Guest post by Andrew Cox, co-author of the forthcoming book, Exploring Research Data Management
In a globalising world the future is complicated. It is not simply a matter of new trends impacting library work in clearly defined ways. Rather change seems to be impacting our work in complex ways. In a recent report on the future of academic libraries (Pinfield, Cox and Rutter, 2017) we sought to address this complexity by proposing that we think in terms of nexuses of change. Two major ones we identified were:
- “The dataification of research” -combining trends such as open access, open science, text and data mining, artificial intelligence and machine learning, the internet of things, digital humanities and academic social networking services, and
- “Connected learning” -incorporating changing pedagogies, learning analytics, students as customers, social media, mobile computing, maker spaces and blurring of space uses.
A story that seems to be threaded through these changes is the growing importance of data.
Research data management
Thus one aspect of change in research practice is the way that the valued outputs of research are increasingly not confined to written outputs, but also seen to lie in the underlying research data. If made discoverable and useable these data can be the foundation for new research. Research Data Management is the emergent set of professional practices that supports this emphasis. Librarians have had a big part in how this story has unfolded.
Text Data Mining
Another data related change in research is the way that texts in the library are increasingly to be seen as data for Text and Data Mining (TDM). When there are literally hundreds of thousands of research papers on a topic, a manually conducted “comprehensive literature review” becomes an impossibility. Rather we will need the help of text mining algorithms that seek out patterns in the corpus of texts. It is libraries that are seeking to create the legal and technical infrastructure in which TDM can be carried out.
Learning is also undergoing a data revolution. Usage behaviour as library or learning analytics is another key area of development. If we can connect the data we have about user visits to the library, book issues and resource downloads, activities in the virtual learning environment and in the classroom, we can produce a better understanding of learner behaviour to help customise services. Librarians could be at the forefront of mining this data to improve services.
Data: structured or unstructured?
Granted, this storm of interest in “data”, may disguise different usages of the term. Research data could be qualitative data, though they are perhaps most valuable and vulnerable when derived from data intensive science. TDM is concerned with text as unstructured data. Library and Learning analytics are based primarily on structured, log file data.
The ethical issues
At the same time our sensitivity to the ethical issues around data is rising. How can users be given appropriate control over their own data? What restrictions need to be placed on commercial companies’ use of data about our online behaviour? Can libraries themselves retain users’ trust while exploiting the benefits of learning data analysis for service improvement? There are also massive challenges around data preservation in all these contexts. The professional knowledge of librarians and archivists need to be translated to meet the challenges of data curation. Data literacy, as an aspect of information literacy, will also need to be part of librarians’ training offer.
All these trends suggest that our skills in managing, interpreting and visualising, and curating data, in ethical and legally safe ways, will be at the heart of our profession’s work in the next decades. One of our future stories is as a data profession.
Andrew Cox is a senior lecturer at the Information School, University of Sheffield and led the RDMRose Project. His research interests include virtual community, social media and library responses to technology. He coordinates Sheffield’s MSc in Digital Library Management.
You can follow Andrew on Twitter @iSchoolAndrew
Exploring Research Data Management is an accessible introduction to RDM with engaging tasks for the reader to follow and build their knowledge. It will be useful reading for all students studying librarianship and information management, and librarians who are interested in learning more about RDM and developing Research Data Services in their own institution.
Find out more about the forthcoming book here
Pinfield, S., Cox, A.M., Rutter, S. (2017). Mapping the future of academic libraries: A report for SCONUL. https://sconul.ac.uk/publication/mapping-the-future-of-academic-libraries
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As the iConference 2017 continues this week, we’ve made a new chapter, written by one of the conference chairs Gobinda Chowdhury, freely available to view and download from the Facet Publishing website.
The chapter, Management of cultural heritage information: policies and practices, is taken from the 2015 book Cultural Heritage Information, edited by Gobinda and Ian Ruthven. The chapter includes discussion of:
- some of the policies and guidelines for digitization that form the foundation of digital libraries of cultural heritage information
- the social, legal and policy issues involved with managing digital cultural heritage and their implications
- the provenance and digital rights management issues associated with cultural heritage information.
Cultural Heritage Information is the first book in the iResearch series. Edited by Gobinda Chowdhury, iResearch is a peer-reviewed monograph series supports the vision of the iSchools and creates authorative sources of information for research and scholarly activities in information studies. Each book in the series addresses a specific aspect or emerging topic of information studies and provides a state-of-the-art review of research in the chosen field and addresses the issues, challenges and progress of research and practice.
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Facet Publishing have announced the release of Participatory Heritage, edited 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.
Facet Publishing have announced the release of Linked Data for Cultural Heritage
In this new book Ed Jones and Michele Seikel along with a stellar list of contributors help readers understand linked data concepts by examining practice and projects based in libraries, archives, and museums.
Linked open data remains very much a work in progress, and much of the progress has taken place within the domain of the cultural heritage institutions. There is no question that the structure of linked data, and the machine inferencing it supports, shows great promise for discoverability. What will be the ‘killer app’ that breaks linked open data out to the wider world and accelerates its uptake? Perhaps it will be a project described in this volume.
The editors of the book said, “while we are still some distance from the world of linked data that Tim Berners-Lee, James Hendler, and Ora Lassila envisaged fifteen years ago when they first proposed a Semantic Web, this book provides a snapshot in time of the current linked data landscape among libraries and other cultural institutions – many very large datasets have now been made available as RDF, and the SPARQL query language enables sophisticated queries across datasets.”
The book examines projects including Europeana, the Digital Public Library of America, OCLC’s use of Schema.org and the development of the BIBFRAME data model and discusses how to migrate from a MARC to a linked data environment, how controlled vocabularies integrate with linked data and the role of authority control, identifiers and vocabularies including Web Ontology Language (OWL).
