Is everyone doing data without me?

With a nod to Mindy Kaling–the answer is no. You’re doing fine.

In a recent post, Sam Searle writes about the pressure librarians feel when they try to learn All the Data at once. There are so many strategies, programs, tools, and new domains to master that it can feel intimidating for anyone trying to set up professionally as a data librarian.

But in ‘hype vs. realities,’ Sam reports on two surveys. Reality? Most universities–and librarians–are just getting started. Sam quotes a survey of UK institutions that finds most universities offering only limited data services, by slowly expanding their existing expertise (information literacy, copyright advice) into new data domains.

A US survey of 221 academic libraries likewise found that most academic libraries do not currently offer data services, but that staff are planning to learn in the next few years.

In response, Sam advocates a “pragmatic, incremental and peer-to-peer approach” to developing research data services.

And that’s what we’re here for! The good news is that we’re not alone–there are more and more databrarians or other research and archival librarians who are trying to help users find, deploy, and archive research data. What’s better is that we have time and people among whom to learn this stuff. Because most of us are just getting into data services, we envision databrarians.org as a place where we can trade ideas, explore challenges, and come up with new solutions together! Please feel free to comment, link to your blog, follow the RSS, or volunteer to write a guest post — we’d love to have you!

CC image from Nodalities Magazine, on Flickr

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