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Professional Development

Issues related to training and education in data services and data libraries

Data-related webinars available

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The North Carolina Library Association's Government Resources Section runs a webinar series. In addition to having some data-related webinars on YouTube, our upcoming August webinar may be of interest to IASSIST members.

Help! I’m an Accidental Government Information Librarian presents ... Accessing Datasets for the Data Curious

The Government Resources Section of the North Carolina Library Association welcomes you to a series of webinars designed to help us increase our familiarity with government information. All are welcome because government information wants to be free.

Directing patrons to subscription repositories of data like ICPSR and Roper is a useful service that any reference librarian can learn to do. But can the generalist take data-seeking patrons just a little bit further before referring to the data librarian? This webinar will help the generalist or subject librarian learn ways to help patrons download data successfully, use documentation to explore the relevance of a dataset to answer a question, and alert patrons to common pitfalls and patterns. Participants will learn strategies to apply their librarian expertise for finding and accessing information to the rarified realm of datasets.

Presenter Kristin Partlo is the Reference & Instruction Librarian for Social Science and Data at Carleton College in Minnesota. She has been helping undergraduates find and evaluate data for over ten years and especially enjoys looking for connections between research data services and other areas of librarianship. Her MA of LIS is from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

We will meet for Session #49, online on Wednesday, August 12 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. (Eastern). Please RSVP for the session by August 12 at 10:00 am using this link:

Technical requirements: We will be using collaborative software called Blackboard Collaborate. It requires that you be able to download Java onto your computer, but you do not need any special software. After you RSVP, we will send you a link that you can use to test the software. If you have any questions, please contact Lynda Kellam ( You do not need a microphone as a chat system is available in the software, but you do need speakers or headphones.

We make recordings available on our website ( and our YouTube channel (

Linda Kellam

“You can’t have a democratic society, without having a good data base.”

Janet L. Norwood, former US Bureau of Labor Statistics commissioner, dies

On the passing of this iconic defender of the neutrality of public data, I am struck how important Janet Norwood was to establishing a sound path for data advocacy as well as reminded of how necessary it is to have continuous education about this topic.  In fact, swimming in ready-access to data as we are today, it's especially important that we, as data professionals, remain alert to and defend a couple of aphorisms:

  • Stay true to the facts; Zealously retain non-partisan associations in the recording of all public data, analyses and reporting.
  • Use it for GOOD -- never for EVIL”  Encourage the use of public data for the public good.

 In reviewing the memorials to Janet Norwood, a couple of succinct statments seem apt (in addition to the heading of this post).

Simply put, all U.S. policy makers, businesses and families can make better decisions every day because of Janet Norwood’s work at B.L.S. ~Erica L. Groshen, the bureau’s current commissioner

“I believe strongly,” said economist Janet L. Nowood, “that an objective, scientifically created system of data is essential for a democracy to flourish.” ~ Democracy’s Statistician: Janet L. Norwood, 1923-2015 By Social Science Space.

~Paula Lackie (Carleton College & cochair of the IASSIST Professional Development Committee)

IASSIST Fellows 2014

The IASSIST Fellows Committee is glad to announce through this post the four recipients of the 2014 IASSIST Fellowship award. We are extremely excited to have such a diverse and interesting group with different backgrounds and experience and encourage IASSISTers to welcome them at our conference in Toronto, Canada.
Please find below their names, countries and brief bios:

Antonin Benoit, Head Librarian at the African Institute for Economic Development and Planning. Dakar, Senegal.

"As the head Librarian I am the manager of our Online Database called IDEP document server ( We provide via this tool an access to bibliographical and textual references. In another hand I am the a focal point of IDEP to work with African Centre of Statistics (ACS) to compile an Inventory of all existing data resources in my Institute. The ACS is a division of UNECA and it is located in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). I am then devoted to provide data used for statistical analysis and publications in the Existing Data Resources of UNECA ( I am also very familar with metadata standards like MarcXML and Dublin Core that I use frequently in my job through our Document server. My main objective is to make our Institute the first African Library catalog to enter the Open Linked Data project. So, attending the IASSIST conference could improve my capacities on data management, because my initial professional background is Librarianship and I still have some weaknesses on data management"

Fei Yu, Acting Manager of Research Data Collections  at the University of Queensland Library. Brisbane, Australia.

