Posts in topic: research

The Wikipedia research conundrum: Is it citable?

Chris Cyr, Ph.D.

There is a disconnect between how students are taught to use Wikipedia and the way that they actually use it. The notion of an encyclopedia that anyone can edit has led teachers to warn that Wikipedia is unreliable and should never be used or cited as a source of serious research. In reality, most of us use Wikipedia all the time in our research. Defenders of Wikipedia’s contribution model even point out that democratization of contribution is beneficial and necessary for the level of breadth, depth, and reliability it has achieved. If Wikipedia’s open contribution model doesn’t stop researchers from using it, why are students taught to avoid it?

Read More


The rapid pace of change in research university libraries: An interview with Keith Webster

time

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Keith Webster, Dean of University Libraries and Director of Emerging and Integrative Media Initiatives at Carnegie Mellon University. We discussed how academic libraries have changed in the last two decades, reflecting on the growth of digital content and the rapidly evolving scholarly record. I also asked Keith to imagine the research library of the future and to share where his own library is heading in the near term, with investments in multi-purpose repositories, RIM systems, and increasing support for research analytics and institutional reputation management.

Read More


How a network of data curators can unlock the tremendous reuse value of research data

Lisa R. Johnston

data_reuse

Data reuse is a major focus for institutional research groups and their funders and it’s easy to see why. After the (often) expensive process of collecting, analyzing, and mining research data for valuable new knowledge, any additional attention, such as the publication, reference, or reuse of that data, multiplies its value.

But understanding researchers’ behaviors and needs when it comes to data sharing and reuse is challenging. Each discipline has unique norms and practices for how they collect and manage data, when (and if) they share their data, and how they determine a dataset’s fitness for reuse. Data curators—as information science practitioners—make a wealth of decisions and take well-informed actions to ensure that selected data have meaningful and enduring value to future research.

Read More


Making friends and influencing people: research support edition

Brian Lavoie

make_friends_header

Research support services are essential to the university’s research enterprise—enhancing researcher productivity, facilitating analysis of research activity, and making research outputs visible and accessible across the scholarly community and beyond. Research support services extend over the entire research life cycle—as well as across the entire campus.

How is research support carried out?

Read More


Let’s cook up some metadata consistency

cooking_consistency

Let’s say you’re writing a cookbook and describing ingredients. For sure you’re going to want to be consistent from one recipe to the next. If you don’t want to confuse your readers, it’s good not to refer to one amount as “a pinch” in one recipe and “a dollop” or “a smidge” in another.

Then you look around and realize that other people are writing cookbooks and they have some standards. That’s not a pinch, to them; it’s a teaspoon to some or 5 milliliters to others. What you call a “chunk” everybody else calls “a quarter cup” or “32 grams.” So, you need to be consistent not just within your own cookbook, but with others’ cookbooks, regardless of the dish being prepared—roasts, stir fries, desserts, soups, etc.

Librarians and archivists in data repositories are learning to think like this as well. Because the data being deposited for reuse has much greater value to their institutions when the metadata attached to it are consistent at the study level, the data level, and the file level.

Read More


Always judge a book by its cover

Brittany Brannon

cover_header

We asked students to identify the types of containers from which online information is taken. Information containers can be important, obviously, because they provide critical context when evaluating the quality of sources. One said:

“This one looks like a—wait, I can’t tell what that is, but it looks like a book.”

Wait. It… looks like a book? Let’s try again:

“Pretty sure it had an ISBN number. It’s an article. Oh, no, books usually have—well, you can download the entire book or download the chapter. So, I’m thinking it’s a book. And it doesn’t have the edition, but I kind of want to say it’s a book about this book.”

That’s closer, but we can do better.

Read More


Increase data reusability and enhance your curation investments with these three tips

data reuse

In many cases, collecting and processing original research data is incredibly costly and difficult. It can involve travel, field work, painstaking examinations, and observations. Sometimes unique, expensive equipment or one-time access to materials or events that can’t be recreated is required. But it’s worth it if the data yields new scientific insights and advances.

And if that data can be reused in other studies, it makes the return on investment (ROI) much more attractive for universities and funding bodies. Professionals in libraries, archives, and museums have a unique view into the needs of researchers. We can develop and promote new services and procedures that encourage data sharing and data reuse.

Read More


Exploring Canadian connections to the published record

Brian Lavoie

canada

At OCLC, we emphasize the importance of connection. Connecting a reader to a book. Connecting a librarian to other librarians. Connecting all libraries, period. In our latest OCLC Research report, we illustrate another kind of connection: connecting creative works to nations.

Maple Leaves: Discovering Canada through the Published Record explores the presence of Canadiana in the collections of libraries around the world. This presence is significant—10.9 million distinct publications all told, rolling up to 6.9 million distinct works, and including materials published in Canada, by Canadians, and/or about Canada.

Read More


What is the top novel of all time?

Skip Prichard

lib100_next_banner

What is the top novel of all time? War and Peace? Moby Dick? Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone? Dream of the Red Chamber?

The answer is, of course, “it depends.” It depends on your definitions and measures. Sales? Number of copies published?

One way of measuring is to look at library collections. Libraries reflect popular interest. However, they also reflect scholarly and cultural interest over time. Libraries are where the world’s literature is stewarded and defined.

Read More


RDM: A challenge too big to tackle alone

Brian Lavoie

gears

The scholarly record continues to evolve, gathering a wider array of research outputs—including research data sets. In response, universities and other institutions have started to acquire capacity to support data management needs on campus. While services and infrastructure are coalescing around emerging data management practices, guidelines, and mandates, many questions remain about the future of the research data management (RDM) service space, and the university’s role in acquiring and managing RDM capacity in support of their researchers.

How do we approach problems like these that are clearly too big for any one institution to solve? One piece of the solution is to scale learning.

Read More