Sarah Lin is currently the Information Architect & Digital Librarian at RStudio, a data science software company. She has previously been a bindery clerk, a serials librarian, an indexer, a technical services librarian and a content manager in academic, medical, legal and corporate libraries. Sarah believes that data literacy is the key to the future and that librarians would do well to learn data science in order to better serve their patrons, colleagues, and careers.
MS in Library & Information Science, 2006
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
BA in African/African-American Studies & Anthropology, 2003
University of Chicago
Data science brings opportunities to work more quickly and easily with data. It provides better reporting formats by incorporating outside data from various sources, and can even turn text into data that can be displayed visually. Even though legal information isn’t always associated with data, science, or data science, data science skills enable law librarians to do their jobs with greater efficiency. With data science skills, we are able to show new value for our teams and organizations, so it is definitely worth the time invested. The following 10 data science skills and techniques, along with descriptions of the amazing deliverables that are associated with them, are listed in a progressive skill-building sequence.
The distribution of scholarly content today happens in the context of an immense deluge of information found on the internet. As a result, researchers face serious challenges when archiving and finding information that relates to their work. Library science principles provide a framework for navigating information ecosystems in order to help researchers improve findability of their professional output. Here, we describe the information ecosystem which consists of users, context, and content, all 3 of which must be addressed to make information findable and usable. We provide a set of tips that can help researchers evaluate who their users are, how to archive their research outputs to encourage findability, and how to leverage structural elements of software to make it easier to find information within and beyond their publications. As scholars evaluate their research communication strategies, they can use these steps to improve how their research is discovered and reused.
Soon after starting a new position as a librarian at a data science software company, I saw that my employer was offering a workshop to learn how to do machine learning in the R programming language and I jumped at the chance to learn more about the subject. With support from my boss, I struggled through October and November refreshing my linear regression knowledge (knowledge I’d happily left behind in high school) and bringing my coding skills from near zero to “won’t be embarrassed in front of my colleagues.”
Managing a library collection requires consistency and meticulous attention to detail, but managing remotely requires even more of these skills as well as a strong team that can work together to get the job done. Unlike reference and research services, technical services duties are routine and standard across locations, which function very smoothly with a bit of centralization and procedural discipline. While there are idiosyncrasies at individual libraries, this article covers seven areas that affect the success of collection management in a remote work situation.