SciData Spring 2013 Work Assignments

In Spring, 2013, SciData students participated in work assignments related to their individual skills, abilities, needs, and interest.   This page provides summaries of their experiences.

Sandra McLean has put her former career as a science writer to good use in her work assignment.   The Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center (ORNL DAAC) website to improve many aspects of the site. She has been working alongside Daine Wright, who is doing the formatting/programming while she writes the content and makes suggestions and decisions about the new pages of data provider information on the DAAC website.  It's been a challenge to meet the needs of inexperienced researchers who may be coming to the DAAC for the first time to share their data sets, while also considering the information needs of more experienced.

Eric Altmyer worked at the University of Tennessee’s Preston Medical Library. He worked the reference desk, performing duties such as taking down and working on consumer health requests and literature searches. He monitored pmarticles and recorded sending e-mail to patients in a spreadsheet. He researched the use of Screencast-O-Matic and produced a sample video. (  Video is a presentation for Dr. Allard's STEM communication class on a book. Projects he will be working on in the future include working with existing GIS data to find new ways to analyze data, working with the literature search database maintained by the library to see if materials supplied by the library are contributing to the published work of doctors at the Graduate School of Medicine, and working on a project looking at return on investment of library resources

Rob Christensen worked for the United States Geological Survey based in Oak Ridge, TN with Mike Frame serving as his mentor.  During the Spring 2013 Semester, Rob worked on two projects to assist USGS related to data collection and management. The first project involves the usability assessment of the USGS Online Metadata Editor (OME) – a metadata editor to assist individuals and organizations in the collection and editing of FGDC metadata.  The goal is collect usability data to improve the functionality and usability of the OME for future users. His current involvement is to assist in the construction and implementation of the usability assessment, and his involvement will expand to include data analysis and feedback. Rob’s involvement with this project will continue through April 2014. The second project involves the development of data management assessment to survey the knowledge of and attitude towards data management by USGS personnel. His specific involvement is to assist in the construction and implementation of the data management survey. This project is in the planning stage, and his role will expand to include data analysis of survey data.

Inga Haugen worked with Kelsey Parkman and Dr. Chad Hellwinkel, (Professor, University of Tennessee’s Agricultural Policy Analysis Center) on a local food system assessment of an 11 county region to recommend steps for increasing the ties between producers and consumers. The goal of the Knoxville Food System Assessment is to inventory the current state of the food system and recommend steps for increasing the ties between producers and consumers. Inga says, "I was able to keep working on a farm/food project from an information person's perspective. However, it's my background as a farmer that was made it easy. I knew how I'd respond if people were asking me for the data we were looking for, so I knew how to address some of the concerns initially. It also gave me a knowledge base that made working with the data easier because it wasn't so abstract."

Chad Mitchell focused on writing and applying scripts written in Python and R to compute Normalized Shannon Diversity measures for data from NASA’s Astrobiology Institute, covering roughly 200 projects and 14 teams. In addition to writing the scripts and calculating diversity measures, he also processed and cleaned the data. Aside from the work with NAI, he has have been further developing skills for constructing and analyzing dynamic social networks.

Amber Owens worked as a student intern for the DataONE project and was part of the Working group that is in charge of recruiting new member nodes. There were many ideas posed as to how she could contribute, but after some investigation of the working group and project goals it was decided that she would help create organization personas for present and prospective member nodes. She researched the external websites, looked at previous personas (both internal and external to the DataONE project) and created a template (taking into consideration pertinent characteristics.) Then the task was to solicit feedback from other members of the project team in other working groups in order to create the ideal document. Aside from learning how to create a progressive work, collaborated with a robust team, learned about how software can aid a culminating project, and further how one might apply similar skills on the job to complete long term projects.

Chelsea Williamson-Barnwell worked at The Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center (ORNL DAAC). During her work there she created a user instruction guide for creating and using ISO images. To accomplish this task she used onsite's content to understand DAAC;s tools and services. She is also reviewing the website to see where improvements can be made to make the site more usable. While reviewing the website, she is documenting places where she believes improvements can be made to make the site more usable. This part of the assignment will assist her fellow student, Sandra McLean's assignment, which is to improve the website.