Get RDS@GSU Data Certified this semester!

The Georgia State University Library’s Research Data Services (RDS) Team offers a wide variety of workshops on data analysis tools & methods, mapping & data visualization, finding data & statistics, and survey design. This Spring 2020 semester the RDS Team is offering 70 workshops — the most offerings we’ve had in a single semester to date. We’re even offering some “Data After Dark” evening workshops this semester to better accommodate campus researchers’ needs.

Why should you attend the Research Data Services (RDS) Team’s data workshops?

Data skills — even just basic data skills — are highly valued by today’s employers — being called “the most lucrative skill[s] to have” and “the most valuable skill[s] you can learn.” So, attending our data workshops will give you a leg up once you’re out there looking for a job.

Best of all, our data workshops are all free.

You may be thinking, “So what if they’re free?” Well, we researched how much workshops on our various topics would cost out in the real-world market, and what we found may make you re-think that “so what” reaction:

  • You could expect to pay $110 on average for a 1.5-hour workshop (the typical length of our workshops).
  • You could pay as low as $61/1.5-hour workshop, or as high as $200/1.5-hour workshop.

In other words, our free workshops are clearly quite a bargain and something you should be taking advantage of while you can…

Need even more incentive to come to our data workshops?

Okay, how about this for an incentive:

You can get RDS@GSU Data Certified!

  • Learn about our various Research Data Services (RDS) workshops on data analysis tools/softwaredata analysis methodsdata visualization and mapping, and finding data.
  • Find RDS workshop listings on the Library Calendar.
    • look for the logo with the GET DATA CERTIFIED seal (see image at top of this post), or
    • filter by: Category = Data Services Workshops.
  • Attend a minimum of five unique RDS workshops in a semester.
    • Workshops do not require registration — the first 25 people who arrive will be able to attend.
    • Attending a Data in the ATL talk *does not* count as a workshop toward the certificate.
  • If you’ve attended a minimum five unique RDS workshops by the end of the semester, you’ll be invited to a ceremony where you can mingle with others committed to getting RDS@GSU Data Certified *and* receive a custom certificate signed by our Dean of Libraries and the Leader of the Research Data Services Team (see example below).

Yes, it’s that easy! And by getting RDS@GSU Data Certified, you demonstrate to potential employers that you are committed to growing the data skills that they look for in hires. Here is what some of the RDS@GSU Data Certificate awardees have said about the experience:

The certificate is a great opportunity to become a more competitive candidate while applying for a job. The workshops were very interactive.

I thought the RDS@GSU Data Certification incentivized my participation in the RDS workshops. The workshops themselves were great and it definitely helped me brush up on prior skills and knowledge.

Certification looks amazing on resumes, I also found what was covered useful to my practice of SAS & SPSS.

It is essential for me as a student majoring in Epidemiology. I will be involved in research, and the only way to answer some of the world’s health problems is making sense out of data. I’m confident this certificate will prove useful for me in getting a job. The entire program is flexible, and the materials are very helpful in understanding the course content.

So, get RDS@GSU Data Certified! 

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Show off your data literacy skills — and win $$$ — at the GSU Undergraduate Get Data Lit! Contest!

Are you a GSU undergraduate student? Do you get annoyed with news/memes/opinions that are not backed up with any data/statistics, or that offer data/statistics that are questionable or misrepresented? Do you get fired up to look for data/statistics to refute what you’re seeing, or to verify it, or to explore it more deeply? If so…

The GSU Undergraduate Get Data Lit! Contest with $$$ prizes is for YOU!

$$$ Prizes $$$

  • 1st place: $100 Amazon gift card
  • 2nd place: $75 Amazon gift card
  • 3rd place: $50 Amazon gift card

Contest in a Nutshell:

  1. Aspiring contestants (GSU undergraduates only) find something they saw via social media/media that makes them want to take a deeper dive into data/statistics/scholarly research related to it.
  2. They find data/statistics/scholarly research sources to dig deeper into the item they picked – for example, sources to refute it, or verify it, or dig deeper into its nuances.
  3. They submit entries, and 10 are selected to compete in the contest.
  4. Contestants give 10-minute presentations on the Library’s CURVE interactWall, followed by 5 minutes of questions from the judges.
  5. Three contestants are awarded 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes of Amazon gift cards, and all contestants are given certificates of participation.

