Flying Solo: Data librarians working outside of traditional roles - Presented by McCafferty

Video in TIB AV-Portal: Flying Solo: Data librarians working outside of traditional roles - Presented by McCafferty

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Flying Solo: Data librarians working outside of traditional roles - Presented by McCafferty
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CC Attribution 3.0 Unported:
You are free to use, adapt and copy, distribute and transmit the work or content in adapted or unchanged form for any legal purpose as long as the work is attributed to the author in the manner specified by the author or licensor.
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2015
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English

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Abstract
Did you know there are data librarians who work outside of (traditional) libraries? For some, being a data librarian means leaving the relative comfort of the library behind and ‘flying solo’ into unchartered territory. These are new and demanding roles that require a steep learning curve with minimal support. In this webinar, three data librarians working outside of libraries will share their experience of going it alone, reflecting on these challenging yet rewarding roles that push the boundaries of librarianship and open new opportunities for the profession. Siobhann McCafferty is based at QUT’s Institute for Future Environments in Brisbane and is the Research Data Coordinator for the National Agricultural Nitrous Oxide Research Program (NANORP). She is embedded in the Healthy Ecosystems and Environmental Management group at IFE and works with researchers from across Australia to store program data and make it discoverable and reusable.
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okay my name is Shiva McCafferty and I'm the research data coordinator for nannup which is the natural national agricultural nitrous oxide research
program nano is the most recent iteration of a national nitrous oxide and gas emissions research program hence the name and this program brings together researchers from at least 10 Australian universities and six institutions and government none ups
coordinated from QT in Brisbane and I'm part of a small team to embedded in the healthy ecosystems an environmental monitoring group which is part of the Institute for future environments my job covers all things data management but the focus of it now is a service manager for the interval data repository in portal for those who like technical information the portal is our own version of a medic at repository which is Java and tomcat developed by the knowledge Network for bio complexity using the software's web server a postgres relational database management system and an LDAP other features that were spliced on a geo server software for mapping and a web interface which allows users to access and interact with the records we also have an o AI p MH sh metadata harvest to research data australia and the system has an integrated do minting facility meetings providing by Anne's using a nice little piece of software called website web site contents managed using joomla CMS there PHP and mysql is a database and i do with the content for the website I also advise on data and metadata standards licensing and access and encourage researchers to provide us with their data and metadata either by self upload or via morpho upload software
integrated deal why minting facility and are minting services provided by ends with a nifty little piece of software that we developed called DIY monkey web site contents managed with Joomla PHP and MySQL as a database so there's a lot of stuff going and going on in the background that's taken care of by a wonderful developer Moises I also advise on data and metadata standards licensing and access and I encourage researchers to provide us with their data and metadata either by self upload via morpho or with my help
I spend a fair amount of time talking to researchers about what they need how to get their data where it's meant to be and how to make it useful for other people how did I get where I am now like
many librarians this is not my first career my academic background was in philosophy and religious studies and I began my studies in Wellington New Zealand at Victoria and it continued at Stirling and over at university of glasgow and I've got lots of years teaching at universities and working in libraries to support myself while I I tried to develop an academic career that consequently had a nice collection of soft skills and technical experience so in the GFC her Europe and jobs and the humanities became scarce I moved countries and I began training to be an archivist which eventually became a study for masters and information management at ECU and led to my current incarnation while I was nearing the end of my studies I took on a short-term contract with the new research team based at the Institute for sustainable resources at QUT that team was extremely funded by project work and our bread and butter was repositories and data portals for scientific research and developing scientific software and applications I was also involved in a few ends projects and ask though with the turn data portal which michelle was working on so got to know a few people in 2012 I so disbanded and became the Institute for future environment at QUT and I was absorbed into the heem so absorbed back into the bloodstream of the the Institute and for the remaining duration of the mentor program and I was their data librarian or research data coordinator the main challenges of my work will be familiar to everyone the first one is working an emergent sector data librarians and
information specialists don't fit and traditional boxes and it's often difficult for employers and funders to see why and where you fit and that can make writing proposal costings difficult so in projects come up that will need my work it's often been difficult to say why they need my work I was very lucky to work in a project an overarching project that was willing to take on new
technologies and and developed them but sometimes your funders don't really understand that which brings us to funding nannup researchers work with gas emissions and climate change and they're not very favoured areas of funding at the moment unfortunately there's also been a lot of cuts to long term research funding which has put a serious squeeze on research and made it necessary for us to curtail some schemes and change the scope of others it's also meant I've need to expand my role to kind of fill the gaps where other members of staff may have been which I think's been quite positive actually most of our projects are short-term and run on a skeleton staff now and funding will also unfortunately endanger the future of my portal and so it's possible that we're going to lose this internationally important collection to counter this we've changed some of our practices and descriptions of our aims for example and instead of our research looking at farming practices and man-made gas emissions we talk about increasing yields for Lord fertilizer usage and we try and make what we're doing 3z focused towards farmer needs agricultural needs and working with industry to provide solutions rather than a purely academic kind of climate modelling focus the other challenge has been culture change and soil science is a very traditional area or has been and being part of an emergent sector working and interdisciplinary way with a traditional area has been very challenging but also a lot fun so research and general as well as traditionally been an area we're sitting on your data and keeping it secure and secret was necessary and the way to get ahead in your academic career was to have exclusive diets right about and the more exclusive and more secret the data the better working