My Experience Attending the Midwest Data Librarian Symposium

The Midwest Data Librarian Symposium (MDLS) is an annual conference aimed at providing Midwestern librarians, as well as others across the United States, the chance to network and discuss several industry issues and topics related to research data management. This year the event was co-hosted by the University of Cincinnati, The Ohio State University, and Miami University, as well as virtually through online Zoom conference calls and presentations. With free registration to all participants, MDLS focuses on the goal of providing low-cost networking and educational opportunities for established professionals and developing librarians of the future. Relatively new to the environment of Research Data Management, I was eager to represent FSU and the entire state of Florida at the Symposium, being the only participant in attendance at the conference from the state. While I could not travel to participate in the in-person programming, the free registration allowed me to actively engage with the virtual conference presentations and events, like many others over zoom meetings. 

Whether it was a zoom scavenger hunt or a presentation surrounding a less talked about subject, like “Making Infographics More Accessible”, I found that with each opportunity to engage I was able to learn something new and many things that I could bring back and put into practice in my own work. The presentations also left me with a lot to contemplate and consider, opening my eyes to information and concepts I had yet to broach or discover through my own work, like Digital Curation and Data Management for filmmakers and documentaries. For example, in the growing industry of filmmaking there are many times limited resources, especially for independent filmmakers, to effectively meet the costs to preserve their data. With barriers, like high memory file capacities, time constraints, and the threat of file corruption or loss of data, documentaries have a much more indirect path to successfully serve as critical sources of historical and cultural documentation. 

The vulnerability of data collected in documentaries further illustrates the broader importance to take serious measures to securely store raw data, especially with its potential relevance to guide other research. Additionally, metadata’s pertinence in other research frameworks encapsulates the expansive benefits of open science and universal accessibility. Pressures of academic viability, publishing, and performance can direct researchers’ hesitancy to relinquish ownership and control of data. This exemplifies the utility and demand to create stronger avenues to motivate the open sharing of data even when it is imperfect or incomplete. Procedurally, sharing upon request protocols have been imperfect, to say the least, as the decision to distribute that data is left at the mercy of the Primary Investigator of the original research that was conducted, who may have internal or external factors that motivate, dissuade, or even obstruct their ability to share the data in a timely or consistent manner.

While there were a variety of different topics covered during the conference, several presentations were based around the new National Institutes of Health (NIH) Data Management and Sharing (DMS) policy that will come into effect at the beginning of 2023. More specifically, there were discussions about the effects of this new policy on data management and sharing, as well as how to prepare and instruct those in need of support to navigate through these changes at a university level. For one of the main presentations on this topic the authors conducted semi-structured interviews at their university to survey the research data service needs of their constituents, as well as to gauge and collect their perspectives in relational proximity to the new governmental regulations being put into place. These interviews produced a myriad of noteworthy and interesting observations to take away. Perhaps the most surprising theme to emerge was that many of the researchers and professors were unaware of or unworried about the policy changes, believing that they’d be able to adapt their research practices and proposals when the new year began. Others wondered about how strictly the new policies would be enforced, especially with loose criteria for what might qualify submissions as exceptions and with aspects of proposals not tied to scoring to motivate researchers to put more effort into adopting practices that promote open science. Additional implications of being able to recognize and remove protected health information further supports the importance of collaboration when it comes to properly following research assurance, protocols, and proper maintenance as well as storage of data. 

These interviews revealed that many students and faculty across the country were uninformed and/or ill equipped to seamlessly handle this transitional phase that will take place in the coming months to comply with the new NIH DMS policy. Perhaps an even larger overarching takeaway that can be applied is that the general level of informational literacy is relatively low in association to student needs and the expectations that they must meet in order to perform adequately in their field. Adjustments are necessary to overcome the deficiencies in standard coursework that often operates on a foundational assumption that students will come into their academic institutions already having research skills and a working knowledge of information systems, catalogs, and databases. In most cases an established base of informational literacy is required to locate or know that library resources for these causes even exist. Libraries as well as universities more broadly must make an effort to publicly promote their services and resources more widely, while also making them more accessible to effectively address this dilemma. Without additional infrastructure to develop these skills, students have a much larger barrier to overcome the limitations embedded in the university academic framework. Taking levels of privilege into account with access to both technology and experience must also play a part in the organization of their practicum. 

