Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

Updating Library Carpentry

A global team worked to update the Library Carpentry curriculum and lesson material at this year’s Mozilla Science Lab Global sprint.

The work kicked off in Brisbane, where Clinton Roy, Natasha Simons and I worked with Carmi Cronje in Sydney to start the ball rolling. Matthias Liffers came online in Perth two hours later. At 5.30 pm our time, we handed over to teams in South Africa, the Netherlands, and the UK, led by Anelda van der Walt, Mateusz Kuzak, and James Baker respectively.

James, with his colleagues Owen Stephens and Daniel van Strien, were the original developers of the Library Carpentry material.

During the sprint, James developed a new regex quiz, while Owen helped update and migrate the OpenRefine material. Jez Cope volunteered as a maintainer for the git lesson.

Canadian and US teams began work as the sun moved around the globe. These included Juliane Schneider from UCSD working on OpenRefine and Gail Clement from Caltech, working on Author Carpentry. Laurel Narizny and Robert Doiel also signed on from Caltech.

Cam Macdonell seemed to be up all hours and was a key driver for getting the material migrated into gh-pages and the new lesson templates.

The original four-module lesson (covering shell, regular expressions, git, and OpenRefine) has now become seven, with a new SQL module (based on the Data Carpentry lesson) being added, along with others for persistent identifiers and computational thinking.

Draft learning objectives were created for most of the main lessons which are linked from here.

Material for five modules was migrated to the new Data Carpentry lesson template. Library-based datasets were swapped in to make the lessons more relevant to librarians.

During the sprint, all the Library Carpentry action was co-ordinated through a dedicated chat room and via daily evening Hangouts where the day’s work was reported, before being handed over to the incoming team, rather like a baton being passed in a relay race. We hope to continue the conversation through the chat room as we continue to develop the material.

This was a really great experience, and I thank all the amazing people who dedicated their time to the project, and who have volunteered as maintainers into the future. There is still a lot of work to be done, but we made huge progress.

I hope Anelda, Cam, James, Mateusz and some of the other participants will also chime in with their own stories and achievements. My take is only partial. Please also correct any errors I have made.

Thanks again all - what a fantastic effort.

Dialogue & Discussion

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