to spread the idea that sharing data was the way forward and even more so opened atoms of way for it's been very difficult so I've employed carrot-and-stick methods so we ever really useful big stick which is our researchers get funding for supplying us with their data it's built into their contracts so no dad and I funding but I don't want to use the stick all the time I prefer the carrot and I want to really make research is aware of the benefits of making a data open and then putting it into repose Terry such as ours putting do on things linking things up it's going to be beneficial particularly to early career researchers because they're the guys that are going to drive this so making open data and data sharing work for my researchers has been key we've got really tight licensing and attribution controls so they can see their dad is protected and we make sure to broadcast any good use of our our data someone uses it in an article I make sure everyone in the network knows about it something gets published everyone knows about it yeah we make sure to broadcast all a good press and make research is aware that they can use other open data as well to augment their own so kind of spread the good news how do I manage
without supporting confines of the library and I was really lucky when I picked up that first contract I had a great mentor and friend as my manager and he helped walk me through a lot of things and that I needed to know it was a massive learning curve and its really daunting to walk into fresh from study as well and changing sectors but I was invited to every meeting going every workshop in every product presentation whether I really needed to be there or not for a while so I was made aware of the complexity of data and metadata management and encouraged to read and explore current issues in the area and slowly I built a very practical picture of data librarianship as it applied to me maybe not as broad as other people and but certainly I learned what I needed tonight I also had a team that was willing when it had the funding to take the risk on an emergent area and send me to get training as the need arose and made sure I could attend workshops if I asked to go to something ninety-nine percent of the time yes no problem how can we help which was wonderful i also have an excellent relationship with the life library i'm sitting in it right now i actually work here two days a week at the moment and i've worked with them as much as possible towards common goals and they've really included me and others like me in the university in their planning we consult and relevant aspects of both their domains we go to a lot of the same meetings I've also got a strong project team we've in the past been larger but now these two of us and my developer is a great guy really knowledgeable willing to sit down and explain things to me here is endless patience and likewise anything that he needed to know i sat down talked to answer it as well the last thing would be because I'm part of the University I am subject to staff development so even though I'm not not really within the university dad librarian group when I'm working for a fe but I can still get access to the same training for example project management training I was able to attend that and last on the screen there was willingness to ask for help I was really
lucky during some of our projects that everyone was in the same boat we were developing things from scratch we were making new exciting products and I could ask what are you doing how are you doing it I'd ask guys hands QT ago in the coffee shop I asked everyone their opinions how do I develop my skills I
think I kind of covered that there I just went to everything going I've maybe got a real eclectic collection of qualifications and skills because of that every time I needed to upskill I had the opportunity or I could seek out the opportunity and was supported so
what advice would I give to others who are thinking of moving into a role such as yours first of all I've said this before being an advocate few users front
end and back end they're the people that create and consume the data in the metadata there are ultimate audience and of the product products and suit them then it won't get used no matter how pretty it is or how much work you've put in nobody'll want them so ask your research is what they need and be prepared to negotiate and make concessions from your ideals about data management to make sure that they get that be flexible having an open and flexible attitude invites open and flexible dialogue if a researcher is having problems with the software and everyone does it's not the easiest thing to use then I'll try and find the best way to help them some people like emails some people like online help some people like to be visited and if their firewall problems i will upload their data sets even though i encourage them very strongly to do it themselves if they break the internet i will fly to help them even if they're in western australia i will be there keep high standards and because data repositories are evolving and it's an emergent area it's easy for people who are newly in contact with data librarianship to say Oh that'll do yeah it looks good fine but in keeping two great best practice and industry standard everything seemed to do so you convey the importance of data management and storage and you find that people will rise to your standards as well especially when you can couple there with a willingness to be flexible in your approach and to help your contributors you'll hopefully end up with an excellent product for the end for example I have researchers who are very very busy I say I know you're busy but we really need all those metadata fields here's a prefilled and we're document with what I already have you just need technical details get it back to me get it up that way everyone reaches their deadlines you know milestones are are met and everyone's happy and that's me thank you very much
everyone any questions how do we attract
people data library and shoot when it's largely unknown miss summer school for you go and go and talk at them about it and how wonderful um attract people to come and be the other librarians really go from for me go to different academic streams go to different disciplines and talk to people about how they can apply what they know because a lot of the time you know we developed these collection of skills and there's not all the jobs they're an academia or an industry and people who know a little bit about an area can then a lot about another thing put them together and suddenly they go down librarians I how to make it
attractive I don't know maybe yeah we just talked to them a lot more be more present don't hiding cupboards like I'm doing at the moment but another one that comes in this is our their traditional
librarian skills they give a pathway into data librarianship short cataloging I learned a whole lot when I was doing my paper on cataloging that I directly apply all the time but maybe not the best person to ask because I'm not a very traditional librarian and I purposefully negotiated my way through my qualifications so I didn't need to do very traditional librarian things I think all of the skills that we develop and traditional librarianship are applicable especially the people skills interview techniques all of them you
mentioned you attended as many conferences etc to learn how did you convince management to fund this as I quite pretend anything as there no not money yeah when the when we had funding early in the projects that was a lot easier I will admit that but I also do fund myself in some situations so will they'll partially fund me or I will pay for something and agree that I can have the time during work to go to it so some of it is negotiation time because of funding issues yes it thank usual
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