[ESIP-all] Requesting data sets for students to work on

Ruth Duerr ruth.duerr3 at gmail.com
Wed Aug 5 18:12:01 EDT 2015

We work with a Data Curation Specialization certification program team at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign Graduate School of Library and Information Science (UIUC, GSLIS). Taught since 2007 as part of the MSLIS program, this one-semester Foundations of Data Curation (DC) course integrates as much exposure to data issues and direct experience with data as possible.

In recent semesters we have found that hands-on experience with real data sets noticeably improves student class engagement and understanding. Students are able to work effectively upgrading, ingesting, and/or rescuing a dataset.  For instance, students improve their skills by enriching documentation, structuring for ingestion, and reformatting to accessible formats.

Students select a dataset at the start of the course and continue working on it in phases: 1) investigating & selecting a dataset; 2) developing a data management plan for improving the dataset; and 3) implementing the plan given available time and resources.  Each dataset has an associated contact but communication with the dataset contact is restricted until the student has demonstrated to the instructors that they have mastered an understanding of the data and related available resources including papers or reports in the peer reviewed literature.

There is an expectation that if a student substantially improves the metadata documentation or the state of the data that the repository would consider using the results of their work.  For instance, the National Snow and Ice Data Center and the National Space Science Data Center have publishing datasets worked on by students, datasets that may not otherwise be publically available. In addition to contributing to data availability, this approach represents an opportunity for a) students to provide a pointer to an example of data curation work on their vitae and b) repositories to enhance visibility of some data as well as to highlight their contributions to education and training of a much needed workforce in data curation.  

If you have data that require attention and are interested in having a data curation student work with your data sets as a class project, please contact us.  We would need to know the name of the data set, the type of data, a summary of the work you feel is needed, the name and contact information for a point of contact for the student, as well as a pointer to the data or a mechanism to access it.  The first day of class is August 26, so we would need this information by the beginning of that week.


Ruth Duerr, ruth.duerr3 at gmail.com <mailto:ruth.duerr3 at gmail.com>, Ronin Institute for Independent Scholarship and Adjunct Professor Graduate School of Library and Information Science, UIUC

Myrna Morales, UIUC Graduate Student in Data Curation
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