RDM & Cornell University

I’ve been fortunate to have been given the opportunity to take up a secondment at the Cornell Institute for Social and Economic Research (CISER) as Data Services Librarian, the primary tasks of which are to:

  • Modernise the CISER data archive, and if possible, begin the implementation. Tasks include: introduction of persistent identifiers (DOIs) to all archival datasets (via EZID); investigate metadata mapping of archival datasets (DDI, DC, MARCXML); streamline data catalogue functionality (by introducing result sorting, relevance searches, subject classification), assist scoping a data repository solution for social science data assets generated by Cornell researchers
  • Actively participate in the Research Data Management Services Group at Cornell, assisting researchers with their RDM plans, contributing to the advancement of the work of the group
  • Actively consult with researchers about social science datasets and other data outreach activities.
  • Co-ordinate and collate assessment statements in order to gain Data Seal of Approval for CISER data archive.

Last Friday I gave my first presentation on the CISER data archive along with other CISER colleagues (they talked about datasets used in restriction at the Cornell Restricted Access Data Centre, and the CISER Statistical Consultancy Service & ICPSR) at a Policy and Analysis and Management (PAM) workshop for graduate students. This was held at the Survey Research Institute (https://www.sri.cornell.edu/sri/ ) where much discussion centred around survey non-response and mechanisms to counter this increasingly common phenomenon.

On Tuesday of this week I presented on the University of Edinburgh RDM Roadmap at a meeting of the monthly Research Data Management Service Group (RDMSG – http://data.research.cornell.edu). This was followed by two presentations yesterday, one at a Demography Pro-seminar (for graduate students) on campus and later at a Cornell University Library Data Discussion Group meeting in the Mann Library set up to introduce the CISER Data Services Librarian to a range of subject librarians principally in the social sciences. In each case the Edinburgh RDM Roadmap was received with great enthusiasm and engendered much discussion, in particular the centralised and inclusive approach adopted by Edinburgh. Follow up discussion and meetings are being planned including the potential use of MANTRA and the RDM Toolkit for Librarians as materials to raise the profile of RDM at Cornell.

As an aside, at a CISER team meeting the subject was raised about password protection (in some instances passwords to CISER resources are changed on a very regular basis for security purposes) and issues surrounding inappropriate recording of passwords. A site licence for a software protection software package was seen as a possible solution to both user disgruntlement and possible security breaches. As a thought, this might be worth considering as part of the Active Data Infrastructure tool suite.

Stuart Macdonald
Associate Data Librarian, UoE / Visiting CISER Data Services Librarian

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