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Katharin Peter

Social Sciences Data Librarian
University of Southern California
How did you become involved in the world of data?: 

Before I became a librarian, I worked as a researcher for an education/public policy firm. Much of my work there involved analyzing student-level data on postsecondary education in the United States. As a data librarian, I use this experience to help current researchers using quantitative information—especially with data discovery.

What do you value most about your membership in IASSIST?: 

I am the sole data librarian at my university, so having access to a group of people doing similar work at other institutions has been invaluable. IASSIST member Libbie Stephenson (at nearby UCLA) was especially helpful when I started out.  

What was your favorite IASSIST conference?: 

Visiting Finland was probably the best. Why aren't there more saunas in the United States?

What is your favorite data set?: 

My favorite data set is probably the World Bank’s World Development Indicators—especially since it is freely accessible to anyone hoping to find solutions to global problems.  Not to name names, but I can think of several international organizations that could better serve their mission by making their data freely available.

What are some things you are working on currently?: 

I contributed a chapter to Lynda Kellam’s recently published Numeric Data Services and Sources for the General Reference Librarian.  Currently, I am teaching a class on social science library data services for the San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science.  

When not working with data I…: 

Outside of data, I received a grant to pilot a library ambassador/peer mentoring program for incoming freshman living in the residence halls at my university.  Check it out here.

  • IASSIST Quarterly

    Publications Special issue: A pioneer data librarian
    Welcome to the special volume of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ (37):1-4, 2013). This special issue started as exchange of ideas between Libbie Stephenson and Margaret Adams to collect


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    A space for IASSIST members to share professional resources useful to them in their daily work. Also the IASSIST Jobs Repository for an archive of data-related position descriptions. more...

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