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Data Services Task Force


In September, 2007, Paula Kaufman met with Deanna Raineri (Associate Dean, LAS) and Maryalice Wu (ATLAS) to talk about a possible ATLAS-Library partnership building on the data-related services currently provided by ATLAS <> to students and faculty working with numeric and geospatial data  in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  After this meeting, the ATLAS-Library Task Force was formed.  This group was charged with coordinating joint initiatives during spring 2008, assessing the effectiveness of these new services, and making recommendations for future collaboration.

This group launched a pilot collaboration, Data Services@the Library <>, in Spring 2008. 

The scope of services provided was defined as:

1)     Acquiring data sets needed for teaching and research;

2)     Locating, downloading and preparing data for secondary analysis;

3)     Identifying and creating course materials and teaching tools (including customized data sets drawn from various data repositories)

4)     Consulting about software problem with standard statistical packages

5)     NOT statistical or geospatial analysis or survey methodology (referrals provided to appropriate units on Campus).

This pilot included data services office hours one afternoon per week, a series of 3 workshops on finding and preparing data for secondary analysis, the creation of tutorials on public opinion data, and enhanced, title-level access to data sets in ICPSR.  The ATLAS-Library Collaboration Task Force completed their work and was discharged in June 2008. 

Data services will almost certainly be part of the suite of services provided within the Scholarly Commons as it develops, but in the meantime some provision needs to be made for continuing data services, expanding the partnership between the library and ATLAS, and building on the success of the pilot to establish an ongoing service program.


Working in concert with related initiatives such as the Scholarly Commons, the Data Services Task Force will:

  1. Continue to offer the services provided in the Spring 2008 pilot, refining and expanding this suite of services based on user feedback and ongoing assessment;
  2. Provide a short weekly training session during fall semester for library personnel, either carved out of the consultation hours or in addition to the existing hours and use library personnel trained during fall semester to expand data services to at least two half days per week during Spring Semester 2009 and thereafter;
  3. Explore opportunities to expand the collaboration in order to provide more robust support for faculty and students using numeric and geospatial data sets for research and teaching;
  4. Monitor and document unmet needs for data services;
  5. Collaborate with IDEALS to investigate opportunities for data curation;
  6. Make recommendations for future projects and services, giving due consideration to evolving campus initiatives regarding e-Science and e-Scholarship.


The taskforce will submit an interim report to the University Librarian by May 15 2009, and a final report with recommendations by May 30, 2010. The taskforce will be discharged upon submission of the final report.



Merinda Hensley, Co-chair

Sarah Shreeves, Co-chair

Laura Hanson

Carissa Holler

Mary Mallory

JoAnn Jacoby

Jenny Johnson

Dawn Owens-Nicholson (ATLAS)

Maryalice Wu (ATLAS)