The Application Process The University Library publicized the program on its website, via announcements to subject specialists, and through a weekly e-mail digest distributed to all faculty and staff on campus. Applicants described the goals of their research project, the importance of the requested data to their research, and the uniqueness or unique functionality of the requested data compared to other sources of the same data. Emphasizing the desirability of Internet-accessible data and data available without restrictions that prohibited delivery to the entire campus, the call for proposals also indicated a strong preference for applications that proposed partnerships between librarians and researchers. Although we did not expect many to take up this partnership offer, there was some hope that opportunities would arise for subject specialists to be included in, or otherwise engaged by, research teams. Some of the inquiries during the application period were questions about the availability of data, and, in two cases, members of the Data Services Committee were able to point researchers to resources that the University Library already owned or to which it already subscribed. Other inquiries were out of scope, related to linguistic data, copies of tangible documents, or requests to cover processing fees for publically available data sets. The Data Services Committee referred these inquiries to appropriate subject specialists in the library. One research team proposed a project where the University Library would purchase address data, which they, in turn, proposed to map. Although this data could not be licensed by the library, the research team would then work with the University Library to give the georeferenced data back to the vendor in exchange for wider access to the original data. In the end, nine researchers applied, and the library supported six applications. Applications came from researchers in geography, business, political science, agriculture, and psychology. One approved application was for a single year’s subscription with the understanding that the library would not necessarily renew the subscription, but the rest were for discrete acquisitions. Implications for Acquisitions The acquisitions process brought its own issues and complications. Variations in local procurement processes and how vendors sell the actual data all affected the potential for successfully fulfilling the request. The necessary components RLI 276 14 Collecting Small Data ( C O N T I N U E D ) SEPTEMBER 2011 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A QUARTERLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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