University of Oregon Libraries and Oregon State University Libraries Team Up to Teach First Library Carpentry Workshop in Oregon

UO and OSU Library Carpentry report

By Jonathan Cain, Sarah Seymore, Steven Van Tuyl, Clara Llebot, Ryan Wick, Chris Erdmann

On March 16 and March 23, the University of Oregon Libraries and Oregon State University Libraries teamed up to teach the first Library Carpentry workshops in the state of Oregon, which were open to all Orbis Cascade Alliance members. These workshops were intended to help people working in library- and information-related roles in the Northwest improve their competencies and efficiencies through better understanding of the structure and organization data, automating repetitive, error prone tasks, and maintaining and analysing sustainable and reusable data.

Price Science Commons Library

40 participants came from across the Alliance with representatives from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Overall these sessions proved to be a success prompting requests for additional events like these.

The project team selected the following workshops to develop a fundamental understanding of data and its role in research and information organization workflows:

These sessions provided a basic introduction to working with data and tools that that can improve both workflows in the libraries, but also with the interactions with faculty, students, and other patrons of the libraries engaged in data-related research.

Feedback from the participants was very positive:

  • 94% of the participants felt that the material covered and the amount of information was “about right”
  • 100% of the participants agreed that the workshop met their expectations

Select Green Sticky Quotes:

“Now I know why coworkers were prodding me to learn Google Refine, very cool.”

“This class was very good. Up to now, I couldn’t make sense of regular expressions. Thank you!”

“ It was an excellent workshop and opened new areas of understanding for me. It was a great way to break down some of our library job silos. I hope you will do another one in the spring or summer. Fall is always very busy in the reference/instruction realm.”

Select Red Sticky Quotes:

“Some instructions went so fast that it took some time to figure out where to go and what to do.”

“More on Advanced Google Refine GREL.”

“I had a hard time seeing the relevance of regular expressions in my role - more demo of their usefulness might have helped.”

Valley Library OSU

Room for improvement:

Beyond the usual logistical comments, some common themes arose, which most likely were due to varying skill levels of the attendees. For instance, some attendees found the RegEx useful and other attendees did not see the applicability of it. This was also the case for the Tidy Data session, which included file naming and other data management best practices that some librarians were very familiar with. To note, the lessons were given to the attendees in advance but perhaps more exact information about what was going to be covered should have been shared beforehand.

There was also feedback that indicated a desire for more advanced sessions for those attendees who wanted more RegEx and GREL, so this is promising for the possibility of building on this event with more workshops and advanced lessons.

Jonathan, Sarah, Clara, Steve, and Ryan are looking forward to collaborating on more cross-institutional and Northwest-regional Library Carpentry workshops in the future!