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R Packages: A Beginner's Tutorial

An introduction to R packages based on 11 of the most frequently asked user questions.

R packages are collections of functions and data sets developed by the community. They increase the power of R by improving existing base R functionalities, or by adding new ones. For example, if you are usually working with data frames, probably you will have heard about dplyr or data.table, two of the most popular R packages.

But imagine that you'd like to do some natural language processing of Korean texts, extract weather data from the web, or even estimate actual evapotranspiration using land surface energy balance models, R packages got you covered! Recently, the official repository (CRAN) reached 10,000 packages published, and many more are publicly available through the internet.

If you are starting with R, today’s post will cover the basics of R packages and how to use them. You’ll cover the following topics, and 11 frequently asked user questions: