Weekly Response 10: Emily Moyer

It is now not only libraries and librarians role to find and help users navigate data but also in their mission to preserve and curate this data. Heidorn’s “The Emerging Role of Librarians in Data Curation and E-science” discusses the role of libraries within (mostly) academic institutions that are now being charged with the extensive task of data curation and management. I thought Heidorn was unclear about what he was trying to express with his article and his ideas seemed to jump from place to place. I also thought he could have been clearer in explaining the processes and terminology he used. I don’t think data curation was actually explicitly defined until halfway through the article. I finally learned that data curation is the active process of maintaining, preserving, and adding value to digital research data throughout its lifecycle.

Heidorn’s brief mention of “negative findings” and unpublished data reports as well as his related question, “how will this data be managed and what is the role of libraries in this profound shift in the organization of data?” extremely interesting. It is essential that unpublished data is preserved and remains accessible so that it can be reused, recreated, and manipulated. Grey Literature is an example of these unpublished reports and data that is free from the politics and monetary incentives of commercially published works. This is especially useful in health sciences fields where users can find very recent results of datasets, clinical trial data, working papers, etc. that have both positive and negative results. Access to original data is extremely important in order to further academic pursuits. Now librarians are taking on the role to do just that.


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