29 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 298 2019 those with a title “data scientist,” but also by our data curators and even by the scientists who originally collected, analyzed, and then prepared their data for publication. How did we get to this place? The story begins with NAL and its data services, starting with data curation. We describe how we are developing and testing prototype services in data science and data management planning. In each data service discussion, we explain the key partnerships that have been instrumental to iterative service development. History of NAL’s Data Services NAL has a deep history. Founded in 1863 by the same legislation that founded the Department of Agriculture, NAL’s mission has been to acquire, describe, provide access to, and preserve the literature of agriculture and related sciences. The library has grown to manage nearly 2.5 million physical volumes, as well as digital collections, information centers, and a thriving reference service. NAL currently is part of the USDA Agricultural Research Service, USDA’s agency for intramural research, which employs nearly 2,000 scientists. It has long had a special relationship with the United States land-grant university system and, together with four other libraries in that system, formed the Agriculture Network Information Collaborative (AgNIC) in 1995. AgNIC has since grown to more than 50 participating groups,3 with partners in both Canada and Mexico along with the United States, and taken on a number of data-related initiatives that are further described by Erica Johns in this issue of RLI. In 2012, NAL created the Knowledge Services Division to support the advanced research data needs of agricultural researchers and the broader community. However, “data needs” encompass a very broad range of requirements. Cooper et al.4 and Hanscom et al.5 found that the needs range from guidance on data management, to data storage infrastructure, to analytical skill building. Moreover, data policy and practice are rapidly changing, and there are calls for improved infrastructure to serve the needs of emerging fields such as precision agriculture.6
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