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Archive for the ‘eScience’ Category

Highlights of: National Network of Libraries of Medicine Symposium: Doing It Your Way: Approaches to Research Data Management for Libraries

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Highlights of: National Network of Libraries of Medicine Symposium: Doing It Your Way: Approaches to Research Data Management for Libraries
Rockefeller University, NY, April 28-29, 2014

In late April, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Middle Atlantic Region (NN/LM MAR) hosted a two-day symposium on research data management (RDM). The event garnered well over 100 participants from the mid-Atlantic and beyond, professionals both from medical libraries and a variety of other settings who are providing or exploring RDM services.

Keynote Speakers

The initial keynote speaker was Paul Harris, Director, Office of Research Informatics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He encouraged participants to seek out opportunities to develop tools and services immediately useful to their local researchers which also would further the goals of RDM. He profiled several tools that they provide locally, including:

  • Project RedCap (Research Electronic Data Capture): This system enables the collection of metadata about active biomedical projects and associated collected data at one’s institution. It was created at Vanderbilt and since has been deployed at other institutions via the RedCap Consortium.
  • StarBRITE CMS Researcher Portal: This Vanderbilt-specific platform enables the centralized collection of information about research: news, pilot funding, project information, researcher profiles.

The second keynote speaker was Keith Webster, the Dean of Libraries for Carnegie Mellon University. He provided a general overview of the importance of RDM for academic libraries (in the light of changes in the way that science is done and evolving roles for academic libraries). He then spent time situating the attendees’ work within important trends in the broader, international, professional context. He encouraged participants to develop their skills in this field and to stay aware of the very significant progress and initiatives happening internationally, particularly in Europe and Australia. He noted some key reports and articles to read (listed at the end of this posting).

The final keynote speaker was Jared Lyle, Director of Curation Services of the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). ICPSR, the large, long-standing social science data archive based at the University of Michigan, has a tradition working with data producers to acquire data and then curate it for optimal re-use by secondary researchers. ICPSR tools highlighted include: the data catalog (which enables discovery of datasets and granular information including variables) and the Bibliography of Data-related Literature (which links ICPSR studies to resulting publications based on the data in the archive). With ICPSR’s history of supporting data re-use, he pointed out that a well-prepared data collection should be complete and self-explanatory. However, researchers (many of whom may have a high willingness to share) rarely have sufficient time, money, or resources to prepare and document their data well for re-use. But he pointed out as well that many professionals in the field are trying to better understand this landscape and develop new services in order to improve the sharing and quality of research data. For example, one Stanford librarian works with local researchers to curate, redistribute, and archive their research data. The Stanford Social Science Data Collection is a type of intermediary repository; staff members work with researchers to capture their datasets, later moving them to a more long-term repository.

University Service Models

In the afternoon, attendees heard from practicing professionals on overviews of their RDM services. Following are highlights of the services of a selection of universities:

University of Minnesota:

The Libraries have a dedicated staff member to RDM, the Research Data Management/Curation Lead, who provides services and coordinates the work of other staff. Their RDM service is overseen by a campus advisory group with members from various stakeholder departments; the Libraries are working with this group to develop a campus-wide referral network. One significant effort of the Libraries is a pilot to have staff actively curate and upload the data associated with 30 researcher projects into their institutional repository (IR). They also have worked with researchers to self-deposit their datasets into the IR, instructing them on practices in realms such as metadata. They use DSpace for their IR and are finding that the newer version (i.e., 4.x) provides more flexible features for research data, including metadata elements beyond Dublin Core.

University of North Carolina:

This university has an RDM service group co-led by two librarians (each of whose primary focus is on other service areas). Staff members provide a range of services in cooperation with other stakeholder departments on campus to whom they reached out over time.   For example, they collaboratively conducted a series of information sessions on data management for researchers. The Libraries partnered with campus stakeholders to each teach components on different topics (DMPs, repository options, sensitive research data, data security), including areas of expertise outside of the Libraries. These popular sessions, in addition to being provided in-person, were live streamed (to a large audience) and recorded for later viewing. Looking towards the future, the libraries are in the process of actively reorganizing for improved research lifecycle support.

NYU Health Sciences Libraries:

They have worked at developing RDM services, working in partnerships with staff both inside the library (e.g., subject liaisons) and throughout the university. A core challenge for this institution has been to helping to change perceptions about the scope of a library and demonstrate to researchers the library’s role in RDM services. To that end, they collaborated with various staff members to develop and distribute several quickly-popular YouTube videos on the significance of RDM. These videos are used on their own and as part of library instruction (not only at NYU but, as the symposium illustrated, by many other universities as well):

Cornell:

Their dedicated Scientific Data Curation Specialist coordinates services and the work of other staff. She manages a collaborative consulting team, consisting of two groups: 1) a core of staff members (mostly in the Libraries) and 2) additional second-level team members from departments campus-wide whom are call upon as needed (e.g., staff members from IT and legal). In addition, their service is overseen from an upper-level management council (with membership across several university departments).

Case Study

On the second day, Sherry Lake, Senior Data Consultant, and Andrea Horne Denton, Research and Data Services Manager, of the University of Virginia educated attendees on some key RDM best practices via a case study that they use in their workshops, based on a case from the Digital Curation Profiles Directory. Participants examined the profiled research group’s practices in the realms of: data collection and organization, documentation and metadata, storage and backup, and preservation/sharing/licensing. In doing so, they learned about common issues which researchers might face and how to assist them.

Regarding RDM services, UVA has two different approaches:

  • operational: helping to improve researcher efficiency and good organization and documentation practices throughout the life cycle
  • sharing: helping researchers to be aware of requirements and plan for downstream data sharing

UVA provides many services similar to other institutions, and like some others does a series of workshops (dubbed “Research Data Management Boot Camp”) with contributing instructors from departments across the university.

