Yesterday morning, all the NCAR interns had a reception with the UCAR president, Dr. Tom Bogdan. Once he learned what we in DCERC are doing, he related the following quote (he couldn’t remember where he heard it*):
This is a very interesting quotation. I think it explains pretty well why we’re learning data curation. I’ve always heard the last inequality about knowledge not equaling understanding, but adding the part about data made me think about it differently. It’s true: simply having a set of data does not mean someone has knowledge. It takes more than a bunch of numbers to make knowledge, just as it takes more than knowledge to make understanding. I think this is where metadata comes in. Without extensive metadata describing the data set and the experiment, the data set is useless and does not contribute to the advance of science and knowledge. As data curation students, we are learning how to take this inequality and create an equality.
It’s all starting to make better sense and come into focus. I’m excited about the prospects!
*I was recently told that this quote is attributed to Tim Berners-Lee.