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Issues confronting data professionals

US and UK governments embrace 'open data'

The US Open Government Directive, released on December 8, 2009, instructs all federal agencies to provide high-value information to the public online in open, accessible, machine-readable formats. more...

Data Visualization Without Computers

Topic:

Vintage Infographics From the 1930s, Flowing Data (Sept. 11, 2009). Some examples from Willard Cope Brinton's 1939 book Graphic Presentation.

 

- jim

 

Conference webcasts and presentations online!

A week has passed since IASSIST 2009. I hope most of you have made it safely back home by now - and are ready to refresh the memories by watching the conference webcasts and viewing presentations. Webcasts of all three plenaries and Thursday and Friday's concurrent sessions in the Small Auditorium are now available. We didn't have cameras available during the Wednesday sessions, so no videos of these presentations, sorry! But most of the presentations are already online - a few are still missing either because we didn't have them or we are waiting for an updated version. Please send in any missing presentations or email me if there are mistakes that should be corrected!

 

Tuomas J. Alaterä Information Network Specialist tuomas.alatera@uta.fi Finnish Social Science Data Archive (FSD) http://www.fsd.uta.fi FI-33014 University of Tampere

Special IQ: Moving Research Data Into and Out of Institutional Repositories

The IASSIST Quarterly IQ Vol. 31 issue 3&4 is now available on the web:

http://iassistdata.org/publications/iq/iqvol31.html

This issue will only be available on the web. There will be no printed version mailed out to the membership.

This double issue is the work of the authors and their articles are introduced below. We are presenting an integrated double issue of high quality. We should also give a special thanks to the editors of the issue. Gretchen Gano is the writing guest editor of this IQ as you can see below. Gretchen Gano is the Assistant Curator Librarian for Public Administration & Government Information and Coordinator, Data Service Studio at New York University Libraries. Gretchen Gano collaborated on this issue from the start with former IASSIST president Ann Green. Together with the authors a great issue has been made.

Enjoy

Karsten Boye Rasmussen, IQ editor, associate professor, kbr@sam.sdu.dk, Marketing & Management, SDU, University of Southern Denmark +45 6550 2115

Guest Editor's Notes:

The 2008 IASSIST Conference, “Technology of Data: Collection, Communication, Access and Preservation” included a session entitled “Moving Research Data Into and Out of Institutional Repositories” from which several papers emerged. In “Interoperability Between Institutional and Data Repositories: a Pilot Project at MIT”, Katherine McNeill describes a pilot project to enhance study discovery between two repository systems housed in the same institution, DSpace and the Institute for Quantitative Social Science Dataverse Network, by enabling the harvesting and replication of metadata and content across the two systems. In a related project across the pond, Libby Bishop scales this discussion in her description of crossinstitutional collection sharing between the University of Leeds and the UK Data Archive in the Timescapes project. Bishop asserts that coordination among multiple agents is likely to be challenging under any circumstances. Challenges magnify when the trajectories of different life cycles, for research projects and for data sharing, are considered. Robin Rice echoes these sentiments in her article on the DISC-UK DataShare Project, a collaboration between the Universities of Edinburgh, Oxford and Southampton and the London School of Economics. Rice provides visual evidence in a compelling diagram of the data sharing continuum based on storage, discovery, and preservation conditions of the digital research materials at each level along the scale -- from the lowly thumb drive to the officious national archive. We see plainly that as one moves up the continuum, more and more human effort and intervention is required to craft the discovery, access, analytic and preservation environment. In other words, data curators matter.

Two other papers tackle these challenges by emphasizing the needs of data producers. Luis Martinez-Uribe introduces the University of Oxford’s Scoping Digital Repository Services for Research Data Management project and the findings of a requirement gathering exercise. While the study results reveal researchers’ needs and workflows. Martinez-Uribe asserts that the study process itself made an impact on the participants. Study participants reflected on and, as a result, fine-tuned how they work with data, why they create these materials in the first place and were able to articulate reasons for managing these resources the way they do. Similarly, Research Data & Environmental Sciences Librarian, Gail Steinhart, writes about the development of DataStaR, a Data Staging Repository hosted by Cornell University’s Albert R. Mann Library. The project developed as a “managed workspace” where researchers contribute datasets they are still actively using in direct response to questions that have to do with sharing in the active research environment, rather than an archival one.

