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Customizing and Using the New England Collaborative Data Management Curriculum

e-Science Portal Blog - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 16:07

Submitted by Andrew Creamer, Science Data Management Specialist, Brown University and Co-coordinator, NECDMC Partnership

On May 8th, Elaine Martin, Donna Kafel, Regina Raboin, and I will be co-teaching a ‘Train-the Trainer’ class on teaching research data management (RDM) using the online New England Collaborative Data Management Curriculum (NECDMC). This pre-conference class for ACRL New England, in addition to helping us to continue to get the word out about NECDMC, will provide a forum for librarians in our region to share, discuss, and learn from our approaches and efforts teaching RDM at our institutions. We unveiled the NECDMC on November 8th, 2013, at the NN/LM NER e-Science Professional Development Day in Worcester, MA. The November class was our first ‘Train-the Trainer’ course for the region, and we learned a great deal from the librarians who attended and provided us with valuable feedback on several of the activities that are now part of the site.

Value of Customization

The theme and focus of our upcoming class at ACRL New England is customization. NECDMC must be malleable to fit the needs of librarians at diverse institutions partnering with and supporting a diverse set of clients. NECDMC is a starting place and not intended as an “Off the Shelf” product; the plasticity of the teaching materials depends on the librarians taking them and making them their own, adapting them to their institutional ecologies and the idiosyncrasies of their clients.

The value of customization has been highlighted in several evaluations and participant feedback that we have received from several libraries that have piloted NECDMC. Yes, the participants wanted to learn about best practices for managing their data, but they really enjoyed learning about the resources, tools, and policies at their own institutions, and whom to talk to on their campuses about issues related to storing data, licensing data, retaining data, etc.  Although it is not always possible to customize your materials for a specific domain/discipline if you’re doing a workshop open to the campus community, there is significant value in trying to find more opportunities to offer this level of customization.

In our upcoming class we will be asking participants to consider the landscape of their institutions in preparation for customizing NECDMC and planning for teaching RDM on their campus. We will explore how participants are getting their foot in the door to teach RDM, and learn about their partners and approaches for teaching RDM, and learn about the institutional contacts, resources, and tools they are highlighting. These are some of the items we will be sketching out.

Who are the contacts at your institution for information related to managing research data? Who could partner with you to teach RDM?

  • Contacts for questions about retaining or destroying data
  • Contacts for questions about sponsored research data
  • Contacts for questions about de-identifying data
  • Contacts for questions about storing, backing up, and securing data
  • Contacts for questions about archiving and preserving data
  • Contacts for questions about depositing data in a repository
  • Contacts for questions about describing data
  • Contacts for questions about sharing data
  • Contacts for questions about licensing data
  • Contacts for questions about publishing data
  • Contacts for questions about data ownership
  • Contacts for questions about analyzing data
  • Contacts for questions about visualizing data
  • Contacts for questions about citing data
  • Contacts for electronic lab notebooks

Who are your audience/clients for teaching RDM?

  • Undergraduates
  • Graduates
  • Post-Docs
  • Junior Faculty
  • Lab personnel
  • Specialty institutes/centers (CTSA)

Where are the access points for getting your foot in the door to teach RDM?

Library classes, data management plan consultations, student and faculty orientations, Responsible Conduct of Research courses, research methods classes, lab courses, Office of Sponsored Research, Training Grants (IGERTs), CTSA groups, Graduate School, Departments, Office of Research, etc.

Where are your institution’s policies related to aspects of data management?

Data ownership, records management and data retention policies and schedules, Institutional Review Board policies, intellectual property policies, data security policies, etc.

What are the local resources and tools related to data management at your institution?

  • Data storage options
  • Describing and annotating data tools
  • e-Lab notebooks
  • Data backup tools
  • Resources and tools for sharing data
  • Resources and tools for de-identifying data
  • Tools for analyzing data
  • Tools for visualizing data
  • Resources and tools for publishing data
  • Resources and tools for archiving and preserving data
  • Resources and tools for citing and licensing data

The Value of Institutional/Regional Partners 

One of the other lessons we learned from our pilot sites is the value of partnering with experts on your campus or in your region who have knowledge about specific areas of data management that you want to teach. For example, say you wanted to teach a data management best practices class for clinical researchers; having someone from the Responsible Conduct of Research Office, who can discuss issues working with patient data, would be helpful. Or if you’re teaching a module on metadata, you could partner with a metadata librarian, or an IT specialist if you’re teaching about storing, backing up, and securing data, etc. Here are some examples.

1.)         Overview of Best Practices. The NECDMC’s first module can be taught as a standalone course; it is a starting place for planning a one-hour/broad topic workshop to a diverse audience. It could be an opportunity to share the best practice and then follow up with the relevant campus contact and/or resources and tools.

2.)         Module, created by Jen Ferguson at Northeastern, provides instruction on file naming, folder structuring, use of appropriate formats, as well as recognizing the types and stages of data in a research project. This module lends itself to having participants practice with the examples and then applying the lessons to their own research data. Regina Raboin has also pointed out how content in this module was useful to her as a starting place for teaching clients about managing their electronic lab notebooks.

3.)         Module 3 explores metadata for data (both as content and as a digital object). This also module also lends itself to having participants do hands-on work and share the types of metadata that could help them with the description, discoverability, and use of their own and others’ research data.

