LibTech 2020: Library Carpentry Preconference

NOTE: This workshop has been cancelled

Mar 16-17, 2020

8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Instructors: Caitlin Bakker, Cody Hennesy, Wanda Marsolek, David Naughton

Helpers: Valerie Collins, Kristen Cooper, Alexis Logsdon, Stacie Traill, Katie Wilson

General Information

Library Carpentry is made by people working in library- and information-related roles to help you:

Library Carpentry introduces you to the fundamentals of computing and provides you with a platform for further self-directed learning. For more information on what we teach and why, please see our paper "Library Carpentry: software skills training for library professionals".

Who: The course is for people working in library- and information-related roles. You don't need to have any previous knowledge of the tools that will be presented at the workshop.

This workshop is being offered as a preconference at LibTech 2020. Registration is required to attend.

Where: DeWitt Wallace Library, Room 250, 1600 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105. Get directions with OpenStreetMap or Google Maps.

When: Mar 16-17, 2020. Add to your Google Calendar.

Requirements: Participants must bring a laptop with a Mac, Linux, or Windows operating system (not a tablet, Chromebook, etc.) that they have administrative privileges on. They should have a few specific software packages installed (listed below).

Accessibility: We are committed to making this workshop accessible to everybody. The workshop organizers have checked that:

Materials will be provided in advance of the workshop and large-print handouts are available if needed by notifying the organizers in advance. If we can help making learning easier for you (e.g. sign-language interpreters, lactation facilities) please get in touch (using contact details below) and we will attempt to provide them.

Contact: Please email, for more information.

Code of Conduct

Everyone who participates in Carpentries activities is required to conform to the Code of Conduct.This document also outlines how to report an incident if needed.

Collaborative Notes

We will use this collaborative document for chatting, taking notes, and sharing URLs and bits of code.


Please be sure to complete these surveys before and after the workshop.

Pre-workshop Survey

Post-workshop Survey


Day 1

Before Starting pre-workshop survey
08:30 Installation help and coffee
09:00 Tidy Data for Librarians
10:30 Morning break
12:00 Lunch break
13:00 OpenRefine
14:30 Afternoon break
16:00 Wrap-up
16:30 END

Day 2

08:30 Installation help and coffee
09:00 The Unix Shell
10:30 Morning break
12:00 Lunch break
13:00 Introduction to Git
14:30 Afternoon break
16:00 Wrap-up and post-workshop survey
16:30 END


Tidy Data for Librarians

  • Introduction to Library Carpentry
  • Spreadsheets for data wrangling
  • Formatting data
  • Dates as data
  • Quality assurance and data manipulation
  • Exporting data and file formats


  • Introduction to OpenRefine
  • Importing Data
  • Basic Functions
  • Advanced Functions
  • Reference...

The Unix Shell

  • Files and Directories
  • History and Tab Completion
  • Counting and Sorting Contents in Files
  • Pipes and Redirection
  • Mining or Searching in Files
  • Reference...

Introduction to Git

  • Creating a repository
  • Configuring Git
  • Recording Changes to Files: add, commit, ...
  • Viewing State Changes with status
  • Working on the Web: clone, pull, push, ...
  • Where to Host Work, and Why
  • Reference...


To participate in a Library Carpentry workshop, you will need access to the software described below. In addition, you will need an up-to-date web browser.

We maintain a list of common issues that occur during installation as a reference for instructors that may be useful on the Configuration Problems and Solutions wiki page.


Spreadsheets are useful for data entry and data organization, and some subsetting and sorting of the data as well as getting an overview of the data. There are many spreadsheet applications you can use for this lesson. If you already have any of the following you don't need to install anything else: LibreOffice, Microsoft Excel, Gnumeric, or Commands may differ a bit between programs, but general ideas for thinking about spreadsheets is the same.

If you do NOT have a spreadsheet program already, you can follow these installation instructions to set up LibreOffice. It’s a free, open source spreadsheet program.

The Unix Shell (Bash)

Bash is a commonly-used shell that gives you the power to do simple tasks more quickly. Please find setup instructions in the lesson.


OpenRefine is a tool to clean up and organize messy data. Please find instructions to install it and the data used in the lesson in the lesson.


Git is a version control system that lets you track who made changes to what when and has options for easily updating a shared or public version of your code on

Follow the instructions on the lesson to install Git on your system.

You will need an account at for parts of the Git lesson. Basic GitHub accounts are free. We encourage you to create a GitHub account if you don't have one already. Please consider what personal information you'd like to reveal. For example, you may want to review these instructions for keeping your email address private provided at GitHub. You will need a supported web browser.