Ed Jones has been cataloguing serials, on and off, since 1976, and over the years has authored several scholarly papers and made numerous presentations on serials cataloguing, the FRBR and FRAD conceptual models, and RDA. He has been a member of the CONSER Operations Committee, on and off, since 1981, and recently served as an RDA advisor. In 1995, he received his doctorate in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. He is currently associate director for assessment and technical services at National University in San Diego.
Michele Seikel is a tenured professor and cataloguing librarian on the library faculty at Oklahoma State University. She has published several research papers in peer-reviewed technical services journals. In ALA, she has co-chaired the Cataloging Norms Interest Group and the Cataloging and Metadata Management Section’s Policy and Planning Committee. Currently, she chairs the ALCTS Planning Committee.
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Facet Publishing have announced the publication of Managing Digital Cultural Objects: Analysis, discovery and retrieval edited by Allen Foster and Pauline Rafferty both at Aberystwyth University.
The book explores the analysis and interpretation, discovery and retrieval of a variety of non-textual objects, including image, music and moving image.
Bringing together chapters written by leading experts in the field, the first part of this book provides an overview of the theoretical and academic aspects of digital cultural documentation and considers both technical and strategic issues relating to cultural heritage projects, digital asset management and sustainability. The second part includes contributions from practitioners in the field focusing on case studies from libraries, archives and museums. While the third and final part considers social networking and digital cultural objects.
Managing Digital Cultural Objects: Analysis, discovery and retrieval draws from disciplines including information retrieval, library and information science (LIS), digital preservation, digital humanities, cultural theory, digital media studies and art history. It’s argued that this multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach is both necessary and useful in the age of the ubiquitous and mobile web.
Key topics covered include:
- Managing, searching and finding digital cultural objects
- Data modelling for analysis, discovery and retrieval
- Social media data as a historical source
- Visual digital humanities
- Digital preservation of audio content
- Photos on social networking sites
- Searching and creating affinities in web music collections
- Film retrieval on the web.
The book will provide inspiration for students seeking to develop creative and innovative research projects at Masters and PhD levels and will be essential reading for those studying digital cultural object management. Equally, it should serve practitioners in the field who wish to create and develop innovative, creative and exciting projects in the future.
About the editors:
Allen Foster has a BA in Social History, a Master’s in Information Management and a PhD in Information Science. As Reader in Information Science, he has held various roles, including Head of Department for Information Studies, at Aberystwyth University. His research interest areas span the research process of Master’s and
PhD students, the development of models for information behaviour and serendipity, and user experience of information systems, creativity and information retrieval. He has guest edited for several journal special issues, is a regional editor for The Electronic Library and is a member of journal editorial boards, international panels and conference committees.
Dr Pauline Rafferty MA(Hons) MSc MCLIP is a Senior Lecturer and Director of Teaching and Learning at the Department of Information Studies, Aberystwyth University. She previously taught at the Department of Information Science, City University London, and in the School of Information Studies and Department of Media and Communication at the University of Central England, Birmingham.
Sarah Higgins, Aberystwyth University
Katrin Weller, GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences
Hannah Dee, Aberystwyth University
Lorna Hughes, University of Glasgow
Lloyd Roderick, Aberystwyth University
Alexander Brown, Aberystwyth University
Maureen Pennock, British Library
Michael Day, British Library
Will Prentice, British Library
Corinne Jörgensen, Florida State University (Emeritus)
Nicola Orio, University of Padua
Kathryn La Barre, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Rosa Ines de Novias Cordeiro, Federal Fluminense University, Rio de Janeiro
Cultural Heritage Information: Access and management, edited by G G Chowdhury and Ian Ruthven, the first book in the iResearch series, provides an overview of various challenges and contemporary research activities in cultural heritage information focusing particularly on the cultural heritage content types, their characteristic and digitization challenges; cultural heritage content organization and access issues; users and usability as well as various policy and sustainability issues associated with digital cultural heritage information systems and services.
The book contains eleven chapters that have been contributed by seventeen leading academics from six countries including; Melissa Terras, UCL; Paul Clough, University of Sheffield; Chris Alen Sula, Pratt Institute; Juliane Stiller, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Hussein Suleman, University of Cape Town and Ali Shiri, University of Alberta, Edmonton.
iResearch is a new academic series edited by G G Chowdhury, Professor in Information Science and Head of the Department of Mathematics and Information Science at Northumbria University. This peer-reviewed monograph series supports the vision of the iSchools and creates authoritative sources of information for research and scholarly activities in information studies. Each book in the series addresses a specific aspect or emerging topic of information studies and provides a state-of-the-art review of research in the chosen field and addresses the issues, challenges and progress of research and practice.
The series is overseen by an editorial board comprising; Peter Willett, University of Sheffield; Ian Ruthven, University of Strathclyde; Dorothy Williams, Robert Gordon University, Harry Bruce, University of Washington; Jonathan Furner, UCLA; Edie Rasmussen, University of British Columbia; Michael Seadle, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Fabio Crestani, University of Lugano; Schubert Foo, Nanyang Technological University and Shigeo Sugimoto, University of Tsukuba.
G G Chowdhury said, “I am excited with the launch of the iResearch series. I am very pleased to have an editorial advisory board that comprises experts from around the world in Information Science. I hope that Cultural Heritage Information and the future titles in the series will be able to address the growing market demand for monographs addressing different topical and emerging areas of research in Information.”
More info about the book: http://www.facetpublishing.co.uk/title.php?id=049306&category_code=603#.VO7_RPmsUew
More info about the series: http://www.facetpublishing.co.uk/category.php?category_code=603&series=y
This presentation takes you chapter-by-chapter through the new edited collection from Facet, Annual Review of Cultural Heritage Informatics.