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Data Management : Assessing Your Data Needs

Data Assessment Resources

Do You Have Data?

Data is defined as:

the digital recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings including data sets used to support scholarly publications but does not include (OMB Circular 110):

Some examples of research data:

  • Documents (text, Word), spreadsheets
  • Laboratory notebooks, field notebooks, diaries
  • Questionnaires, transcripts, codebooks
  • Audiotapes, videotapes
  • Photographs, films
  • Protein or genetic sequences
  • Spectra
  • Test responses
  • Slides, artifacts, specimens, samples
  • Collection of digital objects acquired and generated during the process of research
  • Database contents (video, audio, text, images)
  • Models, algorithms, scripts
  • Contents of an application (input, output, logfiles for analysis software, simulation software, schemas)
  • Methodologies and workflows
  • Standard operating procedures and protocols

Some kinds of data might not be sharable due to the nature of the records themselves, or to ethical and privacy concerns. As defined by the OMB, this refers to:

  • preliminary analyses,
  • drafts of scientific papers,
  • plans for future research,
  • peer reviews, or
  • communications with colleagues

Research data also do not include:

(A) Trade secrets, commercial information, materials necessary to be held confidential by a researcher until they are published, or similar information which is protected under law; and

(B) Personnel and medical information and similar information the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, such as information that could be used to identify a particular person in a research study.

(Adapted from University of Oregon Libraries)

"As the library community dedicates more effort to developing collections and platforms that support digitally inflected research and pedagogy, it will become increasingly important to consider challenges and opportunities inherent in the development of more robust solutions. It must be acknowledged that present Humanities data collection development is diffuse, sometimes focusing on meeting the needs of a broadly (inter)disciplinary and (inter)professional community like the Digital Humanities, and other times having a narrower scope. In order to develop more resonant collections and platforms, needs assessment and other forms of user research must be executed in a more systematic and sustained manner."

Source: Padilla, T. (2016). "Humanities Data in the Library: Integrity, Form, Access." D-Lib Magazine, 22(3).

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.