ASERL Summertime Summit – Opening Keynote – Sayeed Choudhury

I was lucky enough to attend my first ASERL (Association of Southeastern Research Libraries) event this week.  It was a very timely Summertime Summit titled “Liaison Roles in Open Access & Data Management: Equal Parts Inspiration & Perspiration” held in Atlanta. I am a liaison to our School of Medicine and I’ve also been working with an image database and NCBI data so the summit was a good fit with my work.  It was also exciting to meet with people outside of medical libraries.  Not that I don’t love MLA meetings and #medlibs chats on Twitter, but it is always good to get a new perspective on the workings of libraries.

Sayeed Choudhury from Johns Hopkins was the opening keynote speaker.  He talked about setting up the research data management program at the Sheridan Libraries in his talk “Open Access & Data Management Are Do-Able Through Partnerships”. Choudhry suggested that we need to ask why we are starting data services before things get going. Not that there is a right answer but it will help with the process to know if the motivation is the PIs/faculty wanting a service or if it is only because there is a mandate to comply with.

My favourite  part was when Choudhury mentioned that the “reference interview” was still needed even when using DMPTool.  He said that there were times when a researcher started out thinking one thing about data and ended up in a totally different place once they had an interview with him.  Since I think the skill of interviewing is one of the great super powers of librarians, I couldn’t agree more.  (I consider this the best book – my Reference instructor was Dr. Ross years ago at UWO SLIS –Conducting the Reference Interview: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians, 2nd ed.  Catherine Sheldrick Ross, Kirsti Nilsen, Marie L. Radford.  )

Another point Choudhury made, which resonated with many people, is that data management shouldn’t be seen as a library service, it should be research support provided by the Library.  This point was also mentioned in a new article about the JHU data services initiative I had been reading on the plane going to Atlanta:

Yi Shen, Virgil E. Varvel Jr., Developing Data Management Services at the Johns Hopkins University, The Journal of Academic Librarianship, Available online 11 July 2013 .

One last take away from Choudhury’s keynote was a talking point he uses with researchers who are uncertain about RDM.  He asks if they can find their data after 5 years.  Usually they can’t, and this question opens a dialogue about planning.

It was a great start to the meeting.  Hopefully I can write up my notes for the 2 breakout sessions I attended and the closing speaker in the next week or so.

update 8/22/2013 Georgia Tech Library has the presentation video online:

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