Data Intro for Librarians

Introduction to Data


Teaching: 15 min
Exercises: 0 min
  • what do librarians gain from code?

  • understand terms, phrases, and concepts in software development and data science

  • identify and use best practice in data structures

  • use regular expressions in searches

Data collection

Conducted as attendees enter the room

Thinking about the program as a whole (the use of regular expressions, the command line, Git and OpenRefine), please rate your skill level. Would you say that you know:

a) Nothing b) A little c) Lots d) Lots and lots



Welcome to Library Carpentry! This series of introductory workshops on software skills for librarians started life as an exploratory programme funded by the Software Sustainability Institute and supported by Software Carpentry and City University London. Thanks also go to the British Library and the University of Sussex where James Baker, who developed the workshops, worked when planning and delivering the workshops. The aim of Library Carpentry is to create a set of tools the community can manage, support, enrich, and reuse as it sees fit. Periodically during the sessions we will collect anonymous feedback that will go into improving the classes and ensuring that they best fit the evolving needs and requirements of the library and information science community.

The rationale for Library Carpentry is twofold. First, as Andromeda Yelton argues in her excellent recent ALA Library Technology Report ‘Coding for Librarians: learning by example’, code is a means for librarians to take control of practice and to empower themselves and their organisation to meet user needs in flexible ways. Second, librarians play a crucial role in cultivating world class research. And in most research areas today world class research relies on the use of software. Librarians with software skills are then well placed to continue that cultivation of world class research.

In order to kick start your exploration of software, this four module program will cover the following: SLIDE

Where to go for help

First, use your skill level stickers to identify people on your table who can help: you will all be following along from the same worksheets, so someone around you may have got past the point you are stuck at.

Second, there are helpers on hand to help if those around you can’t. You should all have access to coloured sticky notes: a pink sticky note on your laptop indicates that you need help (it might also alert the attention of someone around you!). So, please use them.

Third, in advance of each of the classes, you may have been required to install software: all issues doing this should be reported to the Github issues page for the module, posting something there will alert someone to give you help in advance.

Fourth, and finally, as much of the program is self-directed, we encourage you to finish up or repeat tasks after class time: if you run into issues, again report them to the relevant Github issues page.

Final points of admin

Most of the classes will involve following along from a worksheet. Much of the time you will be encouraged to go along at your own pace. For some of you this will feel like a lot of material, for others it might not feel like enough. Remember that the session is introductory. If you finish early, our end time is not a hard stop, so you may of course leave.

Alternatively, you might want to use the time to search online for more information or advanced skills guides. You may even wish to deepen your own skills by staying around and helping someone else out: there is nothing better for really getting to know something than teaching it to someone else! If you don’t finish, don’t worry, there are no prerequisites between classes and if you have time, you can always carry on at home.

Finally computers are stupid, can frustrate, and as you all have different machines it can be tricky to resolve problems. Please be patient, particularly if your issue is local. Stepping outside and taking a gulp of fresh air always helps.

This week

Key Points