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Learning by Doing: Cases of Librarians Working with Faculty Research Data for the First Time

Presenter 1
Jake Carlson
Purdue University Libraries
Presenter 2
Michael Witt
Purdue University Libraries

With few precedents to follow, libraries and librarians who are beginning to explore their potential roles in data curation are grappling to relate their training and experience as librarians to the development and stewardship of data collections. In 2008, a group of librarians at Purdue University conducted an exercise to learn more about what data curation might mean to them in practical terms by identifying and engaging potential data contributors on campus. Subject-specialist librarians engaged six data creators from different disciplines, each in their own way, to solicit contributions from them. The librarians were asked to report back with a collection-level description of the dataset, their rationale for its selection, and a narrative of how they engaged and interacted with the data creator to answer questions such as, “How should the dataset be presented in the repository?” and “What policies are needed for its submission, use, and preservation?” The datasets were then ingested into a prototype data repository. This session will present the structure of the exercise along with vignettes to illustrate the challenges, issues, and insights of the librarians from their perspectives.

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