Lastly, the presenter shared two lists of resources that she maintains for keeping up-to-date on the field of RDM:

Principles for RDM Work

Over the two days, presentations highlighted various strategies that professionals utilize in providing RDM services:

  • Promote curation rather than sharing; the former is more salient for researchers, and must precede the latter.
  • A well-prepared data collection should be complete and self-explanatory; help researchers to meet this standard.
  • Encourage best practices yet support people where they are. I.e., even if a researcher’s method of sharing data— e.g., storing on one’s hard drive and responding to requests—has significant drawbacks, help them to execute their selected method in an optimal way (i.e., in this example, help them to establish appropriate backups) while at the same time gently share concerns about their method and be available to help them consider other methods when the time is right.
  • Continue outreach efforts on a regular basis; people don’t always see ads even if you do a great one-time campaign.
  • Once researchers have shared their data, tell them about the ways to track use of their data.
  • Develop services based on the hypothesis that researchers will do the right thing (maintain their information securely, track metadata, maintain audit trails, etc.) if provided an easy way to do it with needed tools and services.
  • When developing partnerships or services, the technology is the easiest part. Relationships take time to build; be prepared to slow down to work with diverse needs
  • Frame one’s services within the data curation lifecycle for staff and stakeholders with whom one communicates or partners.
  • In planning collaborative services with senior administrators/department heads, make sure they are communicating plans and expectations down to the PIs.
  • Track your work for assessment.
  • Stay aware of RDM requirements/regulations around the world, both for professional awareness and given the fact that U.S. researchers likely are collaborating across borders.

In summary, while symposium attendees were largely focused on medical library settings, the lessons learned apply to research and libraries in all disciplinary contexts.

Suggested Reports/Articles to Read

Institute for Research Design in Librarianship scholarships

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Institute for Research Design in Librarianship: 9 days in southern CA; full scholarships available

Do you want to learn about how your user groups and communities find and use information? Do you want to gather evidence to demonstrate that your work is making a difference?

Exciting news! You can work on these questions, and questions like them, June 16-26, 2014!

The Institute for Research Design in Librarianship is a great opportunity for an academic librarian who is interested in conducting research. Research and evaluation are not necessarily identical, although they do employ many of the same methods and are closely related. This Institute is open to academic librarians from all over the country. If your proposal is accepted, your attendance at the Institute will be paid for, as will your travel, lodging, and food expenses.

The William H. Hannon Library has received a three-year grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to offer a nine-day continuing education opportunity for academic and research librarians. Each year 21 librarians will receive instruction in research design and a full year of support to complete a research project at their home institutions. The summer Institute for Research Design in Librarianship (IRDL) is supplemented with pre-institute learning activities and a personal learning network that provides ongoing mentoring. The institutes will be held on the campus of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California.

The Institute is particularly interested in applicants who have identified a real-world research question and/or opportunity. It is intended to

“bring together a diverse group of academic and research librarians who are motivated and enthusiastic about conducting research but need additional training and/or other support to perform the steps successfully. The institute is designed around the components of the research process, with special focus given to areas that our 2010 national survey of academic librarians identified as the most troublesome; the co-investigators on this project conducted the survey to provide a snapshot of the current state of academic librarian confidence in conducting research. During the nine-day institute held annually in June, participants will receive expert instruction on research design and small-group and one-on-one assistance in writing and/or revising their own draft research proposal. In the following academic year, participants will receive ongoing support in conducting their research and preparing the results for dissemination.”

Your proposal is due by February 1, 2014. Details are available at the Institute’s Prepare Your Proposal web site.

Factoid: Loyola Marymount is on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean, west of central LA.

NCBI Insights

Monday, February 4th, 2013

NCBI has just released a new blog called NCBI Insights:

We created NCBI Insights to provide an insider’s perspective to help you better understand us and our resources, explore issues of scientific interest that drive our resource development, and learn how you can use our resources to enhance your research.

We will post articles in four categories:

  • NCBI Explained offers our perspective on our resources and policies to help you better understand us and avoid some common misconceptions and misunderstandings.
  • What’s New introduces our new and updated resources and includes specific examples that demonstrate how you can use these to enhance your research.
  • Quick Tips & Tricks explains hows to perform specific tasks using our website. We will select topics based on your questions and suggestions.
  • Science Features explores current topics in science and demonstrate how you can find relevant data or resources on our website for further exploration.

This blog is a complement to our existing education and outreach efforts, such as News and Social Media publicity, Webinar and Workshop training programs, and Help Desk user support. See the our Education page (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/education/) for more details on these.

Be sure to check in to the NCBI Insights Blog every week or so and let us know what you think!

[Announcement from NCBI]

FEDLINK Librarians’ Roles Survey

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

The Library of Congress FEDLINK invites you to participate in a survey that explores the roles library and information science (LIS) professionals are undertaking to support clinical care. This survey will also ask you about the partnerships you have created and work within to support clinical care and its practitioners.

This is the first of three studies that the Library of Congress FEDLINK is conducting to learn about the ways LIS professionals are involved with health information. Future surveys will focus on LIS professionals who support public health and their contributions to reducing the cost of care and other cost efficiencies for their organizations.

We hope you will help us by completing this survey. It will take approximately 30-45 minutes of your time.

To complete the survey please go to: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FEDLINKHITCC
The survey will be open until February 22, 2013.

The results will be used to promote the emerging roles LIS professionals have taken on. Additionally, we plan to use the findings to inform our education, training, and programming.

If you have any questions, you may contact Jamie Stevenson, at jstev@loc.gov or 202-707-4852.

Best regards,

Jamie

Jamie Stevenson, MPH
Principal Investigator
Library of Congress | FEDLINK

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