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The Researcher's Toolkit

The Researcher's Toolkit is a technology workshop series designed to help Northwestern researchers improve scholarly productivity and efficiency in the areas of programming, data analysis, scientific computing, data management, publication skills, and GIS. All workshops are held on the Evanston campus at Mudd Hall, room 2210. Unless otherwise specified, snacks will be provided. There is no cost to attend.

This workshop series is hosted in collaboration with the Northwestern University Library and Northwestern University Information Technology.

Fall 2017 Topics

Patent Research with InnovationQ Plus 

Wednesday, September 27th from 12-1pm

Northwestern University Libraries has recently obtained a subscription to the InnovationQ Plus patent discovery and analytics platform. Representatives from IEEE will be demonstrating the features of the tool, which semantically searches over 100 million full text global patents and critical non-patent literature. It can help researchers search worldwide patents, determine patentability, identify industry activity, visualize patent trends and relationships, and access full-text IEEE content. This live demo is relevant to those interested in research and discovery, entrepreneurship, innovation, patenting, and intellectual property. Light lunch will be provided.

Register.

Introduction to the Command Line

Wednesday, October 11th, 3-4:30pm

Instructor: Marco Alsina, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering 
This workshop will teach you how to use a command line terminal with the Bash shell to list, access, create, move, and copy directories and files on your computer or a remote system. These skills are essential for users accessing remote systems like Quest or installing open source software and packages on their own systems. Please bring your laptop to follow along; software installation instructions for Windows users will be provided prior to the workshop.

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Sharing Your Research and Data with Arch

Wednesday, October 25th from 4:30-5:30pm

Instructor: Chris Diaz, Digital Publishing Librarian, Northwestern University Library
Grant funding agencies and journal publishers increasingly require data sets to be archived and publicly available online. The open science movement advocates for greater transparency in research methodology to address problems with reproducibility in the social and life sciences. Conference presentations, lectures, unpublished papers, blog posts, and other web content suffer link-rot or are otherwise lost in the digital ether. Arch is a self-deposit research and data repository designed for faculty and students to preserve and share scholarly materials. Arch is free to use and is supported by the Northwestern University Libraries. Please bring a laptop to sign in and follow along.

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Introduction to LaTeX

Wednesday, November 8th, 3-4:30pm

Instructor: Alper Kinaci, Senior Computational Specialist, Research Computing Services
Do you get tired of formatting your documents? LaTeX is a typesetting program where you write in a plain text environment. It includes features to create production/publication quality technical and scientific documents from the plain text content. The LaTeX interpreter formats the spacing, equations, graphics, tables, references, and other elements throughout your documents with simple commands. This introductory workshop will cover basic formatting commands for the text, equations, tables, and figures. Graphical user interfaces for personal and collaborative LaTeX writing, such as LyX and Overleaf will also be introduced. Please bring your laptop to follow along; software installation instructions will be provided prior to the workshop.

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Introduction to GIS

Wednesday, November 29th, 3-4:30pm

Instructor: Kelsey Rydland, GIS and Data Analyst, Northwester University Libraries
GIS is software that displays and analyzes information related to a geographical location. The power of GIS is it's ability examine a wide variety of data in various combinations to understand the interrelationship between it. This workshop will introduce you to Esri ArcGIS Desktop software as well as ArcGIS Online web mapping to show you a range of ways that researchers can make use of GIS analysis in their research. We will also discuss the GIS software and services available at Northwestern University Libraries.

Register.


Select Past Topics

Intro to R

Instructors: Christina Maimone, Senior Computational Social Sciences Specialist, Northwestern IT Research Computing Services and Kelsey Rydland, GIS and Data Analyst, Northwestern University Libraries

R is used across academic disciplines for data processing, analysis, and visualization.  This introduction to R will help those who have never used R before become familiar with the RStudio environment, learn how to import data, and perform basic data manipulation tasks and calculations.  We will also discuss how to use the documentation, as well as resources for learning and practicing R on your own.  Bring your laptop to follow along.

Visualization with R: ggplot2 and plotly

Instructor: Christina Maimone, Senior Computational Social Sciences Specialist, Northwestern IT Research Computing Services

Learn how to visualize your data in R with ggplot2 and plotly. With ggplot2, you can make complex, multi-layered graphics with just a few lines of code. We'll cover the basics of ggplot2 and then work on examples of different plot types and options. Use plotly to make your graphs interactive and easier to explore. This workshop assumes basic familiarity with accessing and manipulating data in R. Bring a laptop with R installed to follow along.