"Fei has gained a wide range of experience in academic libraries including bibliometrics and research data management.  She was recently successful in being appointed as Manager, Research Data Collections.  This has involved drafting  the Research Data Management Procedures which will underpin the University of Queensland Research Data Management Policy that was approved at the end of 2013.  She is involved in promoting best practice in data management for all of UQ and has established a wide range of Data Information Literacy training courses for UQ researchers and ensuring that their research data collection metadata is accurate and available on the institutional repository - UQ eSpace.  She is presently rolling out the online data management tool (based on the UK Digital Curation Center (DCC) tool) university wide to ensure that all university researchers and research students have an easy and accessible tool to create their data management plans.  The Research Data Collections team lead by Fei created the Research Data Management Guide  - a one stop shop – containing detailed information on all aspects of data management.  Fei also works collaboratively with the University's Research Computing Centres and the Queensland Cyber Infrastructure to ensure that staff are aware of the many data storage options. "

Aileen O'Carroll, Policy Manager of the Digital Repository at the Digital Repository of Ireland. Dublin, Ireland.

"I am currently Policy Manager of the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI). DRI is a newly established national organisation (the project was established in September 2011) whose remit is to link together and preserve the rich and varied cultural, historical, and qualitative social science data held by Irish Institutions. It will be a central access point to this digital data and provide multimedia tools to research and interact with archived data. My role requires me to have a thorough understanding of international best practice in licensing frameworks, digitisation policy, archival management, and an understanding of the different needs and perspectives of a wide range of stalk-holders and users. It is of key importance that this emerging national infrastructure is aligned both with European and International best practice along with practice and policy already in place in a diverse field of Irish cultural, educational and social scientific organisations."

Winny Nekesa, Senior Library and Documentation Officer at the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority. Kampala, Uganda.

"Winny Nekesa Akullo obtained a Bachelors degree in Library and Information Science in 2003, Postgraduate Diploma in Demography in 2014 from Makerere University and finalized her thesis for the  Masters Degree in Information Science. Before joining the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority as a Senior Library and Documentation Officer in 2014, she worked as an Information Officer/Librarian at Uganda Bureau of Statistics where she was in charge of information management and data dissemination and was spearheading the establishment of a UBOS Digital Library and a School Senior Librarian. She has international training and exposure in establishing digital libraries, preservation and construction and application of information systems. She is the Country Coordinator of the International Librarians’ Network, Publicity Secretary, Uganda Library and Information Association and the General Secretary, Uganda Textbook-Academic and Non-Fiction Authors’ Association.  Her area of expertise is digital preservation and data dissemination. Currently her main research interests are information retrieval, digital preservation and open access repositories. She presented at the 2013 IASSIST Conference “Establishing a National Statistical Information Repository in Uganda; Challenges and Opportunities”  she got a lot of exposure, and new ideas about data and information management. This year, I hope to gain more information which I can apply to my new institution especially in the area of data management which is still virgin."

IASSIST Fellows Program 2013-14

The IASSIST Fellows Program is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for financial support to attend the IASSIST 2014 conference in Toronto [], from data professionals who are developing, supporting and managing data infrastructures at their home institutions.

Please be aware that funding is not intended to cover the entire cost of attending the conference. The applicant’s home institution must provide some level of financial support to supplement an IASSIST Fellow award. Strong preference will be given to first time participants and applicants from those countries currently with insufficient representation at IASSIST. Only fully completed applications will be considered. Applicants submitting a paper for the conference will be given priority consideration for funding.

You may apply for funding via this form.The deadline for applications is the 31st of January 2014.

For more information, to apply for funding or nominate a person for a Fellowship, please send an email to the Fellows Committee chairs, Luis Martínez-Uribe ( and Stuart Macdonald (

Registration for the Data Information Literacy Symposium is now open

Please join us for the Data Information Literacy Symposium at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, on September 23rd, and 24th 2013. 

Program:  This symposium will explore roles for practicing librarians in teaching competencies in data management and curation to graduate students.  With support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, librarians from Purdue University, Cornell University, the University of Minnesota and the University of Oregon have investigated this topic through developing and implementing “data information literacy” (DIL) instruction programs for graduate students in a range of science and engineering disciplines. 

Members of the DIL project will share their experiences in working with faculty and graduate students, with a primary focus on the practical applications of their work.  Keynote speakers will provide additional perspectives on teaching data literacy competencies.  A portion of the conference will be devoted to further exploration of selected topics of interest as determined by attendees.

