Program Session

3 - The Data Visualization Clinic: A Library-Led Workshop on Data Visualization

Monday, May 29
1:35 PM - 1:50 PM
Room: 607

Objective: Many researchers have difficulty designing effective data visualizations and connecting with others involved in visualization. The library leveraged its role as a campus hub to connect researchers for two purposes: a) to aid in designing data visualizations and b) to foster a community of practice for researchers with visualization challenges.


After attending several “Data Viz Clinic” events piloted at our medical center’s affiliated, main-campus (non-medical) library, we adapted the program for our patrons: medical center faculty, staff and students. Email blasts, announcements during library presentations, and liaison outreach were used to market across the medical center. The recurring event was held in a library classroom, and a number of participants presented their visualization projects. A data visualization librarian managed logistics, led the session and facilitated discussion, which included peer and expert feedback. Presenters were allotted 10-15 minutes for presenting their work and discussion, which consisted of  audience members asking questions and providing suggestions. Evaluation forms collected data on participants’ experience.  


Three sessions were held since fall 2016, with 48 individuals attending and 85 online enrollments. Clinic participants represented a range of departments and roles at the med center, including clinicians, basic science researchers, students and project managers. Ninety-four percent of participants said they either would highly recommend or recommend the session, and ⅔ of the total participants rated the experience at the highest level in our evaluation forms. Of 85 class signups, 14 individuals were repeat enrollments, meaning 16% felt sufficiently motivated to sign up again. Additionally, the events fostered discussion among diverse library patrons, leading to an environment of open communication for attendees and allowing them to network in the context of data visualization.


The Data Visualization Clinic is a low-cost, low-barrier-to-entry way to leverage library space for providing data visualization services. The event relies on participation from attendees to present projects and offer insights, allowing the librarian to serve primarily as a facilitator. As such the event brings in expertise from the clinic’s participants and allows them to share their knowledge and foster a community of practice. The Data Visualization Clinic helps promote library services both in data visualization and as an institutional resource, while allowing participants to shape content and form connections.

Keywords: data visualization, data services, data lifecycle, data analysis, scholarly communications, workshops, technology, innovation, community of practice, library as hub

Program Session

Fred LaPolla

Knowledge Management Librarian
NYU Health Sciences Library
New York, New York

Fred LaPolla is a junior faculty member with NYU's Health Sciences Library Data Services team. He is interested in data visualization, bibliometrics, and research data management. Fred earned his MLS at Queens College, CUNY.


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Denis Rubin

Senior Quantitative Analysis Specialist
NYU Data Services
New York, New York


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3 - The Data Visualization Clinic: A Library-Led Workshop on Data Visualization

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