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On Monday, August 5, Carol, Lauren C., Molly, and Sarah loaded up the ZSR Library van for a quick trip down to Atlanta for the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) Summertime Summit. The Tuesday six-hour Summit at Georgia Tech involved an opening keynote, a morning breakout session, an afternoon breakout session, and a closing keynote, with plenty of networking opportunities afforded during breaks and lunch. Between the four of us, we managed to attend the seven different breakout sessions (one was a repeat). Below are our individual takeaways.


In addition to the two keynotes, I attended the “Practical Data Management Tools – Step-By-Step Guide, DMPTool, DataBib” morning breakout session. I jumped between two afternoon breakout sessions, “Library Staffing/Responsibility Models for Data Management and Open Access” and “The Wheat from the Chaff: Locating High Quality Open Access Resources.” I also caught up with several Scholarly Communications librarians from around the Southeast, and had lively conversations about ETD embargoes over lunch.

Although I didn’t hear anything earth-shattering at the Summit (which really is a reassurance that I’m up-to-speed on the pertinent issues), several key points stood out in aggregate from across the day:

  • IRs were thought of as individual systems when launched by institutions, not as points in a shared infrastructure, which has hampered their usefulness somewhat;
  • don’t try to generate demand for data management services if it isn’t already there from faculty;
  • be knowledgeable and prepared, but don’t launch a service without adequate need and planning;
  • researchers won’t change behavior because of technological changes but because of social/cultural changes (we’re seeing this with Federal agency mandates);
  • humanists do have data, they just don’t call it data;
  • data support must be bigger than the library;
  • engagement is often uneven;
  • if you’ve been doing something the same way, rethink it.


The opening keynote focus was “Data Management is important” and the closing keynote focus was “Libraries must change.”The breakout session I attended by myself was “Marketing Data Management Tools and Services to Faculty.” The first thing I learned in the session is that I’m behind in my knowledge of Data Management mandates or even just what it is. (Contrast to Molly’s experience!) However, I was very comfortable with the descriptions of marketing activities that took place at Georgia State and Emory: LibGuides, newsletter articles, library blog, use of the University News Center (think: Inside WFU), surveys to determine needs, focus groups, town-hall-style meetings. In fact, I recommend scanning the GSU LibGuide if you need a one-minute introduction to Data Management and mandates.

One overall impression was a tension between having a designated person to handle Open Access and Data Management issues vs. having every liaison do some of it. We see this over and over with other kinds of library services, so no surprise there. (I keep thinking of it as the “Center of Excellence” vs. the “Across the Curriculum” model.) In my breakout session, one of the libraries (GSU, I think) was currently using a team to handle actual requests for help with Data Management Plans. They’re concerned that this approach will not scale, but they also think that the first, say, anthropologist will come to the library, but the second anthropologist will just ask the first anthropologist so the need for the team may fade over time.


I attended the opening and closing keynotes, the morning breakout session on “Marketing Open Access Services & Tools to Faculty”, and the afternoon breakout session on “Follow-Up Activities from ARL’s E- Science Institutes”. It was great to meet science librarians from other universities such as Johns Hopkins, Emory, etc.

  • In the first breakout session, I realized that we are on target in promoting open access on campus thanks to outreach efforts by Molly and liaisons. Interestingly, other universities have added faculty and student research posters in their institutional repositories. Download reports can provide meaningful information for dissertations and theses in institutional repositories.
  • In the afternoon breakout session, librarians shared their experiences at the Duraspace/ARL/DLF E-Science Institute. Despite its title, the ARL E-Science Institute facilitates the development of a strategic agenda (priorities and ambitions, opportunities and partnerships, and challenges and weaknesses of your E-Research support program) by helping you “examine your local E-Research landscape, to consider the relationship between your institution as a whole and your library in terms of E-Research, to identify key players in E-Science and E-Research at your institution, and to conduct interviews of some of them to better understand their roles.”
  • The difference between E-Science and E-Research:
    • Examples of E-Science include data mining and statistical exploration of genome structures
    • “E-Research encompasses computation and E-Science, cyberinfrastructure, and data curation…E-Research could include studies of large linguistic corpuses in the humanities, or integrated social policy analyses in the social sciences.”
  • There is no “one size fits all” model for supporting data management among liaisons and data management librarians.
  • As Lauren mentions (below), some libraries use ICPSR (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research)
  • The Long Term Ecological Research Network is another data sharing resource.


Overall, I realized that many libraries are still struggling in playing the right role with open access and data management. My first three highlights are from Sayeed Choudhury’s (Johns Hopkins University) opening keynote address:

  • Retrospective figuring out provenance of electronic data is very difficult so try to document along the way how tools were built or where they came from as well as documenting the source of the data itself.
  • Ask the researchers “what are you trying to do” and then try to help them. “You care about [fill in the blank], and if we do [fill in the blank], it could enable you to do [fill in the blank].”
  • Metadata has to be done as a combo of human and automated to be able to scale up.

At the breakout session on “Funding Models for Open Access Cost” I took note during the discussion when Catherine Murray-Rust, Dean of Libraries at Georgia Tech, said:

  • Funding agencies requiring OA will change things. (Europe publishes more in STEM and is doing this.)

These last two key points are aggregated, heard in various expressions in keynote and breakout sessions both:

  • To promote open access, take advantage of any type of communication channel that a liaison normally uses in order to connect faculty with the Scholarly Communications Librarian: e.g. the liaison and SC Librarian may attend a faculty meeting together or the liaison may simply make an introduction via email. We as liaisons don’t have to have all the info and answers on OA or data management, we just need to be willing to listen and help find the expertise like we always have.
  • The best role for the library in data management is to steer faculty to existing resources (such as ICPSR) and to provide support in making data management plans, including serving as the repository for all the data management plans of the campus. From what I heard, it would be overwhelming for a library to try to take on being a university’s data manager and it is difficult just to collect plans from faculty.