4.)         Module 4 and its discussions of data storage would complement partnering with someone from IT that could share what network options are available to participants, as well as the relevant IT policies, and impart the administration’s expectations and responsibilities for participants to manage, secure, and back up their and the university’s data.

5.)         Module 5 covers legal and ethical aspects of data, so it could be taught in conjunction with someone in Intellectual Property, or the Institutional Review Board or Responsible Conduct of Research. It is a great opportunity to explore these policies or lack of them at your institution.

6.)         Similarly module 6 on sharing data touches on aspects of licensing and publishing data and the expectations for citing data, making it perfect for partnering with someone from Scholarly Communications.

7.)         Module 7, which will be unveiled on May 8th, covers repositories, archiving and preservation, and it prepares participants for the appraisal and the long-term management of their data. This is an opportunity for you to partner with a repository librarian, records manager, or archivist on your campus or in your region.

So, if you’re signing up and coming to our ACRL New England class on Thursday May 8th , please begin to consider the research ecology at your institution or region, and think about ways that you can mold NECDMC to meet your and your clients’ RDM educational needs, and the partners available on your campus or in your region that can help your participants to manage their data appropriately.


6th Annual e-Science Symposium Recap

e-Science Portal Blog - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 09:41

Submitted by guest contributor, Katie Houk, Research & Instruction Librarian at Tufts University Hirsh Health Sciences Library.  katie.houk@tufts.edu

It is safe to say that this year’s 6th Annual eScience Symposium, held in the beautiful and sunlit faculty conference room at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, was a success. Though marketed for the New England region, it was exciting to see participants from as far as Texas, Washington, D.C., and other regions of the United States.

Dr. Arcot Rajasekar, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, gave the keynote address. His presentation first gave a very informative overview of the Big Data Revolution – how it started, the challenges and issues it creates, and how different information professions will have to work together and share expertise in order to better manage the explosion of data. When describing the challenges of Big Data, Dr. Rajasekar brought up the five Vs – volume, velocity, variety, veracity, and value – which I personally found a great way to distill the challenges into memorable bits. Somewhat refreshingly, he also proposed that skills librarians will need in the future are overwhelmingly the skills we still learn and value today. The expertise we can bring to the table is in describing, classifying, organizing, providing access to and managing/preserving this data. However, due to the nature of data, we will have to have new processes, new ways of thinking and new collaborations in order to use our expertise effectively. Dr. Rajasekar then spent some time describing his work on several impressive infrastructure projects for the government. The current iteration is called iROD and is used nationally and internationally as a data storage and sharing platform. His newest project is called DataBridge and is meant to act as a social network for data, where sociometric analysis like that of Facebook, Amazon and other large social sites will present data that may be related to that which you are already viewing.

The other two speaking sessions were largely devoted to other projects in promoting eScience or providing data support at various libraries. We heard first from Julia Kochi at the University of California about their partnership with the California Digital Library and CTSI group to create a repository and simple overlay for depositors called DataShare. Though the product looks relevant and more tailored to health researchers, marketing is always a struggle. Julia hopes that eventually they will find a way to effectively communicate to researchers so that they are aware of the repository before they write the data management plan for their grants. We then heard from David Lowe at the University of Connecticut on how they reach out to faculty about their repository and some of the challenges they face in doing so. He firmly believes that it is impossible to sustain data services without monetary support in some form – whether pay-to-play models or more support from the university budget.

Lunch and the poster session fell between the morning and afternoon sessions. There were some excellent posters this year on implementing data services or education, as well as posters about conducting environmental scans or surveying existing practices. There were 10 great posters to learn about and the presenters all did an excellent job. However, there were three posters that stood out from the pack and were awarded prizes in three areas. Congratulations to all the winning authors!

Best eScience in Action:
“New Roles:  Teaching Data Management and Identifying Best Practices” by Andrew Creamer, Donna Kafel, Elaine Martin, and Regina Raboin

Most Informative in Communicating e-Science Librarianship:
An Assessment of Doctoral Biomedical Student Research Data Management Needs” by Kate Thornhill and Lisa Palmer

Best Overall:
“Developing a Data Management Curriculum for Graduate Students in the Natural Resources” by Sarah Wright and Camille Andrews

In the afternoon session we heard from Karen Hanson at the New York University School of Medicine on their journey implementing data services. If you think you face challenges at your institution, NYUSM faced a crisis when hurricane Sandy left their library completely flooded! Fortunately, they are back on their feet and still working on getting the word out to scientists across campus about basic data management strategies. Karen explained that they started with clinical researchers, but when they moved onto basic sciences, they realized that there were very different and unique challenges due to the wider variety of data being collected, the high staff turnover in labs as post doctorates came and left, and the Wild West nature of data management in each lab. This knowledge has helped them tailor services differently for each group. Lastly, we heard from Carly Strasser with the California Digital Library, about the imminent release of the DMP Tool2. Some of the features of the 2nd iteration make it more useful and easier to have administrators and researchers work together to create DMPs. There are also now multiple sharing options, which will potentially allow for those new to creating data management plans to see what has been done elsewhere. You can also create templates for your institution and each type of user has a tracking pane. If you are an administrator, you can see if you have any DMPs to review and can review and approve them.

Next year’s symposium is sure to continue the trend of providing an excellent opportunity to network and learn from each other about implementing services for eScience at our libraries. Hope to see you there!