Outcomes: Attendees will acquire an understanding of current issues in teaching data management and curation competencies to students.   Through presentations, discussions and hands-on activities, attendees will develop strategies for creating their own instructional programs suitable for the needs of their students and faculty.    

Intended audience: Academic librarians and others who are providing research data management instruction for students, or librarians who are interested in doing so. 

Poster Session: Attendees who have developed educational initiatives, crafted resources, or conducted research in this area are invited to submit materials for a poster session, which will be held at the pre-symposium reception on Sunday, September 22nd. Attendees will be provided with information on how to submit a poster after they have registered for the symposium.

Registration: Registration for the event is now open at:  There is no registration fee, but the attendance is limited to the first 80 individuals that register.  After that, you may request to be placed on the waiting list.

To follow the event on Twitter and all updates from the DIL project, please search the hashtag #datainfolit.  Updates from the event will be posted throughout the day September 23-24.

More information about the Data Information Literacy Project can be found at the project’s website:  

Please contact Jake Carlson, Data Services Specialist at Purdue University with any questions:


IASSIST Fellows 2013


The IASSIST Fellows Committee is glad to announce through this post the six recipients of the 2013 IASSIST Fellowship award. We are extremely excited to have such a diverse and interesting group with different backgrounds and experience and encourage IASSISTers to welcome them at our conference in Cologne, Germany.

Please find below their names, countries and brief bios:

Chifundo Kanjala (Tanzania) 

Chifundo currently works as a Data Manager and data documentalist for an HIV research group called ALPHA network based at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine's department of Population Health, Chifundo spends most of his time in Mwanza, Tanzania but do travel from time around Southern and Eastern Africa to work with colleagues in the ALPHA network.Before joining the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, he was working as a Data analyst consultant at Unicef, Zimbabwe.Currently working part time on a PhD with London school of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He has an MPhil in Demography from university of Cape Town, South Africa and a BSc Statistics Honours degree from University of Zimbabwe.

Judit Gárdos (Hungary) 

Judit Gárdos studied Sociology and German Language and Literature in Budapest, Vienna and Berlin. She is PhD-candidate in sociology, with a topic on the philosophy, sociology and anthropology of quantitative sociology. She is young researcher at the Institute of Sociology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Judit has been working at the digital archive and research group called "" that is collecting qualitative, interview-based sociological research collections of the last 50 years. She is coordinating the work at the newly-funded Research Documentation Center of the Center for Social Sciences at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Cristina Ribeiro (Portugal) 

Cristina Ribeiro is an Assistant Professor in Informatics Engineering at Universidade do Porto and a researcher at INESC TEC. She has graduated in Electrical Engineering, holds a Master in Electrical and Computer Engineering and a Ph.D. in Informatics. Her teaching includes undergraduate and graduate courses in information retrieval, digital libraries, knowledge representation and markup languages. She has been involved in research projects in the areas of cultural heritage, multimedia databases and information retrieval. Currently her main research interests are information retrieval, digital preservation and the management of research data.

Aleksandra Bradić-Martinović (Serbia) 

Aleksandra Bradić-Martinović, PhD is the Research Fellow at the Institute of Economic Sciences, Belgrade, Serbia. Her field of expertize is research of information and communication technology implementation in economy, especially in banking, payment system operations and stock exchange operations. Aleksandra is also engaged in education process in Belgrade Banking Academy at the following subjects: E-banking and Payment Systems, Stock Market Dealings and Management Information Systems. She was engaged at several projects in the field of education. At the FP7 SERSCIDA project she is a Serbia team coordinator.

Anis Miladi (Tunisia) 

Anis Miladi earned his Bachelor degree in computer sciences and multimedia in 2007 and a Master degree in Management of Information Systems and organizations in 2008 and he is currently finalizing his master degree in project management(projected date summer 2013). Before joining the Social and Economic Survey Research Institute at Qatar University as Survey Research technology specialist in 2009, he worked as a programmer analyst in a private IT services company In Tunisia. His Area of expertise includes managing computer assisted surveys CAPI,CATI(Blaise surveying system)  in addition to Enterprise Document Management Systems, Enterprise Portals (SharePoint).

