Category Archives: rstats

Fall Data and Visualization Workshops

2017 Data and Visualization Workshops

Visualize, manage, and map your data in our Fall 2017 Workshop Series.  Our workshops are designed for researchers who are new to data driven research as well as those looking to expand skills with new methods and tools. With workshops exploring data visualization, digital mapping, data management, R, and Stata, the series offers a wide range of different data tools and techniques. This fall, we are extending our partnership with the Graduate School and offering several workshops in our data management series for RCR credit (please see course descriptions for further details).

Everyone is welcome at Duke Libraries workshops.  We hope to see you this fall!

Workshop Series by Theme

Data Management

09-13-2017 – Data Management Fundamentals
09-18-2017 – Reproducibility: Data Management, Git, & RStudio 
09-26-2017 – Writing a Data Management Plan
10-03-2017 – Increasing Openness and Reproducibility in Quantitative Research
10-18-2017 – Finding a Home for Your Data: An Introduction to Archives & Repositories
10-24-2017 – Consent, Data Sharing, and Data Reuse 
11-07-2017 – Research Collaboration Strategies & Tools 
11-09-2017 – Tidy Data Visualization with Python

Data Visualization

09-12-2017 – Introduction to Effective Data Visualization 
09-14-2017 – Easy Interactive Charts and Maps with Tableau 
09-20-2017 – Data Visualization with Excel
09-25-2017 – Visualization in R using ggplot2 
09-29-2017 – Adobe Illustrator to Enhance Charts and Graphs
10-13-2017 – Visualizing Qualitative Data
10-17-2017 – Designing Infographics in PowerPoint
11-09-2017 – Tidy Data Visualization with Python

Digital Mapping

09-12-2017 – Intro to ArcGIS Desktop
09-27-2017 – Intro to QGIS 
10-02-2017 – Mapping with R 
10-16-2017 – Cloud Mapping Applications 
10-24-2017 – Intro to ArcGIS Pro


11-09-2017 – Tidy Data Visualization with Python

R Workshops

09-11-2017 – Intro to R: Data Transformations, Analysis, and Data Structures  
09-18-2017 – Reproducibility: Data Management, Git, & RStudio 
09-25-2017 – Visualization in R using ggplot2 
10-02-2017 – Mapping with R 
10-17-2017 – Intro to R: Data Transformations, Analysis, and Data Structures
10-19-2017 – Developing Interactive Websites with R and Shiny 


09-20-2017 – Introduction to Stata
10-19-2017 – Introduction to Stata 













Data and Visualization Spring 2016 Workshops

Spring 2016 DVS WorkshopsSPRING 2016: Data and Visualization Workshops 

Interested in getting started in data driven research or exploring a new approach to working with research data?  Data and Visualization Services’ spring workshop series features a range of courses designed to showcase the latest data tools and methods.  Begin working with data in our Basic Data Cleaning/Analysis or the new Structuring Humanities Data  workshop.  Explore data visualization in the Making Data Visual class.  Our wide range of workshops offers a variety of approaches for the meeting the challenges of 21st century data driven research.   Please join us!

Workshop by Theme






* – For these workshops, no prior experience with data projects is necessary!  These workshops are great introductions to basic data practices.

DVS Fall Workshops

GenericWorkshops-01Data and Visualization Services is happy to announce its Fall 2015 Workshop Series.  With a range of workshops covering basic data skills to data visualization, we have a wide range of courses for different interests and skill levels..  New (and redesigned) workshops include:

  • OpenRefine: Data Mining and Transformations, Text Normalization
  • Historical GIS
  • Advanced Excel for Data Projects
  • Analysis with R
  • Webscraping and Gathering Data from Websites

Workshop descriptions and registration information are available at:




