University of Wisconsin–Madison

iSchool Workshop: Collections Carpentry Recap

On Thursday, September 21st, the Information School hosted a Collections Carpentry workshop featuring iSchool Faculty Associates Browen Masemann and Dorothea Salo, iSchool Lecturer and Wisconsin Center for Film & Theater Research Head Film Archivist Amy Sloper, and Digital Curation Librarian Cameron Cook. The event attracted a diverse group of participants including local library and Historical Society staff, graduate students, and librarians from the area. The instructors taught basic skills and tools to collect and manage web data, best practices for data organization with spreadsheets, and how to standardize and clean data with the application Open Refine. The idea for Collections Carpentry was inspired by the Data Carpentry workshops held on campus; however, the organizers wanted to adapt the model to a data set more familiar to archivists and information professionals. As a result, the workshop used an example data set from the Home Movie Registry to demonstrate web scraping as it is used to create a union catalog. The workshop was extremely popular, quickly reaching maximum registration, and organizers have promised similar events in the future.