Data Sharing: Panacea or Can of Worms?

24/02/2012 § 16 Comments

Author’s note: My interests within the LIS field are data curation and e-science librarianship. This is a hot topic that is growing every day, and skilled e-science librarians are needed to fill the gap. If you’re interested in learning more about data curation librarianship as a future career, leave a comment here, and I’ll follow up with more information.

Back in the Fall, Micah wrote a post about Open Access Week. In it he discussed open journals, open data, and the ALA Code of Ethics. Open data is what today’s post is about. An important ongoing question in the world of data curation today is how to get scientists to share their data by placing it in a data repository. There are many scientists who are unaware of the fact that their data has value to anyone but them and their research team. On the other hand, there are scientists who are very possessive of their data and don’t want to release it for fear that they will lose control of it and not be credited for its creation. There are also those who want to suck every drop of publishing potential out of a data set before releasing it to anyone else.

Last November, there were two requests for information (here and here) put out by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. One asked if peer-reviewed journal articles resulting from federally funded research should be accessible to the public. The other asked if data from federally funded research should be accessible to the public. OSTP has released the comments from that RFI here. I have not read all the responses, but the ones I have read seem to indicate that the support of open-access is high among those not affiliated with a publisher and cautious, at best, from those affiliated with a publisher. The questions, concerns, and issues I see raised generally deal with how journals can remain profitable for the value they add and how researchers can receive due credit for their efforts.

But let’s set aside the questions of whether scientists and researchers should be required to share their data and articles or even if it’s a good idea that they do it.  I think an even larger issue here is whether or not our current crop of scientists and researchers has the data management skills necessary to make the research data usable to anyone but themselves and their immediate research group. Data management practices of researchers are not exactly stellar. Infrequent or nonexistent backups, inadequate metadata on variables and research background, and loose standards all contribute to a set of data that is basically useless to anyone not involved with the project from the beginning.

Do you think that the data generators know how to manage their data properly? What can be done to improve the situation? How can librarians help?

Hack Your Program: The University of Tennessee School of Information Sciences

03/02/2012 § 17 Comments

Ayers Hall

Disclaimer: This post contains opinions and statements that are mine and may not be representative of other students and faculty within this program.

The School of Information Sciences (SIS) at the University of Tennessee is ranked 17th in the U.S. News rankings of library science programs. The School has roots as far back as 1928 and has been accredited by the American Library Association since 1972. It is a housed within the College of Communication and Information (CCI). With twelve full time faculty members and over 200 students in the program, SIS offers a Master’s of Science in Information Science and, through CCI, a doctoral degree.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Best of Fall Semester 2011

31/01/2012 § 5 Comments

Carrying on the tradition of past end-of-semester wrap-up posts, we’ve pulled together some articles from Fall Semester, 2011 for your viewing enjoyment. Some of you may be in your last semester in library school (congratulations!) or maybe you’re still in the first year (hang in there!). Either way, to keep you busy we’ve compiled some reading lists you can return to over the next few weeks and get caught up. Think of it as HackLibSchool 101.

Our Top 10 Posts (by hits):

Top Post per Writer (by hits):

Best Comment Conversations:

Catch Up on Our Series:

Weirdest Search Terms That Led Someone to Our Blog:

  • cartoon library
  • how to hack firstclass
  • i hate school logo
  • how to dress like a librarian
  • handsome businessman
  • heroes to look up to
  • glasses for reading in bed

Recommended by Your Humble Writers:

Rose

Annie

Rebecca

Micah

And for good measure a few digital books that I’ve seen develop from nothing that came out this fall:

  • Hacking The Academy - a collection of essays on the (re)evolutions occurring in higher ed.
  • #alt-academy - community-building and networked scholarly communication around the theme of unconventional or alternative academic careers.

While we’re at it, two videos:

Zack

Teresa

Julia

Ashley

Chris

Joanna


Oh, the Places You’ll Go (with your MLIS)!

23/01/2012 § 37 Comments

Did you know your ALA-accredited master’s degree is accepted in countries other than the good ole USA? That’s right, the US is not the only place where you can use your ALA-accredited master’s degree to work in a library. As Laura explained in her post on becoming an international school librarian, you can take your degree and work in an international school overseas. But have you considered working in a public or academic library in another country? If not, you should! In addition to being an exciting adventure — what could be more fun than working in a foreign library? — it’s also a great way to build goodwill between people of different countries. I’ve done a little digging and found several countries where you could go and put your degree to use right away, and others that might need a little more work, such as learning another language. « Read the rest of this entry »
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