Guest post by the Data Science @NLM Training Program team.
Regular readers of this blog probably know that NLM staff are expanding their expertise beyond library science and computer science to embrace data science. As a result, NLM—in alignment with strategic plan Goal 3 to “build a workforce for data-driven research and health”—is taking steps to improve the entire staff’s facility and fluency with this field so critical to our future.
The Library is rolling out a new Data Science @NLM Training Program that will provide targeted training to all of NLM’s 1,700 staff members. We are also inviting staff from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) to participate so that everyone in the expanded NLM workforce has the opportunity to become more aware of data science and how it is woven in to so many NLM products and services.
For some of our staff, data science is already a part of their day-to-day activities; for others, data science may be only a concept, a phrase in the strategic plan—and that’s okay. Not everyone needs to be a data scientist, but we can all become more data savvy, learning from one another along the way and preparing to play our part in NLM’s data-driven future. (See NLM in Focus for a glimpse into how seven staff members already see themselves supporting data science.)
Over the course of this year, the data science training program will help strengthen and empower our diverse and data-centric workforce. The program will provide opportunities for all staff to participate in a variety of data science training events targeted to their specific interests and needs. These events range from the all-hands session we had in late January that helped establish a common data science vocabulary among staff to an intensive, 120-hour data science fundamentals course designed to give select NLM staff the skills and tools needed to use data to answer critical research questions. We’re also assessing staff members’ data science skill levels and creating skill development profiles that will guide staff in taking the steps necessary to build their capacity and readiness for working with data.
At the end of this process, we’ll better understand the range of data science expertise across the Library. We’ll also have a much clearer idea of what more we can do to develop staff’s facility and fluency with data science and how to better recruit new employees with the knowledge and skills needed to advance our mission.
In August, the training program will culminate with a data science open house where staff can share their data science journey, highlight group projects from the fundamentals course, and find partners with whom they can collaborate on emerging projects throughout the Library.
But that final phase of the training initiative doesn’t mean NLM’s commitment to data science is over. In fact, it will be just the beginning.
In the coming years, staff will apply their new and evolving skills and knowledge to help NLM achieve its vision of serving as a platform for biomedical discovery and data-powered health.
How you are supporting the data science development of your staff? Let’s share ideas to keep the momentum going!
Co-authored by the Data Science @NLM Training Program team (left to right):
- Dianne Babski, Deputy Associate Director, Library Operations
- Peter Cooper, Strategic Communications Team Lead, National Center for Biotechnology Information
- Lisa Federer, Data Science and Open Science Librarian, Office of Strategic Initiatives
- Anna Ripple, Information Research Specialist, Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications