Investing and trading in strategic resources for academic data services: A case study

HAMILTON, Angela and YANOFSKY, Deena (2018) Investing and trading in strategic resources for academic data services: A case study. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2018 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Transform Libraries, Transform Societies in Session 139 - Education and Training, Science and Technology, and Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/2168
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Language: English (Original)
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Abstract

Investing and trading in strategic resources for academic data services: A case study

While the meaning of “data” and its role in the research process has shifted numerous times over the past few decades, the role of the academic data librarian has remained focused on helping faculty and students access, use, and preserve all aspects of this distinctive class of information in support of the creation of new knowledge. At the same time, rapid advances in information technology, the explosive growth of digital data, and new methods of scholarly communication have collectively transformed data services in libraries, by impacting their operations, functions, and even their mission. Today, data librarianship is a field of knowledge that can require specific expertise in network technologies, information architecture, metadata, data structuring, text and data mining, data cleaning, manipulation, analysis and visualization, coding, data metrics, data management and data curation, data literacy and data ethics. As a consequence, library services related to research data continue to be a developing area where the responsibilities and practices of data librarianship within academic libraries are generally not yet firmly established. This paper offers an overview of the strategic planning and establishment of research data services within a Canadian university campus library. The University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) Library is located on the eastern edge of the City of Toronto, one of three campuses that make up the larger University of Toronto system. Primarily an undergraduate community, students, faculty, and staff have access to library resources and services across all three campuses, including a centrally located Map and Data Library. The main challenges facing the UTSC Library are: 1. to develop high-quality research data services that would meet the current needs of faculty and students in alignment with the pre-existing services of the main campus Library; 2. to build awareness and use of these services; 3. to generate support, excitement, and engagement of librarians and staff within the UTSC Library; 4. to work with librarians and staff to build the knowledge and skills needed to ensure the scalability and sustainability of UTSC's data services; 5. to be flexible enough to respond to future development opportunities in an area that is continuously shifting and expanding. The authors of this paper will describe the process of developing research data services at the UTSC Library, beginning from the creation (proposal stage) of a data librarian position, hiring and staffing, development of a mandate in alignment with the Library’s mission, to the first stages of implementation and assessment. We will discuss how these activities integrate into the wider context of the UTSC Library’s user services and functional departments, specifically the Digital Scholarship Unit (DSU) and the Liaison Librarian Program. Additionally, as one of three campuses which span the Greater Toronto Area, we will discuss the role of data services at a smaller, undergraduate campus in relation to University of Toronto Libraries main campus data services and, in particular, what distinct value and services a smaller-sized library data service can contribute to the research community, as well as future developments in the field of data librarianship.

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