Developing research data services at libraries

Blogpost by Monica Lassi. This post is part of our series of posts reporting from the RDA 9th Plenary (P9), 3-7 April 2017 in Barcelona.

Monica Lassi, Lund University. Photo; Josefine Lidbrandt
Monica Lassi, Lund University. Photo; Josefine Lidbrandt

The Research Data Alliance Libraries for Research Data Interest Group

An interesting bit of information about this IG is that it has delivered one of RDA’s most downloaded outputs: “23 Things: Libraries for Research Data”.  The IG welcomes translations of the 23 Things to other languages.

Libraries for Research Data

The two main items (as in taking up most of the time) on the WG’s agenda were lightening talks from six speakers on the topic of developing research data services at libraries, and a discussion on the topic “Bringing research data management into the library mainstream”.

The lightening talks included one from myself, Monica Lassi: “Developing research data services at Lund University Library”. I presented how Lund University Library work with research data services in the absence of national guidelines, policies or resources.

This was quite a contrast to the other lightening talks, which presented existing services (and which I could present as a wish list for Swedish academic libraries for the future):


Mariëtte van Selm, University Library, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, “Can you help me understand?” – services include website, service desk (a one-stop shop for RDM), training (RDM workshop), and repositories.


Angelina Kraft, German National Library of Science and Technology, Germany “Enabling Scientific Publication and Citation – Role of Libraries” – supports other research libraries – training the trainers. DOIs are what keeps it all together – data publications people etc.


Fieke Schoots, Leiden University Libraries, Netherlands “RDM Services catalogue @ Leiden University” – the RDM service catalogue contains ~50 services.


Malcolm Wolski, Griffith University, Australia “EcoCloud for Researchers” – integration and interoperability of services are key for discoverability of data.


Amy Nurnberger, Columbia University, United States “Mission impossible: “What do you do when the data doesn’t fit the repository?” – a shift in the role of the librarian from institutional repository provider to advising on data storage. A new role of the librarian as concierge – building relations with actors, understanding researchers’ needs, and connecting researchers with the relevant actors/resources.

Bringing research data management into the library mainstream

During the discussion on the theme “Bringing research data management into the library mainstream”, one of the major take homes for me was that librarians should be where the researchers are, in order to understand their needs and provide relevant services (RDA being one of those venues). While we’re waiting for resources and mandate to develop and provide RDM services, let’s talk to the researchers and get to know their data and ways of working.

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