As always each institution has its own individual needs as well as priorities and is equipped with different resources to be able to develop the necessary systems and resources to provide its student body with enough support to navigate through all academic challenges. Conferences typically follow a shared academic code of free exchange that open science bases itself on principle. Just look at the public accessibility of most universities’ research guides that they produce and publish and one can truly get a sense of the collaborative instruction that academic libraries strive to achieve. The symposium offers an opportunity that amplifies this ideal, allowing different institutions to come together to cooperate and exchange different ideas through dialogue with similar like-minded individuals trying to reach mutual goals. 

Preparing for the Midwest Data Librarian Symposium, my impression was that I’d simply be attending lectures where I’d experience most of the learning. However, in addition to some of the networking events and opportunities, the interconnectedness and interactive components of the entire conference made attending the symposium a much more well-balanced exchange of ideas and information. Moreover, MDLS hosted a slack channel to further promote ongoing discussions and networking, as well as archiving notes that all participants were given access to and permission to contribute as well for each presentation and event. In addition, many of the presentations that were longer than the five-minute rapid-fire “Lightning Talk” featured aspects of involvement from the audience, whether it was through discussion questions, breakout room consultations, or jam board collaborations to exchange ideas on different subjects. The integration of technology was applied seamlessly and improved the overall quality of engagement within the presentations and symposium as a whole. Attending this symposium gave me the chance to consider and discuss countless ideas to bring into practice with my own work. I am grateful for opportunities like these and experiences that enrich professionals at all stages in their careers with an academic environment of common interests and goals. 

Author Bio: Liam Wirsansky is a second-year MSI student at Florida State University and the STEM Libraries Graduate Assistant at FSU’s Dirac Library. He currently serves as the President and Artistic Director of White Mouse Theatre Productions at FSU and acts as the Director of Research and Development for the Rosenstrasse Foundation. Liam loves the academic outlet that research has provided him as well as the opportunity to educate and assist students in the development of their information literacy skills.

If you have any questions regarding the Midwest Data Librarian Symposium (MDLS), please contact the organizers at mwdatalibsym@gmail.com.

Some Helpful Resources That Were Shared at the Symposium:

Top 10 Most Used Databases

Did you know that you can access more than 700 research databases through FSU Libraries? What is your favorite database? And what databases do your peers or professors use? When Google Scholar appears to be everyone’s go-to, why do you need to use research databases? Let’s talk about it.

Hello, my name is Kyung Kim. I am one of the Social Science Librarians working at FSU Libraries. An important part of my job is to inform the faculty and students about where to search for and access the literature they need for their assignments, learning, instructions, or research. I checked the stats and found the top 10 most popular databases on the Libraries’ Database A-Z page from October 2021 to September 2022- here’s what I found!

Top 10 Most Used Databases

Given the often seemingly endless hours you put into finding relevant articles or books for your research, knowing the pros and cons of the research databases and when to use which would enhance the quality of your academic life. Here are some quick tips on the top 10 databases!

Quick Tips! The Pros & Cons of the Most Used Databases

JSTOR is a good place to access peer-reviewed journal articles or books in the humanities and social sciences, but be aware that it often does not provide access to the most current issues. If you are looking for the latest research findings or the most recent publications on a topic, do not settle with JSTOR. See if the recent issues of the journal are available through the Libraries; if not, we recommend you use our Interlibrary Loan service to get the articles for free.

A multi-subject database, the Academic Search Complete is a good starting place if you do not know where to search, and the goal of your search is to select a few good ones by checking the breadth and not the depth of the literature on the topic.

