Library Carpentry

Library carpentryBy Julianne Schneider, Data Curator

This post was originally published at the Software Carpentry website.

In the space of a year, interest and participation in the Library Carpentry community has exploded like an amoeba who over-ate at an algae banquet and attempted one too many pseudopods.For Library Carpentry, though, this is a good thing; the pseudopods are propelling us forward across institutions, disciplines, and continents. The community, grounded in collaborative tools like Github and Gitter (I always want to type Glitter) is coalescing around lesson development and holding new workshops. Why is the buzz so strong? I think it’s a combination of relentless energy from people like Belinda Weaverand Tim Dennis (to name just a few), the acceptance and active encouragement of new people who want to contribute in some way, and the mutual recognition by all of us that in any one thing, we are all absolute beginners, and we all give each other permission to be terrible until we aren’t.

I am still terrible at Github and command line and use Tim’s Github workflow post every time I work with Github - seriously, this is Github workflow…

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British Library awards, Library CarpentryBy James Baker, Lecturer in Digital History and Archives, University of Sussex, and Software Sustainability Institute Fellow

Librarians play a crucial role in cultivating world-class research and in most disciplinary areas today world-class research relies on the use of software. Established non-profit organisations such as Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry offer introductory software skills training with a focus on the needs and requirements of research scientists. Library Carpentry is a comparable introductory software skills training programme with a focus on the needs and requirements of library professionals: and by software skills, I mean coding and data manipulation that go beyond the use of familiar office suites. As librarians have substantial expertise working with data, we believe that adding software skills to their armoury is an effective and important use of professional development resource that benefits both library professionals and their colleagues and collaborators across higher education and beyond.

In November 2015 the first Library Carpentry workshop programme took place at City University London Centre for Information, generously supported by the…

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Library CarpentryWhat is Library Carpentry?

Library Carpentry introduces librarians to the fundamentals of computing and provides them with a platform for further self-directed learning, based on similar initiatives Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry.

Library Carpentry is made by librarians, for librarians to help them:

  • automate repetitive, boring, error-prone tasks

  • create, maintain and analyse sustainable and reusable data

  • work effectively with IT and systems colleagues

  • better understand the use of software in research

  • and much more…

How it started?

Library Carpentry was started by James Baker, Software Sustainability Institute Fellow 2015. James used his Fellowship funds to launch initial Library Carpentry workshops, which attracted 59 participants from 14 institutions in London and reached 200-250 librarians. Since then, a number of workshops have run in various countries across four continents.

Find out more about the Library Carpentry activities.

 

There are still some places left at the Data Carpentry for Social Scientists and Humanities workshop organised by the SSI Fellow 2016 Heather Ford at the University of Leeds on 21-22 November 2016. 

This two-day event is aimed at researchers in the social sciences, humanities and other disciplines who want to learn how to use popular tools for data cleaning, management and visualisation in a hands-on, interactive workshop. 

James Baker accepts British Library Labs awardLibrary Carpentry (lead by the James Baker, Software Sustainability Institute Fellow 2015) wins the British Library Labs 2016 award for Teaching and Learning on 7th November 2016.

James is using the award fund to run even more Library Carpentry workshops (see the Library Carpentry workshop call).

What is Library Carpentry?

Library Carpentry is made by librarians, for librarians to help you:

  • automate repetitive, boring, error-prone tasks
  • create, maintain and analyse sustainable and reusable data
  • work effectively with IT and systems colleagues
  • better understand the use of software in research
  • and much more…

Library Carpentry introduces you to the fundamentals of computing and provides you with a platform for further self-directed learning. Find out more about Library Carpentry activities.

British Library Labs Awards 2016

The annual BL Labs Awards, introduced in 2015, recognises outstanding and innovative work that has been carried out using the British Library’s digital collections and data. This year, they commend work…

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By Clare Playforth, Library assistant, The Library University of Sussex

I want to express how important I think software skills are for people who work in libraries and how I feel like more value should be placed on their development. We are in the business of information, creating it, archiving it, retrieving it, curating it and delivering it, so it is a constant source of mystery to me that we are often so bad at working with the systems, processes and software that enable this.

I accept that there are many different reasons that you might want to work in the information profession (you know like those weird folk who say “I’m a people person”) but whichever way you look at it, information is the uniting factor – information technology and information as in data. We all want to provide good customer service but in my experience people seem slow to accept that the more library workers know about how to use and exploit software and information technologies the better the customer is going to be served. A massive chunk of user interactions with any library will be through the catalogue, databases, web pages and self service and yet often these digital user experiences are not seen as being as important as the face to face ones and I think that the development of staff skills in these areas could benefit from greater investment.​

In the past colleagues have commented on how ‘techy’ I am and I always think…

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