The Fellowship Program curriculum allows fellows to participate in specialized rotations in many areas of the library such as clinical librarianship and educational services, research, scholarly communications, and systems librarianship. These rotations give Fellows the opportunity to become immersed in the library’s programming and integration throughout the medical school. Rotations are also designed to help a Fellow “find their path” and explore their areas if interest and future focus. Through the guidance of the senior library staff, Fellows work through a research project of their choice, investigating their area of interest further.

While the Fellowship curriculum is outlined, the changing nature of libraries and librarianship today always manages to create ripples or kinks in the road. In my experience, new professionals shFellows are given more hands-on training opportunities in the areas they wish to explore. Each Fellow is introduced and assigned a project to manage. This allowed me to become more involved in the New England eScience Program and the development of online learning courses.


The New England eScience Program is part of the National Network of Libraries of MedicineNew England Region (NN/LM NER), headed by the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Starting this month, I am transitioning from my position as Library Fellow to the eScience Coordinator.

While I am not completing the full two years of the Fellowship Program, I feel it has prepared me for my next professional position. The program introduced me to areas of medical librarianship I was unaware of before; including librarians participating in clinical chart rounds, promoting research data management, searching NCBI databases, and taking on the role of publisher. As I continue in my career, I will focus on leadership development, management training, and educating myself in new areas. I am very excited to take my understanding of health science librarianship into my role as Science Coordinator.

The New England Region has established a lot of escience resources, events and programs and has built a strong community of interest in the field. We can already see how our leadership has spread throughout the country enabling and supporting others to create innovative programming:

  • Chris Erdmann’s Data Scientist Training for Librarians aims to incorporate more programming tools into librarian continuing education
  • The NN/LM NER has funded projects at the University of Connecticut and Boston College to hold software carpentry and data carpentry workshops for their researchers
  • Science Boot Camp has spread to other areas of the country – and not just programs for the hard or life sciences!
  • The number of professional development days for librarians to understand data science and how to interact with the researchers at their institutions continues to grow.
  • The embedded librarian and informationist concept has helped to form new collaborations between researchers and librarians. Now we must focus on how to continue that trend and become directly involved in areas related to big data, biomedical data, data science and data management.

As I begin my role as eScience Coordinator in the NN/LM NER, I look forward to continuing the great foundation the NER has created in this discipline, and monitor the many changes occurring in librarianship, the research life cycle and scholarly communication. The eScience Program will involve developing new teaching materials, expanding the delivery mediums, and focusing on other groups (not just librarians!).

This is an exciting area and time to be involved in data science and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. Many of the initiatives coming out of the National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine are focusing on big data and creating opportunities for librarians and researchers to work together to further research

I hope to continue to advocate, enhance and expand the eScience Program.

Interested in the Fellowship Program? See the position listing!

Interested in becoming more involved in the eScience Program? Visit the eScience Portal or contact Julie!

Job opportunity: Library Fellow

e-Science Portal blog - Mon, 02/29/2016 - 10:00

The Lamar Soutter Library at the University of Massachusetts Medical School is seeking three recent MLS graduates fro the Library Fellows Program. This program is designed to provide a 2 year work experience emphasizing hands-on learning and research into topics of information management, and medical librarianship. The program incorporates training, professional development, and research. It is designed to guide the fellow toward a professional career in academic medical librarianship. The underlying principle of the fellow program “is shared value”. The Lamar Soutter Library provides a learning laboratory where recent MLS graduates experience the real working world and explore the range of experience when assisting clinicians and researchers with their information needs.

See the complete posting: http://www.ummsjobs.com/job/1193/

Assessing Tools to Fit Community Needs

e-Science Portal blog - Wed, 02/17/2016 - 11:34

Submitted by e-Science Portal Editor Daina Bouquin, Assistant Head Librarian, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, daina.bouquin@cfa.harvard.edu

Tools focusing on research reproducibility and collaboration are incredibly important to the future of scientific discovery and librarianship in research settings. This is not a new concept. Librarians have always worked to enable research by providing answers and resources to their communities, and librarians need to continue in this way when it comes to more data-intensive research tools.

In recent years the research tools discussion has focused in on Data Science tools in forums like the Data Tools Forum held this past November at UMass Medical School in Worchester, MA. This shift reflects the reality that increasingly librarians must gain hands-on experience with tools that help researchers manipulate, analyze, and share data in collaborative settings. Without this hands-on exposure to tools though, librarians are unable to empathize with researchers, identify short-comings of adopting new platforms, and less capable of taking advantage of new tools that can support their own work and research. There are though, so many tools. Which tools are right for your community? Which tools can or should librarians actively promote and support? What does it even mean to “support” a tool? Below I’m very briefly outlining some of the questions I have found to be useful in assessing new tools as I identify them as emerging technologies and some of the ways that libraries can support their use:


These are questions that have helped me understand the limitations a tool might have that would impact reproducibility, and in turn collaborative and open scientific inquiry:

  • Does the tool use proprietary file formats? If yes, are those file formats easily convertible to other formats?
  • Have the tool’s developers adopted formats and technologies that are used broadly across disciplines and contexts (like git for version control)?
  • Does the tool seamlessly integrate into workflows involving discipline-specific and other instrumentation?