If you are looking for the most cited papers or hot papers on a certain topic or in a subject area published in reputable, cream-of-the-crop scholarly journals, the Web of Science is your go-to. This premium database is also great for identifying a bibliographic network of who cites whom, but the search interface is not too intuitive. Besides, if you are an Arts and Humanities major, this might not be the database your professors use highly.

Do you want to search multiple databases all at once? This so-called “federated search” is available at the EBSCOhost and ProQuest Databases. EBSCO and ProQuest are two of the leading providers of academic research databases where you can search scholarly articles, eBooks, images, reports, etc., from Anthropology to Zoology. Through the FSU Libraries’ EBSCOhost database, you can search 86 databases simultaneously, and at the ProQuest Databases, 92 databases. Use these databases when you are in the mode of searching for everything, everywhere, all at once.

But why bother when you only need articles or books published in your subject areas? The Top 10 List shows that FSU researchers tend to search the APA PsycInfo for psychology literature; the PubMed (NLM) for biomedical literature; the Business Source Complete for business, and the ERIC (ProQuest) for education.

Not on the Top 10 List, but the Social Science Premium Collection database is something social science dissertation or thesis writers might want to try. There you can search 55 databases in various social science fields simultaneously. The Libraries subscribe to many other specialized databases for the university community. Having free access to rich scholarly content through subscription databases is one of the privileges of FSU members!

So, when in doubt, ask your subject librarian to learn where to search first, what search terms to use, and how to get and organize the materials you need! The librarian might also give you time-saving tips, such as when to use extra caution in evaluating certain sources and how to take full advantage of Google Scholar as a springboard to discover hidden gems in the library databases. You can request a one-on-one research consultation with librarians and meet them online or in person.

Good luck and happy searching!

This blog post was written by Kyung Kim, Social Sciences Librarian at FSU Libraries.





 

Meet the Social Sciences Librarian for Education & Psychology

As a Social Science Librarian, I address the research, instructional, and collection needs of faculty and students. Most members in my department—Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities (SSAH)—focus on specific subject areas. I focus on the areas of Education and Psychology!

I provide patrons with assistance on their research journey. This includes navigating databases on our library website, finding credible sources, performing citation chaining, and completing deductive and inductive searches. I love conducting research, and I am always excited to learn about others’ research. My research interests focus on systematic instructional design and organizational change. So, I have a lot of fun helping students in Education and Psychology with their specific research topics. It is a great way for me to learn more about current research in those areas.

I also teach dozens of instructional sessions every year. These sessions often focus on navigating the library website, writing correct APA citations, using citation management software, and locating relevant sources. I am a fan of active learning, and I provide students with an engaging learning environment where they learn by researching their desired topics. I find this creates a motivating learning environment and promotes retention!

Collection development is one of the responsibilities of librarians in SSAH. We keep the collection up to date with impactful research on current topics. Additionally, we concentrate on current trends in the field of librarianship and guarantee that our collection practices are beneficial to the research community. There are a lot of online students in Education and Psychology. I focus on purchasing online books and journals so our students and faculty can access the materials anywhere at any time.

I am always excited to chat about research and librarianship. Please feel free to contact me if you need any help!

This blog post was written by Jeff Phillips, Social Sciences Librarian at FSU Libraries.

Meet the Visual & Performing Arts Librarian

Leah Sherman

As the Visual & Performing Arts Librarian at Florida State University something I say often is that no two days are ever the same. And how could they be? I am the liaison to all six departments within the FSU College of Fine Arts (Art, Art Education, Art History, Dance, Interior Design, Theatre) as well as the FSU Master Craftsman Studio, the FSU Museum of Fine Arts in Tallahassee, and the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. For these programs, I am responsible for all things arts-related such as collection development and management, library instruction, and reference. In this work, I’m always learning something new, and that’s one thing I really love about my job!

While my academic background lies in Art History, I am constantly inspired by the variety of arts topics I see throughout each semester. In the same week, I can go from acquiring forthcoming publications in medieval art history to working one-on-one with Dance majors researching the evolution of breakdancing. I might also be collaborating with our Special Collections & Archives Division to purchase rare materials like artist books and illuminated manuscript facsimiles, or even consulting on a digital scholarship project like the creation of the Open Access arts journal, Athanor.