OpenRefine: Data Mining and Transformations, Text Normalization
Sep 9
Basic Data Cleaning and Analysis for Data Tables
Sep 15
Introduction to ArcGIS
Sep 16
Easy Interactive Charts and Maps with Tableau
Sep 18
Introduction to Stata
Sep 22
Historical GIS
Sep 23
Advanced Excel for Data Projects
Sep 28
Easy Interactive Charts and Maps with Tableau
Sep 29
Analysis with R
Sep 30
ArcGIS Online
Oct 1
Web Scraping and Gathering Data from Websites
Oct 2
Advanced Excel for Data Projects
Oct 6
Basic Data Cleaning and Analysis for Data Tables
Oct 7
Introduction to Stata
Oct 14
Introduction to ArcGIS
Oct 15
OpenRefine: Data Mining and Transformations, Text Normalization
Oct 20
Analysis with R
Oct 20


Top 10 List – Data and GIS Edition

As we begin our summer in Data and GIS Services, we spend this post reflecting back on some of the services, software, and tools that made data work this spring more productive and more visible.  We proudly present our top 10 list for the Spring 2014 semster:

10. DMPTool
While we enjoy working directly with researchers crafting data management plans, we realize that some data management needs arise outside of consultation hours.  Fortunately, the Data Management Planning Tool (DMPTool) is there 24/7 to provide targeted guidance on data management plans for a range of granting agencies.

9. Fusion Tables
A database in the cloud that allows you to query and visualize your data, Fusion Tables has proven a powerful tool for researchers who need database functionality but don’t have time for a full featured database.  We’ve worked with many groups to map their data in the cloud; see the Digital Projects blog for an example.  Fusion Tables is a regular workshop in Data and GIS.

8. Open Refine
You could learn the UNIX command line and a scripting language to clean your data, but Open Refine opens data cleaning to a wider audience that is more concerned with simplicity than syntax.  Open Refine is also a regular workshop in Data and GIS.

7. R and RStudio
A programming language that excels at statistics and data visualization, R offers a powerful, open source solution to running statistics and visualizing complex data.  RStudio provides a clean, full-featured development environment for R that greatly enhances the analysis process.

6. Tableau Public
Need a quick, interactive data visualization that you can share with a wide audience?  Tableau Public excels at producing dynamic data visualizations from a range of different datasets and provides intuitive controls for letting your audience explore the data.

5. ArcOnline
ArcGIS has long been a core piece of software for researchers working with digital maps.  ArcOnline extends the rich mapping features of ArcGIS into the cloud, allowing a wider audience to share and build mapping projects.

4. Pandas
A Python library that brings data analysis and modeling to the Python scripting language, Pandas brings the ease and power of Python to a range of data management and analysis challenges.

3. RAW
Paste in your spreadsheet data, choose a layout, drag and drop your variables… and your visualization is ready.  Raw makes it easy to go from data to visualization using an intuitive, minimal interface.

2. Stata 13
Another core piece of software in the Data and GIS Lab (and at Duke), Stata 13 brought new features and flexibility (automatic memory management — “hello big data”) that were greatly appreciated by Duke researchers.

1. R Markdown
While many librarians tell people to “document your work,” R Markdown makes it easy to document your research data, explain results, and embed your data visualizations using a minimal markup language that works in any text editor and ties nicely into the R programming language.   For pulling it all together, R Markdown is number one in our top ten list!

We hope you’ve enjoyed the list!  If you are interested in these or other data tools and techniques, please contact us at!

Scaling Support: Designing Data for a Growing Statistics Program

r_stats101How do you support 57,860 online students learning R and statistics ?  Late last fall, Data and GIS Services shared this challenge with Professor Mine Çetinkaya-Rundel and the staff of CIT as we sought to translate Professor Çetinkaya-Rundel’s successful Statistics 101 course to a Coursera class on Data Analysis and Statistical Inference.  While Data and GIS Services has supported Statistics 101 students for several years identifying appropriate data and using the R statistical language for their assignments, the scale of the Coursera course introduced new challenges of trying to provide engaging data to a very large audience without having the opportunity to provide direct support to everyone in the class.

In our initial meetings with Professor Çetinkaya-Rundel, she requested that Data and GIS create data collections for the course that would provide easy access in R and would include a range of statistical measures that would appeal to the diverse audience in the class.  The first challenge — easy access to R — required some translation work.  While R excels in its flexibility, graphics, and statistical power, it lacks some of the built in data documentation features present in other statistical packages.  This project prompted Data and GIS to reconsider how to provide documentation and pre-formatted R data to an audience that would likely be unfamiliar with R and data documentation.