These questions should help you think more about how a tool might impact your community’s ability to work together and expand the size and geographic reach of their team as their projects develop:

  • How collaborative is your research community currently?
  • Does this tool help them collaborate in ways they are currently unable to?
  • Would this tool mitigate a problem or improve some aspect of collaboration?
  • Does your community need or want more extensible platforms than they currently use?
  • What parts of the research process does your community want or need many people involved with?


How can you and your library support researchers as they encounter social and technical barriers in adopting new tools or changing their workflows? In my experience, it’s to the Library’s advantage to provide the following as librarians promote the use of new tools:

  • Training – Libraries can have librarians,  members of their community, or experts in other fields provide training to use new tools.
  • Access to instructional platforms – Resources like Lynda and O’Reilly Learning Paths are great resources for adjusting to a new tool.
  • Space for community engagement – Library meeting spaces can be great resources for the research community to experiment with new tools and re-work projects (e.g. library hack-a-thons)
  • Expertise – Librarians themselves having gained exposure and hands-on experience with the tools they aim to support, have expertise in trouble-shooting new tools and pointing members of the community to resources that can help them get started or even move into advanced use of a new tool.

Below I am also listing some examples of tools that have become increasingly important in research contexts across disciplines and that librarians themselves can use in their own work. Give them a try!

@neasist Travel Awards 2016: 3 Conferences

e-Science Portal blog - Fri, 02/12/2016 - 09:00

Posted on behalf of NE-ASIS&T Chapter Leader, Kate Nyhan, Yale University

About the Awards: Professional and Student

The Association for Information Science & Technology, New England Chapter (NE-ASIS&T) is pleased to announce two awards to support participation in an ASIS&T Summit or Annual Meeting. Our goals are to support scholarship and connect research and practice, bringing new voices to the chapter. The student award (of up to $1000) and the practitioner award ($500) will support your year-long membership in ASIS&T as well as your conference registration and part of your travel costs to Atlanta (for the Information Architecture or Research Data Access and Preservation Summits) or Copenhagen (for the Annual Meeting).

In addition to the conference support, the award provides ASIS&T membership, offering significant benefits:

  • Membership in our New England regional chapter
    • Mentorship and networking with experienced NE-ASIS&T members
    • Opportunities to build professional skills (including project management, budgeting, marketing, etc.)
  • Discounted conference registration for ASIS&T and NE-ASIS&T events
  • Webinars and discounts on other publications
  • A year’s subscription to the Journal of ASIS&T and the Bulletin

Application Deadline: Friday, February 19, 2016
Notification of Award Winners: February 26, 2016

For complete information, see the full posting: Travel awards available for RDAP and other ASIS&T Conferences — apply in February!

Questions? Contact Annie Erdmann at (617) 251-2723, e-mail: erdmann@simmons.edu

Job opportunity: Digital Scholarship Programmer/Analyst

e-Science Portal blog - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 11:48

Northeastern University Libraries are pleased to announce a new position as part of our growing research and development activities in the fields of digital humanities and digital libraries.  Please see the posting for a complete description of the position: https://neu.peopleadmin.com/postings/40267

Love Your Data Week, February 8-12, 2016

e-Science Portal blog - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 14:27

In case you didn’t know, next week is Love Your Data week. It is a good chance for you to learn more about data and data management, or to spread the word about your library services related to data. Follow #LYD16 on Facebook or Twitter to see what other libraries are doing. And there is a Love Your Data 2016 pinterest board.

From the website:  “Love Your Data (LYD) week is a social media event coordinated by research data specialists, mostly working in academic and research libraries. LYD is designed to raise awareness about research data management, sharing, and preservation along with the support and resources available at your college or university. We believe research data are the foundation of the scholarly record and crucial for advancing our knowledge of the world around us. If you care about research data, please join us! This campaign is open to any institution – small, large, research intensive or not, so please feel free to share, adapt, and improve upon it.
Each day will have a theme driving the event. We will share daily tips and tricks for managing research data, stories (both success and horror!), examples, resources, and point you to experts on your campus or in your discipline. All we ask in return is that you share your own experiences and results from the daily activities to keep the conversation lively.”




On Adding Data to Our Collections

e-Science Portal blog - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 00:26

Submitted by Amanda L. Whitmire, Head Librarian & Bibliographer, Miller Library, Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University

I used to have the luxury of being “just” a data services specialist at Oregon State University Libraries. In one way or another, all of my job duties were related to data management and curation. I liked this situation because data is something that I’m very comfortable with. Before I joined the library, I had been collecting it, creating it and working with it for well over a decade. Since January 2016 however, I have been in the position of overseeing an entire library. It’s a small, marine science branch library, but still – the scope of my duties has drastically changed.

“Dr., do you have any data to add to the IR?” The Librarian and her faculty, in the manner of The Life Aquatic.