Probably the biggest project I’ve been working on lately is the formation of FSU Libraries’ Art in the Library program. This new initiative is all about bringing the visual and performing arts into the library for the benefit of the entire Florida State community. We are a student-centered program that aims to highlight the work of artists across our campus, regardless of their major or professional aspirations.

Over time, Art in the Library programming will include student art exhibitions, pop-up performances, hands-on art-making experiences, and hopefully so much more! One project we recently finished was the reinstallation of Karl Zerbe prints on the 2nd floor of Strozier Library. Also, starting this month you can catch our first student art exhibition People I Know by Art Education graduate student William Rowe at Dirac Science Library.

If you are an artist interested in exhibiting with FSU Libraries: applications for the spring 2023 semester are being accepted now through September 30, and all the information about our exhibition program and future deadlines can be found on our website.

Found works of Karl Zerbe

Finally, when I’m not working with the Fine Arts community at FSU, I am active in several professional organizations. The Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) and its Southeast Chapter (ARLIS/SE) are two groups that have been very influential in my development as an arts librarian. These organizations have given me amazing opportunities to advance my scholarship through conference presentations and publications, grow my leadership skills by serving on committees and in executive roles, and connect with colleagues and mentors from around the world. Besides my work in the physical library, I have personally found that my ability to contribute to and shape my field of arts librarianship through such professional service is extremely rewarding.

This blog post was written by Leah Sherman, Visual & Performing Arts Librarian at FSU Libraries.

Meet the Government Information Specialist

My name is Priscilla Hunt and I am the Government Information Specialist for Florida State University Libraries. I first became involved with Strozier Library as a student here on campus desperately in need of class materials and resources.  As I became more familiar with the library, I took a student position working at the circulation desk and assisting the Associate Dean of Research & Learning Services, and then later on a staff position where I currently reside. 

As the Government Information Specialist, I handle a wide variety of tasks such as collection development of government resources from local, state, federal, and international levels. Additionally,  I help manage the government information portion of the library website, create physical and digital displays, engage in consultations with the public, and supervise Federal Work Study students. The last of which became the recipient of the 2022 FSU Mores Award

My two most recent projects include participation in  a team effort to create a research guide on gun violence, and FSU’s “The Human Library Project.” It is our goal that the research guide on gun violence will help to facilitate conversation, teaching, and scholarship on controversial social issues such as gun violence as well as serve as a valuable resource for data and key information. Meanwhile, The Human Library Project will include individuals of various backgrounds that make themselves readily available to scholars on campus, as a human “book” to be checked out and interviewed as a means of exploring diversity through open minded conversation. The goal of the Human Library Project is to provide a safe space for our scholars to gain perspective and understanding of individuals with unique experiences and stories, while promoting the library as the hub of the intellectual community. 

To tell you a little more about myself I’d say that I have a passion for helping people, and I like to see people reach their full potential whenever possible. I believe that we all benefit when we take the time to learn from one another and that when one of us succeeds, we all do.  So, should you ever find yourself in Strozier in need of assistance, please feel free to find me and I will do my best to help! 

This blog post was written by Priscilla Hunt, Government Information Specialist at FSU Libraries.

Where Are They Now: Alumni Student Employees

Libraries are one of the top campus employers of students with a yearly average of over 70 student employees in the last five years. As one of the top employers: do we play a role in the success of students while they are employed with us, and does working in the libraries influence their career experiences after graduation? In the Fall of 2021, the Assessment Team at FSU Libraries found ourselves asking these exact questions. So, we embarked on a study to explore this with some of our former libraries’ employees from the past five years. 

After receiving IRB exempt status, we connected with six former employees of the FSU Libraries Assessment Department for this first study cohort. We wanted to know how former-student employees described their work experience at the library. What aspects of library employment did they perceive influenced their current career outcomes? What are ways we could incorporate what we learned to support current part-time employees with more meaningful campus experiences while at FSU? 

