Facet Publishing have announced the release of The Data Librarian’s Handbook by Robin Rice and John Southall.
This new book, written by two data librarians with over 30 years’ 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.
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.
Covering everything from handling, managing and curating data; data literacy; research data management policies; data management plans; data repositories; confidential or sensitive data; open scholarship and open science, The Data Librarian’s Handbook is a must-read for all new entrants to the field, LIS students and working professionals.
The authors said, “Our aim is to offer an insider’s view of data librarianship as it is today, with plenty of practical examples and advice. At times we link this to wider academic and research agendas and scholarly communication trends, while grounding these thoughts back in theeveryday work of data librarians and other information professionals”.
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.
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Starr Hoffman has made two videos to support her new book Dynamic Research Support for Academic Libraries, published this month by Facet. The first video describes how academic libraries can support the research lifecycle for faculty and students and the second introduces the book and defines ‘research support’.
Facet are pleased to announce the release of two new books, Practical Tips for Facilitating Research and Dynamic Research Support for Academic Libraries.
Higher education is in a period of rapid evolution and academic libraries must continually evaluate and adjust their services to meet new needs. Librarian roles are changing and new specialisms, such as data librarians are emerging. Activities are being driven by researcher requirements such as the demand for wider dissemination and the impact of research.
Two new books from Facet Publishing, Practical Tips for Facilitating Research and Dynamic Research Support for Academic Libraries, will provide inspiration and practical guidance to enable LIS staff developing their role in the research environment to evaluate their current provision and develop services to meet the evolving needs of the research community.
Practical Tips for Facilitating Research offers innovative tips and reliable best practice to assist academic liaison librarians, research support librarians and all library and information professionals who work with research staff and students.
Author Moira Bent said, “my book bridges the gap between theory and practice, grounding the very practical ideas garnered from library and information staff around the world in current research in the library and information science discipline.”
Dynamic Research Support for Academic Libraries provides inspiration through illustrative examples of emerging models of research support and is contributed to by library practitioners from across the world.
Editor Starr Hoffman said, “Dynamic Research Support for Academic Libraries is designed to inspire librarians and administrators to think of ‘research support’ not merely as Reference 2.0, but as an innovative, holistic activity that should be distributed throughout the organization.”
A preview chapter for each book is available on the Facet website, along with information about how to order.
The slideshow below takes you chapter-by-chapter through the new Facet title edited by Deborah Shorley and Michael Jubb, The Future of Scholarly Communication.
Picture a scene: in a county record office somewhere in England, a young archivist is looking through the morning post. Among the usual enquiry letters and payments for copies of documents is a mysterious padded envelope. Opening it reveals five floppy disks of various sizes, accompanied by a brief covering letter from the office manager of a long-established local business, explaining that the contents had been discovered during a recent office refurbishment; since the record office has previously acquired the historic paper records of the company, perhaps these would also be of interest? The disks themselves bear only terse labels, such as ‘Minutes, 1988-90’ or ‘customers.dbf’. Some, the archivist recognizes as being 3.5” disks, while the larger ones seem vaguely familiar from a digital preservation seminar she attended during her training. On one point she is certain: the office PCs are not capable of reading any of them. How can she discover what is actually on the disks, and whether they contain important business records or junk? And even if they do prove of archival interest, what should the record office actually do with them?
Meanwhile, a university librarian in the mid-west USA attends a faculty meeting to discuss the burgeoning institutional repository. Introduced a few years ago to store PDF copies of academic preprints and postprints, there is increasing demand from staff to store other kinds of content in a much wider range of formats, from original research data, to student dissertations and theses, teaching materials and course notes, and to make that content available for reuse by others in novel ways. How, the librarian ponders, does the repository need to be adapted to meet these new requirements, and what must the library do to ensure the long-term preservation of such a diverse digital collection?
Finally, in East Africa, a national archivist has just finished reading a report from a consultant commissioned to advise on requirements for preserving electronic records. The latest in a series of projects to develop records management within government, he knows that this work is crucial to promoting transparency, empowering citizens by providing them with access to reliable information, reducing corruption and improving governance through the use of new technologies. The national archives has achieved much in recent years, putting in place strong records management processes and guidance. But how to develop the digital preservation systems necessary to achieve the report’s ambitious recommendations, with limited budgets and staff skills, and an unreliable IT infrastructure?
Practical Digital Preservation is intended to help these people, and the countless other information managers and curators around the world who are wrestling with the challenges of preserving digital data, to answer these questions. If the book had been written only a few years ago, it would first have to explain the need for digital preservation at length, illustrated no doubt with celebrated examples of data loss such as the BBC Domesday disks, or NASA’s Viking probe.
Today, most information management professionals are all too aware of the fact that, without active intervention, digital information is subject to rapid and catastrophic loss – the warnings of an impending ‘Digital Dark Ages’ have served their purpose. Hopefully, they are equally alive to the enormous benefits of digital preservation, in unlocking the current and long-term value of that information. Instead, their principal concern now is how to respond in a practical way to these challenges. There is a sense that awareness of the solutions has not kept pace with appreciation of the potential and the problems.
Such solutions as are widely known are generally seen as being the preserve of major institutions – the national libraries and archives – with multi-million pound budgets and large numbers of staff at their disposal. Even if reality often doesn’t match this perception – many national memory institutions are tackling digital preservation on a comparative shoestring – there is no doubt that such organizations have been at the vanguard of developments in the field.
The challenges can sometimes appear overpowering. The extraordinary growth in the creation of digital information is often described using rather frightening or negative analogies, such as the ‘digital deluge’ or ‘data tsunami’. These certainly reflect the common anxieties that information curators and consumers have about their abilities to manage these gargantuan volumes of data, and to find and understand the information they need within. These concerns are compounded by a similarly overwhelming wave of information generated by the digital preservation community: no one with any exposure to the field can have escaped a certain sense of despair at ever keeping up to date with the constant stream of reports, conferences, blogs, wikis, projects and tweets.
Practical Digital Preservation demonstrates that, in reality, it is not only possible but eminently realistic for organizations of all sizes to put digital preservation into practice, even with very limited resources and existing knowledge. The book demonstrates this through a combination of practical guidance, and case studies which reinforce that guidance, illustrating how it has already been successfully applied in the real world.
Chemistry is widely considered to stand at the crossroads of many disciplines, with signposts to molecular, life, materials, polymer, environmental and computer sciences, as well as to physics and mathematics, and even art and design. To collaborate and share research data and ideas across these areas, research scientists must strive (and do not always succeed) to find common languages to express their intended concepts.
(Rzepa, Henry S. (2013). Changing ways of sharing research in chemistry. In: Shorley, Deborah and Jubb, Michael. The Future of Scholarly Communication. London: Facet Publishing. 3).
The following is an abstract of the Henry S. Rzepa’s chapter ‘Changing ways of sharing research in chemistry’ in The Future of Scholarly Communication. A PDF of the full chapter is available for free on the Facet Publishing website.
The challenges of sharing research in chemistry are introduced via the molecule and how its essential information features might be formalized. The review then covers a period of around 33 years, describing how scientists used to share information about the molecule, and how that sharing has evolved during a period that has seen the widespread introduction of several disruptive technologies. These include e-mail and its now ubiquitous attachment, the world wide web and its modern expression via blogs and wikis. The review describes how digital documents have similarly evolved during this period, acquiring in some cases digital rights management, metadata and most recently an existence in the cloud. The review also describes how the dissemination of digital research data has also changed dramatically, the most recent innovation being data repositories, and speculates what the future of sharing research via the latest disruptive technology, tablets, might be.