The second challenge — finding data that covered a wide range of interesting topics — proved much easier.  The General Social Survey with its diverse and engaging questions on a wide range of topics proved to be an easy choice for the class.  The American National Election Studies, also offered a diverse set of measures of public opinion that suited the course well.  With these challenges identified and addressed, we spent the end of 2013 selecting portions of the data for class (subsetting), abridging the data documentation for instructional use, and transforming the data to address its usage in an online setting (processing missing values for R, creating factor variables).

As Professor Çetinkaya-Rundel’s class launches on February 17th, this project has given us a new appreciation of providing data and statistical services in a MOOC while also building course materials that we are using in Statistics 101 at Duke.  While students begin the Coursera course on Data Analysis and Statistical Inference, students in Professor Kari Lock Morgan’s Statistics 101 class will use these data in their on-campus Duke course as well.  We hope that both collections will reduce some of the technological hurdles that often confront courses using R as well as improving statistical literacy at Duke and beyond.

Data and GIS Fall 2013 Newsletter

Analyze, discover, manage, map, and visualize your data with Duke Libraries Data and GIS Services.  Our team of five consultants provides a broad range of support in areas ranging from data analysis, data visualization, geographic information systems, financial data, statistical software and data storage and management.  Our lab provides 12 workstations with the latest data software and three Bloomberg Professional workstations nearly 24/7 for the Duke community.

Data and GIS Workshop Series

All are welcome to the Data and GIS Workshop Series.  Analyze, communicate, clean, map, represent and visualize your data with a wide range of workshops on data based research methods and tools.  Details and registration for each class are available at the links that follow.  (Interested in keeping up to date with workshops and events in Data and GIS?  Just go to and click on the “Subscribe” link at the bottom left.)

    Tue, Sep 3, 2013      1:00 PM - 3:00 PM    Introduction to ArcGIS    
    Wed, Sep 4, 2013     10:00 AM - 11:30 AM   Stata for Research    
    Wed, Sep 11, 2013    10:00 AM - 11:00 AM   Open (aka Google) Refine     
    Thu, Sep 12, 2013     1:00 PM - 3:00 PM    Analysis with R    
    Tue, Sep 17, 2013     1:00 PM - 2:30 PM    Introduction to Tableau Public 8    
    Thu, Sep 19, 2013    10:00 AM - 11:00 AM   Google Fusion Tables    
    Mon, Sep 23, 2013     1:00 PM - 2:30 PM    Introduction to Tableau Public 8    
    Tue, Sep 24, 2013     1:00 PM - 2:30 PM    Stata for Research    
    Mon, Sep 30, 2013    10:00 AM - 11:00 AM   Top 10 Dos and Don'ts for Charts and Graphs    
    Mon, Sep 30, 2013     1:00 PM - 3:00 PM    Introduction to ArcGIS    
    Tue, Oct 8, 2013      1:00 PM - 2:30 PM    Introduction to Text Analysis    
    Thu, Oct 10, 2013     1:00 PM - 3:00 PM    ArcGIS Special Topics: Geocoding & Proximity Analysis    
    Thu, Oct 17, 2013     1:00 PM - 3:00 PM    Historical GIS    
    Mon, Oct 28, 2013     1:00 PM - 2:00 PM    Designing Academic Figures and Posters    
    Tue, Oct 29, 2013     1:00 PM - 3:00 PM    Web GIS Applications

Data and GIS also offers instruction tailored to courses or research teams. Please contact to schedule a session!

Data Management

Data Management Planning – DMPTool – Get 24/7 online help for your next data management plan, including information about Duke resources available for your data work.

Statistical Software Updates

Explore all of our Data and GIS Lab resources on our site at or come visit us on the second floor of Perkins Library.

Job Opportunities in Data and GIS Services

Data & GIS Services is hiring!  We have two open positions for student web programmers interested in working on data visualization projects.  See the Library Student employment page ( for more information on how to apply.  (The job can be found by searching for requisition number “DUL14-AMZ02”.)

