differences get in the way of learning from one another’s experiences. For
example, helpful models may be found in health science and medical library
settings. All of these speakers suggested that science
librarians must engage in an ongoing process of
measurement, assessment, and revision with regard
to the services they provide—learning from and
building upon the experiences of others where it is
reasonable to do so.2
Finally, as emphasized in particular by Liz Lyon,
Catherine Blake, and Carole Palmer, many of the roles
that science librarians will be called upon to play
focus on data, as science becomes more data-driven
itself. Science librarians will need to become data
consultants, data distributors, data service providers,
data analysts, data miners, and data curators. They
will be called upon to enforce data quality, aid in data
retrieval, construct data applications, and ensure that
data collections are properly annotated and
preserved. This will require science librarians to
repurpose and expand upon their existing competencies—especially information
organization and retrieval—to meet the challenges of managing data in addition
to literature and other more traditional research products.
Serving Future Generations of Users
A second recurring theme of the forum was the need to create sustainable
models for data preservation and reuse. The explosion in the volume of
scientific data entails a need to both determine data selection and preservation
procedures and find ways of maintaining access and usability as data
management systems change. Furthermore, lurking beneath all of these issues
lies another: how to financially sustain complex data systems over long periods
of time.
One compelling strategy for developing sustainable data life-cycle solutions
was voiced by William Michener early in the conference, and reiterated
frequently thereafter: discussing the issue of long-term support for scientific
research, Michener asserted the need for “domain-agnostic solutions.” That is,
he contended that a single cyberinfrastructure system should be capable of
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Reinventing Science Librarianship: Themes from the ARL-CNI Forum
(
C O N T I N U E D
)
FEBRUARY 2009 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
Listen to Liz Lyon on the increasingly
data-intensive nature of science
librarianship (2:16 MP3)
http://www.arl.org/bm~doc/lyonexcerpt.mp3
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