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An Introduction to Data Carpentry for Humanists


May 6-7, 2017

9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Instructors: Gail Clement, Tom Morrell

Helpers: Donna Wrublewski

General Information

Data Carpentry workshops are for any researcher who has data they want to analyze, and no prior computational experience is required. This hands-on workshop teaches basic concepts, skills and tools for working more effectively with data. Special attention will be paid to how data analysis tools have been used in recent projects within the humanities.

We will cover Data organization in spreadsheets and OpenRefine, Advanced OpenRefine and Command line, Version Control with Git and GitHub and Data analysis and visualization in Python. Participants should bring their laptops and plan to participate actively. By the end of the workshop learners should have a firm understanding of the principles and basics of several methods of data management and analysis, and a strong sense of how those methods have been applied in recent scholarship and might be adapted to future research.

Who: The course is for scholars interested in learning about how to use digital methods with humanistic sources and topics.

Where: Sherman Fairchild Library 3rd floor Multimedia Conference Room (MCR) . Get directions with OpenStreetMap or Google Maps.

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). They are also required to abide by Data Carpentry's Code of Conduct.

Contact: Please mail for more information.


Register by completing the form at the Caltech Library Event Registration Page

Preliminary Schedule


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

Pre-workshop Survey

Post-workshop Survey

Day 1

Morning Data organization in spreadsheets and OpenRefine
Afternoon Advanced OpenRefine and Command line

Day 2

Morning Version Control with Git and GitHub
Afternoon Data analysis and visualization in Python

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


Data organization

  • Introduction to Tidy Data
  • Formatting data
  • Common formatting problems
  • Dates as data
  • Exporting data
  • Data Format Caveats
  • Reference...


  • Getting started
  • Facets, clustering and splitting
  • Filtering, excluding and sorting
  • Examining numerical data
  • Scripts
  • Saving and Exporting Projects and Files
  • Reference...

The Unix Shell

  • Files and directories
  • History and tab completion
  • Pipes and redirection
  • Looping over files
  • Creating and running shell scripts
  • Reference...

Version Control with Git

  • Creating a repository
  • Recording changes to files: add, commit, ...
  • Viewing changes: status, diff, ...
  • Ignoring files
  • Working on the web: clone, pull, push, ...
  • Resolving conflicts
  • Where to host work, and why
  • Reference...

Programming in Python

  • Using libraries
  • Working with arrays
  • Reading and plotting data
  • Working with web data
  • Reference...


To participate in a Data Carpentry workshop, you will need working copies of the described software. Please make sure to install everything (or at least to download the installers) before the start of your workshop. Participants should bring and use their own laptops to insure the proper setup of tools for an efficient workflow once you leave the workshop.

Please follow these Setup Instructions.

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.