Providing Social Science Data Services

Carol Spector, Reference and Government Information Librarian, attended the ICPSR (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research) Summer Program 2018 on “Providing Social Science Data Services.”

“The highlight of this week long workshop was meeting fellow librarians that are providing data services on their campuses and hearing about their successes and challenges. The workshop motivated me to re-visit how we incorporate data stewardship into our research practices at USF. I would like to provide services on our campus to promote research data archiving. This would align with our open access initiative and provide additional exposure to research conducted by members of the USF community.
I would also like to offer instruction in the area of data literacy, but I am sorting out what needs there might be on campus. Along these lines, one instruction area that I have begun offering is an introduction to online mapping. This can be incorporated into a variety of library instruction sessions (e.g., for research methods courses or assignments that benefit from analysis of socio-economic data), or offered as a stand-alone workshop.

Please let me know if you have any interest in pursuing data archiving, online mapping, or data literacy at USF. I’d love to hear from you.”

More information about Carol, including contact information, can be found via this link.

If you’re unfamiliar with data literacy, Ann Glusker, a librarian at the National Library of Medicine, gives a nice overview (with graphics!) here.

Libraries and Technology

Anders Lyon, the Stacks Coordinator at Gleeson Library, attended the Library Information Technology Association (LITA) Forum in Denver, November 9th-12th, 2017. LITA is a division of the American Library Association and this year’s annual conference focused on the intersection of libraries and technology. The topics covered data management, analytics, digital initiatives and user experience.

Of particular interest to Anders were sessions focused on user experience (UX). UX includes the library’s web environment as well as physical space. The focus of these sessions were methods of gathering user experience data which would be used in future project improvements/redesigns.

For example, in one presentation a mobile kiosk called the UX Cafe was set up in high traffic areas. Patrons were offered coffee and granola bars to participate in a brief study. For more on UX resources and blogs, check out UX for the Masses.

Anders noted that while Gleeson Library solicits feedback from the university community, establishing something similar to the UX Cafe here would formalize the process and increase the frequency of data collection. He proffered an example of a study where users would be asked to find a resource from the library’s digital collections. Administrators of the study would take notes as users describe the process of finding the resource. The results would be used to identify areas in need of improvement and to implement changes to the library’s online environment.