ASIS&T 2006 START Conference Manager    

Managing Scientific Data for Long-term Access and Use

Melissa H. Cragin, W. John MacMullen, Jillian C. Wallis, Ann Zimmerman

ASIS&T Annual Meeting - 2006 (ASIS&T 2006)
Austin, Texas, November 3-9, 2006


Preservation of data for long-term use will require data management strategies that include curation and preservation planning and implementation. While data management and curatorial activities have been an integral part of some scientific domains for years (see for example, high energy particle physics), these are new concepts in other areas of science, often addressed in only a segmented fashion. Even the database community sees both the absence and opportunity in the development of tools and techniques for the capture and presentation of data provenance (Jagadish & Olken, 2004). One area where this is particularly evident is in researchers’ preservation activities, which are often equated with the creation of an “archival back-up;” concepts such as provenance, presentation for re-use, and work-flow capture are rarely understood, let alone addressed. Interestingly, these problems point to the emerging need to combine theories and practices from archives, museum studies, and library and information science (LIS); that is, it may not be possible to solve some of these problems without bringing together theories and best practices from the traditions of all three institutions.

We propose a panel on current research into scientific data management problems. While there are often panels at ASIST to present new techniques or tools for problems, we rarely hear about how new or emerging techniques are integrated into work practice, and ultimately, what this means for scholarly and scientific communication. Our research explores information work and problems across a range of scientific areas in the biological and life sciences, including genomics, neuroscience, ecology and environmental sciences. As more scientific work product is shifted to open or shared data collections (including archives, repositories and databases), we will need to understand how these systems are implemented and used to support collaboration and discovery. General questions for the panel and audience include: • What are some of the roles for the LIS field to fulfill? • What is the role for Institutional Repositories in preserving long-lived data? • In what ways can research libraries / digital libraries add value to scientific data collections?

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