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Data in the Disciplines: Ethnographic Data Workshop

This is the website for the Data in the Disciplines IMLS Grant.

About the Workshop

Ethnographic Data Curation Workshop for Students and Faculty at Northwest Five Colleges

Thursday, September 26th, 12-5pm ; Friday, September 27th, 9-4pm
Smith Hall, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, OR

The Ethnographic Data Curation workshop will help students and faculty to effectively collect and manage ethnographic research data, and particularly applies to research involving fieldwork and human subjects in disciplines including anthropology, sociology, ethnomusicology, and linguistics.

We will share strategies for handling your field research materials, from planning a project through to storing and sharing selected materials.  This includes modules on organizing your data, safeguarding sensitive records to protect privacy, obtaining informed consent to later archive or share field recordings, using controlled vocabularies to make your materials more findable to secondary users, and discussions of the ethical considerations at play in working with this irreproducible data type. 


Workshop Partner

Celia Emmelhainz will serve as consultant and workshop facilitator.  Emmelhainz is the Anthropology and Qualitative Research Librarian at the University of California, Berkeley.  In addition to holding a masters in library science, Emmelhainz earned a masters in anthropology from Texas A & M University and has conducted ethnographic research in Mongolia and Kazakhstan.  She is the 2018-2021 liaison between the American Library Association and the Anthropological Association, a member of the Research Data Alliance's Digital Practices in History and Ethnography Interest Group, and serves on a working group for renovating the national Council for the Preservation of Anthropological Records.  She has published on indexing anthropology datasets and issues surrounding ethnographic data preservation. 


Workshop Schedule

The tentative schedule for the workshop is as follows:

Thursday Lunch (12-1pm)

Thursday Afternoon (1pm-5pm):

  • Opportunities and Concerns in Handling Ethnographic Materials: We will begin with introductions and a discussion of participant concerns around organizing, storing, and sharing ethnographic materials.
  • Organizing your Ethnographic Projects to Prevent Problems Later:  We will discuss ways to organize your data for later analysis, storage, and sharing. 
  • Privacy: Securing and Storing Data: We will address options for safeguarding sensitive records, informed consent for archiving, storage options, and the tension between safeguarding privacy and long-term access to historical/cultural information.

Thursday Dinner (5-6:30 pm)

Friday Breakfast (8-9am)

Friday Morning (9am-12pm):

  • Coding and Indexing: Handling Your Records and Making Them Findable: We'll start the morning with a discussion of anonymization before coding, coding systems output, and schemas to use in coding and indexing your project. 
  • Sharing Selected Materials: We will explore when and how to share ethnographic field materials, including selected digital exhibits, and archival deposits. We'll cover limitations you can set on funder-encouraged data sharing, such as data use agreements, secondary informed consent, and time-based embargoes.

Friday Lunch (12-1pm)

Friday Afternoon (1-4pm):

  • Ethnographic Data in the Undergraduate Experience: Finally, we'll bring together what we learned in a discussion of qualitative data literacy and ethnographic data in the undergraduate experience. We hope to begin developing an outline for an undergraduate curricular module on ethnographic data literacy which could be adapted more widely at the Northwest Five Colleges.

We do understand that potential attendees may have obligations that conflict with portions of the workshop and encourage faculty and students to come to as much of the workshop as possible. Meals are included for workshop attendees.


Registration and Cost

Faculty and students should apply to the workshop using this form (registration for attendees traveling from beyond the Willamette Valley will close in early September).

Attendees traveling to Lewis & Clark from other Northwest Five institutions are eligible for reimbursement of travel and lodging expenditures through Lewis & Clark via the IMLS grant supporting the workshop. 


The Ethnographic Data Curation workshop is a collaboration of five institutions (Lewis & Clark CollegeReed CollegeUniversity of Puget SoundWhitman College, and Willamette University).  


Ethnographic Planning Group

  • Parvaneh Abbaspour, L&C
  • Amy Blau, Whitman College
  • Eli Gandour-Rood, University of Puget Sound
  • David Isaac, Reed College
  • John Repplinger, Willamette University