HELP SESSIONS – February 10, 11, 12, 13, & 14, from 11:30am-12:30pm here in CURVE – See example presentations + get one-on-one help for your entry!

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GSU’s Downtown Library gets greener!

There is no doubt that many of you have seen a recent upgrade to the trash and recycling receptacles in the library.  As part of the Library’s sustainability initiatives, we have been working with the Office of Sustainability and students to find ways to make our library more sustainable.  This past fall the Library submitted a proposal to the Sustainability Fee Committee, funded by the $5 sustainability fee, and was approved for $35,000 to replace a majority of single stream bins and trashcans with new tri-stream bins that allow for trash, mixed recycling and glass.  These bins are located throughout the library in the public spaces as well as staff and faculty offices.  The tri-stream bins are located at each elevator bank in both Library North and South as well as the link on each floor. 

Each bin has three slots to sort and separate your waste.  The left hand slot is for anything that cannot be recycled; the middle is for mixed recycling such as plastic, aluminum, and paper; and on the right, you can now recycle your glass bottles and containers. We hope that you will take advantage of these new bins to help GSU meet its sustainability goals and move toward its larger goal of becoming a catalyst for creating a culture of sustainability at GSU.

Coming soon, students will have the opportunity to recycle batteries, small electronics, and ink cartridges as well!  We would love to hear your ideas for making our library more sustainable!  Share your ideas with us at

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Graduate Student Creates New Arrangements for Unpublished Johnny Mercer Songs

As part of the Rialto Series, The Georgia State University Library will be hosting a Johnny Mercer Tribute Concert on Friday, February 7, 2020 at 8:00 pm at the Rialto Center for the Arts in downtown Atlanta. South African trumpet player Marco Maritz, who over the past few semesters has been working as a Graduate Research Assistant in the Georgia State University Library Special Collections and Archives, has crafted new arrangements for some of Mercer’s unpublished songs. These song ideas exist in the archives as anything from arranger’s lead sheets to undated draft lyrics and musical notation on scraps of note paper and are now being heard by the public for the first time. The vivacious Maritz, who has been known to burst into GSU’s archives early the morning after a late night of playing with local jazz ensembles, shared some insight into working in the Mercer archives to create these new arrangements.

Maritz finalizing his Mercer arrangements

What did you know about Johnny Mercer going into this project?

Maritz: Initially, Kevin (Fleming, GSU’s Popular Music and Culture Archivist) introduced me to Johnny Mercer, I didn’t know who he was at the time. Later on I discovered he was quite a phenomenal vocalist and songwriter and really had an amazing career. This was pop music, it was like the Beyoncé of that day. It resonated with the people of that time period, that’s why [Mercer] did so much commissioned work and was writing so much, because it was in demand. I think he knew exactly what the people wanted to hear. I tried to find things that resonated with me in the songs I selected for this concert.

Song 1: Be Happy

Maritz: The melody reminded me of the song ‘Bare Necessities’ (laughs), and the lyrics sound very similar to something that Dr. Seuss might have written. For this song the lyrics weren’t complete. For the B section, I had to work out how to let it flow more smoothly and also the melodies… I had an idea of what to go off of but I altered it a little bit and added my own chords to this arrangement.

How do you write lyrics like Johnny Mercer?

