Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

Coding for Librarians

Andromeda Yelton (who has featured in this blog before) has written a set of six articles for Library Technology Reports titled Coding for Librarians: Learning by Example. From the introduction:

[This] draws from more than fifty interviews with librarians who have written code in the course of their work. Its goal is to help novice and intermediate programmers understand how programs work, how they can be useful in libraries, and how to learn more.

Three chapters discuss use cases for code in libraries. These include data import, export, and cleanup; expanded reporting capability; and patron-facing services such as improvements to catalog and LibGuide usability. Most of the programs discussed are short&mash;under a hundred lines—so that implementing or modifying them is within the reach of relatively novice programmers. Where possible, links to the code itself are provided. Several scripts are explained in depth.

Additional chapters focus on nontechnical aspects of library code. One chapter outlines political situations that have been faced by librarians who code and the solutions they have employed. Another chapter shares interviewees' advice on specific resources and strategies for learning to code.

It's great stuff: I wish we had something like it for different scientific disciplines, and I hope to borrow a lot of ideas from it as we re-work our lessons in the coming months.

Chapter 1. Introduction HTML PDF
Chapter 2. Data Workflows HTML PDF
Chapter 3. Reporting HTML PDF
Chapter 4. Patron-Facing Services HTML PDF
Chapter 5. Political and Social Dimensions of Library Code HTML PDF
Chapter 6. Learning to Code HTML PDF

NOTICED · LIBRARIANS

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