The Hill Library’s new Data Experience Lab will enable digital research and data wizardry

Part of the library’s major renovation, the DXL will open in fall 2020

As data transforms academic fields of study and economic sectors, students, faculty, and researchers need data skills to succeed. The Hill Library’s new Data Experience Lab (DXL), opening in fall 2020, will be NC State’s community hub for data science, data visualization, digital research and scholarship, and scholarly communication. 

The DXL’s devoted staff will offer drop-in support and consultation for anyone working with data, creating visualizations, using geospatial methodologies, or employing cutting edge digital methods and approaches. The flexible South Learning Lab will provide collaboration space as well as the ability to host project presentations and public events. 

“The Data Experience Lab will be like a makerspace but for people interested in data,” says Mike Nutt, the Libraries’ Associate Head of Data & Visualization Services. “We want the DXL to be an inclusive place where anyone can come to talk about and learn about data, whether you are a complete beginner or an advanced analyst.”

Drop-in support and data consultation
Working across disciplines and with all levels of user expertise, Data Science Consultants will provide drop-in support for text and data analysis, visualization, machine learning, and statistical computing tools such as R, Python, and MATLAB—everything from basic data skills to large digital research projects. Professional library staff and graduate student employees will provide more in-depth, one-on-one consultations for various aspects of data science, data visualization, digital humanities methods, and open research workflows. 

The DXL will be staffed by the same people running the Hunt Library’s Dataspace and the pop-up Datapoint in the Hill Library, which had over 1,600 consultations during the fall 2019 semester alone. Like with those popular spaces, DXL users can request a custom, hands-on instruction session or collaborate on the development of activities or assignments.

DXL consultants can help with skills and topics including:

  • Finding and using data 
  • Data cleaning, manipulation, and modeling 
  • Quantitative and qualitative data analysis 
  • Geospatial analysis and mapping 
  • Text and data mining 
  • Visualization design and tools 
  • Data management 
  • Digital humanities 
  • Research workflows 
  • Scholarly sharing 
  • Open science 
  • Publishing 
  • Copyright and fair use

Technical resources
The DXL will feature reservable Windows and Mac workstations optimized for data-intensive work with high-end graphics processors, enough memory and storage for large projects, and software for data analysis and data visualization. A large touch screen will be available for sharing projects, viewing visualizations, or examining high-resolution image data. 

About the Hill Library renovation
The major renovation underway at the Hill Library is scheduled to open in fall 2020. With the goal of enhancing student and faculty success, this project features a new Academic Success Center and new technology-rich Libraries spaces—including the Data Experience Lab, Innovation Studio, and Visualization Studio—making the Hill Library NC State's one-stop hub for learning, teaching, research, collaboration, and experimentation. The project also includes a complete renovation of the second and third floors of the bookstacks tower and a new open stairwell that will connect those floors with the Ask Us lobby. Visit the Hill Renovation site for information and updates about the entire project