Maritz: I altered lyrics to see what would work the best. On the original sheet there was an idea, a few options from which to choose… there were a couple of different alternative lyrics I could have used from the B sections but it didn’t fit very well. Kevin also helped to see what would work to smooth it out.
Fleming: We looked at other songs in The Complete Lyrics of Johnny Mercer book that dealt with being happy. The main thing was to fit the music. It’s not necessarily writing new lyrics, it’s just kind of modifying a bit. I look at it as Mercer might have done the same thing once he got to the stage of applying the music to the lyrics, so I don’t see it being too far fetched from what Mercer might have done.
Maritz: Like the B section, there’s a part where it says, ‘Don’t be a grumble grouch/ because your shoulders will slouch/ and you’ll end up in a psychiatric couch.” In that sentence alone you can see there’s a lot of flow-iness. To put it into a musical context, the B section in jazz is usually between six and eight bars and what was there didn’t really fit, so we spent time to see how we could make it work and we changed little things. I think that’s probably why it wasn’t published. The A section was perfect, it’s really smooth, the B section was the hard part. What I decided to do on the arrangement specifically, I wanted the band to be a part of this journey… this song is a very positive song, it’s about being happy. We’re going to end the concert with this song to send that message out. I decided to use some techniques to let the band sing, like in the old days band members, usually horn players, sing naturally with the band, these call and response figures, but in big band you don’t see it too often. So there’s an interaction of the band itself and the audience. This is also a duet song. The two artists Joe [Gransden] and Tierney [Sutton] will play off each other by alternating the melody.

Song 2: You Knock Me Out

Maritz: With this one, I just liked the melody, it was very cheesy. Jazz songs always end up being love songs or sad songs, but I thought it would be nice to put in a cheesy one. For this one I altered the melody and wrote a big sax solo, which was my biggest joy. It kind of reminds me of Count Basie’s version of “All of Me”… where the sax’s are really playing laid back, so I thought let me put something like that into context with this piece. I like that big vibrato sound you can get out of the sax and I thought with this tempo… it’s one of the oldest tricks in the book that will work just fine.

Song 3: Fate Moves in Mysterious Ways

Maritz: This was already published but not arranged for big band. This is the only one I have a recording of him singing it. I decided it to turn into a ballad for Tierney Sutton. The lyrics on this one “Fate moves in mysterious ways/ its wonders to perform/ fate chooses its oddest of days/ to turn from cold to warm.” It has a nice flow, the ballad will fit into the concert quite nicely. The only thing I did that was different, I added a section where the sax’s give a statement and then the melody goes over to the trumpets and trombones. This is a more modern arrangement than the old school style.

How did working in the archives affect your arrangements?

Maritz: This project has taught me so much more than arranging things, it taught me to focus on the artist specifically and see his creativity level over his time period and to put it into my own writing style. I’ve learned so much… I think my perspective has changed a lot. I would have never imagined I’d be here two years ago. I’m very thankful to the Johnny Mercer Foundation for giving this platform to students to explore and having the freedom to do so.

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Data After Dark Workshops in the Evening

The Library’s Research Data Services Team offers the majority of our workshops during daytime hours (click here for full calendar of RDS workshops). But we occasionally get feedback like the following:

“I work full-time during the day and can only come to campus after I get off work — do you ever have workshops at night?”

“My classes during the day conflict with when you have your workshops — do you have any at night?”

Since we try to meet all of our campus researchers’ needs to our best ability, we now offer workshops in the evenings. They begin no earlier than 6:00pm to give people time to grab some dinner, hop in their chosen transit mode, and get through Atlanta traffic. So…

Come do Data After Dark with us!

Below are the evening workshops for spring semester, linked to the associated Library calendar pages with more information about the workshop content and the date/time/location.

Stata After Dark

Networks After Dark

Survey Design After Dark

SPSS After Dark

NVivo After Dark

SAS After Dark

Mixed Methods After Dark

Tableau After Dark

Logistic Regression After Dark

Mapping Data After Dark

R After Dark

Marketing Data After Dark

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Congrats to our RDS@GSU Data Certificate Awardees!

The Library’s Research Data Services (RDS) Team completed another successful round of the RDS@GSU Data Certificate program, with 94 people earning certificates! Because we’re all about data, we want to share some data about our awardees to highlight their accomplishment.

To earn the RDS@GSU Data Certificate: Awardees had to attend a minimum of five Research Data Services (RDS) workshops offered in the areas of data analysis toolsdata analysis methodsdata visualization and mapping, and finding data during the past summer and fall semesters.

Our 94 RDS@GSU Data Certificate awardees attended 602 workshops in total, averaging about 6-7 workshops per awardee. While the majority (50, 53%) completed the required minimum of five workshops, the remaining 44 awardees attended six or more — with a tie for the honor of “most attended workshops” between two awardees who attended 15 workshops each. Quite impressive!

