Source Publication (e.g., journal title)

DataONE Internal Documentation

Document Type

Creative Written Work

Publication Date



Advances in technology have allowed researchers to create large amounts of reusable digital data sets. This phenomenon, e-Research, encompasses not only innovative forms of scholarship in the sciences, but the humanities and social sciences as well (Lynch 2008). While digital data benefits research by permitting new types of problems to be addressed, increases ability to collaborate across disciplines and institutions, and allows for replication of previous results, it is easily lost for future use unless action is taken to manage it from its inception. Data curation is the process of managing digital data from the moment of its creation so that it can be accessed, understood and potentially re-used in the future (Lord and Macdonald 2003). The steps necessary to curate research data have been outlined through the Data Curation Centre’s Curation Lifecycle Model (Digital Curation Centre n.d.). Activities for data management include planning for the creation of data, describing the data using standardized metadata, housing the data set in a repository, creating data management plans, migrating objects as necessary to overcome media decay and format obsolesence, and appraising for selection and deselection. Long-term management of digital data sets is still in its infancy, and numerous issues such as what kind of expertise is needed to properly curate data and how they should be financially provided for into the future when grant money ceases are not fully resolved (Lynch 2008, Lyon 2007). Due to the importance of digital data for research, many librarians have discussed what their future role of librarians may be at academic institutions (Council on Library and Information Resources 2008, ARL 2006, Hey and Hey 2006). The increase in digital research data has created an opportunity for library involvement in data curation (Gold 2007). In response, libraries, universities, and other organizations, have surveyed either researcher’s data curation needs and current practices or library involvement and policies in data curation. However, little research has been conducted on individual librarians to assess current activities in data curation, and, in particular, their attitudes towards it.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."