What is information science?

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Tomorrow sees the start of the iConference 2017 in Wuhan, China. To mark this, we are making some selected chapters from our information science textbooks freely available to view and download from the Facet Publishing website. The first is taken from David Bawden and Lyn Robinson’s seminal Introduction to Information Science.

The chapter, What is information science? Disciplines and professions, covers:

  • The nature of information science
  • What kind of discipline is information science?
  • Constituents and core9781856048101
  • Other information disciplines
  • The uniqueness of information science
  • History of information science.

You can view or download the chapter here.

Introduction to Information Science has been described as “the best introduction to information science available at present” (Birger Hjorland, Royal School of Library and Information Science) and “one of the very best places for people to start to make a difference.” (Jonathan Furner, UCLA).

More information about the book and the sample chapter are available on the Facet website.

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Exploring a workplace information literacy design

SONY DSCAn open access chapter from Information Literacy in the Workplace is available to view and download from the Facet Publishing website.

The chapter, Learning within for beyond: exploring a workplace information literacy design, written by Annemaree Lloyd, discusses:

  • how the intensification of work and creation of new ways of working can present librarians with challenges in terms of creating information literacy education that provides scaffolding for students’ transitions into professional or vocational practice.
  • how by addressing this need, librarians must balance students’ transitions at both ends of the process – into higher education or vocational settings, and then into the workplace. This complexity requires a recasting of pedagogical practices to accommodate changes in the nature of work. With this in mind, common themes drawn from practice-based research are used to construct a conceptualization of workplace information literacy instruction.

Information Literacy in the Workplace, edited by Marc Forster, explains how information literacy is essential to the contemporary workplace and is fundamental to competent, ethical and evidence-based practice.

More information about the book and the open access chapter are available on the Facet website.

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The case for open heritage data

open

An open access chapter from Henriette Roued-Cunliffe and Andrea Copeland’s new book Participatory Heritage is now available to view and download from the Facet Publishing website.

In this chapter, Henriette Roued-Cunliffe argues the case for open heritage data as a means to facilitating participation in heritage now and in the future. Three case studies feature in the chapter:

  1. Europeana APIs
  2. Vindolanda Tablets Online II
  3. Hack4DK in Denmark.

Participatory Heritage demonstrates how heritage institutions can work with community-based heritage groups to build broader, more inclusive and culturally relevant collections.

More information about the book and the open access chapter are available on the Facet website.

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Emergency planning for Special Collections

Flames

An open access chapter from the new edition of Alison Cullingford’s Special Collections Handbook is now available to view and download from the Facet Publishing website.

The chapter discusses threats that can destroy collections or items within them very quickly: the timescale for effective action is much shorter, so prevention, planning and rapid response are essential. The chapter covers:

  1. Causes and impact of emergencies in Special Collections, with particular emphasis on fire and water damage.
  2. How to prevent and prepare for emergencies via the emergency plan.
  3. Issues in responding to and recovering from emergencies.
  4. Planning for service continuity.
  5. Security issues and how to manage them
  6. Insurance issues.

Fully updated since the first edition, the Handbook covers all aspects of special collections work: preservation, developing collections, understanding objects, emergency planning, security, legal and ethical concerns, cataloguing, digitization, marketing, outreach, teaching, impact, advocacy and fundraising.

More information about the book and the open access chapter are available on the Facet website.

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How can heritage institutions work with their communities to build broader, more inclusive and culturally relevant collections?

Facet Publishing have announced the release of Participatory Heritage, edite9781783301232.jpgd by Henriette Roued-Cunliffe and Andrea Copeland

 The internet as a platform for facilitating human organization without the need for organizations has, through social media, created new challenges for cultural heritage institutions. Challenges include but are not limited to: how to manage copyright, ownership, orphan works, open data access to heritage representations and artefacts, crowdsourcing, cultural heritage amateurs, information as a commodity or information as public domain, sustainable preservation, attitudes towards openness and much more.

 Participatory Heritage uses a selection of international case studies to explore these issues. It demonstrates that in order for personal and community-based documentation and artefacts to be preserved and included in social and collective histories, individuals and community groups need the technical and knowledge infrastructures of support that formal cultural institutions can provide. In other words, both groups need each other.

The editors said, “It is our hope that this book will help information and heritage professionals learn from others who are engaging with participatory heritage communities”.

Henriette Roued-Cunliffe, DPhil is an Assistant Professor at the Royal School of Library and Information Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. She teaches and researches heritage data and information, and in particular how DIY culture is engaging with cultural heritage online and often outside of institutions. Her website is: roued.com.

Andrea Copeland is an Associate Professor in the Department of Library and Information Science in the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University, Indianapolis. Her research focus is public libraries and their relationship with communities, with a current emphasis on connecting the cultural outputs of individuals and community groups to a sustainable preservation infrastructure.

Love Your Data Week Roundup

Last week Facet participated in Love Your Data Week, a 5-day international event to help reasearchers take better care of their data. We have gathered all the resources we published during the week below

data-scrabble-turned

Image source: data (scrabble) by Flickr user justgrimes

New Open Access chapters

During the week, we made several new chapters from our research data management titles available Open Access. All the chapters can be downloaded below.

Supporting data literacy by Robin Rice and John Southall from The Data Librarian’s Handbook

Training researchers to manage data for better results, re-use and long-term access by Heather Coates from Dynamic Research Support for Academic Libraries

Specific interventions in the research process or lifecycle by Moira J Bent from Practical Tips for Facilitating Research

The lifecycle of data management by Sarah Higgins from Managing Research Data

A pathway to sustainable research data services: from scoping to sustainability by Angus Whyte from Delivering Research Data Management Services

Blogposts from Facet authors

Starr Hoffman explored the difference between research data and secondary data using the speed at which the DeLorean in Back to the Future will time jump as an example in her blogpost, Data Services and Terminology: Research Data versus Secondary Data

Robin Rice and John Southall provided practical advice for data librarians undertaking a reference consultation or interview to match users to the data required in their blogpost, Top tips for a data reference interview

Gillian Oliver talked about practical ways of ensuring you have a successful relationship with data in her blogpost, Five ways to love your data

Angus Whyte looked at what has changed in the world of research data management in the past three years in his blogpost, If data is loved so much, why is so much of it running around loose, dirty and in no fit state to get a job?

 

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If data is loved so much, why is so much of it running around loose, dirty and in no fit state to get a job?

Guest post by Angus Whyte, co-author of Delivering Research Data Management Services

Librarians have grown to love research data so much they can’t get enough of it! Well some at least have, and Love Your Data Week will help spread the love. Of course nobody loves data more than the researchers who produce it. Funders love it too; after all they pay for it to come into the world. If data is loved so much, why is so much of it running around loose, dirty and in no fit state to get a job? Is all that is needed a little more discipline?

data-lrgo

Image source: data (lego) by Flickr user justgrimes

Three years ago when Delivering Research Data Management Services was first published, my co-authors Graham Pryor and Sarah Jones were working with colleagues in the Digital Curation Centre and in universities across the UK to help them get support for research data off the ground and into the roster of institutional service development. At the time, as Graham said in his introduction, institution-wide RDM services had “at last begun to gain a foothold”.

The (now open access) chapter titled “a pathway to sustainable research data services: from scoping to sustainability”described six phases, from envisioning and initiating, through discovering requirements, to design, implementation and evaluation.  Across the UK sector as a whole, few institutions had got beyond the discovery phase. Some of the early adopters in the UK, US and Australia have case studies featured in the book, providing more fully-fledged examples of the mix of soft and hard service components that a ‘research data management service’ typically comprises. Broadly these include support for researchers to produce Data Management Plans, tools and storage infrastructure for managing active data, support for selection and handover to a suitable repository for long-term preservation, and support for others to discover what data the institution has produced.

So what has changed? The last three years have seen evolution, consolidation and growth. According to one recent survey of European academic research libraries almost all will be offering institutional RDM services within two years.[1] The mantra of FAIR data (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) has spurred a flurry of data policy-making by funders, journals and institutions.[2] Many organisations have yet to adopt one,but policy harmonisation is now a more pressing need than formulation. Data repositories have mushroomed, with re3data.org now listing about three times the number it did three years ago. Training materials and courses are becoming pervasive, and data stewardship is increasingly recognised as essential to data science.

The burgeoning development in each of these aspects of RDM does not hide the immaturity of the field; each aspects is the subject of international effort by groups like COAR (Confederation of Open Access Repositories), and the Research Data Alliance, to consolidate and codify the organisational and technical knowledge needed to further join up services. European initiatives to establish ‘Research Infrastructures’ have demonstrated how this can be done, at least for some disciplines.

Over the same period, many institutions have learned to love ‘the cloud’; gaining scalability and flexibility by integrating cloud storage and computation services with their IT infrastructure.  The same is not yet true of the higher-level RDM services that require academic libraries to collaborate with their IT and research office colleagues. Shared services are a trend that has seen some domain-focused data centres spread their disciplinary wings. Ambitious initiatives like the European Open Science Cloud pilot, will tell us how far ‘up the stack’ cloud services to support open science can go to offer better value to science and society.[3]

cloud

Image source: 3D Cloud Computing by ccPix.com

The biggest challenges in 2013 are still big challenges now. Political and cultural change is messy, for a number of reasons.There is high-level political will to fund data infrastructure as it’s seen as essential for innovation, as well as for research integrity. But the economic understanding to direct resources to where they are most needed, to ensure data is not only loved but properly cared for? That requires better understanding of what kinds of care produce good outcomes, like citation and reuse. Evaluation studies have been thin on the ground and, perhaps as a result, funding for data infrastructure still tends to be short-term and piecemeal.

The book offers a comprehensive grounding in the issues and sources to follow up. Its basic premise is as true now as when it was published: keeping data requires a mix of generic and domain-specific stewardship competencies, together with organisational commitments and basic infrastructure.  The basic challenge is as true now as then; research domains are fluid and tribal, crossing national and international boundaries and operating to norms that tend to resist institutional containers.  But that has always been the case, and yet institutions and their libraries continue to adapt and survive.

By happy coincidence the International Digital Curation Conference (IDCC17) is happening the week after Love Your Data Week. You can follow it as it happens on twitter at #idcc17

Dr Angus Whyte is a Senior Institutional Support Officer at the Digital Curation Centre, University of Edinburgh. He is responsible for developing online guidance and consultancy to research organisations, to support their development of research data services.  This is informed by studies of research data practices and stakeholder engagement in research institutions.

[1] Research Data Services in Europe’s Academic Research Libraries by Liber Europe

[2] Wilkinson, M. D., Dumontier, M., Aalbersberg, Ij. J., Appleton, G., Axton, M., Baak, A., … others. (2016). The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship

[3] European Open Science Cloud pilot

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