The IMLS DCN grant “Developing Specialized Data Curation Training to Address Needed Expertise in Focused Areas” kicked-off with an in-person meeting held January 25-26, 2023 in Washington DC. The Duke in DC headquarters served as our inspiration meeting venue as 16 members of the instructional cohorts selected via an expertise-driven application process (see full list of cohort team members by data type below) came together with the project design team Sophia Lafferty-Hess (Duke), Cynthia Hudson Vitale (ARL), and Mikala Narlock (DCN), Wanda Marsolek (Minnesota), Jennifer Moore (WashU), Neggin Keshavarzian (Princeton), and Seth Erickson (UC Santa Barbara) for 1.5 days of full engagement and team-building to start working toward our goal of researching and developing new curriculum for teaching curation skills in four specialized data types: geospatial data, scientific images, code, and simulations.

What’s unique about this 2-year Laura Bush 21st Century Librarianship IMLS grant project is that it employs a community-driven model for building data curation curriculum and training activities that consider ethical, equitable, and accessible considerations for curation of these data types and leverage existing DCN and other training frameworks and approaches (e.g., the CURATE(D) steps, data curation primers, peer-to-peer learning). 

The cohorts will work intensively over the next 8 months, guided by an experienced DCN instructional mentor, to develop curricula materials that will be piloted in the Fall of 2023, refined, and published openly on the DCN website and other platforms for reuse and citation.

Since the teams bring together experts from different academic and governmental institutions from across the United States, this in-person meeting afforded a great opportunity for team building. Therefore the meeting included several networking components for team members, including an exercise for teams to develop a team identity including a team name and mascot to best represent their teams data and shared values. (see image above: Neggin Keshavarzian (Princeton) with the Scientific Images cohort mascot, Pixie the Platypus.)

Conversations included broad, project level discussions– for example, what does success look like for these curricula?– and focused discussions, such as one led by DCN Curator Wanda Marsolek on ethical, equitable, and accessible curation.

Each cohort also had the opportunity to dive into their formats and start planning for the curriculum. What are the specific considerations for their data type that will need to be included in curation training? And, most importantly, the teams all started planning out their timeline. With just around 6 months to develop these curricula, the teams will need to be efficient with their time, setting clear milestones and expectations. 

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Lisa Johnston for facilitating this meeting, the Institute of Museum and Library Studies for funding this work, Duke University in DC for hosting us, and Eric Shipley for his support with the event logistics and space. Most of all thanks to the cohorts that will be developing these exciting new curricula!

Cohort Members


Mentor: Seth Erickson

  • Greg Janée, Director, Library Research Data Services, University of California at Santa Barbara
  • Nick Ruhs, Research Data Management Librarian, Florida State University
  • Talya Cooper, Software Curation Specialist, New York University
  • Kaypounyers Maye, Scholarly Engagement Librarian for Social Sciences and Data, Tulane University

Simulation data

Mentor: Wanda Marsolek

  • L. Wynholds, Research Data Librarian, University of California at Los Angeles
  • Heather Shimon, Science & Engineering Librarian, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Fernando Rios, Research Data Management Specialist, University of Arizona
  • Girmaye Misgna, Mapping & Geospatial Data Librarian, University of Pennsylvania

Scientific images

Mentor: Neggin Keshavarzian

  • Mariah Kenney, Data Curator and Metadata Librarian, Brain Image Library
  • Amy Schuler, Director, Information Services & Library, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
  • Sarah Wright, Research Data and Life Sciences Librarian, Cornell University
  • Paul Gignac, Associate Professor, Director of Global Graduate Programs, University of Arizona College of Medicine


Mentor: Jennifer Moore

  • Leighton L Christiansen, Data Curator, National Transportation Library, US DOT
  • Kelly Grove, GIS and Earth Sciences Librarian, Florida State University
  • Tim Norris, Data Scientist, University of Miami Libraries
  • Melinda Kernik, Spatial Data Analyst and Curator, University of Minnesota

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services ( (RE-252343-OLS-22).

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