Associate Head, Data & Visualization Services, Libraries
North Carolina State University
Over the past five years, the North Carolina (NC) State University Libraries have engaged in a rapid experimentation and evaluation cycle aimed at developing and refining the Libraries’ services supporting data science. The Dataspace at the James B. Hunt Jr. Library opened in August 2018, and Libraries staff started providing walk-up data science consultation services at the Datapoint at the D. H. Hill Jr. Library in January 2019. User feedback and data from these two efforts generated substantive insights that are now guiding our planning for a new service point in the Hill Library, the Data Experience Lab. As part of a major renovation of the Hill Library, NC State University Libraries will open the Data Experience Lab (DXL) in fall 2020. The DXL will be like a makerspace, but for data science, visualization, and digital scholarship. It will be a place that is as much about people as it is about technology-a hands-on place where community is created and collaborations happen, where powerful computers, specialized software, and peer-to-peer expertise are all in the same space. This 2500 square foot space will be the culmination of a five-year-long, iterative period of needs assessment, learning from others, prototyping spaces, evolving our service portfolio, and optimizing in areas where we have seen demonstrated success. We will share the successes, challenges, and lessons learned along the way, and describe a model for space-based data science support that is centered around a team of peer consultants and professional librarians.