Available Until 12/31/2024

Grow Your Library's Data Services: A Novice’s Guide to Data Competitions (Recording)

Learn how hosting and participating in marathon data competitions can energize staff, show off data services, attract new users, create new partnerships, and provide an opportunity for the creation of new knowledge. You’ll see how the time and resources needed to plan and host a competition pay off in increased use of services and an elevated library profile.

In a data marathon, teams come together to devise a plan that fits a theme and see a project through from start to finish. Projects may involve programming, 3D printing, design, research skills, building resources, or anything that is within the bounds of a competition and best showcases your library services.

You’ll learn about the types of data competitions (hackathons, datathons, mapathons, and more), the resources and data skills needed to run a successful competition, and how to market a competition and maximize the attention your data services receive. You’ll also learn how to use open data sources for your competition and how to use competitions to help participants develop data skills.

You’ll leave with the tools, resources, and knowledge you need to establish campus buy-in, plan a competition, and bring excitement to your library.

This is an elective for the Level II of the Data Services Specialization.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Identify types of data competitions
  • Articulate data competencies needed by the host librarian(s) to facilitate a data competition
  • Align institutional aims with a data competition
  • Apply lessons learned about data competitions to plan and execute data competitions



Medical librarians and other health information professionals who have some data services skills or are interested in new ways to showcase their library’s data services


Bethany McGowan photoBethany McGowan, AHIP, is a health sciences information specialist and associate professor in the Libraries and School of Information Studies at Purdue University. She has published on, competed in, and hosted biomedical data competitions.

Nancy Shin photoNancy Shin is the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) Region 5 Outreach and Data Coordinator at the University of Washington, Seattle. Nancy has published on library involvement in health hackathons and has participated in several medical hackathons as a librarian participant.




Registration Information

  • Length: 1.5 hour recorded webinar
  • Technical information: After you have registered, go to My Learning in MEDLIB-ED to access the recorded webinar, resources, evaluation, and certificate.
  • Register, participate, and earn 1.5 MLA continuing education (CE) contact hours.