Huge amounts of data are collected in the course of published research; some of it may be available in electronic form and submitted to an international database centre such as GenBank for genetic sequence data. If not curated properly, the primary data is effectively lost to other researchers to the detriment of further research in the same area.
As e-journals and technology in general take over many of the tasks managed or undertaken by professional librarians new ones spring up. The September issue of Link (available only to member institutions of the Association of Commonwealth Universities) looks at the role of librarians in this area.
Data management needs strong partnerships between researchers and information specialists/librarians to capture the rich metadata which will ensure that the data is findable and reusable by other researchers. Librarians’ input is needed in developing policy, procedures, and planning; they will also need to expand their research services to help researchers in planning data management strategies from the proposal stage to preservation of the data generated.
Data support needs to be a core library service and training programmes will be needed. This one was produced by the CARL (Canada Association of Research Libraries) Data Management Working Group.
With thanks to articles by Lynn Copeland (Canada) and Ross Wilkinson (Australia) in the September 2011 issue of Link: connecting Commonwealth Librarians.
Any errors are mine not the authors of the articles. Jean Shaw