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Conference Presentations 2018

  • IASSIST 2018-Once Upon A Data Point: Sustaining our data storytellers, Montreal
    Host Institution: McGill University, Concordia University, and Université de Montréal

Workshops (Tue, 2018-05-29)

  • W1: Become an Excel Expert and Dazzle with Data
    Julie Marcoux (Dalhousie University)


    Excel has some surprisingly useful capabilities for working with data and is a great tool to master before moving on to more sophisticated statistical software.

    In this beginner-friendly workshop, we will use an interactive self-teaching Excel file to learn formulas and functions of use for manipulating data. We will also cover how to create macros (super easy) that will help you save hours of your time by automating your work, and we will explore some good practices around modifying or programming macros (not as easy but very rewarding). We will practice all concepts covered in the workshop by working through some fun exercises.

    Topics covered include: string functions, removing duplicates from a list, using criteria in formulas, Vlookup, locating special cells (blanks, formulas, etc.) in a worksheet, recording Excel macros, saving Excel macros, and modifying Excel macros.

    Registration note: This workshop will be most enjoyed by participants who are already able to enter a simple formula in a cell.

  • W2: Mixing GIS and Text Analytics for Better Analysis and Results
    Normand Peladeau (Provalis Research)


    Workshop participants will learn how to make full use of geographic information embedded in text and images to enhance research findings by relating textual information with GIS mapping.

    Geographic information systems (GIS) are digital technologies for storing, analyzing, and displaying geographic information. They allow one to reveal the spatial and geographical nature of complex social phenomena through the production of static and dynamic maps. These tools often use data that is quantitative or categorical in nature. They are less well suited for leveraging the richness of information stored in unstructured text data such as interview transcripts, tweets, crime narratives, customer feedback, field notes, or in photographic images.

    Text Analytics techniques have proven more valuable for extracting insightful information from such unstructured sources. Provalis Research’s QDA Miner and WordStat provide a unique integration of GIS mapping, qualitative analysis, and text mining features. By using QDA Miner and WordStat, researchers can quickly extract useful information from unstructured text data and relate this type of data with geographic information to create an interactive plot of data points, distribution maps, heatmaps, timelines, and other graphic displays that help researchers to enhance their analysis and presentation results.

  • W3: Working with Messy Data in OpenRefine
    Kelly Schultz (University of Toronto)
    Leanne Trimble (University of Toronto)


    This workshop will provide an introduction to OpenRefine, a powerful open source tool for exploring, cleaning and manipulating “messy” data. Through hands-on activities using a variety of datasets, participants will learn how to: (1) explore and identify patterns in data; (2) normalize data using facets and clusters; (3) manipulate and generate new textual and numeric data; (4) transform and reshape datasets; (5) use the General Regular Expression Language (GREL) to undertake advanced manipulations; and (6) use APIs to augment existing datasets.

    The workshop will include a discussion of the applications of this software and a comparison with other tools that can be used for similar purposes. The presenters will also share their experiences teaching this material to students. Come prepared to share your own similar experiences with your colleagues!

  • W4: Data Storytelling with PolicyMap across Disciplines
    Lisa DeLuca (Seton Hall University)
    Katie Wissel (Seton Hall University)
    Elizabeth Nash (PolicyMap)


    This workshop will connect the data points of a cross-disciplinary rollout of PolicyMap (a GIS-lite mapping tool) spearheaded by Seton Hall University Libraries. The business and social science librarian will discuss how they reach academic departments and help to create and support PolicyMap assignments. The discussion of the campaign will cover several avenues outreach including: highlighting the tool via web and social media channels; direct outreach for PolicyMap by liaison librarians; and partnering with the Digital Humanities Committee.

    Strategies for encouraging faculty to create assignments using the tool will be covered including in-class instruction, one-on-one consultation, and the warehousing of assignments in an Institutional Repository as Open Educational Resources (OER). The value of shared resources aimed at fostering collaboration and discussion about mapping tools will be discussed by liaison librarians and PolicyMap data experts.

    In this hands-on workshop, participants will learn how to manage a rollout, view examples of assignments, and understand how these assignments can enhance instruction. Participants will view and compare specific PolicyMap examples from different data sources and understand how mapping can enable data storytelling. Participants will build their own maps during the workshop to understand the power of data storytelling with PolicyMap’s public and subscription editions.

  • W5: Finding, Analyzing, and Understanding Polling from the Roper Center
    Kathleen Weldon (Roper Center for Public Opinion Research)


    The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research is the world’s largest archive devoted exclusively to public opinion survey research data, with a digital collection of 23,000+ datasets and iPOLL, a question bank with over 700,000 entries. The collection covers 100 countries and includes data dating to 1935.

