IASSIST Fellows 2023: Bridging Perspectives, Building Connections

By Sarah Young | September 11, 2023

IASSIST Fellows 2023

In June, we were excited to welcome four Fellows to Philadelphia from around the globe. They brought with them a diverse array of experiences, expertise and perspectives and an enthusiasm for learning more about the organization and making connections with other IASSIST members. We asked them about their IASSIST experience and here’s what they had to say!

A group of both white and coloured people standing in a banquet room, all wearing name tags and posing to the camera.

IASSIST 2023 Fellows and Members of the IASSIST Leadership pictured at the opening reception in Philadelphia. From left to right: Florio Arguillas, co-chair IASSIST Fellowship Committee; Sarah Young, co-chair IASSIST Fellowship Committee; Zuzana Singh Kvapilová, Fellow from Oriental Institute (OI) of the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS), Czech Republic; Noé Nessel, Fellow from Ministry of Education, Argentina; Wahidah Mohd Zain, Fellow from Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia; Robin Cole, IASSIST President; San Cannon, IASSIST Past-President; Bobray Bordelon, IASSIST Vice President; Adefunke Olanike Alabi, Fellow from University of Lagos, Nigeria.

What are one or two new things you learned from the conference?

Zuzana: I learned about tools and services in research data management, namely the Dataverse software and the data deposit decision tree presented by a team from the University of Toronto. As new RDM policies and support services are being developed at my home institution, this was very informative and immensely useful to me.

Wahidah: IASSIST 2023 provided opportunities to learn about the latest advancements, great ideas, and trends in data management, services, and related research areas. Moreover, IASSIST also presented new research opportunities and ideas that I can take back to my institution.

Olanike: In developing a research data policy at universities, I learned that libraries need to help their researchers embrace open scholarship through advocacy. Developing a research data policy should be done with caution and professionalism through conformity with ethical and legal frameworks on data sharing.

Two colored women stand on the sunny deck of a ship. Both women are dressed in colorful clothes and they are smiling and gesturing happily.

Wahidah (left) and Olanike on the Ben Franklin Yacht.

What is one way you think the conference will benefit you professionally?

Noé: At the conference, we can encourage each other to promote the discipline of social science data services on each of our continents. We are recharged with the energy to collaborate with our various communities and stakeholders.

Olanike: The IASSIST conference provided me the opportunity to expand my professional network by meeting new colleagues from Africa, North America, Asia and Europe. I now have linkages with colleagues with whom I can collaborate to provide training and advocacy programs on data literacy, data management and archiving, data documentation and reproducibility, data services, and data repository management.

Wahidah: One of the most important things I gained from IASSIST 2023 came from networking with peers and experts. Engaging in discussions with IASSISTers was an eye-opener and hopefully can lead to potential collaborations, partnerships, and knowledge exchange. I also presented as a panelist in the conference session titled “Why Open Science is Not Enough?” and this allowed me to share my own thoughts and experiences from my own context in Malaysia.

Zuzana: As an early career professional and a newbie to data science, attending the IASSIST conference opened my eyes to the multitude of avenues within the field. Meeting many friendly and knowledgeable data professionals and learning of their work left me excited to pursue further education in data sciences. Actually, the conference also provided me with an opportunity to start right away with its amazing pre-conference workshops (Python for beginners & Dataverse).

What was your favorite thing about IASSIST 2023?

Wahidah: The conference itself was an inspiration and motivation for me. Attending talks and sessions by IASSIST members enables me to learn about the groundbreaking work of others. Indeed, the IASSIST 2023 conference allows me to expand my knowledge and research horizons, improve my methodologies, foster collaborations, and gain valuable inspiration and networking opportunities. This was my first visit to the United States and a dream come true. I have always dreamt of traveling to such a wonderful country. I feel very blessed with this great experience and the opportunity given.

Olanike: The banquet on the Ben Franklin Yacht, with food, drinks and a cruise on the Delaware River. It was indeed a memorable day for me because IASSIST is the first conference ever that gave me this experience of wining and dining on a boat, making connections and conversations while cruising on American water!

Zuzana: Oh, so many things to choose from! What stayed with me the most was the sense of community, support, and cooperation that was present.

Noé: I enjoyed the positive energy of President San Cannon in her leadership of this conference in this renowned location!

A sign that says Greetings from PHILLY - the city of brotherly love. Philly written in colourful fonts and showing the Rocky statue.

What was your favorite thing about Philadelphia?

Olanike: I totally love this city because of its historic nature. I loved the visit to the Liberty Bell, which was located very close to the conference venue. The visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art was indeed very inspiring for me.

Zuzana: I loved that this location offered many opportunities to visit other institutions and libraries and connect with professionals there. Besides the tour of the beautiful Charles Library at Temple University, I was also lucky to visit the Van Pelt Library at the University of Pennsylvania and meet with Heather Hughes, a fellow Middle Eastern studies librarian.

Noé: I really enjoyed Chinatown as a dynamic and culturally interesting neighborhood. I also was impressed by the architectural features of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Two thumbs up from me!

Wahidah: My best memory from Philadelphia was the banquet. It was great networking time while at the same time having the best view of the city from the river. I also visited historical places like the Liberty Bell and Reading Terminal Market and walked through the city. Philadelphia is a beautiful, historic place. Thank you again IASSISTers. I hope this journey benefits me and others in my country via knowledge sharing, networking, and collaboration. IASSIST 2023 was the best IASSIST ever!