and awareness of new processes and services to develop for assisting faculty
researchers.
In this enterprise of response, however, it is early days yet. While at some
institutions, research data assessment activities are well underway, at others
the value of data as a long-term and reusable asset, the management of which
is worthwhile funding, still has traction to gain among high-level university
administrators, who have a vested interest in continuing to receive significant
research funds. Questions such as how institutions will curate research data in
a centralized way, make them discoverable, findable, and usable, and ensure
long-term preservation and access will depend much on identifying relevant
stakeholders, arriving at a common ground and obtaining buy-in (which
includes stakeholder participation in the process and not hand waving), and
forging the right working relationships to get things done. As librarians work
increasingly across units and departments both within and beyond their
libraries, it will be energizing for the profession to see what models for agility,
collaboration, communication, program development, process management,
and workflow design come into play that can be adapted for local environ-
ments. Foremost, what results externally from this enterprise, in terms of
innovative user services, must be evident and of benefit to the faculty and
students whom academic libraries serve, especially if we want to foster “new
users of data.” As Meredith Farkas notes in a posting to her blog, Information
Wants to Be Free, “We need to understand how they [our patrons] do research,
how they use our current resources, why some of them don’t use the library,
and what they want from the library that they’re not currently getting.”11
When this understanding is achieved, the “last mile” will be completed.
RLI 274
16
Joining in the Enterprise of Response in the Wake of the NSF Requirement
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C O N T I N U E D
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FEBRUARY 2011 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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