Data Carpentry Ecology Workshop at MSC (Online)

Smithsonian Museum Support Center

Apr 21 and 23, 2020

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Instructors: Amanda Devine, Luis Villanueva

Helpers: Carrie Craig, Jen Hammock, Matthew Kweskin, Mike Trizna

General Information

Data Carpentry develops and teaches workshops on the fundamental data skills needed to conduct research. Its target audience is researchers who have little to no prior computational experience, and its lessons are domain specific, building on learners' existing knowledge to enable them to quickly apply skills learned to their own research. Participants will be encouraged to help one another and to apply what they have learned to their own research problems.

For more information on what we teach and why, please see our paper "Good Enough Practices for Scientific Computing".

Who: The workshop is for Smithsonian badge holders at any SI Unit working with research and collections data.

Learners do not need to have any previous knowledge of the tools that will be presented at the workshop.

Where: Zoom (link will be emailed). Get directions with OpenStreetMap or Google Maps.

When: Apr 21 and 23, 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. This computer must be able to connect to the Smithsonian's SI-Staff wifi network which requires an SI network account. 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 (Apr 21)

Before starting Pre-workshop survey
Morning (9-11) R: Introduction to R
Afternoon (1-3)R: Starting with Data

Day 2 (Apr 23)

Morning (9-11) R: Manipulating Data
Afternoon (1-3)R: Visualizing Data
After workshop Post-workshop survey


To participate in a Data 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.

Required software

For this workshop, we will be using R (the programming language) and RStudio (special software to write R code). It is important that you have R and RStudio installed on your computer prior to the start of the workshop. Installation instructions are available here under the R and RStudio header: Please follow the "If you don’t have R and RStudio installed" section for your operating system. We will take care of all other setup (downloading data, installing specific R packages) during the workshop.

You do not need to install spreadsheet software, OpenRefine, or SQL - we will not be covering those programs in this workshop.

This workshop will be conducted entirely in RStudio, so it is important that you have it installed properly. If you encounter errors during installation, please contact us so we can help you troubleshoot or provide you alternative solutions.