Most students in this first cohort were in STEM majors and were hired in data analyst roles.  They collected, prepared, analyzed, and reported on library data, created data visualizations, benchmarked survey results, presented papers and posters at conferences, and helped to coordinate statistical survey data for national and regional organizations.  

Benefits and drawbacks of working on campus & in the Libraries

Alumni employees found working on campus to be convenient—especially since the library was located near their classes. Participants said that they valued working on a beautiful campus, with real-life data, and enjoyed working in the pleasant atmosphere of the library.  Drawbacks or challenges included time management and shifting gears between classes and work duties, and sometimes they found themselves on campus from sun-up to sundown. Some reported cramped office space, while others wished they had gotten comparable pay with that of a corporate internship and found that working a campus job did not prepare them for the fast-paced work environment of deadlines and deliverables they now face in their current jobs. 

Highlights of their FSU experience

Participants of the study shared that they enjoyed learning how to collect, find, share and synthesize data. They found it particularly useful working and visualizing real-world data to solve problems. Often students have trouble relating the information they learn from a textbook to practical applications in the real world. This experience allowed our employees to practically apply the information they learned in a job setting. Another aspect participants cited as enjoyable was the opportunity to meet and connect with other campus partners on different projects. Being able to see how data and libraries could be integral to campus success gave a new perspective to our employees. A final highlight from this study was learning how many of our women participants have excelled in STEM fields post-graduation.  

Key experiences our participants had on campus

  • Building friendships, relationships, and mentorships with colleagues and other members of the FSU Community  
  • Engagement on campus in the LeaderShape Institute and Garnet & Gold Scholars Program 
  • Opportunities for professional development, including submitting and presenting conference proposals and papers  
  • Tutoring peers including student-athletes and at the Reading Writing Center on campus 
  • Participating in internships and experiences abroad at our international campuses 
  • Going to career fairs and speaking with recruiters about potential job opportunities  

Looking into the future & how we can improve the experiences of our part-time employees

Former student employees said that they would have liked to have collaborated more with other library departments and to have learned about other parts of the library. This is especially true for those who switched their career plans and decided to work in libraries after working here. For example, one alum shared that they wished they knew more about Digital Humanities.  They also wanted more opportunities to practice their leadership skills, such as leading meetings and giving presentations. 

Overall, this study was invaluable in helping us better understand the student employee experience and ways we could improve future students’ employment at the libraries. One pillar of the Libraries’ Strategic Plan is “Investing in People” and it’s become a top priority of the organization to continue improving the professional development opportunities for both our full-time and part-time employees. This study has opened the door for others, and we hope to do further studies with the various departments within the libraries that employ student employees. To view the PowerPoint presentation for the New England College Assessment Conference, follow this link.  

If you are a former alum employee and would like to participate in this study, please reach out to Kirsten Kinsley (kkinsley@fsu.edu).

This blog post was written by Kirsten Kinsley, Assessment Librarian at FSU Libraries.

My Experience as an Engagement Assistant

My time as an Engagement Assistant began in February of this year. I had been looking for an on-campus job for quite some time and I actually happened to see an ad for it posted on the libraries’ Instagram page. As a book lover, creative writing major, and student who has just spent entirely too much time in Strozier, I thought this just might be the perfect role for me. I emailed right away inquiring about the position and the response confirmed everything I already believed: it was a perfect match.

As an Engagement Assistant, I would be tasked with engaging with students while promoting library resources and services. I would also help to brainstorm and plan events for the library with a team of 3 other Engagement Assistants. I would also be able to work on projects that made great use of my writing and entry-level graphic design skills. 

