Tartan Datascapes is a blog featuring snapshots of the data landscape across the entire Carnegie Mellon University campus, including students, staff, and faculty from the College of Fine Arts to the School of Computer Science. Each installment of Tartan Datascapes features an individual researcher or research team, highlighting how their work contributes to the broader datascapes of CMU, as well as special features on tools and educational opportunities at CMU Libraries to support research data management. Our students, staff, and faculty from across the spectrum of domains are doing amazing work with data at our institution, and Tartan Datascapes is a great place to read about this work!

Featured with each blog are quick tips for managing your data through research data management (RDM) techniques, and information on how the University Libraries can assist you with your myriad data needs through workshops, outreach, and consultations!

For more information about Tartan Datascapes or to request a feature of your research, teaching, or coursework, please contact Dr. Hannah Gunderman, Research Data Management Consultant, at

Doctor Who, Political Facebook Posts, and Coming Clean about my Data Management History

Hi Datascapers - I'll refrain from saying "I hope everyone is doing well!" as I feel it's a bit of cold comfort right now. It's perfectly valid to not be doing well right now, and to be feeling a host of emotions. Did you know that Counseling and Psychological Services (CaPs) at CMU has some special resources for navigating emotions around COVID-19? Click here to learn more about the ways you can find support.

YYYY-MM-DD - My Declaration of Love for ISO 8601

How’s everyone doing? Lately, I’ve been trying out different songs to sing while I wash my hands, and as someone who spent so much time living in lovely East Tennessee (Go Vols!), I’m thrilled that the chorus of “Jolene” by Dolly Parton is exactly 20 seconds. Here’s a Twitter thread with a list of other songs with 20 second choruses:

Researcher Highlight: Divyansh Kaushik and the Fascinating Data Behind Natural Language Comprehension!

Hello Datascapers! I’m bringing this feature to you from Washington D.C., where I’m currently at a conference that is exploring public access to research data - an incredibly important topic of discussion (learn more here:!

Data Management Plans: The Original Love Letter to Your Data

Hello Datascapers! This week brought us a wide variety of weather, from a sunny start to the week, to a cold mid-week, to a rainy end of the week. Moving from Knoxville almost seven months ago, I still haven't gotten used to the quick weather changes that happen in Pittsburgh. I don't know about you, but this has wreaked havoc on my sinuses! While we're in a busy time of the semester (which, let's be honest, that could be said for the whole semester!), I'm trying to make time for some rest and some fun, which for me entails lots of tea and Netflix. 

Bagels and Bioinformatics: NCBI Codeathon at CMU Libraries

Happy Friday, Datascapers! Now that we are a couple of weeks into the semester, how is everyone feeling? Are you staying hydrated? If you are like me, it’s a struggle to remember to drink water throughout the busy day, and by the end of the day, you have a significant dehydration headache and feel like a dried-out sponge. Or maybe that’s just me. Regardless, I love to use phone apps to help me remember to drink water.

Researcher Highlight: Dr. Nico Slate and the Beauty of Textual Data

My regular readers are probably thinking “Wait, there was a new issue of Tartan Datascapes only last week!” Even though I love Tartan Datascapes, I can safely assume that most folks will not be reading the next-scheduled issue on the 26th, and because I was so excited to close the year out on this researcher highlight, I decided to bump up the issue a week!

Can a plant be a dataset? Find out in "Discovering the Data Universe"!

Hello Datascapers! We’re finally at the end of the semester, and as you take your finals, hand in your final projects, submit your grades, etc., I wanted to send a special note of support during this likely stressful time. This was always my favorite video to watch when I needed a study break during finals week, so I hope it brings a smile to your face too (hint: it's about a guinea pig having an existential crisis):

Research Highlight: Immersive Education through Shakespeare-VR

360-degree camera used in the filming of Hamlet for the Shakespeare-VR project

Hello all! We are rapidly approaching the end of the semester, and I’m sure as all of you can empathize, I am eagerly awaiting the holidays for some much needed rest. At CMU Libraries, we’ve been working hard to support students, staff, and faculty with their end-of-semester teaching and research needs, and we are also building up a great lineup of spring 2020 workshops and engagement opportunities. Keep a close watch on our website for updated information!