Lejla Somun-Krupalija (Sarajevo) 

Lejla currently serves as the Senior Program and Research Officer at the Human Rights Centre of the University of Sarajevo. She has over 15 years of experience in research, policy development in social inclusion issues. She is the Project Coordinator of the SERSCIDA FP7 project that aims to open data services/archives in the Western Balkan region in cooperation with CESSDA members. She had been engaged in the NGO sector previously, particularly on issues of capacity building and policy development in the areas of gender equality, the rights of persons with disabilities and issues of social inclusion and forced migration. She teaches academic writing, qualitative research, and gender and nationalism at the University of Sarajevo. 

IASSISTers and librarians are doin' it for themselves

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Hey IASSISTers (gents, pardon for the video pun - couldnt' resist),

Are librarians at your institutions struggling to get up to speed with research data management (RDM)? If they're not, they probably should be. Library organisations are publishing reports and issuing recommendations left and right, such as the LIBER (Association of European Research Libraries) 2012 report, "Ten Recommendations for Libraries to Get Started with Research Data Management" (PDF). Just last week Nature published an article highlighting what the Great and the Good are doing in this area: Publishing Frontiers: The Library Reboot.

So the next question is, as a data professional, what are you doing to help the librarians at your institution get up to speed with RDM? Imagine (it isn't that hard for some of us) having gotten your Library masters degree sometime in the last century and now being told your job includes helping researchers manage their data? Librarians are sturdy souls, but that notion could be a bitter pill for someone who went into librarianship because of their love of books, right?

So you are a local expert who can help them. No doubt there will be plenty of opportunities for them to return the favour.

If you don't consider yourself a trainer, that's okay. Tell them about the Do-It-Yourself Research Data Management Training Kit for Librarians, from EDINA and Data Library, University of Edinburgh. They can train themselves in small groups, making use of reading assignments in MANTRA, reflective writing questions, group exercises from the UK Data Archive, and plenty of discussion time, to draw on their existing rich professional experience.

And then you can step in as a local expert to give one or more of the short talks to lead off the two hour training sessions in your choice of five RDM topics.Or if you're really keen, you can offer to be a facilitator for the training as a whole.Either way it's a great chance to build relationships across the institution, review your own knowledge, and raise your local visibility. If you're with me so far, read on for the promotional message about the training kit.

DIY Research Data Management Training Kit for Librarians

EDINA and Data Library, University of Edinburgh is pleased to announce the public release of the Do-It-Yourself Research Data Management Training Kit for Librarians, under a CC-BY licence:

 The training kit is designed to contain everything needed for librarians in small groups to get themselves up to speed on five key topics in research data management - with or without expert speakers.

 The kit is a package of materials used by the Data Library in facilitating RDM training with a small group of librarians at the University of Edinburgh over the winter of 2012-13. The aim was to reuse the MANTRA course developed by the Data Library for early career researchers in a blended learning approach for academic liaison librarians.

 The training comprises five 2-hour face-to-face sessions. These open with short talks followed by group exercises from the UK Data Archive and long discussions, in a private collegiate setting. Emphasis is placed on facilitation and individual learning rather than long lectures and passive listening. MANTRA modules are used as reading assignments and reflective writing questions are designed to help librarians 'put themselves in the shoes of the researcher'. Learning is reinforced and put into practice through an independent study assignment of completing and publishing an interview with a researcher using the Data Curation Profile framework developed by D2C2 at Purdue University Libraries.

 The kit includes:

 * Promotional slides for the RDM Training Kit

* Training schedule

* Research Data MANTRA online course by EDINA and Data Library, University of Edinburgh:

* Reflective writing questions

* Selected group exercises (with answers) from UK Data Archive, University of Essex - /Managing and sharing data: Training resources./ September, 2011 (PDF). Complete RDM Resources Training Pack available:

* Podcasts (narrated presentations) for short talks by the original Edinburgh speakers (including from the DCC) if running course without ‘live’ speakers.

* Presentation files - if learners decide to take turns presenting each topic.

* Evaluation forms

* Independent study assignment: Data Curation Profile, from D2C2, Purdue University Libraries. Resources available:

 As data librarians, we are aware of a great deal of curiosity and in some cases angst on the part of academic librarians regarding research data management. The training kit makes no assumptions about the role of librarians in supporting research data management, but aims to empower librarians to support each other in gaining confidence in this area of research support, whether or not they face the prospect of a new remit in their day to day job. It is aimed at practicing librarians who have much personal and professional experience to contribute to the learning experience of the group.

Introducing the IASSIST Data Visualization Interest Group (DVIG!)

