Library Carpentry, Pittsburgh

May 18, 2017

8:30 am - 5:00 pm

Instructors: James Baker, Tim Dennis

Helpers: Matthew Burton, Chris Erdmann, Lisa Zilinski, Ole Villadsen, Jeannette Ekstrøm

General Information

Library Carpentry is software skills training aimed at the needs and requirements of library professionals. Training takes place in face-to-face workshops where one or more of the developed modules are taught. Modules are also made available online (CC BY, published via GitHub Pages) for self-directed study or for adaption and reuse by library professionals. Library Carpentry is in the commons and for the commons. It is not tied to any institution or person.

For more information on Library Carpentry, please read: Baker, J. et al., (2016). Library Carpentry: software skills training for library professionals. LIBER Quarterly. 26(3), pp.141–162. DOI: 10.18352/lq.10176

Who: The course is aimed at library professionals. You don't need to have any previous knowledge of the tools that will be presented at the workshop.

Where: Digital Scholarship Commons, Hillman Library, 3960 Forbes Ave #271, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Get directions with OpenStreetMap or Google Maps.

When: May 18, 2017. 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. They should have a few specific software packages installed (listed below). They are also required to abide by Software Carpentry's Code of Conduct.

Accessibility: We are committed to making this workshop accessible to everybody. The workshop organisers 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 and we will attempt to provide them.

Contact: Please email or for more information.


  • Shell: Download the file from GitHub to your desktop and extract it there. You should now have a folder called “shell-lesson” there.
  • Open Refine: You need to download doaj-article-sample.csv, which is a csv file. Make a note of the location you save the file.

  • Schedule


    08:30 Coffee and setup
    09:00 Data intro
    09:30 Shell lessons for libraries
    10:30 Coffee
    10:45 Shell lessons for libraries (cont.)
    12:00 Lunch break
    13:00 Open Refine
    14:30 Break
    14:45 Open Refine (cont.)
    16:30 Discussion/Reflection

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


    The Unix Shell

    • Files and directories
    • History and tab completion
    • Counting and sorting contents in files
    • Pipes and redirection
    • Mining or searching in files
    • Reference...

    Open Refine

    • Introduction to OpenRefine
    • Importing data
    • Basic functions
    • Advanced Functions
    • Reference...


    To participate in a Software 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.

    The Bash Shell

    Bash is a commonly-used shell that gives you the power to do simple tasks more quickly.


    Video Tutorial
    1. Download the Git for Windows installer.
    2. Run the installer and follow the steps bellow:
      1. Click on "Next".
      2. Click on "Next".
      3. Keep "Use Git from the Windows Command Prompt" selected and click on "Next". If you forgot to do this programs that you need for the workshop will not work properly. If this happens rerun the installer and select the appropriate option.
      4. Click on "Next".
      5. Keep "Checkout Windows-style, commit Unix-style line endings" selected and click on "Next".
      6. Keep "Use Windows' default console window" selected and click on "Next".
      7. Click on "Install".
      8. Click on "Finish".
    3. If your "HOME" environment variable is not set (or you don't know what this is):
      1. Open command prompt (Open Start Menu then type cmd and press [Enter])
      2. Type the following line into the command prompt window exactly as shown:

        setx HOME "%USERPROFILE%"

      3. Press [Enter], you should see SUCCESS: Specified value was saved.
      4. Quit command prompt by typing exit then pressing [Enter]

    This will provide you with both Git and Bash in the Git Bash program.

    Mac OS X

    The default shell in all versions of Mac OS X is Bash, so no need to install anything. You access Bash from the Terminal (found in /Applications/Utilities). See the Git installation video tutorial for an example on how to open the Terminal. You may want to keep Terminal in your dock for this workshop.


    The default shell is usually Bash, but if your machine is set up differently you can run it by opening a terminal and typing bash. There is no need to install anything.

    Data: Download the file from GitHub to your desktop and extract it there. You should now have a folder called “shell-lesson” there.

    Open Refine

    You need to download and install OpenRefine and download a data file to follow this lesson.

    Downloading OpenRefine

    You can download OpenRefine from There are two versions you can use for this lesson:

    Generally OpenRefine 2.6 is recommended, but your instructor tested and will be using OpenRefine 2.7.

    There are versions for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

    Installing and Running OpenRefine

    When you download OpenRefine for Windows or Linux from the address above, you are downloading a zip file. To install OpenRefine you simply unzip the downloaded file wherever you want to install the program. This can be to a personal directory or to an applications or software directory - OpenRefine should run wherever you put the unzipped folder. The location has to be a "local" drive as problems have been reported trying to run OpenRefine from a Network drive.

    If you are downloading OpenRefine for Mac, you a re downloading a ‘dmg’ (disk image) file which you can open, and then drag the OpenRefine application to an appropriate folder on you computer.

    OpenRefine is a java application, and you need to have a ‘java runtime environment’ (JRE) installed on your computer to run OpenRefine. If you don’t already have one installed then you can download and install from by going to the site and clicking ‘Free Java Download’.

    To run Refine:

    The interface to OpenRefine is accessed via a web browser. When you run Refine normally this should open a window in your default web browser pointing at the address this doesn’t happen automatically you can open a web browser and type in this address.

    Getting Help

    If you encounter problems installing or running OpenRefine, a good source of support is the OpenRefine mailing list and forum

    If you are installing OpenRefine on Windows, you may want to check the thread on Installing OpenRefine on Windows 7

    There are also general and specialist tutorials about using OpenRefine available on the web, including:

    Downloading the data

    You need to download doaj-article-sample.csv, which is a csv file. Make a note of the location you save the file.