Registration is now open for New England Science Boot Camp for Librarians

e-Science Portal Blog - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 16:29

Registration for the 2014 New England Science Boot Camp for Librarians is now open. This year’s Science Boot Camp will be held June 11-13th on the campus of the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT— home of the Huskies, men’s and women’s NCAA basketball champions!!

The featured science topics for this year’s Science Boot Camp are computer science, evolution and pharmaceutical science. The Capstone session,  “Communicating Science” will feature presentations about Citizen Science and science literacy, and a  breakout session during which attendees will have the opportunity to conduct research interviews with University of Connecticut graduate students.




April 9th e-Science Symposium: #escisymp14

e-Science Portal Blog - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 17:14

The sixth annual University of Massachusetts and New England Area Librarian e-Science Symposium will be held Wednesday, April 9th at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, MA. The theme of this year’s symposium  is “Librarians working with Data.” The program will feature keynote speaker Arcot Rajasekar and panel presentations by Julia Kochi, David Lowe, Karen Hanson, and Carly Strasser, and poster presentations. See the UMMS 2014 e-Science Symposium conference site for further details.

Follow the symposium on Twitter at #escisymp14

Registration open for Practical Data Management Webinar

e-Science Portal Blog - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 12:06

Dr. Kristin Briney, Data Services Librarian at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, will be presenting a webinar “Practical Data Management”  on Wednesday April 30th from 3-4 pm EST.

The following details about the webinar were announced on the RDAP listserv by Yasmeen Shorish, Convener of ACRL’s Digital Curation Interest Group:

Description: Most researchers are not trained on how to manage digital data, let alone deal with the data policies, digital preservation, and data sharing systems that are a data curator’s main concern. While curation is important, there are some very practical things that any researcher can do to make their data safer and more organized. This talk will cover these fundamentals of data management, including: file naming and file organization conventions, storage and backup best practices, keeping good documentation, and promoting future file usability. These practices will help the average researcher with their data but are also useful to anyone with digital files.

Date: 4/30/2014 2PM CST; 60 minutes long (Noon PST, 3PM EST)

Event Registration Pagehttp://ala.adobeconnect.com/e28v33its8g/event/registration.html

Event Login Page: http://ala.adobeconnect.com/e28v33its8g/event/login.html

Access: Only registered users may enter the room (guest access is blocked). Limit of 100 attendees (including speakers)

 Please do not access the meeting link above prior to 15 minutes before the start time as you may interrupt another meeting.


Tips for students interested in data management and curation

e-Science Portal Blog - Tue, 04/01/2014 - 12:18

Submitted by guest contributor Brianna Marshall, briannahmarshall@gmail.com

From 2011-2014, I have been a graduate student at Indiana University pursuing my MLS and MIS at the IU School of Informatics and Computing. I knew I wanted to work in library technology and took whatever jobs I could to build my resume. In May 2013, I became the Science Data Curation Assistant at Indiana University, and in June 2014 I will be starting as the Digital Curation Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Today I want to share a few tips I have for students interested in working with data management and curation.

Put your energy toward what matters. Different people have different takes on what matters in library school. It’s usually not contested that you need a lot of practical experience, whether in the form of paid jobs, volunteering, or internships/practicums. Projects and tangible outputs are the name of the game. As a student, I focused on gaining solid experience and presenting at conferences because I felt that they would be the most valuable to me when I was applying for jobs. We all only have a finite amount of energy and I wanted to make the most of my years in library school. For me, this meant that I didn’t particularly prioritize my coursework. (Caveat: my program didn’t offer a data curation certificate/specialization, which would be much more relevant.)

Give yourself time to build experience. It can be overwhelming to look at job ads as a student and see how many qualifications are listed. When you first start library school, you won’t necessarily have the chance to work at top tier jobs that will get you the experience you need. Remember that it’s okay, and even necessary, to take the jobs you can get at first.

I didn’t get a data-related job until two years into my three-year program. When I first started library school, I never would have anticipated that I would be working with data. As a student, I taught information literacy sessions and worked with a campus center focused on information visualization, a rare books library, a digitization lab at an archive, an open source software development project, and digital humanities projects. I was kind of all over the map. I wasn’t anticipating that the chance to be Science Data Curation Assistant would fall into my lap through an offhand recommendation by a manager. Although I didn’t know it then, I had been preparing for it the entire time.

Data is a new(ish) undertaking for libraries – and there are so many skills that come in handy! My past jobs involved the relevant topics of scholarly communication, institutional repositories, digital libraries and archives, and data visualization. I’ve heard from many other professionals who didn’t initially expect to work with data that their varied backgrounds ended up really helping them. So keep an open mind! Understanding how data curation fits into the big picture of libraries and academia is really important.

Find community. People make all the difference. I know a lot of students who stress out about networking but that’s usually because when you start going to conferences or lurking on social media, everybody there looks like besties and you feel like the useless newbie with nothing to add. Join in! Trust me on this one. If you’re not sure where to start, I highly recommend the following:

  • Twitter – You can participate in conversations with peers for free in a low-pressure setting. If you follow people in the field, you can find out about events and opportunities in real time.
  • ListservsRDAP and ACRL DCIG are the most directly related to data management and curation, though I’ve seen jobs and opportunities come through the library technology listservs by LITA, CODE4LIB, and others.
  • Conferences – I have heard great things about both RDAP and IDCC. I attended the Data Information Literacy Symposium, which was amazing. Many other library technology conferences have data-related programming, including the LITA Forum, ASIS&T Annual Meeting, and DLF Forum. If you can’t attend in person, be sure to check out the conference live tweeting.