RDS@GSU Data Certificate awardees attended workshops across a wide variety of topics offered by the RDS Team.

GSU students were the largest awardee group, with 50 (53%) graduate students, 19 (20%) undergraduates, and 3 (3%) postbaccalaureates. But we also had GSU staff, faculty, and even some GSU alumni and non-GSU folks thrown in the mix!

Almost all of the GSU Colleges and Schools had some representation – as did some administrative offices and the Library as well. The College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) had the most representation, followed by a near tie between the School of Public Health (SPH) and the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies (AYSPS).

A variety of academic departments were represented from the various GSU Colleges & Schools.

About 40 of the RDS@GSU Data Certificate awardees attended the certificate ceremony we held on Thursday, December 12, in CURVE. Awardees received their printed certificates along with verbal accolades from the RDS Team and Library Associate Dean Bryan Sinclair, enjoyed eating their “data nerds” cake, took pictures with each other and RDS Team members, and assembled for a group picture where they proudly displayed their certificates.

Congratulations again to our 94 RDS@GSU Data Certificate awardees!

We commend you for your commitment to becoming data savvy, and we know what you’ve learned will benefit you in your studies and career.

Interested in getting RDS@GSU Data Certified?

Learn more here.

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Finals Fun Week @ GSU Library, Atlanta

The semester is almost over, which means papers are due and final exams are looming. It’s not unusual to feel stressed out this time of year. The good news is that the GSU Library is here to help you cope with that stress and make the best of your finals!  

Beginning Monday, December 9th to Friday, December 13th, 2019 from 10am to 5pm, the library will host fun and stress-reducing activities. We’re offering unique daily activities like make-your-own trail mix and yoga, plus relaxing week-long opportunities like coloring and a meditation zone.

All Week Long (Dec. 9 – Dec. 13)

Classic TV shows such as The Office will be streaming in Classroom 2 (Library North 2).

Center your thoughts with aromatherapy, white noise, and low lighting in the Meditation and Relaxation Zone in the Colloquium Room (South 8).

Coloring, origami and puzzles will also be available all week on Library North 1, South 2, and South 8.

Monday, December 9 – Everything is Awesome!

Make your own trail mix
When: 10am & 2pm
Where: North 1 & South 2

Play with LEGOS

When: All day
Where: North 1

Tuesday, December 10 – Pop-tarts & PJs

We’ll bring the snacks to you!

Wednesday, December 11 – Wednesday Zensday 

Relax with a yoga class
When: 11am, 11:45am, 2pm, 2:45pm
Where: South 8 – Colloquium Room

Thursday, December 12 – Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Work together to color giant poster
When: 10am-5pm
Where: North 1 & South 2

Help us solve the “World’s Largest Crossword Puzzle!”
When: All day
Where: South 2

Friday, December 13 – TGIF…AF

Continue to enjoy coloring, origami, and jigsaw puzzles
When: All day
Where: North 1, South 2, & South 8

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Collaborative online exhibit recognizes 400 years since American slavery began in the Southeast

The Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) announces a new digital exhibit created and curated by the ASERL Special Collections Interest Group. This collaborative online exhibit recognizes 400 years since the arrival of the first Africans sold into bondage in the English Colonies. This date, in 1619, is regarded as the beginning of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade in North America.

The exhibit, “Enslaved People in the Southeast,” was curated by a team of nine archivists and contains more than 100 items related to American slavery and its after-effects. Items in the exhibit include auction records and other bills of sale, plantation records, materials from the abolitionist movement, and photographs and other items from the Jim Crow South.

“As a major research institution in the Southeast that holds extensive photographic collections, Georgia State University is committed to sharing those resources to shed light on the long ‘hidden’ history of slavery in all of its forms, noted Christina Zamon, Head of Special Collections & Archives at Georgia State University.  “Our most visible contribution is a series of photographs documenting convict leasing, a 20th century iteration of slavery in the Southeast.  We hope that by sharing this information it will inform and inspire future generations to avoid the mistakes of the past and seek to advance equality and justice for all Americans.”

