2020 ICPSR Data Fair

ICPSR Data FairSeptember 21-25, 2020
All free, all virtual, all open to the public

With all the unexpected twists and turns of 2020, the ICPSR Data Fair will provide a data lens on timely topics such as the elections, Black Lives Matter, the Census, higher education, immigration, COVID-19, and so much more.

Data Fair Schedule

Register via this registration form. Attendees will register once for the full Data Fair and will receive links to all presentations as part of your attendee materials.

Important to know:

  • All presentations take place via Zoom. Links to all presentations will be sent directly to registrants the week prior to the Data Fair.
  • Participants who attend five or more presentations will receive a Certificate of Completion.
  • Participants who attend ten or more presentations will be featured on the Data Fair website.

Getting Remote Assistance from DiSC (Spring 2020)

Even with the university closure and other uncertainties, DiSC staff continues to provide assistance to the Mason community.


DiSC has many online InfoGuides with information about the most common issues people encounter. These will continue to be available and updated.

As always, you can get assistance with any of your data needs by emailing datahelp@gmu.edu. We typically reply within 1 business day.


DiSC consultants continue to be available for appointments, but all will be conducted virtually. The university has a subscription to WebEx which enables video chat and screensharing.

Computer Lab

See below for advice on access to the most popular software. If you need additional assistance, please contact datahelp@gmu.edu. We can also suggest alternative solutions using free and open software.

Access to Data

Almost all library resources, including data, are available from off campus. For subscription sources, be sure to use links to the databases through the library website such as Subject List or the A-Z List so that you will be asked to log in.

Use our InfoGuides on finding data for access to popular data resources. Here are two good ones to start with:

Find Data & Statistics: Best Places to Start – useful for accessing sources for looking up statistics on a topic or building a quick table.

Find Data for Analysis – useful for finding datasets and data sources for data analysis projects.

Again, if you can’t find what you need, ask us.

Software Access

The university has a Virtual Computing Lab that provides access to some of the software through Microsoft’s Remote Desktop application (PC and Mac). With additional needs, it may not be as available as it has been. In addition, many have difficulty connecting to and using it. Those using Stata tend to be the most satisfied with it.

It may be best for students to install or have individual access to software. Here are some options for student access to the most popular software, as well as some alternatives that should be considered. The purchase column lists the lowest cost option.

Spring 2019 Updates

Welcome Alyssa, Digital Scholarship Consultant!

Alyssa Fahringer started at DiSC as the Digital Scholarship Consultant in early February. Before coming to Mason Libraries, she worked as a Graduate Research Assistant and Digital History Fellow at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media from 2014 through 2019 on various digital history projects, including the Papers of the War Department, the September 11 Digital Archive, and Omeka Classic and Omeka S. Alyssa also served as a Project Associate for two digital humanities teaching institutes. She has worked as a public librarian and in Hillman Library at the University of Pittsburgh, in addition to interning at the Library of Virginia. Alyssa has degrees in history and political science from Virginia Commonwealth University, an MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh, and an MA in history from George Mason University. She was accepted into GMU’s history PhD program in 2014, and is currently in the process of completing her dissertation. She is excited to be a part of DiSC and Mason Libraries.

Recap of Recent DiSC Sponsored Events

Carpentry Workshops

DiSC hosted two Carpentries workshops. They were held on December 13-14, 2018, and January 25-26, 2019. Those who attended the Library Carpentry workshop were eligible to sign up for The Carpentries instructor training. Three library staff took advantage of this opportunity and are currently going through the instructor training process. They are: Peggy Griesinger (now at Notre Dame), Debby Kermer, and Wendy Mann.

January’s Data Carpentry workshop covered its Social Sciences curriculum. This workshop was co-sponsored by the Schar School and held at the Arlington Campus. A combination of library staff, Schar School and S-CAR students participated.

Both workshops were at capacity with an average of 40 attendees each day.

We couldn’t have successfully carried out these workshops without the help of our helpers and organizers: Rohan Bidarkota, Peggy Greisinger, Debby Kermer, Margaret Lam, Wendy Mann, Chris Magee, Helen McManus, Andrew Stevens, and Joy Suh.

The December Library Carpentry workshop fee was sponsored by an IMLS grant and attendees included staff from Mason and WRLC Libraries.

Thank you to University Libraries and the Schar School for covering the workshop fee for the Data Carpentry workshop.

DiSC Research Connections

On February 5th, Steven Weinberger, Associate Professor of Linguistics presented, “The Sound of Your Voice: The Speech Accent Archive.” Dr. Weinberger discussed the history of and current state of the speech accent archive.

LaTeX Workshop

On Thursday, March 14, 2019, Professor Stephen Scott from the Department of Computational & Data Sciences taught an introductory workshop on LaTeX, a free document preparation system for high-quality typesetting, to library faculty and staff in the DiSC lab at Fenwick Library. Professor Scott is a proud Mason alum, and he is currently teaching CSI 500: Computational Science Tools as an online course. In the two-hour workshop, Professor Scott presented four weeks’ worth of course content. He gave an overview of LaTeX, which is pronounced «Lah-tech» or «Lay-tech», and showcased the numerous benefits of using LaTeX with hands-on exercises, from incorporating complex mathematical equations into your document to creating a bibliography in a particular citation style. He recommended the book, LaTeX: A Document Preparation System, by Leslie Lamport, as a great resource to learn more about this software system. All who attended enjoyed learning from him and appreciated his thoughtful and candid style of teaching.

More information about LaTeX can be found here: https://www.latex-project.org/.