A perspective on computational research support programs in the library: More than 20 years of data from Stanford University Libraries
- Presentation of data is a major component to academic research. However, programming languages, computational tools, and methods for exploring and analyzing data can be time consuming and frustrating to learn and finding help with these stages of the broader research process can be daunting. In this work, we highlight the impacts that computational research support programs housed in library contexts can have for fulfilling gaps in student, staff, and faculty research needs. The archival history of one such organization, Software and Services for Data Science (SSDS) in the Stanford University Cecil H. Green Library, is used to outline challenges faced by social sciences and humanities researchers from the 1980s to the present day. To compliment this history, participation metrics from consulting services (1999–2021) and workshops (2000–2021) are presented along with updated workshop participant feedback forms (n = 99) and further illustrate the profound impacts that these services can have for helping researchers succeed. Consulting and workshop metrics indicate that SSDS has supported at least 27,031 researchers between 1999 and 2021 (average of more than 1175 per year). A t-test on the feedback form data indicates that participant knowledge in workshops statistically significantly increased more than one scale point from workshop start to completion. Results also indicate that despite our successes, many past challenges continue to present barriers regardless of exponential advances in computing, teaching, and learning—specifically around learning to access data and learning the software and tools to use it. We hope that our story helps other institutions understand how indispensable computational research support is within the library.
|Type of resource
|February 1, 2023; March 10, 2023
|February 1, 2023; October 17, 2022
|Computational research support
- Use and reproduction
- User agrees that, where applicable, content will not be used to identify or to otherwise infringe the privacy or confidentiality rights of individuals. Content distributed via the Stanford Digital Repository may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC BY).
Stanford Libraries staff presentations, publications, and researchView other items in this collection in SearchWorks
Also listed in
Loading usage metrics...