November 14, 2012
Call to Order
Report of the University Librarian Paula Kaufman
Executive Committee Discussion Items – Chris Prom
Chris Prom said there was only one executive meeting since the last faculty meeting. He reviewed some of the highlights, including updates about the current searches, discussions about more useful reviews of the Associate University Librarians, and for a hiring plan for positions proposed for the University Library. The issue of colloquium funding will be on the upcoming agenda.
Discussion Topic. Library’s EResearch Task Force: Recommendations for Eresearch Activities and Training in the Library– Beth Sandore and Sarah Shreeves
Paula Kaufman did a brief introduction to the topic. She emphasized how managing research data will be critical to our future success and reminded everyone to read the briefing document that was sent. The briefing document, PowerPoint, and charge of the task force is available at: http://www.library.illinois.edu/committee/eresearch_task_force/eresearch_task_force_charge.html
Beth Sandore and Sarah Shreeves provided an overview of the work of the Library eResearch Task Force, which includes nine colleagues. It was charged in April by the University Librarian after a recommendation that Beth, Sarah and Howard Guenther (Associate Vice Chancellor for Research) made from the ARL eScience Institute, in which over 80 institutions participated. The response among North American universities to the call for participation in the ARL eScience Institute was overwhelming. There is currently a lot of attention being focused on this topic. The Library’s eResearch Task Force is developing a set of recommendations for the ways in which the Library can support researchers who need to work with digital data in support of their research. As part of its environmental scan, the Task Force is reaching out to other units on campus and to other institutions who are developing similar programs and services. The report will be drafted and sent to the Executive Committee at the end of December. There may be small group discussions that occur before then.
The Task Force prepared a background document and a brief presentation, but its primary goal in the November 14 faculty meeting was to hear the perspectives of the Library faculty on how they believe eResearch programs and services could best be organized, staffed and provided by the Library. Beth summarized the charge, the existing programs and recommendations (including how eResearch data services can be supported). She also discussed the training and retraining that will be needed to get people up to speed. The Campus Data Stewardship Committee, chaired by Paula Kaufman, is working concurrently on a proposal to the Vice Chancellor for Research to develop a campus-wide research data management service. The Library, the OVCR, CITES, NCSA, GSLIS, and the Graduate College are represented on this committee. Beth is leading the campus proposal preparation effort. Working with her from the Library are Sarah Shreeves, Bill Mischo, and Tom Habing. They are working with personnel from several campus units. The proposal for a campus Research Data Service will figure prominently in the Library’s eResearch Task Force report, because both the Library and the campus researchers need the key technical and personnel infrastructure that will be provided by such a service, including research data storage, curation and management, support for data and metadata consultation, data preservation services, and data access, discovery, and publication services.
Beth reviewed the definition of eResearch, which is broad and was based on the Associate of Research Libraries’ definition. eResearch uses digital technologies, is collaborative, is computing and data intensive, and is interdisciplinary. She and Sarah also described and summarized some of the Gap areas that the eResearch Task Force has identified that the Library needs to support in order to provide effective eResearch programs and services:
Barbara Ford asked about other good models and how other libraries have organized their eResearch efforts. Beth explained that there are several good models and that we are not on the leading edge, but will continue to add and support the work. She mentioned a couple of institutions:
When asked what the next step is, Beth responded that everyone outside the Library feels the Library should wrestle with the research data management and curation services, but this must be done in close collaboration with campus IT and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, as well as the Colleges, research centers, and institutes. Paula Kaufman mentioned that we have the people and trusted, subject librarians. She said that we may not be able to manage the large data sets, but we can make it public-facing. She cautioned that if we don't do it, it may not happen and that we need to consider recommendations and move quickly.
Beth Sheehan suggested that subject specialists need to be cognizant of efforts and possibilities, since they could work as bridges with the researcher and Scholarly Commons to help train, collaborate and create a network. She proposed having designated liaisons for each division or unit who could work with others. Paula Kaufman reiterated that we might miss opportunities if we don’t work with our faculty colleagues; that there are opportunities for us to do collaborative research and to be co-PIs doing collaborative research. She hopes the subject liaisons will be more than pass-throughs and that we will want to be ready to take opportunities to grow our own research and to partner with others in ways that we can't do now. Sarah Shreeves mentioned that the task force is discussing how to bring together a combination of functional experts and subject specialists.
Questions and comments about the gap areas included: How do we develop the skills? How do we know what the skills we need are? We shouldn’t be figuring it out on our own—is there a partnership program? Which of the skills do we need everyone to have? We need to make it clear it is training for data management. Sarah Shreeves responded that one of the responses to the gaps is to work out training. There is already a day long workshop in February on this at the University of Chicago. Others offered other venues for training such as: The University of Maryland, the University of Arizona, GSLIS (Carole Palmer) working with graduate and practicum students.
Other comments were: We also need to look at the future of collections. Should they stay here or go elsewhere? We need to look at changes in scholarly communication and research—many funders of research are international. Researchers have seen this change and are looking for answers too. We are in a good position because we have been involved. We now need to be involved in knowledge creation from the cradle to grave.
In response to the question of whether the library might end up storing a lot of data where only those affiliated have access, rather than sharing, Sarah said that we would need to work very closely with campus to provide infrastructure. Some sets that might need data curation and storage can’t be released immediately. There is also a growing need to cite data sets and publish them. The library can do some work with a dark archive as well. Beth Sandore reiterated that this is another reason why the library needs to work with CITES and the campus. The Library could not make the storage commitment on its own. CITES, NCSA, and the Office of Research need to be involved. A combined effort is needed.
New Business- none
Adjourned - 4:15 p.m.