What tips do others have for students who want to work with data curation and management?



RDAP14 presentations and tweets

e-Science Portal Blog - Thu, 03/27/2014 - 16:37

 RDAP14 (Research Data Access and Preservation Summit 2014) is currently underway in San Diego. For details about the presentations and topics, see the RDAP14 program.  Presentation slides from RDAP14 are available on ASIS&T’s SlideShare.

There are lots of interesting Tweets coming out of RDAP–follow along at #rdap14 on Twitter.


IDCC Highlights, Part 2

e-Science Portal Blog - Thu, 03/27/2014 - 10:34

Submitted by:  Jen Ferguson, Assistant Head, Research & Instruction, Science and Data Services at Northeastern University.  j.ferguson@neu.edu

Can you stand to read a bit more about IDCC? Willow tackled this topic in her blog post a couple of weeks ago, but there were so many great sessions at this conference that I thought it merited another mention. For my installment, I’ll focus on a few sessions that really drove home the idea that publicly available data is a common good.

Atul Butte, a medical researcher at Stanford, gave one of the keynote addresses for the conference. His lab group mines publicly available data in pursuit of a faster, cheaper path to drug discovery. This approach has worked well for Butte and his collaborators. A startup company launched from his lab is working on a diagnostic test for preeclampsia, and another project has found that a drug already on the market to treat depression shows promising activity against lung cancer in mice. Both of these projects are coming to fruition in tens of months rather than the many years that conventional drug discovery can take.

Paul Lewis from The Guardian gave a fascinating talk on data journalism. The Guardian partnered with the London School of Economics to develop the Reading the Riots project examining the causes and aftermath of the London Riots. Fans of social media and data visualization will find a lot to interest them on this site. Don’t miss the page visualizing how riot rumors were spread – and then corrected! – via Twitter. While this project also involved qualitative research techniques like interviews of the riot participants, large portions of it would not have been possible without the wealth of publicly available social media data.

Finally, I’d like to mention presentations on a couple of citizen science projects – Galaxy Zoo and eBird. These talks highlighted the challenges of managing both participants and information in citizen science projects.

Peter Darch talked about how Galaxy Zoo’s approach to motivating citizen scientists has changed over time. The project initially tried to encourage participation by ranking contributors based on the number of their submissions, but quickly discovered that this method motivated participants to focus on quantity rather than quality of their submissions. Instead, project coordinators now print a poster at the completion of each project listing the names of all contributors regardless of their level of activity. They also credit twelve contributors at random at every talk or presentation given about the project.

Carl Lagoze spoke on behalf of eBird, a citizen science bird identification project. The eBird project started out slowly, but once smartphone apps for recording bird sightings became available, submissions to the project quickly skyrocketed. The volume was such that they had to stop vetting the reported bird sightings, and instead leveraged technology to help ensure submission quality. Emergent filters based on location and other factors are used to customize the list of species presented to the birder. For example, if I’m in my backyard in Massachusetts using my smartphone to identify birds, and I see a large brown bird, the bird identification app filters species such that I’m presented with a prominent option to select ‘turkey’ as the bird I see, but I have to drill down quite far to find ‘pelican’. And if I insist on selecting ‘pelican’, given my location in cold Massachusetts rather than sunny Florida, that submission is classified as an outlier and flagged for human screening. Thanks to the use of these emergent filters, roughly 96% of submissions are now entered into the database without need for human examination.

I thought each of these speakers – in addition to highlighting fascinating projects and uses for public data – had a common message: don’t trust any one data set, but data sets in aggregate can be considered quite trustworthy.

Registration open for Teaching RDM with the New England Collaborative Data Management Curriculum

e-Science Portal Blog - Tue, 03/25/2014 - 13:59

Registration is now open for the ACRL New England Chapter Scholarly Communication Interest Group’s spring program, offered as a pre-conference to the ACRL New England Chapter Annual Conference.

“Teaching Research Data Management with the New England Collaborative Data Management Curriculum”

When: Thursday, May 8, 2014, 8:30-4:30

Where: Hogan Campus Center, College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA)

This class is a “train the trainer” class and is intended for librarians who will be teaching best practices inresearch data management to science, health science, and/or engineering students and faculty. During the workshop, Elaine MartinAndrew Creamer, and Donna Kafel of the Lamar Soutter Library at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Regina Raboin of Tisch Library at Tufts University will be demonstrating the components of the New England Collaborative Data Management Curriculum and discussing ways that the curriculum materials can be used and customized. Please note that this class is about teaching data management and not a course on data management. Attendees are expected to already have a broad understanding of data management concepts.

Registration cost: $25 (includes continental breakfast and lunch)

Register now!

If you are planning on attending the ACRL/NEC Annual Spring Conference, “We’re All In This Together: Strengthening Librarians through Professional Development,” on Friday, May 9 and wish to stay overnight in Worcester, please see the bottom of this message for a list of hotels near Holy Cross. All offer a Holy Cross rate.

