10 May 2021 saw the first meeting of the GLAM Data Science Network. It was great to see a mix of people from different backgrounds, ranging from computer science to more humanities subjects. This will make a good base for the Network, as it opened up room for some interesting discussion. Jez was able to pose some interesting prompts during this meeting, which led us to having some main ideas about what we would hope to see from this Network:

  • We mentioned that it would be helpful to have some type of mentoring opportunity, where 1:1 mentoring may be possible to help with very specific problems, as there are not many examples out there for the GLAM sector regarding computational methods. This also led to the idea of training the trainer, as it can be difficult to find people with both the technical expertise and the ability to teach well. As teaching is a learnable skill, the Carpentries instructor training could be an option here.
  • Relevancy seems to be a big issue here as well. There are so many tutorials out there that will teach you Data Science, but it is difficult to find exact examples for the GLAM sector. Having something like the GLAM Workbench with more UK-based examples could be an option, as this would make it easier to explain to relevance and usefulness of data science to the GLAM sector.
  • Compiling a brief guide on ‘What is Data Science and how does it apply to me?’, again this comes down to relevancy. This would be specifically aimed at more senior staff in institutions, for example management or collections holders, who may not be directly involved in any work, but are important to have onboard for providing time/fudning/resources.
  • Crashing some data science conferences and encouraging data scientists to do the same with GLAM conferences. This could open up more cross-disciplinary communication.
  • The idea of having a competition to see who can do the most interesting thing with a specific dataset. Participants will also be supported in achieving this idea.

For our next meeting, which we are planning on having on a monthly basis, we will be further discussing these plans, but also giving everyone a bit more context on our different backgrounds, as it will be possible to pinpoint where everyone can help.