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Hack to Learn: Two days of data munging in our nation’s capital

In May, I was one of the 50+ fortunate participants in Collections as Data: Hack-to-Learn, a two-day workshop organized by Library of Congress, George Washington University, and George Mason University. Four datasets and five tools to work with the data were provided in advance. On the first day, we met at the Library of Congress and were introduced to all the datasets, as well as three of the tools. The first of the datasets was the Phyllis Diller Gag File. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and Smithsonian Transcription Center have been conducting a crowdsourcing project to transcribe the 52,000 original index cards of the comedian’s jokes; in March of this year the transcriptions were made available. Each card contains a joke, often a date, sometimes an attribution – if someone gave Diller the joke – and are organized by subjects that appear at the top of the cards….

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Digital Curation Tools I Want to Learn

When I first started my job as Digital Curation Coordinator in June, I didn’t quite know what I would be doing. Then I started figuring it out.  As I’ve gotten settled, I’ve realized that I want to be more proactive in identifying tools and platforms that the researchers I’m working with are using so that I can connect with their experience more easily. However, the truth is that I find it hard to know what tools I should focus on. What usually happens when I learn about a new tool is a cursory read through the documentation… I familiarize myself well enough to share in a few sentences what it does, but most of the time I don’t become incredibly familiar. There are just soooo many tools out there. It’s daunting. Knowing my tendencies, I decided it would be a good challenge for me to dig deeper into three areas…