Hillary Corbett, Co-Chair

Andrée Rathemacher, Co-Chair

Mark Clemente, Vice Chair

ACRL/NEC Scholarly Communications Interest Group

 Area Hotels

(Within 3-5 miles of the Holy Cross)

  •  Hilton Garden Inn, Central St., Worcester, MA  01608 ph:  (508) 688-8500.
  • Courtyard by Marriott, 72 Grove St., Worcester, MA  01605 ph:  (508) 753-6300. Contact Erin Amato at  eamato@colwenhotels.com or Olivia Armstrong at oarmstrong@colwenhotels.com
  • Holiday Inn Express, 110 Summer St., Worcester, MA, 01608,  ph:  (508) 757-0400. Contact Cara Holland .
  • Beechwood Inn, 363 Plantation St., Worcester, MA  01605, ph:  (508) 754-5789.
  • Hampton Inn, 736 Southbridge St., Auburn, MA  01501, ph  (774) 221-0055.


















OSTP memo: Improving the Management of and Access to Scientific Collections

e-Science Portal Blog - Thu, 03/20/2014 - 16:33

Today (March 20), OSTP Director John Holdren released a memo directing Federal agencies to develop policies to improve or support management and access of their scientific collections. Scientific collections refer to assemblies of physical objects that have research and educational  value, such as fossils, seeds, or space rocks. For further details, see announcement on the White House blog.


#IDCC14 Highlights

e-Science Portal Blog - Wed, 03/19/2014 - 15:17

Submitted by:  Willow Dressel, Plasma Physics/E-Science Librarian, Princeton University. wdressel@princeton.edu

It has been a little over two weeks since the 9th International Digital Curation Conference in San Francisco. This was my first time attending this conference and I am still processing everything I learned. The theme of this year’s conference was “Commodity, catalyst or change-agent? Data-driven transformations in research, education, business & society”. The workshops, presentations, and posters brought a wide perspective, from high-level overviews of societal, community, and institutional contexts to specific approaches from individual practitioners. Topics ranged from educating data curators and librarians, data publication, infrastructure, data management and planning, data reuse, and more.

A considerable amount of time was devoted to looking at the current state of educating professionals for digital curation, with an opening session, panel presentation, and parallel session throughout the conference. In the opening session Seamus Ross, Dean & Professor, School of Information at the University of Toronto, gave an overview of current efforts and the associated challenges in digital curation education. He concluded that we need to increase the technical capacity of graduates, to attract more students from STEM fields, and that information and library schools have a long way to go. Later that day, the panel on “Preparing the workforce for digital curation: The iSchool perspective”, gave examples from various iSchools in the U.S. and U.K.  These somewhat echoed the tone set by Ross, discussing the need for professionals in digital curation that can be filled by library and information schools if curricula are retooled to address gaps in technical skills.

However there were also several encouraging examples of efforts currently underway to address these issues.  Margaret Hedstrom from the University of Michigan gave an update on the National Academy of Sciences study “Future Career Opportunities in Digital Curation” which is due out this spring. Carol Palmer reviewed the Specialization in Data Curation at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign which was informed by the 2010 Research Data Workforce Summit. The Specialization has seen 75 graduates who have provided feedback on challenges they face in the workplace and further recommendations for the program. Continuing the conversation on improvements to educational programs, during the parallel programs Laura Molloy from the DCC and the University of Glasgow gave an overview of the DigCurV framework for creating digital curation curriculum based on the idea that people in different roles in digital curation have different skill level needs.

The conference and workshops also addressed issues and work being done in data publication, citation, and linking between articles and data. John Kratz of the California Digital Library has done a great job of summarizing the Data Publication and Citation workshops in a blog post at the Digital Library Federation. The parallel sessions provided an opportunity to see the different approaches individuals are taking in these areas. As with any good conference with parallel sessions there were many excellent presentations, most of which I’m sure were the ones I did not attend. Luckily the presentations have been added to the programme online http://www.dcc.ac.uk/events/idcc14/programme-presentations and videos are now available at http://www.dcc.ac.uk/events/idcc14/video-gallery

The conference was closed out with a keynote from Clifford Lynch, Executive Director of the Coalition for Networked Information. As always, he did a great job of synthesizing the themes of the conference while also looking at the future and some of the issues not addressed in the conference. In reflecting on the theme of educating the workforce, he called attention to the need for education also around basic digital survival skills for individuals. In the past, another area of focus in the field has been in trying connect with data producers, but now we need to begin thinking about re-use and reaching out to the users of data. Lynch also brought up the issue data re-appraisal, noting many data management plans include timelines of 5, 7, and 10 years. What do we do when this time has passed? Who is responsible for re-appraisal and how do we make decisions about what should be kept? Connected to re-appraisal is the issue of policies around data ownership, such as when an investigator retires who will make the final decision on the fate of the data. Finally, he discussed the need to address the issues of data involving human subjects and their anonymity.

A final note on the conference, by the poster session I began to notice that a very large portion of the other attendees were also presenters of some sort. This trend continued on into the second day, which included four sets of three parallel sessions. In between sessions I had many interesting conversations with the other attendees, a group that was not only international, but from diverse backgrounds including publishers, librarians, and researchers. In many ways communities of practice are just beginning to grow around the fields of e-science and digital curation. Rachel Frick actually wrote an interesting post-conference IDCC related blog post on this very issue. The International Digital Curation Conference provides a valuable contribution to the field, bringing together a full complement of professionals in the area of digital curation and addressing issues relevant to all.





