Research data curation aims to give scholarly data context and ongoing care. Curation is a critical part of making data available and understandable to the researchers who collect it and to the broader scholarly community. Data curators have been working hard to ensure that the datasets associated with scholarly research live on and are “FAIR” – findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable – by future generations. Organizations like the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR, for short) help scholars add context to their datasets and submit them for long-term preservation. The ICPSR collection now holds datasets for over 15,000 studies in the behavioral and social sciences domains, including thematic collections such as the National Addiction & HIV Data Archive Program (NAHDAP); the National Archive of Data on Arts & Culture (NADAC); and the Resource Center for Minority Data (RCMD).

As part of their outreach to data creators from all domains, ICPSR sponsors Love Data Week each year. Love Data Week 2021, which runs February 8-12, celebrates the theme “Data: Delivering a Better Future.” (If you’re on Twitter, it’s #LoveData21).  Institutions around the world are celebrating Love Data Week with a wide variety of events, presentations, and online resources. The National Library of Medicine, for example, has published a list of “23 Things about Open Data.” Free webinars on data-related topics will take place all week, and there’s an opportunity to “Adopt a Dataset” from ICPSR – a way to highlight less well-known research studies that are nonetheless valuable.

Here are a few ways you can participate this year:

  1. Attend one of ICPSR’s Love Data Week webinars
  2. Researchers can “Adopt a Dataset” from ICPSR. Selecting a dataset is free, and topics include criminal justice, health, identity, immigration, and social networks. Datasets are available starting February 8th.
  3. Which datasets are most meaningful to you? Share a description of your favorite data collection in the comments.

For inspiration, here are some DISC/ZSR favorites:

I really like The Shakespeare and Company Project, which makes available datasets on membership, events, and book circulation from Shakespeare and Company, the famous Paris bookshop that published James Joyce’s Ulysses in 1922. The datasets are freely available for anyone wishing to learn more about the expatriate scene in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s, and the famous authors such as Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway who were members of the Shakespeare and Company lending library. – Carrie

WFU Athletics Audio and Video Collection We created this digital collection in 2020 just before the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic. That March, the NCAA announced that Division I college basketball tournaments were cancelled. Being able to visit our digital collections and relive some of Wake’s best March Madness moments helped fill the void. – Mel

I’ve recently discovered Open AQ, an open, community-driven project that allows users to learn about the current air quality in just about any location around the world. The organization also offers a wide range of ways for community members to get involved in monitoring and improving air quality in their neighborhoods.  – Heather