Just me, Librarianship

Too Much to Do!

On Blogging:


So, my MO has been established: infrequent scattered blog posts. This post though is at least slightly different. I’m in the process now of outlining my quarterly review, and in doing so I have been reminded of just how much has happened in the last few months. It also makes it so I have very little if any excuse not to write something on my blog as I’m already writing it out anyway. So here you go! An unsolicited whirlwind review of the last few months of my life!

Adjusting to the new job

I’ve spent first few months in MA trying to adjust to a new level of flexibility and responsibility. Everyone at Wolbach wears ten hats at once (“too much to do” is phrase the staff lives by) and no one complains– which is about as inspiring as it gets. The shear number of projects and systems (I had a multi-page list of systems to get access to from day 1) that the library works on is enough to make me need a deep breath. However, everyone has been incredibly welcoming and kind. I learned very quickly that it’s important to ask questions without hesitation and that it’s equally important to just get things done and learn from the results. This is how Wolbach has become the innovative (and I don’t use that word lightly) place that it is now.

Here’s just a small sample of what the staff is working on currently:

As for myself, I’ve done the following in the last few months:

  • Conducted in-depth interviews with grad students and post-docs about ways the library can help them meet their goals. e.g. Training, access to tools/resources/devices (!), social/wellness support, and space
    • Summarized the interviews to get financial support to enable training initiatives
      • Hoping to get students teaching each other/ bring in experts to teach skills that help the community (e.g. how to collaborate, problem-solve, and assess tools to meet their needs in computationally/data-intensive environments)
      • So far I got a thumbs up for this from the powers that be so looks like we’re getting some funding to expand this idea :)
      • Special thanks to Megan for her work on this!
        • Aside: Crazy/not-so-crazy idea that’s tangentially linked to training/devices/what a library can be: Library collaborates to support the building and launch of a cube satellite… Stay tuned.
  • Organized a full-day GitHub training workshop
      • Instruction by the wonderful Daniel Chen
      • We completely filled up our space and had people hanging from the stairs so that was a good sign for library-based training moving forward

  • Participated in the 2015 Data Tools and Tech Workshop at UMass Medical
    • My colleague Zac Painter and I taught two sessions – Data wrangling, and data analysis through visual inspection with R (GitHub repo here)
  • Organized an Astronomy and Astrophysics-themed Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon – happening in February!
  • Strategizing ways to make a Docker training happen
  • Text-mining with an amazing student (Megan again) to process data from the Journal of Molecular Spectroscopy to help us better understand data/software citation behavior and link rot in this field.
    • This idea is built on a paper by Alberto Pepe, Chris Erdmann, Merce Crosas, August Muench, and Alyssa Goodman.
    • Check out the repo for our analysis/text processing steps here
      • Aside: It should be noted how freaking difficult it is to text mine proprietary XML formats with Python. It’s so awful.
  • Helped organize a party/”Demo-Fest” for Seamless Astronomy to showcase the tools that Seamless is building/working on to help the astro-communityCVoEUIQWsAAIDGj
  • Worked on an initial workflow (now much revised) and metadata cross-walk for Arceli which we hope to build out into a platform for archiving informal astronomy/astrophysics communications (e.g. blogs)
  • Working on getting IP authentication at the CfA for resources from all of our major publishers
  • I also attended a few Harvard workshops and presentations by publishers (and CrossRef) that I’m hoping will help me stay in the loop while I continue to adjust to the work I’m doing now.
  • Additionally, I’m getting fully trained as a Software Carpentry Instructor next month — hoping to partner with them more moving forward

So… that’s generally what work has been like :)


I also completed two classes in the last few months (Data Acquisition/Management and Advanced Programming Techniques in Python) and earned two A’s :) My GitHub repos for the classes are here and here respectively. I had some fun with both classes and am looking forward to next semester starting up. Even though at some points I felt like it was a bit ridiculous to be doing two classes with full time work, it turned out fine. Some of my favorite work from both classes is below:

I’ll be trying two classes again this semester so hopefully I can finish this whole getting-a-second-masters-degree-while-working thing as soon as possible. I’m enrolled in a class called Computational Mathematics and another called Knowledge and Visual Analytics starting this February.

Buying a house

Another thing I (we) did was buy a house :) My husband and I bought a freaking house! It’s hard to even articulate the anxiety/excitement that I’m feeling now as we wait to close (Feb. 22nd!). I have been doing research on the real estate market in this area of MA since before we moved here and by setting up a hilarious number of alerts on websites and search engines we were able to find something that we hope is going to be our dream house: a small 2 bedroom single family home in Melrose that needs a little work:

Please wish us luck. This is the biggest thing either of us has ever done. I don’t even know what else to say about it. We’re just happy and excited and nervous (did I mention happy?) about what comes next.