NE Science Boot Camp Fellow Scholarship Opportunity

e-Science Portal Blog - Tue, 03/11/2014 - 16:52

The New England Science Boot Camp for Librarians Planning Committee is offering a Fellow Scholarship for a student to attend the 2014 New England Science Boot Camp for Librarians at the University of Connecticut’s Storrs campus. The scholarship will cover full registration (including food and lodging), and is intended for someone interested in working with a mentor to learn about science librarianship. Successful candidates will have an interest in science, health sciences, or engineering librarianship. The Fellow will meet (either virtually or in person) with a mentor before, during and after the Science Boot Camp. S/He will submit a work reflecting on the experience in an approved format by July 1, 2014.  Please note that the scholarship covers the registration only; travel and other expenses will be borne by the Fellow. Please send a letter of intent and a letter of recommendation from one of the candidate’s library school instructors by March 17, 2014 to Donna Kafel, Donna.Kafel@umassmed.edu.

Meet your new e-Science Portal DIL co-editor: Jake Carlson

e-Science Portal Blog - Mon, 03/10/2014 - 12:29

Submitted by: Amanda Whitmire, Assistant Professor / Data Management Specialist at Oregon State University Libraries. amanda.whitmire@oregonstate.edu | @AWhitTwit

For my first official blog post as an e-Science Portal editor, I’d like to introduce my partner in crime co-editor for the data information literacy (DIL) section of the portal, Jake Carlson, in the form of an interview. I think it will be easy to see why I jumped at the chance to work with Jake as co-editor…

What is your current position and title, and how long have you been at Purdue?

I am an Associate Professor of Library Science / Data Services Specialist and I’ve been at Purdue for seven years now (my, how time flies).

What led you to a career in library-based data services?

Well, I certainly did not set out to do data services initially. Back when I went to library school (1997-98) data was not even on the radar of many academic libraries.

My first exposure to data was through ICPSR. When I was the social science librarian at Bucknell University one of my responsibilities was to manage our subscription to ICPSR and serve as the official representative to the campus. In 2006, I attended ICPSR’s week long workshop on “Providing Social Science Data Services” to learn more about the services ICPSR has to offer. This was my first exposure to the idea that data could have life after its initial use and that “data curation” was something that librarians were potentially well suited to address. I was fascinated by the possibilities that data presented librarians and when I return to Bucknell I set out to develop data services in the library.

A few months later I attended another conference and wound up chatting with Michael Witt, who is now one of my colleagues at Purdue. We got to talking about how the Purdue Libraries were focusing on exploring how data management and curation could be incorporated into library services. When I expressed an interest, Michael told me that they had a job opening and that I should apply. I took a look at the job application and immediately saw that I was not qualified for the position, but thought “why the hell not?” and applied anyway. I’m still not entirely sure how I convinced Purdue to hire me, but they just awarded me tenure so I must be doing something right.

As a footnote, ICPSR now offers two week long summer workshops on data. In addition to the “Providing Social Science Data Services” workshop, they have a newer workshop on “Curating and Managing Research Data for Re-Use”. Check them out!

 How did you become interested in data information literacy (DIL)?

 One of my roles at Purdue has been to interview faculty and identify their needs for their research data. One of the things that kept coming up during these interviews with faculty was that their graduate students were really the ones who were handling the data. Faculty would often say things like, “This is something that my graduate student really needs to know.” As a result, I started asking about the need for educational programs on data for graduate students during my interviews. I received enthusiastic responses, but not much detail about what should be taught in these educational programs. So working with some of my colleagues at Purdue, we mined the interviews I had conducted along with other information and came up with twelve initial competencies that could serve as the basis for educational programming on DIL (a pre-print of the article we produced is available).

What is your main goal in being an editor for the DIL section of the e-Science Portal?

 Well, from a purely selfish standpoint, I signed up to be a co-editor of the DIL section of the e-Science portal to be able to carve out time for staying up to date in the field. It can be tough to find the time to keep current, especially when a field is taking off as DIL seems to be. Plus, getting to work with Amanda Whitmire as a co-editor is a huge bonus. She’s pure, concentrated awesomeness!

 Professionally, I see DIL as a huge growth area for librarians if we are able to position ourselves as knowledgeable professionals. I hope to help connect librarians who are interested in getting more involved in DIL the tools and resources they will need to be successful. Perhaps more importantly, I hope that librarians who are engaging in DIL will share what they have learned with one another to form a strong community of practice. I think the e-Science portal can help facilitate the growth of DIL, and I’m very excited to be a part of that.

Tell us something personal: hobbies, favorite vacation destination, favorite food, etc.

I am a super huge comic-book geek and have been since I was six years old. I have not been as successful in getting my kids hooked on comics, although they are big Star Wars fans at this point. I also have them quoting lines from “the Simpsons” at dinner. Did I mention that my wife is an incredibly tolerant person?

Job opportunity at Brown University: Biomedical and Life Sciences Librarian

e-Science Portal Blog - Thu, 03/06/2014 - 10:38

This announcement was forwarded from the sla-dbio discussion list.

The Brown University Library seeks an innovative and user-oriented informational professional to join the Research and Outreach Services Department as the Biomedical and Life Sciences Librarian.  As the Library’s primary liaison to the Basic Sciences Departments within the Division of Biology and Medicine, and to CLPS (Cognition, Linguistics, and Psychological Sciences), the Biomedical and Life Sciences Librarian plays a central role in developing library services and collections to support current and future research and instructional initiatives of these departments.

The Biomedical and Life Sciences Librarian supports the instructional and research needs of faculty, postdocs, graduate students and undergraduate concentrators. Along with the Scientific Data Management Specialist s/he is key to defining and expanding the library’s role in supporting biomedical research data management. S/he will work closely with the Health Sciences Librarian (of the Warren S. Alpert School of Medicine and the School of Public Health), the Scientific Data Management Specialist, the Physical Sciences Librarian and other direct reports to the AUL for Research and Outreach.