LaTeX

Instructors: Pascal Paschos, Senior Computational Specialist, Northwestern IT Research Computing Services and Alper Kinaci, Senior Computational Specialist, Northwestern IT Research Computing Services

Do you get tired of formatting your documents? LaTeX is a typesetting program where you write in a plain text environment. It includes features to create production/publication quality technical and scientific documents from the plain text content. LaTeX interpreter formats the spacing, equations, graphics, tables and many more throughout your documents with simple commands. This introductory workshop will cover basic formatting commands for the text, equations, tables and figures. Graphical user interfaces for personal and collaborative LaTeX writing such as LyX and Overleaf will also be introduced. Installation instructions will be sent by email to prepare for the workshop if you wish to follow along with your laptop. 

GIS

Instructor: Kelsey Rydland, GIS and Data Analyst, Northwestern University Libraries

GIS is a software that displays and analyzes information related to a physical location. The power of GIS is the ability to add a wide variety of information and examine it in various combinations to understand the interrelationship between the layers. In this workshop we will use Esri ArcGIS Desktop to examine crime in the City of Chicago. We will go over the basics of map making and visualization as well as some basic geospatial analysis. No prior experience necessary. Laptop running Win OS with ArcGIS Desktop installed (available at http://www.it.northwestern.edu/software/arcgis/index.html) required if you wish to follow along.

Network Analysis Using ArcGIS Online

Instructor: Kelsey Rydland, GIS and Data Analyst, Northwestern University Libraries

Interested in doing spatial analysis without having the burden of learning a new software package? Want some simple ways of answering common spatial problems? ArcGIS Online is an application that runs on both Windows and MacOS and can be used to quickly and easily help you do things like find locations, create hot spots, drive-time areas or other types network analysis. This presentation provides an overview of the spatial analysis capabilities within ArcGIS Online. No previous experience necessary.

Data Management

Instructor: Cunera Buys, Librarian, Digital Scholarship Services, Northwestern University Library

Many Federal and private funding agencies now require a Data Management Plan (DMP) with every funding request.  This session will provide an overview of DMP requirements. It will also review questions to consider when creating a DMP and provide guidance for drafting a DMP.

Scholarly Identity Management

Instructor: Steve Adams, Life Sciences Librarian, Northwestern University Library

Managing your scholarly identity can make you and your work more accessible and insure that you are getting credit for the work you produce. The session will cover a broad array of strategies for refining your scholarly identity, such as registering with ORCiD, joining social networks for scholars, and updating institutional profiles.

Introduction to Python

Instructor: Janna Nugent, Senior Bioinformatics Specialist, Northwestern IT Research Computing Services

Python has emerged as one of the most popular programming languages for researchers.  Python is a general purpose, high level programming language capable of supporting a variety of inquiries depending where your data leads.  This introduction to Python will include tools that make learning to use Python intuitive and fun.

Visualization with Python: matplotlib and pandas

Instructors: Pascal Paschos, Senior Computational Specialist, Northwestern IT Research Computing Services and Christina Maimone, Senior Computational Social Sciences Specialist, Northwestern IT Research Computing Services

Are you using Python to analyze data? Then learn how to visualize it with the matplotlib plotting library. The pandas data analysis library has built-in support for matplotlib, but matplotlib works with other analysis libraries and data structures too. We'll work through examples of several different types of plots, learn how to change styles and options, and talk about resources for learning to create professional plots on your own. This workshop assumes you're comfortable writing at least basic Python code. Bring a laptop to follow along.

Introduction to Parallel Computing

Instructor: Pascal Paschos, Senior High Performance Computing Specialist, Research Computing Services, Northwestern Information Technology

The topic initiates the audience into the concepts of parallel computing. Topics include distributed versus shared memory computing, domain decomposition, multiprocessor architectures and hybrid programming techniques. We will also discuss current and emerging parallelism implementations in popular programming and scripting languages (C/C++, Python, Matlab, R, Scala and Julia).

OpenMP/MPI

Instructors: Pascal Paschos, Senior Computational Specialist, Northwestern IT Research Computing Services and Alper Kinaci, Senior Computational Specialist, Northwestern IT Research Computing Services

OpenMP (Open Multi-Processing) and MPI (Message Passing Interface) are two standard approaches to parallelize codes. OpenMP provides parallelism within a multi-core node and MPI offers intra- and inter-node parallelization. This introductory course will focus on the fundamental concepts of parallel computing using these two methods. Topics will include distributed versus shared memory computing, constructing parallel regions, domain decomposition and avoiding race conditions.

