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h.mooney's blog

Data Workshop at the National Library of Australia, sponsored by IASSIST

 Posted on behalf of Jade Koekoe

In February I won sponsorship money from IASSIST for a Data Workshop I had in mind. On the 18 November this year I saw my idea come to life. This Data Workshop was aimed at Library student and newgrads and was held in the Ferguson Room of the National Library of Australia. 26 people attended and there were five speakers from industries adjacent to librarianship.

  1. Sam Spencer from Data61, CSIRO
  2. Steven McEachern from the Australian Data Archive
  3. Karen Visser from the Australian National Data Service
  4. Ingrid Mason from the Australian Academic and Research Network
  5. Riley Post a PhD Candidate from University of Canberra

My goal for this workshop was to get students, newgrads and those new to data to start thinking about the fundamentals when it comes to managing data. Those fundamentals are things like:

  • Where are you storing your data, do you know where your servers a located, have you checked your backups lately?
  • What are the types of data librarians manage today?
  • Getting an idea of the big collaborations in place, the ways people are using data and organisations/platforms that manage data for users.

 Sam and Ingrid presented attendees with a sample of the vast amount of standards for managing topic and profession specific data. Attendees engaged quite well with these speakers and asked technical questions and wanted to know their expectations from librarians in their current role.

Steven highlighted the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy program, and its National Research Infrastructure roadmap. I could see attendees were interested in how organisations like the Australian Data Archive fit into such programs. Steven said that a lot of work is still going on at the digitisation stage and I saw many of the library students realise that digitisation skill is worth developing.  

Karen demonstrated how easy (within three minutes) it is for people to find their own research data. She then enforced that our job as current or aspiring data librarians is to add value. We should be data connectors and be ready and poised to share that knowledge with people, for example, “Oh you are looking for biodiversity data? Do you know about Atlas of Living Australia or the Biodiversity Heritage Library?”

Many commented they enjoyed having Riley speak last as his presentation was a great visual representation of what can be done with data. He is working in the field of “generous interfaces” and he demonstrated what people like him can do with data if it is created well. I was particularly thankful that he linked his presentation back to “I wouldn’t have been able to create this, if the data wasn’t created to this standard”. After Sam’s presentation where he laid out most of the standards it helped people to realise how far well created data can actually go.

Check out the hashtag #ALIADW2017 on twitter to see what people were tweeting on the day.

IASSIST Call for Event Sponsorship Proposals

The IASSIST Liaison and Organizational Sponsorship Task Force is seeking proposals for sponsorships of regional or local events during calendar year 2017. The goal of these sponsorships is to support local networks of data professionals and data-related activities across the globe in order to help support IASSISTers activities throughout the year and increase awareness of the value of IASSIST membership.

Events should be a gathering of data professionals from multiple institutions and may vary in size and scope from workshops, symposia, conferences, etc. These may be established events or new endeavors. We are particularly looking to sponsor regional or local level events that will attract data professionals who would benefit from IASSIST membership, but may not always be able to travel to attend IASSIST conferences. Preference will be given to events from geographic areas outside of traditional IASSIST conference locations (North America and Western Europe), and from underrepresented membership areas as such as Latin/South America, Africa, Asia/Pacific, and Eastern Europe.

Requests for sponsorships may be monetary, and may also include a request for mentorship assistance by matching the event planning committee with an experienced IASSIST member with relevant expertise (e.g., conference planning, subject/content, geographic familiarity).

Accepted events will be required to designate an active IASSIST member as the liaison. Generally, this would be an IASSIST member who will be attending the event and although not required, may be on the planning committee or otherwise contributing to the event. The liaison will be responsible for assistance with coordinating logistics related to the sponsorship, ensuring that the sponsorship is recognized at the event, and contributing a post to the IASSIST iBlog about the event.

Proposals should include:

  • Name of the event and event details (date, location, any other pertinent information)
  • Organizing or hosting institution
  • Description of event and how it relates to IASSIST goals and communities
  • Specific request for sponsorship: amount of money and/or mentorship assistance
  • Description of how the sponsorship will be used
  • Name and contact information of person submitting proposal and designated event liaison to IASSIST (if different)

Proposals are due on Friday, January 13 2017 via the Application Form. Notification of sponsorship awards will be by Friday, Feb 3 2017. The number and monetary extent of awarded sponsorships will depend on the number and quality of applications received. Individual sponsorship requests may range from $0 USD (request for mentorship only) to $2,000 USD.

Please direct questions to Hailey Mooney, IASSIST Membership Chair (

IASSIST will be at RDAP!

For those of you attending the RDAP Summit next week in Atlanta, GA, USA, be sure to keep an eye out for IASSIST. We are a sponsoring organization—check out the advance thank you blog post from RDAP.

Our VP, Jen Green, will be on the scene with promoting IASSIST at the poster session. Be sure to stop by to say "hi" and pick up your very own IASSIST logo button. 

Looking forward to hearing the report back from RDAP!

Data Discussion Group at ALA Annual

A number of U.S. IASSISTers were at the recent American Library Association Annual Conference in Anaheim, California.  This years program (finally!) featured a number of data related topics, including the third meeting of the Association of College & Research Libraries Numeric and Geospatial Data Interest Group (DIG).  Our discussion covered topics such as content management systems, data hosting, collection development for small data, and changing professional roles.  A full report of the meeting is available at  This group provides a great opportunity for IASSIST members working in U.S. libraries to meet up for open discussion while at ALA.  ACRL members can learn more about DIG here.

US Budget Cuts Threaten Statistical Abstract

When the big news broke last month that the US Census Bureau is proposing budget cuts that would lead to the demise of the Statistical Compendia Branch, including the beloved Statistical Abstract, the library listservs lit up with concern.  It's not too late to take action if you haven't already notified your representatives about this issue.  There are now several venues where you can add your voice:

You can read more about the issue in Information Today and Library Journal.  Interestingly, the LJ article references commentators who believe that could be a viable replacement for the Stat Ab (which I refuted), but even the future of isn't necessarily secure.

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