Together with other Research and Outreach Services Librarians, the Center for Digital Scholarship and other campus partners, the Biomedical and Life Sciences Librarian will provide subject-based reference services, and teach effective information management techniques for scientific research to students and researchers. The successful candidate will maintain a strong awareness of issues related to scholarly communications including copyright, open access, repositories, and licensing of online resources.

To fulfill these responsibilities successfully, the Biomedical and Life Sciences Librarian will have a strong academic background in biology, psychology or other life sciences field and have significant hands-on experience with relevant technologies and bibliographic tools.


  • Masters in Library Science from an ALA-accredited institution or an advanced degree in a life sciences field.
  • At least 3 years work experience in life sciences librarianship, or other relevant field.
  • Knowledge of the scholarly communications process (publishing, copyright, repositories), especially the NIH Public Access Policy requirements and processes.
  • Knowledge and experience with appropriate data services (PubMed/NCBI, Web of Science, etc.), semantic web tools (e.g. Quertle, VIVO) and citation management software (e.g. RefWorks, EndNote, Zotero, Mendeley, etc.)
  • Demonstrated ability with instruction and presentation skills.
  • Ability to acquire new technological skills & resolve problems in a resourceful and timely manner
  • Evidence of the ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing; strong analytical and organizational skills; ability to manage time and multiple projects in a complex, changing environment with a positive, flexible, creative and innovative attitude

To apply for this position (Job # B01539), please visit Brown’s Online Employment website (https://careers.brown.edu), complete an application online, attach documents, and submit for immediate consideration.  Documents should include cover letter, resume, and the names and e-mail addresses of three references.  Review of applications will continue until the position is filled.

Ask and You Shall Receive: Obtaining a Presentation Session at a Life Sciences Conference

e-Science Portal Blog - Wed, 03/05/2014 - 12:32

Submitted by guest contributor Katie Houk, Research & Instruction Librarian, Tufts University Hirsh Health Sciences Library <katie.houk@tufts.edu>

From recent discussions on the Medical Library Association’s (medlibs) listserv, to Sally Gore’s blog post in reaction to some of the opinions and attitudes of fellow librarians, and planned topics for the MAHSLIN 2014 conference, the big topic this spring seems to be advocacy and attitude. It appears a lot of librarians have been getting together and talking to ourselves about ways to promote librarianship outside of the profession. The irony of this situation is not lost on most of us, but there is a lack of awareness about who is out there advocating for librarianship in other fields and taking on new and exciting roles. Is this because people who DO are off doing exciting new things and not writing or talking about it enough? (This is one reason I think Sally’s blog is so successful – she’s a DOer taking the time to talk about what it is she is doing and showing that risks can be successful.)

In the spirit of collegiality, positivity and my goal of being a “Doer,” I want to share my experience in trying to enact one of the suggestions proposed during the “library closing” medlibs listserv discussion. It’s been pointed out many times that we need to be presenting at the conferences of our patrons instead of just preaching to the choir at our own conferences. Since I consider one of my strongest skills to be my ability to get in front of groups and speak, I decided to take on the challenge of being invited to present at a non-library conference.

I was meeting with one of the faculty I work with to discuss our yearly embedded class activity and she mentioned that she was booked up in meetings most of the day – one after lunch with her conference planning committee. So I piped up and asked “Is there any chance there could be space for a librarian-led session during the conference?” She gave me a funny look for a moment, but then her face lit up as she explained she had two empty slots to fill, and that a hands-on session with a librarian could be a great addition. Next thing I knew, I was typing up a one-page elevator pitch that she could present to her colleagues on the committee in order to persuade them to include me in the program. It did the trick and I was approved as an invited speaker for the 2014 World Forum on In Vitro Biology and Cryobiology in Savannah, GA this June.

I do have to admit that the cards were stacked in my favor heading into this endeavor, but as Seneca is attributed saying, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” I chose to ask a faculty member with whom I have an excellent working relationship and who I know is enthusiastic about all available library services – including collaborative teaching. I also knew she was on the program planning committee for a conference. However, it was fairly lucky that I gathered the courage to ask while there were still some open slots in the program.

I feel truly excited to be sticking my neck out there and representing all my wonderful colleagues at a conference full of scientists! Perhaps the most important things I’ve learned from this experience are:

  1. Asking does not offend anyone – the idea of having a librarian present at their conference may simply have never crossed their mind.
  2. Having a document or elevator pitch with key phrases that are meaningful to your users is integral in gaining interest and eventually buy-in.
  3. The worst that can happen is that you are told no. At least you got practice asking and you can feel more confident the next time you try!

Stay tuned – I will be writing a post in June about my experiences presenting at a science conference and the outcomes of modifying the New England Collaborative Data Management Curriculum’s first module to be a 2-hr, highly-interactive session!

How will YOU be advocating for your profession and peers this year?

Before the executable paper, a verifiable paper: moving publishing forward with the Resource Identification Initiative

e-Science Portal Blog - Thu, 02/27/2014 - 21:45

Submitted by guest contributor Stacy Konkiel, Science Data Management Librarian, Indiana University <stacy.konkiel@gmail.com>

Most current call-to-arms in scientific publishing invoke the idea of an “executable paper”—an article format that can truly take advantage of web-native publishing, leveraging embedded code and research data to allow readers to confirm research findings on the spot. Though a few promising prototypes have been shared in recent years, we are still fairly far from this ideal.