Hello fellow IASSISTer’s

     With the upcoming 2013 Conference nearing, we thought it very fitting to introduce you all to the newly created IASSIST Data Visualization Interest Group. Formed over the winter and now spring of 2013, this group brings together over 46 IASSIST members from across the world (literally across-the-world! check out the map of our locations), who are all interested in data visualization.  We hope to share a range of skills and information around tools, best practice visualization, and discuss innovative representations of data, statistics, and information. Here is just a glimpse of our group’s tools exposure.

    As research becomes more interdisciplinary and data and information are more readily used and reused, core literacies surrounding the use and understandability of data are required. Data Visualization supports a means to make sense of data, through visual representation, and to communicate ideas and information effectively. And, it is quickly becoming a well-developed field not only in terms of the technology (in the development of tools for analyzing and visualizing data), but also as an established field of study and research discipline. As data and information professionals, we are required to stay abreast of the latest technologies, disciplines, methods and techniques, used for research in this data-intensive and changing research landscape. Data Visualization, with its many branches and techniques seeks to present data, information, and statistics in new ways, ways that our researchers are harnessing with the use of high-powered computers (and sometimes not so high-powered) to perform analysis of data.  From conventional ways to visualize and graph data – such as tables, histograms, pie charts, and bar and line graphs, to the often more complex network relationship models and diagrams, cluster and burst analysis, and text analysis charts; we see data visualization techniques at play more than ever. 

This group has set a core mission and charge to focus on promoting a greater understanding of data visualization – its creation, uses, and importance in research, across disciplines.  Particular areas of focus include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Enable opportunities for IASSIST members to learn and enhance their skills in this growing field;
  • Support a culture of best practice for data visualization techniques; creation, use, and curation;
  • Discussion of the relevant tools (programs, web tools, and software) for all kinds of data visualizations (spatial, temporal, categorical, multivariate, graphing, networks, animation, etc.);
  • Provide input and feedback on data visualization tools;
  • Capture examples of data visualization to emulate and avoid;
  • Explore opportunities for service development in libraries;
  • Be aware of and communicate to others the needs of researchers in this field;
  • Use of data visualization for allowing pre-analysis browsing of data content in repositories
  • Connect with communities of metadata developers and users (e.g., DDI Alliance) to gain better understanding of how metadata can enable better visualization, and how in turn visualization need might drive development of metadata standards.
  • And more!

Please join me in welcoming this new interest group, and we hope to share and learn from you all at the upcoming conference! We are always seeking input and to share ideas, please get in touch with us at (either myself or another member can add you to the group).

All the best, and Happy Easter!

Amber Leahey

IASSIST 2013 Fellows update

This year the IASSIST Fellows Committee received a grand total of 44 Fellows applications from a strong range of candidates from 28 countries around the globe: 
  • 18 Asia    

  • 13 Africa

  • 7 Europe

  • 3 North America

  • 2 Latin America

  • 1 Australia

Applications have been evaluated by the IASSIST Fellows Committee and offers have been made to a number of prospective Fellows to attend the annual conference in Cologne, Germany. We shall announce the names of those who have accepted the Fellows awards shortly.

We look forward to welcoming the new members at what will no doubt be the best IASSIST ever!

Best Wishes

Co-Chairs of the Fellows Committee

North American DDI Conference April 2013

Registration is now open for NADDI 2013 ( The North American Data Documentation Initiative Conference (NADDI) is an opportunity for those using DDI and those interested in learning more about it to come together and learn from each other. Patterned after the successful European DDI conference (EDDI), NADDI 2013 will be a two day conference with invited and contributed presentations. This conference should be of interest to both researchers and data professionals in the social sciences and other disciplines. Training sessions will follow the conference. One focus of the first year's conference will be on the use of DDI by individual research teams through the data lifecycle.  

Please note that thanks to the generous support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a limited number of reduced rate registrations for graduate students are available.


Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Jay Greenfield of Booz Allen Hamilton where he is the semantic architect for a DDI Lifecycle based metadata system that supports the National Children's Study (NCS).


The conference will be held in the Kansas Union at the University of Kansas on April 2 and 3 2013. An opening night reception will be held April 1, and workshops will be held on April 4.


The call for papers is also now open through January 31, 2013.


For more information visit the conference web site at or email .

  • IASSIST Quarterly

    Publications Special issue: A pioneer data librarian
    Welcome to the special volume of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ (37):1-4, 2013). This special issue started as exchange of ideas between Libbie Stephenson and Margaret Adams to collect


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