Midwest Data Librarian Symposium 2020

Reflection and Futures: 5 Years of MDLS and Data Librarianship

Call for proposals 

The Midwest Data Librarian Symposium invites proposals for its first virtual symposium, taking place on October 14-16, 2020.


The Midwest Data Librarian Symposium (MDLS) is an unconference for data and librarians. MDLS is intended to enable Midwestern librarians who work with research data management issues the chance to network; however, it is open to all who wish to attend, including data professionals and those situated outside the Midwest.


MLDS 2020 will be a virtual event taking place over three afternoons. Given community feedback on the virtual nature of this year’s symposium, MDLS will look a bit more like a traditional conference, but will still deliver plenty of networking time and engaging content.


The planning committee seeks submissions for presentations for session panels and lightning talks. We encourage presenters from any roles that support research data to apply. The planning committee also seeks community volunteers to serve as mentors, facilitators, and note-takers. 


Proposals are due by 5 pm CST on July 10, 2020.


To submit a proposal: MDLS 2020 CFP Google form

Session panels: Presenters will give a 15-minute presentation related to the panel theme, time for questions will be included at the end of the panel.


Lightning talks: Presenters will give a 5-minute presentation related to the lightning talk theme, time for questions will be included at the end of the talks.


Proposals should:

·       Explore practical problems, advice, and experiences of data librarian work

·       Be based on practical learning outcomes for both new and advanced professionals

·       Provide clear take-aways for the audience

·       Preference will be given to Midwestern institutions, early-career professionals, professionals from diverse backgrounds, and topics that address issues of diversity in the field.


Successful applications will:

·       Clearly articulate their topic, take-aways, and learning outcomes.

·       Promote an accessible and inclusive experience.


Panel Topics

Data Librarianship in Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

·       Case studies and practical applications of data librarianship in the arts, humanities, and social sciences - developing partnerships, services for these disciplines, and data concerns specific to these communities. 



·       In data sharing, building data collections, biases in data, data invisibility, supporting data work with diverse communities, ethical data visualization and communication, how we guide practitioners to make good ethical decisions, providing resources and educational opportunities, and working with sensitive data in a way that supports researchers and respects human subjects and communities.


·       Infrastructure is critical to scalable services, so let’s talk about different frameworks and experiments in infrastructure.

·       Please consider this broadly - across partnerships/collaborations, physical infrastructures, staff resources, and supporting research services across diverse campus groups and communities.


Lightning talks 

Research and Service Continuity during COVID-19

·       Share your experiences and lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.

o   How do you support service/research continuity while working remotely?

o   What gaps in services, infrastructure, or community support have been illuminated?

o   What new services or modes of delivery might we explore?

Learning from Our Mistakes 2.0

·       It’s 2020 and as many conferences have said, hindsight is 20/20! 

o   What have we learned in the last 5 years of MDLS?

o   Where did we start and where are we now?

·       Let’s celebrate successes, learn from all our experiments and pilots, and generally share how awesome we’ve all been the last five years!


·       Mentor session for early-career data librarians (Call for mentors)

o   Given that we pulled back to a more traditional conference format due to our  virtual environment, we wanted to be sure to build in networking and community time.

o   We’re looking for seasoned data librarians/information professionals to commit to meeting with 2-3 mentees for a 1-hour meeting/lunch during the conference. We’ll connect you based on interests/regions and some conversation starters. Your task will be to listen to questions/concerns and provide practical insight to our early-career colleagues and students.

o   Depending on response levels, we will do our best to include everyone, but may not be able to.

·       Future of MDLS community (Call for facilitators and note takers)

o   We’re hoping to have a discussion about infrastructure and futures for MDLS to gain community insight and direction.

o   We are looking for folks willing to help facilitate break-out rooms as well as note-takers.

·       Social activities

o   If you would like to lead a topic table, hackathon, virtual lunch/happy hour, or game night session, please provide your name and activity/topic.

o   Social activities are planned during lunch from 12:00-1:00 PM each conference day, as well as the last portion of the third conference day.


To submit to volunteer without a proposal: MDLS 2020 volunteer Google form


Thank you!

Trisha Adamus and Cameron Cook, MDLS 2020 planning committee co-chairs

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