Texas Tech University

How the Library Can Help with Data Management

By Matthew Mceniry

In the previous three articles, Le Yang has demonstrated what data management is, why it is important, and why the Texas Tech University Library is interested in helping with it. This article will focus on the methods and resources the library can provide in both learning more about the subject as well as crafting your own data management proposal.

The TTU Libraries Data Management Team has created a website specifically for the purpose of informing faculty, staff, and students about data management and the resources that are available to them. The website provides a general overview of data and what it can look like, a form to contact the team directly for an individual consultation, repository resources for discipline specific information, data management plans and requirements, and ways in which to describe your data (i.e. metadata).

Each of the aforementioned subject tabs deals with a specific aspect of data management (DM). The main overview page provides contact information for the data management team and asks some evaluating questions so that the researcher can have an idea about what this means to them. "DM Resources" includes information on repositories hosting discipline specific data. Everything from Engineering and Chemistry to Social and Geosciences are included in this spread of data repositories. When you start to think about where the data is going to reside after or during the award period, this tab is a great resource. "DM Plans and Requirements" provide pertinent information about what is required of the Primary Investigators when considering data management plan writing. Policy and guideline statuses are included for grant agencies such as the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, and National Endowment for the Humanities. Also located in this tab are templates for writing a data management plan and the link for TTU's DMP Tool. The "Describe Your Data" provides an outlook on what exactly metadata is (data about data), how to integrate it into your data management plan, and examples for what type of standard would best fit your project.

The final tab to mention on the website is the "Individual Consultation," an in-depth service provided by the Data Management Team. This page provides the researcher with a way to interact with the team for their proposal. After the attached preliminary questions have been answered, the team will create a custom outline for the Primary Investigator and begin the development process. Depending on the level of information that has been provided, the results may be suggestions on what to consider in terms of file formats and storage, providing strategies for keeping data anonymous, finding a suitable metadata description method for certain data sets, or a complete plan that has been tailored to your proposal. The more information that a researcher provides during the consultation, the better a result they can expect to be returned. No matter how far along into your proposal you may be, or how soon or far out the deadline is, the Data Management Team is always ready to help.

In addition to the resources offered, the Data Management Team is able to teach seminars and workshops which will introduce the basic concepts and provide the how, why, and when in regards to federally funded grants and their expectations for data management practices. The team will customize every session to the audience in which it is presenting. An emphasis will be placed upon the requirements by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and their new Office of Digital Humanities (ODH) policies if they are requested by Communications or Theatre & Dance. Likewise, a presentation including a look at the National Science Foundation's (NSF) guidelines along with instructions on how to describe biodiversity specimens using Darwin Core would accompany a workshop presented to Biology. The possibilities are numerous, and the team is willing to help educate and serve in whatever way they can.

As the topic of data management becomes more common both in everyday use and in funding agency requirements, the Texas Tech University Libraries Data Management Team is here to help. Whether it's a question about how to preserve data so that someone else can use it 20 years from now, how to name files efficiently, or where a terabyte of social science data can be deposited the Data Management Team wants to provide assistance for it.

If you find yourself curious about these services or would like to know more about what the Data Management Team can do for you and your proposal, please do not hesitate to contact us at libraries.datamanagement@ttu.edu.