Collecting Small Data Karen Hogenboom, Numeric and Spatial Data Librarian, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Tom Teper, Associate Dean of Libraries and Associate University Librarian for Collections, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Lynn Wiley, Head of Acquisitions, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Introduction I n recent years, our professional literature has devoted many pages to the need for data services in support of e-science.1 Naturally, most of these publications focus on the development of support services that enhance our ability to meet the needs of scientists and other individuals who collect and analyze large data sets, or “big data.” For example, ARL’s recent publication E-Science and Data Support Services: A Study of ARL Member Institutions sought to document the various approaches that member institutions employ when providing data-support services for the e-sciences.2 In discussing these needs, much of the focus—both locally and in the literature—tends to center on addressing the issues that arise when institutions contemplate providing support for computational, team, and networked sciences. Yet, as noted in E-Science and Data Support Services, what we call big data only represents one part of the significant challenge that research libraries face in meeting changing data needs in our respective scholarly communities.3 The acquisition and management of small data present particular challenges that require exploration as our institutions evolve to meet changing user needs. (“Small” refers both to the size of the data set and the cost of acquiring and managing the data when compared to data sets like the human genome or 100 years of weather observations.) Locally, this growing interest in managing data is part of a broader interest in exploring new options for acquiring resources that will meet the changing needs of our faculty and student communities. Positive developments (such as RLI 276 12 SEPTEMBER 2011 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A QUARTERLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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