Increasing numbers of researchers are turning to libraries for assistance managing, storing, publishing, finding and citing research data. The rapid rate of change in this space presents unique professional development challenges to library professionals wishing to build capacity in order to meet institutional demands. Over the course of 2016, UNSW Library initiated a peer-facilitated community group to support staff participating in ANDS’ 23 (Research Data) Things to support the development of staff expertise in research data and UTS library looked at ways to incorporate 23 Things into a formal training program for their Outreach Librarians.
As facilitators of these programs, we looked at ways to augment the materials provided by ANDS with discussions centred around the libraries’ current projects and resources. We encouraged knowledge-sharing through presentations by staff on aspects of their units’ work in supporting research data management.
In the forefront of our minds when designing and delivering the program was the concept of the research data “ecology.” Standards for handling, storing, citing and reproducing data are still in the very early stages, in comparison to the well-established protocols for dealing with research publications. Librarians, therefore, need to think critically and reflexively about their role as active participants in the process of constructing and maintaining the emerging research data ecology. Our aim was to embed our exploration of research data within the network of people, practices, technologies, institutions, material objects, and relationships which shape the creation and management of knowledge objects.
This presentation will outline our strategies for building on librarians’ implicit knowledge of metadata and collections management to enable participants to gain confidence in data management, curation and preservation. Critical to the success of the UNSW program was active involvement from multiple units of the library. This cross-library collaboration provided the opportunity to engage in open dialogue between technical staff and client-facing staff, who brought their knowledge of the real-world challenges faced by researchers across many disciplinary fields.
Where the UNSW case study focusses on developing broad competence and engagement across the library, the UTS case study examines how a program like 23 Things can be leveraged to evaluate current data management capacity and design specific training programs and services for information services staff and librarians in faculty liaison roles.
An underlying conviction that librarians and information professionals are already ideally situated to become stewards of research data and have a critical role to play in defining the objects of research data and innovating best practices drove our approach to adapting 23 (Research Data) Things for our Library communities. 23 (Research Data) Things can be used to empower librarians and information professionals to re-imagine their roles as stewards of research data throughout the research life cycle.
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