This is the fifth blog post in a series authored by 7 individuals who received scholarships from the New England Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM NER) to attend the Library Carpentry Training held at Brown University on October 22-23, 2018. In this installment, Amanda Scull, a scholarship recipient, describes new skills gained from Library Carpentry Training. Please watch for more posts about resources from this event and views from scholarship recipient’s in the upcoming weeks. If you are interested in learning more please join us for a live webinar hosted on February 7, 2019 at 2:00 PM EST about Library Carpentry.
My experience attending Library Carpentry at Brown University was incredibly rewarding! I work in collections management and spend a lot of time dealing with CSV files and spreadsheets full of usage data, historical pricing, and bibliographic record information. These data files are often large, messy, and in need of a lot of manipulation that I may or may not be able to do. I also engage in research on a fairly regular basis which yields large files of survey response data, usually including open ended responses which require a lot of attention. I hoped that at Library Carpentry I would learn more efficient ways of working with my data, and I was not disappointed. I am excited to do my data sorting and mining in the shell instead of within the strict confines of Excel, and Open Refine as a tool for cleaning up messy data is nothing short of magical. The fact that we were able to follow along on our own computers throughout the workshops really allowed me to play with the tools and get a sense for operating in these new environments, a great active learning experience. I attend a lot of conferences, both regionally and nationally, and I often hear about a lot of ideas and initiatives that sound great but have limited applicability to my work and my institution. It is so refreshing and exciting to come back from a conference with a set of new tools that I can start implementing immediately. Thank you so much to NLLM NER for this opportunity!
Amanda Scull, MLIS
Research and Education Librarian
Dartmouth College Biomedical Libraries