@fsulibraries

Follow along as Ashanti shares her experience as a Student Engagement Assistant at fsulibraries. #fsu #fsutiktok #floridastateuniversity #fsutok #tallahassee #fyp #librarytiktok @floridastateuniv

♬ original sound – FSULibraries

As someone who would like to pursue a career in marketing after college this job has given me many opportunities to gain experience in the field. From grassroots marketing like tabling and simply talking to students, to conducting market research by having students fill out brief surveys, to designing materials for library events. This role has allowed me to get an idea of what the rest of my career could look like. Prior to this job I had never designed anything in an official capacity, only for myself as I tried to teach myself the entirety of Adobe Creative Cloud in the throws of Quarantine. I have been able to hone my skills through the completion of projects and insightful feedback from my boss.

My background in retail has made this experience quite different from what I’m used to as an employee. I’m used to a fast-paced, quantifiable results-oriented environment. While the role is results-oriented, I have found that I am able to take my time with projects and produce more quality work over sheer quantity. Not only that but the projects are exciting! It’s so fun to go behind the curtain of a part of campus that has been so heavily involved in my college career. It’s also nice to have some input on student programming to make the experience that much better. Not only that but the input that my peers and I contribute is actually valued. The schedule has been very flexible as well since this is an on-campus job everyone is very understanding of the difficulties of balancing work and school as a full-time student. This has been a very nurturing experience and I feel a growing passion for creating useful experiences for students to not only learn something but also have fun. 

My favorite project by far has been the Summer Photo Wall and Bucket Lists. Since the summer semester is a shorter time period with significantly fewer students there wouldn’t necessarily be enough time to have actual events as we have in the fall and spring semesters. With that being said we wanted to create something that would carry throughout the summer and be more of an independent activity that would still encourage library engagement. Through brainstorming and research, we came up with the idea to design an interactive photo wall where students could come and sign the wall as well as take a photo to ‘check-in’ and mark the beginning of the summer semester. We also added a QR code to remind students to back at the end of the semester to ‘check-out”.

The second part of this project is the Summer Bucket list which was designed to resemble a library check-out card. We designed two lists: one for the main Strozier library and one for Dirac Science Library.  Each list Included items and activities about how students can become engaged with the libraries and the larger campus community. Each list had different themes: Dog Days at Dirac and 500 days of Strozier. By the end of the summer, we had over 200 signatures from students on the photo wall. It is so rewarding to see people engage with something you’ve been working on and imagine the ways in which it might bring people joy. 

While I was “away” for most of this summer serving as an orientation leader here at FSU, I’ve learned a lot in the 4 consecutive months I got to be here, especially from my coworkers. I’m so grateful for this job because it’s the first time I actually was doing something I wanted to do. I found myself getting excited to come and continue working on projects. I didn’t just have a boss but more of a mentor who was always willing to teach and guide me through things and check in with me throughout the semester. I always knew if I had a question I could ask, whether it was about school or work or somewhere in between. I’ve gained so many transferable skills, and a few friends along the way, and if you can walk away from a job with at least that, I think you’re doing pretty okay. 

Blog post written by Ashanti Grace, Student Engagement Assistant at FSU Libraries, 2022.

My Time as the Immersive Scholarship Graduate Research Assistant

During the Fall ’21 and Spring ’22 semesters, I served as a Graduate Research Assistant with the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship (DRS) at FSU Libraries. Collaborating with Matthew Hunter, the Digital Scholarship Librarian, I worked to increase FSU Libraries’ support of research services that utilize 3D scanning and modeling, 3D printing, and extended reality technologies. Working on various immersive scholarship- and digital humanities-based projects, including a self-curated exhibition, has made this one of the most memorable experiences of my graduate student career!

Continue reading My Time as the Immersive Scholarship Graduate Research Assistant

STEM Data Fellow Spotlight: Diego Bustamante

For Love Data Week 2022, we are highlighting our FSU STEM Libraries Data Fellows! These posts, written by the fellows themselves, tell their stories of how they became interested in data-related work and their experience as a data fellow to this point. Today’s post is contributed by Diego Bustamante.

