Data Curation

What is Data Curation?

The University of Illinois’ Graduate School of Library and Information Science defines data curation as “the active and ongoing management of data through its life cycle of interest and usefulness to scholarship, science, and education. Data curation activities enable data discovery and retrieval, maintain its quality, add value, and provide for reuse over time, and this new field includes authentication, archiving, management, preservation, retrieval, and representation.”

Sayeed Choudhury, associate dean for research data management at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and leader of the Data Conservancy, discusses the “stack model” for data management employed by JHU and discusses the model’s components-storage, archiving, preservation, and curation-in the following video.

Data Curation Activities

CLIR is involved in several collaborations in data curation. In 2012, CLIR completed a research project on how to build capacity for data curation in varying disciplines. The project, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, consisted of three interrelated activities. The first, an environmental scan of professional development needs and of education and training opportunities for digital curation in the academy, and the second, an anthropological study of five sites where digital curation activities are under way, were published in August 2012. The third activity analyzed the results of the two research efforts and included a proposal, informed by the findings, for amending the curriculum for CLIR’s Postdoctoral Fellowship in Academic Libraries program.

The CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellowships in Data Curation for the Sciences and Social SciencesFellowships in Data Curation for Early Modern StudiesFellowships in Data Curation for Visual Studies, and Fellowships in Data Curation for Medieval Studies are all an expansion of CLIR’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in Academic Libraries. CLIR/DLF Data Curation Fellowships provide recent Ph.D.s with professional development, education, and training opportunities in data curation. Through these fellowships, CLIR seeks to raise awareness and build capacity for sound data management practice throughout the academy.

The DLF has also launched the E-Research Network, which aims to develop a network of practitioners through the process of sharing information on implementing strategic agendas as well as through participant-directed learning and shared skill development.