adopt in the provision of data services, thus blending appraisal with advocacy.
How are libraries currently giving assistance in data management planning?
What recommendations can libraries make that draw from, and build on,
these efforts? The article also reports on new communities of practice forming
around the challenges of digital data issues, bringing together much needed
knowledge and expertise not only from libraries but also from various other
sectors of a university, including IT divisions, grant administration offices,
and research institutes.
The NSF requirement may appear to cast libraries into uncharted territory,
but there is arguably much territory already charted here—to the extent that
some of it may need only to be remapped toward either specific or
generalizable uses. An example is the challenge of developing a template
broadly applicable to management of research data in a range of disciplines,
yet sufficiently detailed and targeted both to meet the NSF requirement and
to suit the particular community of interest (in the absence of more specific
guidelines provided by an NSF directorate or division). Another example is
found in practices familiar to subject specialist librarians with public service
experience: just as the reference interview constitutes an important structured
approach for determining the information need of users, so is the “data
interview” a critical, deliberate process for helping researchers think through
their data management needs.2
Similarly, information literacy practices can also be consulted. An effective
understanding of data management planning involves reaching a level of
literacy about data—i.e., what are the issues regarding description and
documentation of data as well as their access, sharing, storage, and security?
Tutorials and workshops in “data literacy” can be integrated in research
methodology courses and certificate programs in research integrity, which
many junior faculty and even graduate students conducting original research
often are required to take. Given the increasing emphasis on the ability to
understand and work with data, as well as to manage it, it becomes
incumbent on librarians and faculty to work together to educate students
early in their university and college careers about research data and, perhaps
more crucial, to impart consistent advice on how to “do” data planning.
Subject specialists who have liaison librarian responsibilities have a
prominent role to play in this realm, too, as suggested by Tracy Gabridge of
MIT in “The Last Mile: Liaison Roles in Curating Science and Engineering
Joining in the Enterprise of Response in the Wake of the NSF Requirement
C O N T I N U E D
FEBRUARY 2011 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC