It’s once again time for Love Data Week! LDW is a yearly, international outreach event taking place the week of Valentine’s Day (February 14-18 this year). The week is focused on promoting good data stewardship and best practices around working with and interpreting data. LDW was started in 2015 and is currently celebrated by academic libraries and data organizations around the world. While every institution celebrates in their own way, common activities include data workshops, social media outreach, and more!
Each year, a theme is chosen around which organizations can theme their Love Data Week activities. For 2022, the theme is “Data is for everyone.” This year, we are shining a light on the “people-side” of data, and on how different folks use and interact with data. Data often means something different to everyone, and how someone interacts with data varies based on their chosen discipline, research project, life experiences, and their own beliefs and values. There are also often inherent biases that exist in data collection, analysis, and interpretation, which can affect one’s own impression of a dataset. Despite these differences, the ability to critically evaluate data and interact with it is a universal skill that is crucial for everyone.
Welcome to the third post in the Get Data Lit! blog series. This post will focus on my experience working as a STEM Research Data Services Associate with FSU Libraries during the 2020-2021 school year. In this role, I assisted with outreach and education to FSU students, groups, and organizations at Florida State University around STEM research data services.
My name is Paxton Welton and I will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Finance this semester. One question that you might have right from the start-why is a finance major working in a STEM-focused role?
When applying for jobs prior to this academic year, I knew I wanted a role that would challenge me and allow me to develop new skills. I believed that being the Research Data Services Assistant would provide me the appropriate level of challenge and opportunity that I was looking for. By and large, I believe that my experience provided me with just that. There was a major learning curve that I faced when I first started this role. While I had a grasp of the basics of data literacy and research data services, I quickly realized I did not know nearly enough to be able to properly speak to student groups about these topics. During the first few weeks of the fall semester, I spent a significant portion of my time getting a stronger understanding of data and everything FSU STEM Libraries had to offer to its students in regards to research data. By reading countless articles about data literacy and engaging in weekly discussions with my supervisor Dr. Nick Ruhs, the STEM Data & Research Librarian, I became confident in my working knowledge on these topics.
As the STEM Research Data Services Assistant, one of my main responsibilities was conducting targeted outreach to different student organizations across campus. When I first started this process I reached out specifically to STEM-focused groups. This process involved me initiating conversations via email with registered student organizations (RSOs) to introduce them to the research data services FSU Libraries offers them. In several cases, we were invited to meet and/or present synchronously to these groups. This gave us a chance to share more in-depth information about our services and just how valuable they are to students. It also gave students a chance to ask us any questions they may have. Getting the chance to directly interact with students and help them find the right resources to feel more prepared for their future was by far my favorite part of this role.
I also had the opportunity to contribute to data-related events hosted by FSU STEM Libraries. Two examples include Love Data Week in February and the Virtual FSU Libraries Data Services Quest in March. My involvement in these events allowed me to see the entire process of creating programming for students. I was able to sit in on brainstorming meetings, give my input on the marketing materials, and create content for the events.
One of my main focuses throughout this year has been to develop and create this blog series you are reading right now–Get Data Lit! The focus of this blog series was data literacy and its applicability to student’s educational experiences. As such, I had the chance to put into practice the new data literacy skills I learned in this role. I also had the opportunity to connect data literacy to real-world practice and explain the importance of critically evaluating data. Doing so made me realize just how important learning data skills are for my future career and education.
One thing that proved to be a common theme throughout all the work I was doing is that data is powerful and knowing how to work with it is even more powerful. From a career in law to a career in fashion, you are going to be working with data in some form. Learning how to critically evaluate data is going to give you the skills you need to stand out in the future.
By taking on a job in a discipline that I knew very little about, I was able to challenge myself and make the most out of this past year. From getting to work on student programming events to developing a blog series, I was constantly challenged and learning something new.
Continuing the series, here are two more of our new librarians.
Hi folks. My name is Renaine and I’m the Data Research Librarian at FSU. I’m a three time FSU alum and I couldn’t be happier to be back on campus! Before starting my current position, I worked for the Libraries for about five years as a student worker and, later, as a staff member before heading over to the state-wide library consortium, The Florida Virtual Campus.
The Data Research Librarian is a new position and I’m responsible for creating a new suite of services for students and faculty related to quantitative data as well as the management of research data. That being said, I can help you find data as well as figure out what to do with it once you have your hands on something useful. If you’re creating large datasets for your research, you’ll need a plan for managing that information and, in many cases, making it available to others. I’m working with other folks in the Libraries and around campus to develop data management consulting services to assist you in planning to keep your research intact, findable and usable.
I’m also the subject specialist for Economics, Geography, and Urban and Regional Planning. My research interests include: data management, data visualization, open data, emerging technologies and digital libraries. I work in the Scholars Commons which is located in Strozier’s basement. Please come by and say hello.
Contact Renaine – rjulian at fsu.edu
[Editors note – photo coming soon! That’s how new Stacey is!]
Hello! My name is Stacey Mantooth and I am a new addition to the library staff at Dirac Science Library. Before joining Florida State University, I earned my MSLS at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and worked at the EPA Library at Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. While I’ve lived in several states around the Southeast and Midwest, this is my first time living in Florida, and I’m excited to see what Tallahassee has to offer.
As the liaison to the Chemistry and Biochemistry and Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science departments, I help students and faculty with research activities like finding journal articles, writing literature reviews, patent searching, or managing data. I also help make decisions about what materials the Libraries buy or keep for these subjects. In addition to my regular library and liaison work, I’m interested in doing research on the information needs of STEM faculty and students on campus. Studying which information researchers need, knowing how they go about getting it, and understanding how they view the research process could lead to improved University services and greater STEM success.