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Coding for Librarians

By Greg Wilson / 2015-05-22

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. more

Plan to Assess Our Learners

By Daniel Chen / 2015-05-21

The assessment subcommittee seeks to assess the effectiveness of the activities of the Software Carpentry Foundation (SCF). It met a few weeks ago and drafted an action plan on how to move forward to create a series of assessments for our learners. This action plan will be the basis on how further assessment tools will be developed. more

Experiences with Geoscientists

By Greg Wilson / 2015-05-21

Christian Jacobs, Gerard Gorman, and Lorraine Craig have written a paper titled "Experiences with efficient methodologies for teaching computer programming to geoscientists" that describes how their intro to computing course has changed over the last few years. It includes discussion of ideas they've borrowed from Software Carpentry, and some data on hwo students have responded. It's a good read, and we'd welcome more experience reports of this kind. more

Online Instructor Training Revisited

By Greg Wilson / 2015-05-19

We have now run instructor training in three formats:

  • an in-person two- or three-day class,
  • a multi-week online class, and
  • a hybrid version in which the trainees are co-located, but the trainer comes in via the web.

We've also gathered a lot of feedback on what people want from instructor training and what its prerequisites should be. Based on all of that, we're going to try to combine the best features of everything we've done so far. more

May 12 - 18, 2015: 79 New Instructors and Instructor Debriefing Round 9.

By Anelda van der Walt / 2015-05-18


Instructor Tips

  • Changing your prompt in the terminal when teaching the Shell lessons could provide more screen real estate. "export PS1='$ '" will change your current terminal only. more

New Members of the Team

By Greg Wilson / 2015-05-16

It's been several months since we last welcomed new instructors to the team. A lot of people have finished training since then, so please say hello to: more

2015 Post-Workshop Instructor Debriefing, Round 9

By Raniere Silva and Kate Hertweck / 2015-05-13

This week the mentorship team ran the 9th round of instructor debriefing session. Thanks to Andrew MacDonald, Doug Latornell, Evan Morien, Ewan Barr, Isabell Kiral-Kornek, Jackie Milhans, Kara Woo, Karl Broman and Tiffany Timbers for the great feedback of the workshops at Northwestern University, Simon Fraser University, Swinburne University of Technology, University of Melbourne and Washington State University. more

May 6 - 11, 2015: Lesson Prep for Publication, Capturing Instructors' Commands, and Instructor Debriefing.

By Anelda van der Walt / 2015-05-13


Instructor Tips more

2015 Post-Workshop Instructor Debriefing, Round 8

By Kate Hertweck and Rayna Harris / 2015-05-08

The mentorship team met last week for a discussion with instructors who recently taught, including workshops at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and University of Texas at Arlington (the latter of which was taught by both authors of this post). Three important issues emerged during our discussion: recording the instructor's shell code, using example scripts to model increasing complexity in coding, and preparing instructors/helpers with answers to challenges. more

April 28 - May 5, 2015: GSoC Projects, Nightly Rebuilds, Katy Huff, and a PhD Starter Kit.

By Anelda van der Walt / 2015-05-05



  • Meet Katy Huff - chair of the Steering Committee and a member of the finance subcommittee.


  • Achintya Rao wrote a fascinating PhD Starter Kit listing some best practices and useful tools postgraduate students could find useful on their journey towards graduation.

Events more

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