Nightmare on Research Street: The Beginning


Most of us who work with a computer have had that one moment in our careers where the pit of our stomach drops to our feet and our heart jumps to our throat when we realize that we may have lost our data, manuscript, code, or specimen. All of us have that story, as scary as it may be. What did you do to fix the problem? What did you learn from the experience? What do you now do differently? Are you successful? What at one time was terrible experience now makes for a good story. So….

On October 26, 2018, the OU Libraries, DAVIS, and the Graduate College are hosting Nightmare on Research Street: The Beginning where you can share your research horror stories. You will come to find that you are not alone. So sign up, share your story, and enjoy some fall refreshments. 

Hope to see you there!


2018 Symposium on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Upcoming event, mark you calendars.

Join us for the 2018 Symposium on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at the University of Oklahoma on October 18-20. The goal is to bring together AI/ML scientists and practitioners, high-performance computing experts, and domain scientists and engineers who do / can benefit from the use of these tools in their own research. The talks are intended to be accessible to a broad academic audience (from faculty to students) and to show how AI/ML tools are brought to bear in solving problems in a wide range of domains.

October 18th: Hands-on tutorial on machine learning tools. We will also be holding a “predict-a-thon,” a competition for applying ML tools for model building and prediction using several complex data sets.

October 19th: Main meeting. Sessions will include: case studies in using AI/ML to solve specific research problems, new AI/ML tools, high-performance computing challenges and solutions, posters/demonstrations, lightning talks on research problems in search of AI/ML tools and an industrial panel.

October 20th: Python/drone workshop for middle/high school students.

More details and registration can be found at:

Andrew H. Fagg
OU Computer Science and Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Science and Technology

Last Software Carpentry of 2017

As 2017 winds down to a close, we at the University Libraries are preparing for the last Software Carpentry Workshop of the year. I am amazed at the interest for this workshop with only 10 openings remaining at the time of this post. The community support by attending these workshops has been great. So if you are looking to learn new tools and practices, Carpentry Workshops may be for you. d


You are invited to participate in a Software Carpentry Workshop on November 20-21, 2017 at OU Libraries. 

Software Carpentry is a two-day workshop designed to teach beginning computing skills and best practices to faculty, staff, and students.

This workshop will give participants the skills to get more done with less pain by introducing participants to foundational concepts of computing including how to work from the command line (BASH), get started learning a programming language (R), and use version control with Git and GitHub. Please see the course website for a more detailed description of what will be covered.

This workshop is geared towards beginners and no prior experience is necessary. For intermediate and advanced coders, OU Libraries offers regular office hours with specialists. Stop by the Digital Scholarship Lab on Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. or the Innovation Hub on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. with any questions. Intermediate and advanced learners are invited to participate in workshops as helpers in order to learn more about the Software and Data Carpentry program and its pedagogy.

Course Syllabus and Schedule


Please contact Mark Laufersweiler ( or Sarah Clayton ( if you have any questions.


Learn about reproducible research and the Open Science Framework

This is a great opportunity for learning about the Open Science Framework as a tool for making your research more open and reproducible. It is also a great way to manage projects and share information even if you do not want to make it open. I like that it has many integrations with tools that researchers are already using such as Dropbox, GitHub so you do not need to give up workflows you are already using. For those of us here at OU, OneDrive will soon be added as an integration.

  • Date of workshop: Wednesday, October 11th, 2017
  • Time: 9:00am – 12:00 pm
  • Location: Helmerich Collaborative Learning Center, Bizzell Memorial Library, Room Number: LL123
  • Link for RSVP:

OSF COS OU promotional flyer

OU Research Computing and Data Survey deadline extended

Participation in the current survey has been good and to allow those who have not taken part or have not completed the survey, the deadline has been extended to April 28. The survey is asking for input regarding the workflows of faculty, researchers, students and staff and their use of computing and data resources. The survey is championed by the Vice-President of Research, the Dean of Libraries and the Chief Information Officer. Data compiled from the survey will allow for decisions and planing of future services and infrastructure to better support the research and scholarly activity occurring at OU. 

If you are interested in participating in the survey, contact me and I will send you the link. This survey is open to any faculty, research, student and staff member of the OU Norman campus. If you have started the survey and have questions, please reach out and we will do our best to address your concerns. 

Last Software Carpentry Workshop of Spring 2017

The next Software Carpentry Workshop hosted by the OU Libraries will be held on Friday and Saturday April 7-8, 2017. We chose the weekend as we at the OU Libraries try to find scheduling windows that allow for learners to attend the workshop and not miss out on classes or other activities. Coming off of a successful Spring Break workshop, this workshop will focus on Python as the programing language.

The goal of the workshops is to teach basic computing skills and better(best) practices to faculty, staff, and students in order to get more done with less pain. This is the last workshop of the term. Topics to be included in addition to the Python programing language will be the bash command shell and Git/GitHub (version control and collaboration). The course is primarily focused on beginning programers and skill sets.

