if ( you want to see our SAA poster ) { you = “can in this blog post”; }

Poster Presentation SAA 2016 - Vertical

Click here for a high(er)-quality PDF.

Some NDSR-NY alum (Dinah Handel, Morgan McKeehan and myself) presented a poster at the Society of American Archivists (SAA) Conference in Atlanta.  The poster was meant to present three “real-life” scenarios where archivists with a range of experience in programming/scripting (from beginning to moderate) implemented their new coding skills into their NDSR projects.  We wanted to demonstrate that yes, you can be a beginner coder and implement some pretty cool/impactful things, but it does require some time and effort, especially if you’re starting from scratch.

Here are three of my most memorable questions/discussions I discussed with some of our poster’s visitors:

  • If I have never programmed before, how do I even begin to learn?
  • Even if I’ve learned some programming, how do I begin to apply what I have learned practically to a project/workflow at my institution/organization?
  • It seems like most job positions in archives would benefit from a little bit of programming know-how, yet my MLS/archives program did not offer programming courses.

Here are some entry points that I found useful learning programming fundamentals:

  • Foundations of Programming with Simon Allardice ( course) – This is a great course that starts off assuming you have no understand of what programming is (which is where I was at the beginning of NDSR), building your knowledge from the ground up. At the end, you will have written a JavaScript application, illustrating how programming can be practically applied to something we are all familiar with (a webpage).  Lynda is not free; however, some major library systems like the NYPL offer free subscriptions to their patrons.  Lynda has tons of other programming courses available, so it’s probably worth checking out if your local library system grants free access to it.
  • Code Academy – A free suite of online courses teaching beginning to intermediate programming.  There are courses in things like the basics of the command line to how to run SQL queries.  The interface is easy for new users, since the commands/scripts you run do not require that you set up a server on your end: instead, you can run your code off their server and they will correct your syntax as you go.

If you have found any useful resources beginning your path towards learning programming, let me know!