Intro to the Command Line/Bash

Instructor: Pascal Paschos, Senior Computational Specialist, Northwestern IT Research Computing Services

Learning the Command Line with Bash is useful to learn when using remote clusters, running code, and automating data processing and analysis.  In this introduction of Bash shell we will present the command line interface to navigate a unix environment. Topics include the use of Bash to create, move and copy directories and files and query their contents. We will also introduce the concept of variables which can be used to create loops and conditional operations in order to automate shell operations using scripts.

Chemical Structure and Reaction Searching with Reaxys

Instructor: Elsa Alvaro, Librarian for Chemistry, Physics, and Astronomy, Northwestern University Library

Learn how to build effective structure and reaction searches, and refine your answer sets in Reaxys's new interface. Bring a laptop to follow along.

Mobilize Your Research

Instructors: John Hernandez, Web & Mobile Services Librarian and Liaison for Economics, Counseling & Latino/a Studies, Northwestern University Libraries and Anne Marie Sticksel, User Spaces Coordinator, Northwestern University Libraries

Mobile devices offer increasing options for doing your research on the go. Bring your mobile device and we will highlight useful apps to aid your research productivity and help you efficiently access the library's electronic resources from anywhere. We will offer some useful tips for making the most of mobile access and help troubleshoot problems if needed. Have a favorite mobile research app? Come and tell us about it!

Github

Instructor: Janna Nugent, Senior Bioinformatics Specialist, Northwestern IT Research Computing Services

Git and, specifically, Github are useful tools to keep track of your code, papers, etc. Github enables collaboration with researchers within your group, but also opens doors for collaboration beyond your lab. Learn how to get started with git and Github to begin keeping track of your work and collaborative projects. Installation instructions will be sent by email to prepare for the workshop if you wish to follow along.

Mendeley

Instructor: Steve Adams, Research and Learning Services, Northwestern University Library

Mendeley is a free reference manager and an academic social network. Manage your research, showcase your work, connect and collaborate with over five million researchers worldwide.

ICPSR Resources for Social Science Research and Teaching

Instructor: Anne Zald, Librarian, Research and Learning Services, Northwestern University Library

The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is the largest social science data archive in the world. ICPSR data cover topics including sociology, political science, economics, demography, education, childcare, health care, crime, minority populations, aging, terrorism, substance abuse, mental health, public policy, and international relations. 

In addition to datasets and codebooks, ICPSR offers excellent research and teaching tools such as the Social Science Variables Database (SSVD) for online exploratory analysis of datasets, data labs for teaching research methods, and guidelines for writing data management plans. In this workshop, you will learn how you can utilize all of these resources to enhance your research and teaching.

This workshop will introduce:

Interactive Visualization on the Web with D3.js

Instructor: Alessandro Febretti, Sr. Interactive Visualization Specialist, Research Computing Services, Northwestern Information Technology

Web-based visualization is gaining popularity thanks to its wide availability and ease of use. In this toolkit you will discover the basics of D3.js, a Javascript library that helps create powerful visualizations on the web. D3 lets you combine data from multiple sources and gives you full control on the final look of your data. We will go through the steps needed to set up a basic development environment, create a simple visualization and make it accessible to other people online. All you need to follow along are your laptop with your favorite browser and text editor installed.

Advanced Interactive Visualization on the Web with D3.js

Instructor: Alessandro Febretti, Sr. Interactive Visualization Specialist, Research Computing Services, Northwestern Information Technology

In this toolkit we will use D3.js to create complex web-based visualizations such as force-directed graphs and heat maps. You will learn how to aggregate and sort data in the browser, how to filter data in real-time, and how to create web pages with multiple coordinated views of your data.

Basic 3D Animation with Maya

Instructor: Justin Muir: Sr. Animation Specialist, Research Computing Services, Northwestern Information Technology

This toolkit session introduces the basics of 3D animation—modeling, animation, lighting and rendering—in the industry standard Autodesk Maya package. Participants will create their very own simple animation and become familiar with the package workspace. We will also introduce how data can be brought in via simple scripting to create a stylish presentation. No previous experience is necessary.

Last Updated: 26 September 2017

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