Background and Description
I realized the UT Libraries did not have a guide that discusses data management and how to create a data management plan, so, as part of my assistantship, I decided to create one. This type of information is very important at at research university such as UT. I started by researching and studying guides created at other universities and created a plan for my website. I made a landing page with general information on what data management is and why the guide was created. I then created separate tabbed pages that deal with specific parts of data management, such as planning, documentation, sharing and reuse, and archiving and preservation. I also created one tab that provides information on the Data Management Plan requirement of National Science Foundation grant applications.
Why did I Create the Guide?
I created the guide to apply the concepts I had been learning in my Foundations of Data Curation course in Spring 2012. We had studied other data management plan guides and even had to critique a data management plan and a data management plan checklist for one of our assignments. This assignment was my favorite of all the assignments in that class as I finally saw something that I could specialize in and become proficient at. I have since studied data management best practices, read books on data management, and attended training courses on data management.
What are Some Important Features of the Guide?
The guide is laid out in a logical fashion with tabs across the top of the page, each discussing a different aspect of data management. I provided links throughout the site to other helpful resources, such as a helpful tutorial from MIT, a link to the DMPTool (which I later reviewed for Public Services Quarterly), and links on how to publish and share data in a data repository.
What did I Learn While Creating the Guide?
Through creating the guide, I not only learned much about data management, but I also learned much about designing research guides and using the Libguides software to do so. Learning about data management in the classroom setting and explaining how to do it to scientists are two different things. Figuring out how to articulate the terminology in terms a scientists can understand was not always easy. I wanted to ensure I did not speak in library and information science terminology that may not be recognized by a scientist. The final product is a helpful guide that has already been used to help UT’s College of Engineering develop guidance for data management plans for NSF grant applications.
What Would I do Differently Next Time?
If I were creating this guide again, I would create it to be more comprehensive. I would add guidance on other grant funding agencies data management and sharing plan requirements, such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Endowment for the Humanities. I would also include more details on metadata and a more comprehensive guide to selecting a metadata schema for a specific discipline.
How Does This Serve my Future Career?
As a data curation librarian in a university library, I will have to create a guide just like this one, unless one has already been created. Even then, I will probably want to revise it. Thus, learning the Libguides software, which is used by most universities for their research guides, was extremely helpful, as was collecting the information I wanted to convey and determining how to convey it clearly.