In fact, we are still grappling with how we can ensure the offline verification of results. In the literature, vague descriptions of antibodies, software packages, and other resources used in the course of a study mean that without intervention from a paper’s authors, it’s often impossible to accurately replicate research or build upon reported findings.

Enter the Resource Identification Initiative (#RII). The Force11-backed group is working with publishers and journals such as Nature to ensure that all resources (currently defined as “Antibodies, Model Organisms, and Tools (software and databases)”) mentioned in a paper get identifiers, which are linked back to detailed descriptions about the resources themselves.

An example of how it works

A paper that describes using the Blast2GO software for functional annotation of gene sequences would cite the package in this format, “(Blast2GO, RRID:nlx_149335)”, rather than linking to the Blast2GO website (which might change locations or even disappear over time) or, worse yet, providing no link or context for the software at all.

Following that citation, readers who wanted to learn more about the software could look it up in the Resource Identification Portal, where information about the package will be stored over time.

On the flip side, authors who wanted to cite a resource used in a study can look it up using the Portal, and then click the “Cite This” button to find a shorthand citation that is easily copied and pasted into their manuscript.


While many will find the #RII to be immediately useful for the reasons described above, in the future the project could serve as the backbone for the Executable Paper, having built a large web of linked data for resources mentioned in the biomedical literature.

A call-to-action

The Resource Identification Portal is still very much in beta and seeking feedback from authors. You can help by spreading the word about the Portal’s purpose and benefits to the researchers you serve, and by using the portal yourself when you publish in a participating biomedical journal.

The Portal itself is a great basic tool that will hopefully see improvements to its search capabilities in the coming months, particularly where Boolean searching and special characters are concerned.

For more information on the #RII and Research Identification Portal, check out these resources:

Learn about Zenodo!

e-Science Portal Blog - Wed, 02/26/2014 - 18:13

Many thanks to Chris Erdmann of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Iryna Kuchma, Programme Manager for EIFL-OA , for sending along this information about a Zenodo webinar that aired earlier today. The Zenodo webinar, presented by Lars Holm Nielsen of CERN, has been recorded so you can view it. The slides from the webinar can also be downloaded.

See webinar announcement for further details.



DataONE has openings in 2014 Summer Internship Program

e-Science Portal Blog - Tue, 02/18/2014 - 16:59

DataONE, a virtual organization that is dedicated to providing open, robust, persistent and secure access to biodiversity and environmental data,  has announced the availability of 11 internship positions in its nine week 2014 Summer Internship Program. These positions are open to undergraduates, graduate students and post graduates within the past five years. There are a range of projects featured in the summer internship program, which goes from May 26th through July 25th.

The deadline for applications to the program is  March 18th. For more details, see DataONE’s Internship page.

A new chapter for the e-Science Portal!

e-Science Portal Blog - Wed, 02/12/2014 - 14:38

     Just as the New England Journal of Medicine encompasses an audience much broader than the New England medical community, the e-Science Portal for New England Librarians is not limited to New England Librarians!  Funded  by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine New England Region and originated by our e-Science outreach group at the Lamar Soutter Library, University of Massachusetts Medical School, the intended audience for the portal is librarians, library students, information professionals, and individuals interested in:

  • Library roles in e-Science
  • Fundamentals of domain sciences
  • Emerging trends in supporting networked scientific research

( e-Science Portal Scope Statement)

As we approach the third anniversary of the e-Science Portal for New England Librarians, I’m pleased to welcome the following new Content Editors–many of whom come from and work in regions beyond New England:

Data Management:  Daina Bouquin, Data and Metadata Services at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Data Literacy:  co-Editors Jake Carlson, Associate Professor of Library Science and Data Services Specialist, Purdue University, and Amanda Whitmire, Assistant Profession and Data Management Specialist at Oregon State University.

Scholarly Communications:  Margaret Henderson, Director of Research Data Services at Virginia Commonwealth University

Trends & Technologies:  Stacy Konkiel, Science Data Management Librarian, University of Indiana- Bloomington.

My UMMS colleague, Andrew Creamer, is Editor for Professional Development.  I will be managing the e-Science Community Blog and will be Content Editor for the Portal’s Science Resources section.

The Portal’s Editorial Board Co-Chairs are Jen Ferguson,  Assistant Head, Research & Instruction, Science and Data Services at Northeastern University; and Katie Houk,
Research & Instruction Librarian, Liaison to Biomedical & Research Sciences
at the Hirsh Health Sciences Library, Tufts University

See photos and contact information for the Editors  on the “About the Editorial Board” page of the portal.

In addition to managing content in their delegated Content Areas, the Portal’s Content Editors and other guest contributors will be writing blog posts here on the e-Science Community Blog.  Stay tuned to the e-Science Community blog by following NERescience on Twitter for latest updates–and be sure to visit and use the e-Science Portal !


Content from the 2013 Data Information Literacy Symposium is now available

e-Science Portal Blog - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 09:38

Held last September, the Data Information Literacy Symposium at Purdue explored roles for librarians in teaching data management competencies to graduate students and strategies for developing instructional programs that meet the needs of students and faculty. The DIL Symposium’s video presentations and content have now been fully archived and are  available for viewing at http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/dilsymposium/.


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