This shift has prompted me to contemplate the circumstances of the many other academic librarians for whom data services are only a part of their duties. It’s forced me to scrutinize just how many ways I can possibly justify bringing data into the scope of my new responsibilities. Within this new context, I’m proposing to take a broader perspective on collection development. We all say that, “data is a kind of information,” right? So why not develop our collections to include datasets, as well? In my world, datasets truly are first-class citizens that deserve respect, consideration,  and care in digitization, cataloging, and preservation. Right? RIGHT?

A different kind of collection development.

So, I wondered, “Is there data already in the library that we could add to our collections?” Here in the Miller Library, the answer to that question is a resounding, “YES!” This place is FULL of data-related treasure. Researchers at the Hopkins Marine Station have been collecting field data since the early 1900s, and some of the original log books are sitting 30 feet from my office in the special collections room. Are those datasets something that I could digitize, make actionable, and add to the collection? You bet!

Sifting through our collections looking for data is, for me, a way to stay in touch with data (my Precious!) and to familiarize myself with the research history of the marine station. It’s also an excuse to think creatively about how I approach collection development (since it’s all new to me anyway, why not?!).  Treating this historical data as an important and timely resource also gives me a way to demonstrate to the Hopkins faculty, research staff, post docs and graduate students that their data is likely to have value beyond their original intent in collecting it, and also well beyond the time frame during which they alone could benefit from using it.

So, if you’re a librarian who’s looking for more ways to bring data into your life, consider going on a hunt for legacy datasets. They’re out there. They’re out there everywhere. And they need a good librarian to bring them back out into the light. Get to it. Have courage, and report back.

Notebooks full of hand-written, coastal oceanographic observations, dating back to the early 1930s. Just hanging out in the Miller Library special collections room. In a cardboard box. On the bottom shelf. Whatevs.

Job opportunity: Tenure-Track STEM Librarian – Salem State University

e-Science Portal blog - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 12:14

Salem State University in Salem, MA has an opening for a Tenure-Track STEM Librarian. Please see the posting for a complete description of the position: https://careers-salemstate.icims.com/jobs/1637/tenure-track%2c-stem-librarian/job

Data Literacy for High School Students

e-Science Portal blog - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 09:11

I am very fortunate to be a part of the research team of an IMLS funded project examining data literacy in High Schools and possible roles for school librarians in developing educational programming on data literacy.  This two year program is being led by my colleagues Kristin Fontichiaro, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information, and Jo Angela Oehrli, Learning Librarian at the UM Library. Some of the products of this project will be online conferences for school librarians and a handbook to help librarians and others consider and craft educational programing on data literacy.

As someone who generally works primarily with graduate students, I don’t get a lot of exposure to what the expectations are for high school students around data literacy. In the interviews we conducted with graduate students in the Data Information Literacy project they indicated that their data management skills were primarily self-taught. Although I don’t see High School students needing to learn how to manage and curate research data sets necessarily, I am interested in how students could be better prepared for assuming these types of responsibilities as they progress in the education.

Earlier this month I participated in a three day, all-hands meeting for the project where we discussed aspects of data literacy and contemplated possible directions to support High School education. The meetings were intense and wide ranging, but I want to share a few items of that I found particularly interesting.

How much do you need to know to teach data? Many librarians do not have a background in the sciences or math (myself included) which could make teaching data literacy topics intimidating. However statistics and data are not math, or at least there are aspects of data literacy that transcend math, that students need to know and librarians are potentially well suited to teach.  Applying data in arguments effectively and ethically and being an intelligent consumer of data are just two areas where the knowledge and skills of a librarian could easily be applied. The bottom line is that while we may not be able to teach students everything about data literacy, we can teach them some important things to further their education.

Many issues in information literacy are relevant for data literacy. Evaluating the quality and appropriateness of materials, for example, is a concern in both information and data literacy requiring the development of critical thinking skills in students. For example, the Reuters news agency produced an egregiously bad chart implying that gun deaths had decreased in Florida since the “Stand Your Ground” law was enacted (they’ve actually increased), citing Florida’s Department of Law Enforcement as the source. Even when the data are sound, the presentation of the data may be suspect. Evaluating data could present particular difficulties for high school students as understanding the context and methodologies behind the data may overwhelm them.

This segues into another issue that was frequently brought up, the difficulty of teaching data literacy in a way that high school students could understand and apply. There are a number of fairly easy to use online tools available to analyze or visualize data that could be used to introduce high school students to working with data by taking a lot of the guess work out of the process. However, focusing on a tool may hinder a student’s ability to understand the underlying concepts of data analysis or visualization and limit their cognizance of the data itself. Schools librarians noted that students will often write their assignments and then seek out the data they need to support their arguments instead of the other way around.

In closing, participating in this project has renewed my admiration for school librarians. Everyone I met was incredibly passionate about the work that they are doing as educators and fully committed to extending their work into data. I can’t wait to see how school librarians will make use of the products with the materials produced from this project.

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