Prior to my role as a Data Fellow, my idea of what data is was defined by my previous work with quantitative data collected from laboratory experiments. For example, when I worked as a Research Assistant I recorded quantitative data for chemistry experiments, like mass, temperature, volume, etc. I then conducted statistical analysis on the data in order to draw conclusions from each experiment. I personally enjoy collecting and analyzing data, especially because it can lead to many scientific and technological advancements!

While searching for jobs in FSU’s NoleNetwork in summer 2021, one job title that immediately caught my attention was “FSU STEM Libraries Data Fellow.” The job description was unique amongst other jobs offered on campus. As a data fellow, I was offered the opportunity to develop several professional skills in data reference, co-hosting programming language workshops, writing and publishing blog posts, and many more. I felt like it was a great opportunity and a good fit with my previous experience and skills, and so I decided to apply. Thankfully, I was selected as one of the inaugural data fellows, leading to a journey of professional and personal development that has thus far surpassed my initial expectations. 

One of my first tasks in the program was meeting with different librarians at FSU Libraries. In these meetings I was able to learn about different methods and applications for data analysis in a variety of disciplines. For example, I learned that the Digital Humanities Librarian uses a text-mining software to find specific words from books published in the 1800s. She used the data drawn from the software to analyze certain traits of the story by counting the amount of times a character participates in an interaction of this type. This experience helped me realize that qualitative data sets can be used to draw similar conclusions about a study as quantitative data. 

Another concept that I have become familiar with while working as a Data Fellow is open data. We discussed this concept during a workshop where we talked about the potential benefits of making research data openly accessible to the wider research community. Initially, I was hesitant regarding the concept of open data, because I saw academic research as a “race” to find a solution to a given problem. However, further discussion of how researchers are compensated for sharing their data made me realize that it is possible to benefit from open data on a personal and global level. 

Currently, I am still learning about the many different types of data, its definitions, applications, and its importance. I am also working on developing an open source Canvas module on MATLAB where I explain the basics of the math based programming language in a student friendly manner. I look forward to sharing more about this work in the future!

STEM Data Fellow Spotlight: William-Elijah Clark

For Love Data Week 2022, we are highlighting our FSU STEM Libraries Data Fellows! These posts, written by the fellows themselves, tell their stories of how they became interested in data-related work and their experience as a data fellow to this point. Today’s post is contributed by William-Elijah Clark.

It’s hard to say exactly when I first got interested in data. After all, my mother was a statistician, so I’ve always been surrounded by data since I was in elementary school — from Arkansas Department of Health public health and mortality statistics to Disney World focus groups and market research. Personally, I started liking statistics when I took UCF’s equivalent to QMB 3200 and Econometrics. This experience extended into being a research assistant at UCF, and even into conducting and monitoring surveys at Universal Orlando Resort! Through my Econometrics course and from additional professional development opportunities at Universal, I was also able gain experience with R (although I didn’t learn it to the extent that I would call myself a professional data analyst or a data scientist.)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns in Orlando back in 2020, I decided to go back to school here at Florida State University for Statistics, especially considering that FSU has a SAS coding certificate! Overall, I came to Florida State University with over two years of professional survey experience between academia and hospitality industry work.           

I spent time in 2020 taking calculus courses and statistics electives here at FSU to hone my data analysis skills further. I then saw an opportunity to apply for a FSU Libraries data fellowship beginning in Fall 2021. I decided to apply, as this position would give me the opportunity to utilize some of the skills I obtained from my previous positions and coursework at UCF and FSU, and hopefully develop some new skills to further myself in my goals of becoming a data analyst (and hopefully even an econometrician).

So far in my fellowship here at FSU Libraries, I have had the opportunity to gain some experience with MATLAB and SQL through the Data @ Your Desk workshops at Dirac, as well as some experience writing surveys in Qualtrics (as opposed to just conducting and monitoring surveys). I’ve also had the opportunity to learn more about citation management, library research, and data management. I’ve even been able to explain concepts for MS Excel to a patron via the online “Ask a Data Librarian” feature on the FSU Libraries website. This all said, I’m looking forward to applying some of my previous R coding and statistical analysis skills to some survey data for FSU Libraries this semester.