Applied Data Science Librarian

Pennsylvania, United States
05 Jan 2021
End of advertisement period
05 Mar 2021
Contract Type
Full Time

University Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn’s distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

Job Description Summary

Reporting to the Assistant University Librarian for Research Data and Digital Scholarship, the Applied Data Science Librarian is a key member of a growing team that supports interdisciplinary digital research and scholarship across Penn’s schools and centers.

Job Description

The Applied Data Science Services Librarian provides robust data science support services and evidence-based pedagogical opportunities in computational methods for Penn community members across the disciplines and with varying degrees of technical and methodological experience. The Librarian designs and delivers a sustainable, scalable research support program and a range of instructional support materials for established and emerging data science tools and methodologies for such as web scraping, data mining, and machine learning, as well as programming and scripting languages such as Python and R for research, analysis, and data visualization and communication. Along with colleagues in Research Data and Digital Scholarship, the position is responsible for providing instruction and outreach to faculty, students, and interdisciplinary campus groups, supporting both individual and team or lab data-driven research and scholarship.

I. Vision and Justification

Data underlies all digital research and scholarship, and as the current pandemic is teaching us, research and scholarship are increasingly digital. Data science methods and tools open new ways for researchers across the disciplines to explore, analyze, present, visualize, and share research and create new learning outcomes and transferable skills for students. As scholars such as Safiya Noble have argued, however, such methods are not without their own set of biases. By embedding the role of the applied data science librarian in the research data and digital scholarship team, rich in project-based expertise, critical analysis, cultural heritage, and humanistic inquiry, the Libraries seeks to expand its data services with a critical lens and a focus on data literacy and ethical engagement with digital tools and methods. This position will further the Libraries’ commitment to research support at every stage of the modern research ecosystem, supplementing existing expertise in data management, data and text analysis, 3D modeling, geospatial research, and digital publishing with expertise in foundational digital and data literacies, critical machine learning, computational research methods, and data storytelling.  As an inclusive set of practices with entry points for people with any level of expertise, digital scholarship offers Penn community members the opportunity to live up to the Penn Compact 2022, to contribute in innovative ways to projects that matter in the 21st Century—projects that can positively impact their local and global communities.

II. Fit with Research Data and Digital Scholarship: The Data-Driven Research Ecosystem

The Research Data and Digital Scholarship team currently boasts expertise in text mining, Geographic Information Systems and spatial visualization, data curation, topic modeling, network analysis, data stewardship, public digital humanities, research data management and FAIR data, and research communication. The team provides training in digital literacies, ethics, and methods to students, faculty, and clinicians; collaborates and advises on the design, creation, dissemination, and preservation of digital scholarship projects. The Applied Data Science Librarian will unique but complementary strengths, including but not limited to in-depth knowledge of programming and scripting languages and libraries for computational research at all levels to an engaged team and play a critical role in the disciplinary expansion of the team’s deep expertise in the humanities and humanistic social sciences and experience in meeting researcher needs to the quantitative social sciences, the biomedical sciences, and beyond.


  • ALA-accredited master’s degree in Library or Information Science or advanced degree in computer science, a quantitative social science, or related field.
  • Ability to use a variety of tools to extract and manipulate data from various sources (such as relational databases, web services and APIs).
  • Demonstrated experience with programming languages such as JavaScript, R, and Python and libraries for data visualization and machine learning (e.g., Plotly, Matplotlib, SciKit-Learn, Pattern)
  • Demonstrated advanced data skills, including data cleaning/wrangling/normalization, using regular expressions, and web scraping.
  • Familiarity with one or more data visualization tools or programming libraries (e.g., Tableau, d3.js, ggplot2, R Studio)
  • Demonstrated experience with data analysis tools such as R, STATA, SPSS, and SAS.
  • Experience with the creation, dissemination, and teaching of interactive instructional materials via Jupyter Notebooks and containerized environments
  • Interest in the ethical procurement, structuring, documenting, and interpreting of data for AI/ML
  • Interest in algorithmic bias and the responsible use of data science and machine learning for research and scholarship

*** REQUIRED*** Please submit a resume and cover letter as one attachment when applying.

Job Location - City, State
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department / School
University Library

Pay Range
$42,953.00 - $77,315.00

Affirmative Action Statement

Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

Special Requirements

Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

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