Data, Data, Data

Curating Research Data. 2 vols. ACRL. Jan. 2017. 632p. ed. by Lisa R. Johnston. illus. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9780838989180. pap. $110. PRO MEDIA
The amount of digital research data being created and stored in repositories has burgeoned over time, increasing opportunities for its scholarship, collaboration, sharing, and reuse. Along with the volume, scope, and complexity of data, these trends call for action on the part of those managing data repositories to ensure it remain accessible. In Volume 1, editor Johnston (librarian, Univ. of Minnesota, Twin Cities; Data Information Literacy) presents a collection of entries by librarians, data managers, research scientists, and others that discuss motivations, current practices, challenges, and other topics surrounding the curation of research data. These writings provide an excellent introduction to data curation while encouraging data managers and those offering research data services to consider ideas and techniques in strategic planning, current and emerging issues, and practical opportunities for policy development and execution. For example, readers will find a discussion of survey results and interview responses from academic institutions on outreach and promotion of their data repositories and curation services. This chapter also features insight on current practices, successful (and less so) outreach, lessons learned, and more.

Volume 2 contains detailed, practical steps to guide readers through the development of curation services and approaches to curating research data. Such ideas include the recruitment of data (e.g., creating communication plans), risk mitigation (data deidentification), processing of data (software recommendations for curators), access considerations (terms of use and licenses), data reuse (altmetrics to measure data impact), and more. These sections are interspersed with 30 case studies from a wide variety of sources. For example, a case study on the implementation of an appraisal process by the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earth Resources Observation and Science Center follows in supplement to a brief discussion of data appraisal. Timely, practical, and readable, this two-volume set provides beneficial information for individuals and organizations tasked with managing and curating data. VERDICT Recommended for data librarians, scientists, information professionals, and others looking for techniques and guidance on curating research data.Jennifer Harris, Southern New Hampshire Univ. Lib., Manchester

redstarRice, Robin & John Southall. The Data Librarian’s Handbook. Facet. Jan. 2017. 192p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781783300471. pap. $95. PRO MEDIA
Rice (data librarian, Univ. of Edinburgh) and Southall (data librarian, Oxford Univ.) offer an international take on the world of data librarianship and management. Geared toward those starting out in the field or those taking on more responsibilities related to data, this book covers several relevant issues such as managing and curating data to ensure effective use and longevity, proper data citation and reference interviews, data literacy and management plans, and data repositories. Included are examples and case studies along with takeaways and reflective questions at the end of each chapter. Because of these features, this work would make for a helpful teaching tool for lecturers at information schools. The only downside is the inclusion of URLs throughout, which may become outdated or change over time. Kristi Thompson and Lynda Kellam’s Databrarianship also focuses on this emerging field, but Rice and Southall offer a more step-by-step guide. VERDICT Highly recommended for anyone just getting started in working with data.Nathalie Reid, Univ. of California, Los Angeles

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