An insider's guide to data librarianship packed full of practical examples and advice for any library and information professional learning to deal with data.
Interest in data has been growing in recent years. Support for this peculiar class of digital information – its use, preservation and curation, and how to support researchers' production and consumption of it in ever greater volumes to create new knowledge, is needed more than ever. Many librarians and information professionals are finding their working life is pulling them toward data support or research data management but lack the skills required.
The Data Librarian's Handbook, written by two data librarians with over 30 years' combined experience, unpicks the everyday role of the data librarian and offers practical guidance on how to collect, curate and crunch data for economic, social and scientific purposes.
With contemporary case studies from a range of institutions and disciplines, tips for best practice, study aids and links to key resources, The Data Librarian's Handbook is a must-read for all new entrants to the field, library and information students and working professionals.
1. Data librarianship: responding to research innovation
- The rise of data librarians
- Addressing early demand for data services in the social sciences
- The growth of data collections
- The origins of data libraries
- A new map of support for services and researchers
2. What is different about data?
- Attitudes and pre-conceptions
- Is there a difference if data are created or re-used?
- Data and intellectual property rights
- The relationship of metadata to data
- Big data
- Long tail data
- The need for data citation
- Embracing and advocating data curation
3. Supporting data literacy
- Information literacy with data awareness
- Categories of data
- Top tips for the reference interview
- What has statistical literacy got to do with it?
- Data journalism and data visualization
- Topics in research data management
- Training in data handling
4. Building a data collection
- Policy and data
- Promoting and sustaining use of a collection
- Embedding data within the library
5. Research data management service and policy: working across your institution
- Librarians and RDM
- Why does an institution need an RDM policy?
- What comprises a good RDM policy?
- Tips for getting an RDM policy passed
- Toolkits for measuring institutional preparedness for RDM
- Planning RDM services: what do they look like?
- Evaluation and benchmarking
- What is the library’s role?
6. Data management plans as a calling card
- Responding to challenges in data support
- Leading by example: eight vignettes
- The snowball effect of data management plans
7. Essentials of data repositories
- Repository versus archive?
- Put, get, search: what is a repository?
- Scoping your data repository
- Choosing a metadata schema
- Managing access
- Data quality review (or be kind to your end-users)
- Digital preservation planning across space and time
- Trusted digital repositories
- The need for interoperability
8. Dealing with sensitive data
- Challenging assumptions about data
- Understanding how researchers view their research
- Sensitivity and confidentiality – a general or specific problem?
- A role in giving advice on consent agreements
- Storing and preserving confidential data effectively
9. Data sharing in the disciplines
- Culture change in academia
10. Supporting open scholarship and open science
- Going green: impact of the open access movement
- Free software, open data and data licences
- Big data as a new paradigm?
- Data as first-class research objects
- Reproducibility in science
- Do libraries need a reboot?
Robin Rice is Data Librarian at EDINA and Data Library, an organisation providing data services for research and education based in Information Services at the University of Edinburgh.
John Southall is Data Librarian for the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford. He is based in the Social Science Library and is subject consultant for Economics, Sociology and Social Policy & Intervention.
"Included are examples and case studies along with takeaways and reflective questions at the end of each chapter. Because of these features, this work would make for a helpful teaching tool for lecturers at information schools [...] Highly recommended for anyone just getting started in working with data."
– Nathalie Reid, University of California, Library Journal
"Rice and Southall write clearly and even entertainingly. The book is well organized and flows smoothly. Although both authors are from the United Kingdom, the book takes an international approach and is suitable for an international audience [...] its coverage is quite comprehensive. It is highly recommended as a source for all new data librarians and other librarians starting to work with data."
– Daniel Edelstein, University of Windsor, International Journal of Librarianship
"The Data Librarian's Handbook covers a large amount of interesting terrain in thoughtful and accessible ways. It is both essential for any information professional interested in data and their management, and is also indicative of the increasing – and increasingly varied – role that data and data management play in libraries and more broadly across academia."
– Neil Stewart, LSE Library, LSE Review of Books
"The authors provide several case studies showing how librarians have been able to participate in the creation of grant mandated data management plans and, by doing so, establish close links and increase their credibility with researchers [...] the challenge for librarians – which the insights in this book very usefully address – is to be able to adapt their support to continuing new developments in the whole research lifecycle."
– K & IM Refer
"The Data Librarian's Handbook is very highly recommended for the practicing data librarian, those new in their post with little experience of providing data support. The Data Librarian's Handbook will also prove to be an invaluable reference for managers and policymakers, public service librarians, research data management coordinators and data support staff. The Data Librarian's Handbook is unreservedly recommended as a core addition to community, governmental, and academic Library Science collections and supplemental studies reading lists."
– Midwest Book Review
"[...] offers a universal appeal to the budding data librarians. This book would also be useful to the scholars and participants of iSchools and short-term courses to understand a domain of an emerging professional role."
– Journal of Scientometric Research