Image courtesy of Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers Photographic Collection, 1920-1976. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University.

Founded in 1956, ASERL is one of the largest regional research library consortia in the United States, serving 38 institutional members in 11 states.  By working together, ASERL members provide and maintain top-quality resources and services for the students, faculty, and citizens of their respective communities.

All items in the ASERL online exhibit can be found at  Additional items may be added to the exhibit in coming months.

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If you can convert data into knowledge, you’ve got the skill set that people need

Data in the ATL featuring Ginneh Baugh, Vice President for Strategic Impact, United Way of Greater Atlanta.

On Friday, October 18, the University Library welcomed Ginneh Baugh, Vice President, Strategy & Knowledge Development, United Way of Greater Atlanta to Data in the ATL.

#DataInTheATL is a speaker series hosted by Georgia State University Library that connects the university community with prominent members of the Atlanta data community. Invited speakers show the importance of data science in making informed decisions and how they use data analysis and expertise in their daily work.

Baugh shared with attendees the steps taken by the United Way of Greater Atlanta to develop the Child Well-Being Index, a collection of data and interactive map that the community can use to assess how its children, the families that support them, and the community that surrounds them, are doing.

The index gave United Way a tool to measure child well-being.  Examining an assortment of data, including a family’s financial stability, housing cost burden, the percentage of mothers without a high school diploma, percentage of low-weight births, students exceeding third-grade reading standards and high school graduation rate.

“If we’re going to embark on data analysis, it has got to be useable by people,” Baugh said.

“I have to be able to introduce people to something new then I have to be able to help connect the dots as to how this information can be used.”

[Speaking directly to students in attendance] “If you can convert data into knowledge you’ve got the skill set that people need.”

For more on Baugh’s Data in the ATL talk, take a moment to watch the video above.

[Watch Video]

Click here to learn more about Data in the ATL and to see a list of upcoming speakers

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Archivist share their knowledge and advice during a new Oral History Project Planning 101 workshop

“An oral history interview generally consists of a well-prepared interviewer questioning an interviewee and recording their exchange in audio or video format.”
-Donald Ritchie, Doing Oral History

Oral histories can include official interviews with important figures. They can include family histories, and they can document the ways that communities or neighborhoods have grown and evolved over time. Oral histories can also provide a history for under-documented communities, when no official records or narratives exist.

While published accounts and archival records can tell you “what happened,” oral histories can tell you how decisions were made in order to facilitate events and what it felt like to watch, participate in, or be affected by these events. They can provide an insider’s perspective, and they often provide multiple, sometimes competing narratives. Awash with memory, personal interpretations, humanity and emotion, they can make history come alive.

Archivists at Georgia State University have a long history of documenting communities through oral histories, and on Saturday, December 7, from 1:00-4:30 pm, they will share their knowledge and advice during a new Oral History Project Planning 101 workshop.

This workshop will take place at Georgia State University’s Clarkston campus and is free and open to the public. Registration is required, and space is limited. See below for the details or visit the library’s event page.

Oral History Project Planning 101

Do you have an idea for an oral history project but need help developing a plan? Attend this workshop presented by Georgia State University Library’s Special Collections & Archives to find out what steps you need to take to shape your idea into a viable project. We’ll share what’s worked for us (and what hasn’t), review key decisions you should make before starting, and help you create a project plan.

Attendees and archivists from a past oral history workshop


  • Small group breakout sessions
  • Personalized advice from Georgia State University archivists
  • Hands-on interviewing practice
  • Discussion of ethical & legal issues
  • Preservation & storage tips
  • Equipment recommendations & more!

Hands-on interviewing practice.


Saturday, December 7th, 2019, 1:00 PM-4:30 PM


Georgia State University Library
Clarkston Campus, Building CL
555 N. Indian Creek Dr.
Clarkston, GA 30021

Room: LRC 4180


Register here:


For more information contact us at 404-413-2880 or

Want to find out about similar events? Visit the Special Collections & Archives website and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Thank you and we hope to see you soon!

-The Special Collections & Archives team

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