Software Carpentry Schedule for Spring 2017 Academic Calendar

Spring 2017

  • April 7-8: Workshop
  • March 13-14: Workshop
  • January 12-13: Workshop

Next Software Carpentry Workshop March 13-14, 2017

The next Software Carpentry Workshop hosted by the OU Libraries will be held at the start of Spring Break. The attendance last year was good, allowing for learners to come and not miss out on classes or other activities. What is making this workshop different from past workshops is that the programming language being offered is R. Many of the groups around campus are not Python users and so in the interest of broadening the skills of researchers, we will begin to offer workshops both in R and in Python.

The goal of the workshops is to teach basic computing skills and better(best) practices to faculty, staff, and students in order to get more done with less pain. This is the second workshop of the term. Topics to be included in addition to the R programing language will be the bash command shell and Git/GitHub (version control). The course is primarily focused on beginning programers and skill sets.

Software Carpentry Schedule for Spring 2017 Academic Calendar

Spring 2017

  • January 12-13: Workshop
  • March 13-14: Workshop
  • April 7-8: Workshop

Upcoming Software Carpentry Workshop October 25-26, 2016

The University of Oklahoma Libraries has organized a Software Carpentry workshop for the general campus at OU to be held October 25-26, 2016. This 2-day workshop is part of a ongoing series hosted by the OU Libraries designed to help teach computing skills and best practices to faculty, staff and students to get more done with less pain. This workshop is the first of three scheduled for the Fall 2016 semester and is geared for beginning coders.

The workshop will be covering Bash (command shell), Python, and Git/GitHub. The final goal of the workshop is for learners to understand the process of creating shell scripts in bash and python to serve as tools to help them in their research activities. 

Intermediate coders can get help with their questions during open office hours every every Thursday from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab. No appointment is needed.

Software Carpentry Schedule for 2016-2017 Academic Calendar

  • Fall 2016
    • November 21-22: Workshop  
  • Spring 2017
    • January 12-13: Workshop
    • March 13-14: Workshop
    • April 7-8: Workshop

Data Management Plans: Do they crawl under a lab bench to die or are they alive?

Data Management Plans: Dead or Alive?
As many researchers and faculty are aware, the number of funding agencies requiring a mandated (dreaded) Data Management Plan (DPM) is growing. The question then gets asked, is a DMP a living document or can it be created once and then recycled over and over. Or worse, never again revisited and left to die.  A properly created DMP is a living document. The DMP is a roadmap for how data is to be managed for the research group. As such, It is easily accessible and available. And the DMP should be reviewed at least once a year and any updates or changes be incorporated. So what are some of the changes can affect a DMP?
Graduation and New Personnel
Graduate and undergraduate students eventually do graduate. When they do, their role as assigned as a part of the DMP needs to be filled. The new students are no longer the “newbies” and have the experience to be able to take on more responsibilities. Now is a good time to review your DMP and update roles and responsibilities. Performing this review is important for post-docs.
Infrastructure Changes
As we know, advances in technology are always happening. And periodic refresh due to technology changes are (or should be) a part of the IT landscape. As those infrastructures as maintained by the university, college, or department change, a DMP should be updated to reflect those changes. Even small changes to hardware, software, or an IT service can disrupt workflows as outlined in your DMP. So take the time to review when infrastructure changes are announced.
Policy Changes 
Policies based on university standards probably will not change all that much, but when they do, you need to be sure that your DMP reflects those changes. Ownership, copyright and access of the data may change the methods and workflows of your DMP and not reflect those changes may cause problems further down the road.
New Research
Finally, researchers may have a change in focus or may begin collaborative work with other researchers outside their field. When this occurs, a DMP should be reviewed to see that it includes those best practices, procedures and policies that originate with other disciplines. Any differences or conflicting workflows should be addressed and well documented as to which of the practices will be implemented.
In the end, a good DMP is never a stagnate or complete document. It needs to be regular reviewed and updated. Doing so in an ordered and regular manner will make changes seem less overwhelming and easier to document. Time well spent now pays dividends.


Scholarly Asset Registry

Starting this year, i have been working with a student developer, Delong Zhao, in the creation of a new tool for the OU Libraries and the VPR Office. The tool has been given the name of Scholarly Asset Register. It is a OU Libraries web portal for OU faculty, researchers and staff to register their digital assets. The main reason for starting this registry is that the OU Libraries is beginning to strategically plan for infrastructure and tools to be able to host these assets. However, before we can begin to fill the repository, we need to know what scholarly digital assets are out there.
While the library benefits by starting to get a handle of what is out in the OU research community, faculty and students will be able to benefit as well. I have been asked many times if certain data and/or data sets are already available and having the give the “I do not know” answer can be frustrating. Starting this registry will help with further understanding how diverse and interesting are the numerous research projects across all disciplines and what digital assets that they provide for the university.
The registry is in beta this summer with an anticipate public release this fall. In the meantime, think about what digital assets are in your lab or are associated with your research. Please think about what numerical data, photos, survey results, twitter feeds, purchased data, etc. We would love to know what is out there.