Library Carpentry Workshop at eRA: 5 May 2017

12 Apr 2017 - 10:30


  • Date: Friday 5 May 2017
  • Time: 9am - 4:30pm
  • Venue: Hlanganani Junction, UCT Chancellor Oppenheimer Library, UCT Upper Campus
  • Cost: R500 pp (includes lunch, tea & coffee)

The University of Cape Town Libraries, in collaboration with the University of Pretoria Libraries, will be presenting a Library Carpentry workshop at the eResearch Africa Conference, taking place at UCT during the first week of May 2017. Interested staff are encouraged to apply for SDTC funding in order to attend.

The workshop is an ‘express’ and abridged version of the full Library Carpentry programme that is usually carried out over a minimum of 2 days. The 1-day session will cover 2 of the 5 Library Carpentry Modules and will help librarians and other research support staff to:

  • Work more effectively with technical services and IT colleagues
    • jargon busting session on basic terms, phrases and concepts in data science
  • Understand open source software used for data cleaning
    • hands-on training session in OpenRefine
  • Gain knowledge about other open source tools and software used in research
    • introduction to the remaining Library Carpentry modules

Register for the workshop


  1. Data Intro for Librarians (3 hours): Introduces librarians to working with data and aims to help them understand the terms, phrases, and concepts in software development and data science

  2. OpenRefine for Librarians (3 hours): Builds an understanding of what the OpenRefine software can do for users and teaches participants how to use the OpenRefine software to work with, clean-up and organise data files.


The workshop is aimed at librarians and/or research support staff who assist researchers with data management and data cleaning, or who create, collect or work with messy data. Researchers and academic staff who are interested in learning about the basics of data science and data cleaning will also benefit and are encouraged to attend.


  • The workshop is suited to beginners and no previous experience is required.
  • Participants need to bring their own laptop in order to participate.
  • The following software will need to be downloaded onto the participant’s laptop prior to the workshop (a detailed mailer will be sent to participants with installation instructions):




Library Carpentry (a branch of Software and Data Carpentry) is software skills training that is aimed at the needs and requirements of library professionals. Library Carpentry workshops comprise of face-to-face sessions where a core set of modules (lessons developed by librarians for librarians) are taught. The modules are maintained via an open access Github repository.

The workshops aim to help participants with automating repetitive, error-prone tasks and to create, maintain and analyse sustainable, reusable data. The workshops also aim to help participants to better understand the use of software in research and to work more effectively with IT colleagues.

The Data Intro for Librarians and OpenRefine modules that will be taught at the eRA 2017 workshop will introduce software terms and concepts relevant to librarians, with a preference for open source and widely used software. The data that will be used in the hands-on OpenRefine session will be library-related data.

Data Intro for Librarians is an introduction to working with data and terminology. It will help participants to understand the terms, phrases and concepts in software development and data science, as well as assist participants with identifying and using best practice in data structures.

OpenRefine for Librarians will give participants the opportunity to install the necessary software and do hands-on exercises to clean messy data. The module will give insight and exposure on how to work with messy data, and also common tricks and tips. Librarians will be able to see and experience the data challenges that researchers face and also a better understanding on best practices while working with data.

The Library Carpentry workshop at eRA 2017 provides an opportunity for those who are interested in becoming certified Library Carpentry trainers to volunteer as ‘helpers’ at the workshop. There are currently no official Library Carpentry trainers in South Africa, so the workshop will also serve to build a local community from which skilled trainers might emerge.