Call for proposals

Midwest Data Librarian Symposium (MDLS) invites session proposals for its 5th symposium taking place at The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) from September 30 to October 1, 2019.

MDLS is a low-cost, 2-day, hands-on, unconference style event for Midwesterners who support research data management and research data services (RDS) at their institutions. The greater data community is invited to present interactive sessions at this year’s event. Presenters from all disciplines and regions are encouraged to apply. Proposal and session expectations are provided below.

Submit a session proposal for MDLS 2019

Proposals are due on July 31, 2019.

Questions should be addressed to

Applicants should be aware that as a low-cost event, MDLS cannot compensate for travel/lodging or pay presenter fees. If travel and lodging costs will be a barrier to your participation please email the planning committee chairs at and to discuss options. 


Presenters will present a 60 to 150 min interactive session on a data or research data services (RDS) topic.

Sessions should:

  • Incorporate active-learning activities.
  • Include time for reporting back and/or discussion.
  • Be able to accommodate a variety of experience levels.
  • Be “tech-lite” (i.e. laptops cannot be required for every participant).
  • Plan to teach 60-70 individuals seated in small groups at round tables.

Successful applications will:

  • Clearly articulate interactive components and learning outcomes.
  • Promote an accessible and inclusive experience.
  • Present materials that have not been presented at other “data conferences.”
  • Omit identifying information in their description (proposals will undergo blind review).
  • Expect session materials and outputs to be openly shared online post-event.

Topic ideas

The planning committee welcomes session proposals on all topics related to research data and RDS. The following should be seen only as a source of possible inspiration, not as suggestions or requirements:

  • Is it digital humanities? Is it data? Is it both?
  • Recognizing inherent bias in research data work.
  • What is the intersection between data and aspects of the ACRL framework?
  • How does local campus and community shape RDS development?
  • Assessing the social value of data services.
  • Putting new data tools in context. 
  • Intersections of special collections, archives, museums, and data. 
  • Talent retention and career development in Library RDM positions.