New Data and Map Collections

CPS on Web (CPS Utilities Online)
CPS on Web is a set of utilities enabling you to access CPS data and documentation from this website.   You may make tables and graphs from the CPS data, download data extractions, make estimations, get summaries and statistical measures, search the documentation, and make your own variables as functions of the existing ones.

Global Financial Data
Global Financial Data is a collection of financial and economic data provided in ASCII or Excel format. Data includes: long-term historical indices on stock markets; Total Return data on stocks, bonds, and bills; interest rates; exchange rates; inflation rates; bond indices; commodity indices and prices; consumer price indices; gross domestic product; individual stocks; sector indices; treasury bill yields; wholesale price indices; and unemployment rates covering over 200 countries.

LandScan Global
The LandScan Global Population Database provides global population distribution in a gridded GIS format at 30 arc-second resolution (approximately 1×1 km cells). Oak Ridge National Laboratory developed modeling techniques to disaggregate and interpolate census data within administrative boundaries to create a GIS layer showing population distribution as accurately and as timely as possible. EastView provides this data to use in GIS software as a WMS (Web Mapping Service) or as a WCS (Web Coverage Service) to allow a user to incorporate population distribution into GIS mapping and analysis.

Contact Us

twitter: duke_data or duke_vis

Surveying Our Researchers

Understanding library users’ research goals remains a key element of the Perkins Library’s Strategic Plan.  As part of the Library’s User Studies Initiative, Teddy Gray surveyed the Biology Department in the Fall of 2010 to discover what tools and resources departmental members use in their research, researchers’ data management needs, and the impact of the BES Library closing in 2009.

From the 18 interviews of faculty, graduate students, postdocs, and lab managers, we learned–not surprisingly–that nearly all the interviewees use data in their research, most of which they generate themselves. Half incorporate data from others into their work with nearly a third using sequence data from GenBank. Out of the 12 interviewees who generate data in their labs, two-thirds archive their data in existing repositories.

In addition to the interviews, this survey also examined research articles produced by Duke Biologists from 2009 in which we paid special attention to their methods sections and citation patterns. From analyzing departmental research articles, we found out the nearly 40% of the authors deposited their research data into either GenBank or a journal archive. Only one author deposited data into another existing scientific repository. Again nearly 40% of the authors used a general statistical package in their work (SAS and R being the most popular), while nearly half used a biology-specific statistical tool.

Almost everyone interviewed uses statistical tools in their research with over half now using R. Many also use biology-specific statistical programs.

All but one of the interviewees prefer the online versions of library material over the print. A third use image databases–primarily Google Images–in their teaching and presentations; however, only one interviewee knew of subject specific image databases such as the Biology Image Library. And while some interviewees missed the convenience of easy shelf browsing with the BES Library so close by, all are happy with the daily document delivery to the building.

We are grateful to the Biology Department for their support (and time) in conducting this survey and plan to use the results as the basis for library services.  Data and GIS Services is always interested in hearing more from Duke researchers about the nature of your research! Please let us know if you would like to discuss your research interest and/or library needs.

Rolling with R in 2011

Interest in the open source statistical package R has grown over the last few years as researchers discover its powerful graphic capabilities, a suite of packages that extend its functionality, and its data import capabilities.  While several courses use R to teach introductory statistics, most researchers arrive at R with some statistical experience.  The following selected resources represent a growing number of books and websites designed to help orient users to the capabilities of R.

Quick-R Homepagequick_r
This website tries to provide a quick overview of basic data management and statistical capabilities of R for current SAS, SPSS, Stata, and Systat users.  The stress is on providing a brief overview of R commands for common data analysis needs.

R for Stata UsersR for Stata
A comprehensive guide for getting started in R using Stata as point of reference.

R for SAS and SPSS Users (not pictured)
Similar concept as R for Stata users.

Using R for Introductory Statistics
John Verzani’s R for Introductory Statistics is one of several introductions to using R for basic statistics. Examples are available as an R package.

Do you have other sources that you like for R?  Let us know in the comments.