    In this workshop, participants will learn about the Roper collection, how to find questions or datasets on particular topics, how to identify trends, and how to use the Center’s online analysis tools. Participants will receive an overview of polling methodologies of the past and present and develop an understanding of the factors to consider when judging polling data quality. The workshop will also cover questions about how to access restricted data, how to help researchers meet publication requirements for replication data for research based on Roper datasets, and how archiving with Roper can help researchers meet data management plan requirements.

  • W6: Collecting and Processing of Survey Data using the Open Data Kit (ODK) eSurvey Software
    Peter Smyth (University of Manchester)


    This introductory workshop is aimed at anyone interested in creating, collecting, and processing data from their own survey designs using ODK (Open Data Kit). Participants will learn the following: (1) the overall structure of an ODK implementation, (2) how to install and use the XLSform application, and (3) how to download and analyse survey results in JSON format.

    In the age of eEverything, it is not surprising that there is now a plethora of software available to produce, gather and collate survey information from a variety of delivery methods from SMS to Android applications. Some of them are ‘free’, providing there are a limited number of simple questions and you only want about ten responses. ODK (Open Data Kit) is an open source set of tools that allows the creation and deployment of surveys to Android devices, as well as the collation of survey data to a central server from where it can be downloaded in a variety of formats for local processing. The survey design can be arbitrarily complex with groups and repeating groups of questions as well as optional questions based on previous responses.

    REGISTRATION NOTE: No specific prior experience is required, but an ability to understand basic commands in Python will be useful.

  • W7: Processing Lidar Data using ArcGIS
    Gerald Romme (University of Toronto)


    This workshop will cover using ArcGIS to process lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) data. Attendees will learn to (1) reclassify classified data, (2) extract building heights, (3) generate shorelines, (4) create a tree canopy using lidar, and (5) use ArcGIS to create digital terrain models and digital surface models.

    REGISTRATION NOTE: A good understanding of GIS principles and a basic-to-advanced working knowledge of ArcGIS 10.4 or higher is expected.

  • W8: Supporting Data Storytellers with Fedora
    David Wilcox (DuraSpace)


    Fedora is a flexible, extensible, open source repository platform for curating digital content. Fedora is used in a wide variety of institutions including libraries, museums, archives, and government organizations. Fedora supports data storytellers by providing infrastructure for curating, archiving, and sharing data.

    Workshop participants will be introduced to Fedora and learn how to create, manage, and share content in accordance with linked data best practices and the Portland Common Data Model. Participants will also learn how Fedora supports digital preservation, including exporting resources from Fedora to external systems and services as part of a digital curation workflow.

  • W9: Data Literacy for All, with R
    Ryan Womack (Rutgers University)


    Introducing general audiences to their first hands-on data work often faces formidable barriers. New users typically must spend their time installing, configuring, and learning the programming conventions of specific software environments that may themselves present barriers of cost and compatibility. Importing and wrangling data into a form suitable for use is another barrier.

    As data professionals, we can apply our skills to develop relatively painless introductions to data that focus on understanding the data itself and analytical concepts, instead of the mechanics of a program. We can customize and tailor our presentations to the needs of particular audiences by developing wrappers around data and functions that simplify their use, and we can develop techniques and interfaces that allow easy data exploration.

    Using R, this workshop will explore the following: (1) building packages for distributing data and functions; (2) using sample data and functions to illustrate basic data literacy concepts such as descriptive statistics, modeling, and visualization, while keeping the focus on meaning, not mechanics; and (3) building tools for interactive exploratory data analysis by end users. As open source software, R is easily available and can be locally distributed where internet access and computing resources are scarce.

  • W10: Host Your Own Digital Repository Without Installing Any Software
    Abay Israel (ICPSR)
    Harshakumar Ummerpillai (ICPSR)


    This workshop will include a hands-on demonstration of the national archives hosted at ICPSR and the free self-publication software products implemented on the Archonnex platform. Participants will learn the steps required to set up a digital repository at their home institutions without the need of building everything from scratch. Participants will also learn about the history and the future of the Archonnex technology and about additional resources that are currently available.

    Since 1962, ICPSR has been an integral part of the infrastructure of social science research with its vast digital archive supporting over 700 member institutions worldwide. With the release of our new digital assets management system “Archonnex,” ICPSR continues this tradition by extending our expertise and digital technology capabilities as a service to larger community. For the first time researchers, institutions, organizations, and even nations will be able to host their own repositories and setup data services for their members. We call it RaaS - Repository as a Service.

    The next generation of data management is here with tools that cover data deposit and discovery, metadata management, related citations, restricted and public access, curation, reporting, and more. Archonnex supports any digitally born file, follows ADA compliance, and is constantly evolving to support the needs of the data storyteller community. ICPSR’s RaaS fundamentally changes how we think about data science by breaking down some of the more technical barriers experienced across all disciplines.

  • 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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