While the authors in this issue describe projects going on in many different places and settings, taken together, these articles address common themes. All address the challenge of scaling data exchange between systems and then between institutions. This raises the perennial question of standards: by what mechanisms will we set them, and how well will we be able to follow them and still accommodate local needs? The importance of aligning repository services with researcher needs is another common thread. Data managers must ask, “how will the active researcher benefit from curation efforts”? The answer may be that benefit is more than finding or accessing a particular resource (yep, I have downloaded the whole thing and all the bits are there), but instead being able to examine this resource in many ways (okay, lets run frequencies, now I want to see it on a map, and let’s include some other variables). This is a rich reuse experience, creating a real digital “laboratory.”

Finally, each contributor notes the expanding role of data manager. In its own way, each project described here moves data managers upstream, pre-publication, into the place where research is actively happening. Though all of the articles focus on technological choices and architectures to support research data curation, it is striking to realize that each of these choices emerge from old-fashioned personal, social, and organizational relationships. What we can strive for as data and information managers is to work together as fellow researchers and to be ever curious about how these partnerships and the sharing of information back and forth can be enhanced by thoughtful information and technology design. Some call this the digital plumbing, but I like to think of it as e-gilding.

Gretchen Gano, New York University Libraries

New IQ!

The IASSIST Quarterly (IQ Vol. 31 issue 2 - 2007) is now available on the web:

 

http://iassistdata.org/publications/iq/iqvol31.html

 

This issue will be printed and mailed to the membership. From next issue IASSIST will be saving trees and only publish the IQ on the web. We hope you agree with our decision. Thanks.

  more...

Registration for the IASSIST 2009 is open

Tervetuloa Tampereelle, Welcome to Tampere!

 

Registration for the 2009 IASSIST conference is now officially open. On the conference web site there is more information on registration, accommodations and excursions.

  more...

Symposium on Institutional Data Services at Edinburgh

The Edinburgh University Data Library celebrated 25 years of support for staff and students in their discovery, access, use and management of research datasets. On 5 December 2008, following on from the Digital Curation Centre international conference held in Edinburgh that week, friends and colleagues from near and far gathered in the afternoon at the EDINA offices to celebrate the milestone with short speeches and cutting the cake, along with food, drink and toasts. more...

Data Scientists, Data Managers, Data Librarians, Oh My!

The Skills, Role and Career Structure of Data Scientists: An Assessment of Current Practice and Future Needs is a report prepared by Alma Swan and Sheridan Brown this summer for JISC in the UK.

The Skills, Role and Career Structure of Data Scientists: An Assessment of Current Practice and Future Needs is a report prepared by Alma Swan and Sheridan Brown this summer for JISC in the UK. more...

Canadian Research Data Strategy Working Group Established

Research Data Strategy Working Group Established http ://cisti-icist.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/media/press/rds_group_e.html, press release, August 12, 2008.

The research process generates huge amounts of data that are an important part of Canada's scholarly record and hold enormous potential as an additional discovery and problem-solving tool for researchers. Unfortunately, Canada has no nationally adopted standards or policies governing how this data is collected, catalogued, or preserved.

Research Data Strategy Working Group Established http ://cisti-icist.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/media/press/rds_group_e.html, press release, August 12, 2008.

The research process generates huge amounts of data that are an important part of Canada's scholarly record and hold enormous potential as an additional discovery and problem-solving tool for researchers. Unfortunately, Canada has no nationally adopted standards or policies governing how this data is collected, catalogued, or preserved.

A new collaborative effort is now underway to address the challenges surrounding the access and preservation of this data. The Research Data Strategy (RDS) Working Group http://data-donnees.gc.ca/eng/members.html is a multi-disciplinary group of universities, institutes, libraries, granting agencies, and individual researchers with a shared recognition of the pressing need to deal with Canadian data management issues.

Together, the Working Group is focusing on the necessary actions, next steps and leadership roles that researchers and institutions can take to ensure Canada's research data is accessible and usable for current and future generations of researchers.

To support this effort, the Working Group has launched the Research Data Canada Web site http ://data-donnees.gc.ca/eng/index.html as a tool to communicate with the broader community and to facilitate communication within and between three task groups, which have been formed to explore issues related to policies, funding and research; infrastructure and services; and capacity (skills, training, and reward systems).

The RDS Working Group will be convening a consultation around these issues at a future date to gather input and develop an action plan.

  • 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

    more...

  • Resources

    Resources

    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...

  • community

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    • Twitter

    Find out what IASSISTers are doing in the field and explore other avenues of presentation, communication and discussion via social networking and related online social spaces. more...