It is quite mind-blowing just how much data humans are now capable of producing and, as access to the technology to create more data grows, the amount will only increase. The case for Librarians to take on the role of Data curation is elegantly made in P. Bryan Heidorn’s The Emerging Role of Libraries in Data Curation and E-Science paper.
Curation of the data is within libraries’ mission, and libraries are among the only institutions with the capacity to curate many data types. The data are critical to the scientific and economic development of society.
As most of us are already all too aware, we live in an age where the need to upgrade, back-up, sort and store our own digital materials is ongoing and seems never ending – be it photographs, emails, (or readings for courses), the need to curate personal digital materials: organize, preserve or perish is the new mantra in a bid to archive and still have access to our memory prompts. And so too with data that is research based and possibly holds the key to a scientific breakthrough either on it’s own (requiring discoverability) or if linked to another piece of data. The benefit of data sharing, as argued for on the: What is Data Management? page of the Penn State University Libraries site is an aspect that particularly appeals given my group’s project on linked open data and the many benefits to society of living in an open data world.