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Data Management

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Library as Data Partner

Resources for researchers required to design a data management plan or who need assistance in data research.

Library as Data Curation Partner

Data Curation is a catchall term for the many aspects of maintaining research data before and after it is created. Libraries are supporting and partnering with researchers for data curation in the following ways:

Managing data by controlling, protecting, delivering and enhancing it through policies, programs, plans and practices.

  • The creation of a data management plan for grant proposals and adherence to best practices to enhance the value of data sets are two aspects of data management.
  • In addition to Boston College, a great number of academic libraries offer data management services. Librarians at MIT, WPI, Georgia Tech, and more are prepared to support the data management needs of researchers.

Preserving and archiving data in institutional repositories like Boston College's Dataverse, thereby increasing the lifespan of your data and making it searchable.

  • Institutions like NASA's Langley Research Center use DSpace to archive data sets, an open source digital repository software developed by MIT and HP. Librarians were among the development team members.

Preparing your data to be shared and archived by developing documentation and metadata.

  • The Metadata Research Center at the UNC School of Library and Information Science is developing the HIVE model for dynamically integrating multiple controlled vocabularies.

Sharing data by promoting open access data sets for reuse and managing its accessibility.

  •  eCommons,  is a service of the Cornell University Library that provides long-term access to a broad range of Cornell-related digital content of enduring value, including data sets.
  • The Digital Research and Curation Center aims to ensure access and preservation of digital library materials, including data sets. It is a digital libraries R&D department within the Sheridan Libraries of John Hopkins University.

Collaborating with you to explore innovative new ways of sharing your data.

More and more libraries are providing data support services to the research community of their institutions. We have highlighted a few examples of the services being offered. For a more comprehensive look at academic libraries offering data support, please see the August 2010 report E-Science and Data Support Services: A Study of ARL Member Institutions.  A more recent report from the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a branch of the American Library Association (ALA), may also be useful: Academic Libraries and Research Data Services: Current Practices and Plans for the Future (2012). 

Data Partnerships at Boston College

The Boston College Libraries are collaborating with offices across campus--such as the Office for Research Compliance and the Research Services Office of ITS--in order to bring you the best possible services and support for your research data needs. If you wish to set up a consultation to discuss data management, please contact your subject specialist.

Empowering You to Manage Your Data

Along with Boston College, several university libraries have developed or sponsored courses, tutorials, and research guides about data management.