Monthly Archives: June, 2013

Data Dream Team?

Attending IASSIST 2013 was very therapeutic, and I have returned from Germany invigorated and with many new thoughts about improving data services.

One thing I now wonder about is what I would do if I could design a dream lineup for a Data Services team, assuming that I had 4 or 5 staff lines at my disposal to hire from scratch.  What would the ideal configuration look like?  My thoughts are primarily about an academic library setting similar to my own, but this would be an interesting exercise in other settings too.

Is it hierarchical (a head with subordinates)?  A team of equals?  Are responsibilities cleanly divided or shared?

Some technical skills that are required: statistical, mathematical and engineering software (R/SAS/SPSS/Matlab/Mathematica, etc. etc.), GIS, Qualitiative Analysis, Data Visualization.  Scripting languages (Python, Java), Database skills. How are these divided among positions?

We also need a knowledge of public data sources, outreach and instruction skills in person and via electronic media.  Research data management also requires one-on-one people skills to negotiate data acquisition and provide advice across many disciplines.  Is it better to split these along functional lines (RDM specialist vs. Public Services Data Librarian) or along subject lines (e.g., a science data librarian and a social sciences data librarian handle both instruction and individual RDM work in their respective disciplines)?  Does digital humanities fit in here, or is it a separate issue?

So here’s the thought exercise: List the five members of your dream data team…