Week 1 – Delving Into Data Stories

Earlier this month I was lucky enough to attend the Community Education and Engagement (CEE) working group meeting in Santa Barbara. There I met face-to-face with my primary mentor, Stacy Rebich Hespanha, as well as the other dedicated and knowledgeable members of the working group. From the many roundtable discussions, presentations, and project updates, I gathered a greater sense of DataONE’s collective mission and how the Data Stories project will ultimately contribute to that mission.

Over the course of the meeting, Stacy and I discussed the project’s key objective: collecting data stories from interview participants and weaving the story threads into helpful narratives and education products. By relating these stories in a way that’s both captivating and informative, we hope to encourage interest in successful data management and offer new resources to people already involved in such pursuits.

Of course, a multidimensional project like the one described above requires a fair amount of organization and setup before launching. Thankfully, Stacy and other contributors had already laid the foundation, with interviews and subsequent data stories well under way. During the meeting, Stacy and I we were able to get a head start on the logistics of my entrance into the project. We drew up a step-by-step plan for the summer and even got a chance to read over some of the completed data stories. This led to a discussion on the process of transforming personal accounts of data management experiences into written word – a process we expect to refine with each data story.

Since my internship officially began this week, I have focused my efforts on continuing the work Stacy and I undertook during the working group meeting:

  • Revising existing stories
  • Composing story drafts from completed interviews
  • Strategizing to recruit new interview participants
  • Reviewing transcripts and identifying need for follow-up interviews

As an intern with the Data Stories project, I’m looking forward to learning from other DataONE contributors and their experiences with successful data management. My greatest challenge will be combining the delicate flow of a personal narrative with the wealth of technical knowledge present in each data story. The already completed data stories retain both of these qualities, so I will refer to them as models as I add to the collection throughout the summer.

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