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A Data Carpentry Workshop

Spelman College

June 20-21, 2017

8:30am - 4:00pm

Instructors: Daniel Smith, Kari Jordan

Helpers: Brandeis Marshall

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.

We will cover Data organization in spreadsheets, Introduction to Python, Data refinement with OpenRefine and Data visualization in Python. Participants should bring their laptops and plan to participate actively. By the end of the workshop learners should be able to more effectively manage and analyze data and be able to apply the tools and approaches directly to their ongoing research.

Who: The course is aimed at research faculty.

Where: 350 Spelman Lane SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30314. Get directions with OpenStreetMap or Google Maps.

Requirements: Participants must bring a laptop with a Mac, Linux, or Windows operating sytem (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. If you do have a laptop a computer will be provided for you.

Contact: Please mail for more information.

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
Afternoon Introduction to Python

Day 2

Morning Data refinement with OpenRefine
Afternoon Data visualization in Python

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


Data Organization in Spreadsheets

  • Formatting Data Tables
  • Formatting Problems
  • Dates as Data
  • Quality Control
  • Exporting Data
  • Reference...

Open Refine Introduction

  • Filtering and Sorting with OpenRefine
  • Examining Numbers in OpenRefine
  • Scripts from OpenRefine
  • Exporting and Saving Data from OpenRefine
  • Reference...

Programming in Python

  • Introductory Programming in Python
  • Introductory to Python Pandas
  • Indexing, Slicing, and Subsetting DataFrames
  • Data Types and Formats
  • Combining DataFrames
  • Data workflows and automation
  • Plotting with ggplot
  • Matplotlib and Python Pandas
  • Reference...


If you are bringing a personal laptop please follow the instructions below. A computer with the requisite software will be provided for you if you do not elect to bring a personal computer. 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 for Speadsheets and OpenRefine: Setup Instructions.

You will also need Python:


Python is a popular language for research computing, and great for general-purpose programming as well. Installing all of its research packages individually can be a bit difficult, so we recommend Anaconda, an all-in-one installer.

Regardless of how you choose to install it, please make sure you install Python version 3.x (e.g., 3.4 is fine).

We will teach Python using the IPython notebook, a programming environment that runs in a web browser. For this to work you will need a reasonably up-to-date browser. The current versions of the Chrome, Safari and Firefox browsers are all supported (some older browsers, including Internet Explorer version 9 and below, are not).


Video Tutorial
  1. Open with your web browser.
  2. Download the Python 3 installer for Windows.
  3. Install Python 3 using all of the defaults for installation except make sure to check Make Anaconda the default Python.

Mac OS X

Video Tutorial
  1. Open with your web browser.
  2. Download the Python 3 installer for OS X.
  3. Install Python 3 using all of the defaults for installation.


  1. Open with your web browser.
  2. Download the Python 3 installer for Linux.
    (Installation requires using the shell. If you aren't comfortable doing the installation yourself stop here and request help at the workshop.)
  3. Open a terminal window.
  4. Type
    bash Anaconda3-
    and then press tab. The name of the file you just downloaded should appear. If it does not, navigate to the folder where you downloaded the file, for example with:
    cd Downloads
    Then, try again.
  5. Press enter. You will follow the text-only prompts. To move through the text, press the space key. Type yes and press enter to approve the license. Press enter to approve the default location for the files. Type yes and press enter to prepend Anaconda to your PATH (this makes the Anaconda distribution the default Python).
  6. Close the terminal window.

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.