People Behind The Events You Love: International Love Data Week

People Behind The Events You Love is an occasional series highlighting the work we do to make events happen. In this story, Mary Oberlies, Data and Instruction Librarian; Rachel Hogan, Instruction and Research Librarian; and Anna Milholland, Head of McLeod Business Library, discuss International Love Data Week, held February 12-16, 2024.

Two women working together in front of a laptop on a transcription
Rachel Hogan, Instruction & Research Librarian, and Jennifer Putzi, the Sara and Jess Cloud Professor of English & Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies, work together on a transcription during Love Data Week's Transcribe-a-thon.

What is International Love Data Week? Why did we decide to take part?
International Love Data Week (ILDW) is an international celebration of data, taking place every year during the week of Valentine's day. Universities, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, corporations and individuals are encouraged to host and participate in data-related events and activities. It was created by ICPSR (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research) which provides leadership and training in data access, curation and methods of analysis for the social science research community. ICPSR is a part of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.

We thought it was important to participate in ILDW this year to celebrate the approval for the new data science school here at William & Mary and to highlight the data services of William & Mary Libraries and our campus partners.

What events were included?
We had a mixture of week-long and solo events hosted by W&M Libraries and our campus partners:

Week-long Events:

  • Swipe Right on Data
  • Data Visualization Table
  • Faculty Data Project Spotlight


  • Monday, February 12th:
    • Transcribe-a-Thon, Hosted by W&M Libraries
  • Tuesday, February 13th:
    • Data Zine Making, Hosted by Swem Library Makerspace
    • Love in the Archives Open House, Hosted by Special Collections Research Center
  • Wednesday, February 14th:
    • Data Privacy: The AI challenge for educating in the digital age, Sponsored by STLI, Office of the Provost, Information Technology & W&M Libraries
    • Blind Data With a Book Display, Hosted by W&M Libraries
  • Thursday, February 15th:
    • Data Button Making, Hosted by Swem Library Makerspace
  • Friday, February 16th:
    • CGA GeoData Expo, Hosted by the Center for Geospatial Analysis (CGA)

What event was most popular with the campus? Which one was your favorite?
We had two events that were popular with campus during ILDW. The data visualization table was the most popular of the events that we ran throughout the week. We asked a new question everyday and it was exciting to see how many folks were excited to participate. We had people make write-in categories and some of the jars got so full that we had to add another one. The five questions were "What is your favorite spot in the library?," "What is your favorite historical location at W&M?," "What's your favorite TWAMP tradition?," "I spend a lot of time in the library on...," and "What's your favorite library artwork?'

Table with jars filled with red hearts indicating votes for favorite spot in Swem Library
The first data visualization question, "What is your favorite spot in the library?" with options for the 2nd floor, Column 15, Read & Relax, 3rd floor, Media Center and the Botetourt Gallery. The 3rd floor won with Read & Relax coming in a close second place.

The most popular of the in-person events was the Transcribe-a-thon which kicked off the week. We had 40 attendees pop-in throughout the day to transcribe the materials from Special Collections and Library Faculty Scholar and W&M English Professor Jennifer Putzi’s research project. There was also a great turn-out for Jennifer’s lunchtime lecture during the event.

My (Rachel's) favorite event was the data visualization table, but I also really enjoyed putting together all of the activities and seeing people engage with them.

What future plans do you have?
Next year, International Love Data Week will probably not be as big as it was this inaugural year, but we definitely plan to bring back the events that were fan favorites with some changes to make it fun but not repetitive.

Thank you to Mary, Rachel, and Anna for these events!