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Interview: Regina Raboin -- Tufts University

Interview: Regina Raboin – Tufts University

[Note: As of February 2015, Regina is employed by the University of Massachusetts Medical School.]

1. Tell me about the product or service that you provide in the role that you play at your library?

As Tisch Library’s Data Management Services Coordinator I coordinate Tisch Library’s Data Management Services Team. This team assists and/or consults with faculty on writing/creating/editing data management plans for U.S. Government funding agencies such as NSF, NEH, etc. (We also assist with non-government funding agencies that require data management plans/requirements).

The team consists of subject-specialist and metadata librarians, who work as teams with the faculty. As the coordinator I work with the Tufts Arts & Sciences Associate Director of Research Affairs to identify those faculties who are submitting grant proposals that need data management plans. (The Engineering librarian, who’s also on the team, works with the Tufts School of Engineering’s Research Administration to coordinate these grant proposals.) The proposals are distributed to the team based on the grants subject/s and these librarians will then contact the faculty via email and begin working with them (this process is either done via email and/or in-person, or both). During the data management plan development our metadata librarians will also review and make suggested changes.

The team also maintains the Tisch Library Data Management LibGuide (

2. How can other librarians use this product or service?

At this time it’s only the team librarians who provide this service; if another librarian learns of a researcher (faculty, student or staff) that need data management assistance, they can refer them to the team.

Right now I’m part of the University of Massachusetts Medical Library’s Data Management Curriculum Framework grant (supported by NE/RML). Once this data management curriculum is completed, the Tisch Data Management Services team will be able to provide data management education for Tufts librarians, faculty, students and staff.

3. How has your library reached out to your institutional community and how have you earned support for this particular service?

Please see question #1. In 2010/2011 when data management plans were mandated, the library met with Tufts University’s Office of Research Administration to discuss how to meet researcher’s needs in data management. As a result of this meeting, Tisch Library organized the Data Management Services Team and collaborated with A, S & E Research Affairs to begin providing the service. It’s a very strong and fruitful collaboration.

4. What skills or experience do you think librarians need to acquire to meet the needs of escience and data management and can you provide examples of the skills and services that you or your other staff have in this particular area?

There are several skills/experience areas I feel that are important for librarians who are interested in or charged with building data management services.

  • Subject specialization: all librarians who are going to be charged with research, curricular or educational support should be degreed in one of their responsible subject areas; this could be a bachelors, masters or doctorate.
  • In all of the traditional disciplines, arts/humanities, social sciences and STEM, librarians need to be educated in data management. Now with this being said, all librarians need to be ready to collaborate with other disciplines, as interdisciplinary research is increasing and all academic institutions are looking to increase funding from government and non-government agencies.
  • The STEM disciplines are already working in areas of translational science – librarians in these fields must be willing to discard traditional library responsibilities (reference desk, collection development, etc.) in order to become “embedded” within research teams.
  • In addition to be subject specialists and expert in data management, librarians need to be trained/educated in Scholarly Communications. This area requires expert knowledge in copyright/fair use, open access, author’s rights and institutional policies on intellectual property and technology stewardship.

Data management and scholarly communications are strongly connected and when called upon, librarians must be proficient in these interrelationships and be able to educate researchers, faculty, students or staff in both areas.

  • All librarians who are interested in cataloging should also be trained in metadata and digital asset management.
  • Librarians need support from library administration to seek out and acquire needed education in order to provide these services.
  • Librarians providing these services should attend professional organization’s program/classes/workshops in data/digital asset management. The policies and regulations evolve quickly and these are excellent sources for support and education.
  • Librarians who are going to provide data management services need to learn or acquire a working knowledge about digital asset management (acquiring, processing, preserving and curating digital assets). The reason for this is because data management librarians will most likely be collaborating with their institutional respository/archive and metadata librarians to provide a complete data management service.

On our Tisch Library Data Management Services Team, we have the following expertise:

  • subject and interdisciplinary specialization
  • metadata/digital assets management
  • scholarly communications
  • project management
  • library administration management (one of our team members is Tisch Library’s Associate Director)

Tufts University has a Scholarly Communications Team (, which is part of Tufts Office of the Provost, reporting to the Associate Provost. It is made up of librarians/staff from across the university, two of the team are on the Tisch Data Management Services Team (one is the team co-leader, the other is myself).