Menu Expand
The Data Librarian’s Handbook

The Data Librarian’s Handbook

Robin Rice | John Southall



An insider’s guide to data librarianship packed full of practical examples and advice for any library and information professional learning to deal with data.
Interest in data has been growing in recent years. Support for this peculiar class of digital information – its use, preservation and curation, and how to support researchers’ production and consumption of it in ever greater volumes to create new knowledge, is needed more than ever.  Many librarians and information professionals are finding their working life is pulling them toward data support or research data management but lack the skills required.
The Data Librarian’s Handbook, written by two data librarians with over 30 years’ combined experience, unpicks the everyday role of the data librarian and offers practical guidance on how to collect, curate and crunch data for economic, social and scientific purposes.
With contemporary case studies from a range of institutions and disciplines, tips for best practice, study aids and links to key resources, this book is a must-read for all new entrants to the field, library and information students and working professionals.
Key topics covered include:

  • the evolution of data libraries and data archives
  • handling data compared to other forms of information
  • managing and curating data to ensure effective use and longevity
  • how to incorporate data literacy into mainstream library instruction and information literacy training
  • how to develop an effective institutional research data management (RDM) policy and infrastructure
  • how to support and review a data management plan (DMP) for a project, a key requirement for most research funders
  • approaches for developing, managing and promoting data repositories
  • handling and sharing confidential or sensitive data
  • supporting open scholarship and open science, ensuring data are discoverable, accessible, intelligible and assessable.
This title is for the practising data librarian, possibly new in their post with little experience of providing data support. It is also for managers and policy-makers, public service librarians, research data management coordinators and data support staff. It will also appeal to students and lecturers in iSchools and other library and information degree programmes where academic research support is taught.
Robin Rice is Data Librarian at EDINA and Data Library, an organisation providing data services for research and education based in Information Services at the University of Edinburgh.  
John Southall is Data Librarian for the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford. He is based in the Social Science Library andis subject consultant for Economics, Sociology and Social Policy & Intervention.
The Data Librarian’s Handbook covers a large amount of interesting terrain in thoughtful and accessible ways. It is both essential for any information professional interested in data and their management, and is also indicative of the increasing – and increasingly varied – role that data and data management play in libraries and more broadly across academia.
Neil Stewart
LSE Library
LSE Review of Books
The authors provide several case studies showing how librarians have been able to participate in the creation of grant mandated data management plans and, by doing so, establish close links and increase their credibility with researchers...the challenge for librarians – which the insights in this book very usefully address – is to be able to adapt their support to continuing new developments in the whole research lifecycle.
K & IM Refer
The tone of the  writing is straightforward, engaging and accessible, and there are practical suggestions throughout the text, including some very useful sets of bullet-pointed lists. An advantage is that the authors have experience in and address both the US and European/British contexts, which gives this work a more international scope than some others...In  sum, this book provides a valuable reference source both  for the beginner and the more experienced practitioner, giving background and suggestions for practice that may be new to them. I highly recommend it!

Ann Glusker
Librarian/Research & Data Coordinator, University of Washington
IASSIST Quarterly
Included are examples and case studies along with takeaways and reflective questions at the end of each chapter. Because of these features, this work would make for a helpful teaching tool for lecturers at information schools...Highly recommended for anyone just getting started in working with data.
Nathalie Reid
University of California
Library Journal
This book does an excellent job of both reflecting on where data libraries have been and gazing ahead to where they should be. It is recommended reading for existing and aspiring data librarians, and a worthy handbook to keep at one’s side. 
Jennifer Doty
Research Data Librarian, Emory University
Tecnical Services Quarterly
The Data Librarian's Handbook is very highly recommended for the practicing data librarian, those new in their post with little experience of providing data support. The Data Librarian's Handbook will also prove to be an invaluable reference for managers and policymakers, public service librarians, research data management coordinators and data support staff. The Data Librarian's Handbook is unreservedly recommended as a core addition to community, governmental, and academic Library Science collections and supplemental studies reading lists.
Midwest Book Review