Conversations on Data Management: An RDAP Review


Thanks to the generous support of NEASIST, I was able to attend the Research Data Access & Preservation (RDAP) Summit earlier this month in Atlanta, Georgia. As a student (now recent grad!) of the Simmons College School of Library and Information Science, I first became interested in data management during a Scientific Research Data Management course taught by Elaine Martin and a teaching team from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, including my fellow travel grant recipient, Regina Raboin. This course provided a solid foundation in research data management, as well as practical training in conducting a data interview and creating a data management plan. This past semester, I’ve been able to apply the knowledge and skills I developed during this course as the Research Data Manager Intern at Harvard Medical School, where I’ve been helping to conduct outreach to biomedical researchers to understand their data management needs and practices.

I arrived at RDAP with a strong interest in data literacy and a desire to understand how information professionals could fulfill an instructional role in research data services. Many of the panels and talks presented a variety of ways in which libraries and institutions are fulfilling that role, from workshops to special events, and this has helped to evolve my thinking around this topic. Overall, however, my experience at RDAP has inspired me to think more broadly about research data services, about how institutions can build sustainable data management programs, by using their resources efficiently and effectively evaluating their success.

The question of sustainability was addressed specifically in one panel, where panelists from James Madison University, Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Michigan shared their ideas about the considerations of technology, management, and strategic planning in building sustainable services, but the theme continued throughout the two days of the conference. The panel on “Building the Research Data Community of Practice” brought together speakers who shared ways that the research data community is coming together to collaborate and learn from each other—from communities, such as DataQ, the Escience Portal for New England Librarians, and Datacure, to events, such as the Virginia Data Management Boot Camp and the Midwest Data Librarian Symposium. Another panel, “Measuring Up: How Are We Defining Success for Research Data Services?”, presented various approaches to the assessment of research data services, as well as a frank discussion of challenges in conducting evaluations. Many libraries are using tracking systems such as LibAnswers to track their data management interactions, but also recognized that these tools cannot easily or accurately portray the nature of the interactions, or the time commitment involved. Institutions with data repositories, who are tracking a variety of statistics on downloads, page traffic, and user engagement, shared their approaches to visualizing and understanding this data for evaluation purposes. Understanding and utilizing resources effectively was a theme throughout these presentations, especially during a panel on “Engaging Liaisons”, which explored how liaison librarians could best be involved in data management, drawing on their skills in advocacy, outreach, and relationship building. These panels, as well as the lightning talks, poster presentations, and informal conversations that filled in the rest of the conference’s busy schedule, have encouraged me to think not just about the types of research data services that should be offered, but how these services should be constructed, managed, and evaluated—in essence, applying the much-beloved lifecycle model to the services themselves.

When I applied for the NEASIST student travel grant, I saw RDAP as a great way to learn more about emerging trends in data management and connect with professionals working in this area, and my experience at the conference exceeded these expectations. The ideas and conversations that I had while at RDAP were overwhelmingly motivating, and I would like to see other LIS students have this opportunity in future. One of the most controversial topics at the conference was the cost of attendance, which many worried was limiting attendance and shutting out valuable contributions. Next year’s conference planners are committed to lowering these barriers, which is a positive step forward, but this discussion underlined for me how fortunate I feel to have been given this opportunity by NEASIST. I look forward to sharing more of my thoughts from the conference at the NEASIST Summer Picnic in June, and I thank NEASIST again for their generous support.

To see slideshows from many of the panels and talks that I mentioned in this blog post, see the ASIST Slideshare account.

-Anna Newman

2016 ASIS&T Elections


Shape the future of ASIS&T and cast your vote!  Eligible voters should have been sent an email with instructions on accessing the voting systems and the special login username and password required for voting on May 11.

Below are the candidates running for the ASIS&T Board of Directors.   Click on their names to read their personal statement.  All votes must be received by June 15, 2016.

President-elect (for the 2017 ASIS&T administrative year ):
Treasurer (for the 2017-2019 administrative years)
Director-at-Large (for 2017-2019 administrative years) – Elect two:

Building Collections around Faculty CVs and Syllabi


Date: Thursday, June 2, 2016
to Location: Wheelock College Earl Center for Learning and Innovation 
Parking is nigh impossible.  We suggest you take public transportation.
RSVP (space limited):

This is the second workshop in our Collection Development series.  Jennifer Ferguson will be talking about building collections strategically around Faculty CVs and syllabi, so bring a copy of one or both to work with in this workshop.

Jennifer Ferguson is a Liaison Librarian to the Arts, Humanities, and Careers at Simmons College.

Interested in participating virtually? We’re interested in helping you do that — contact us at


UX/UI Unconference Handouts


Thanks to our UX experts and attendees – both in-person and virtual via our go-to meeting software – yesterday for the great turnout and lively discussions!   Here is a link to our event evaluation if you didn’t get a chance to fill it out:

There were some handouts shared at the event with useful tips and suggestions on how to do usability testing.

Remote & Moderated Usability Testing Method
Interviewing Users

And some folks have asked for the brownie recipe Annie used:

Join NEASIST for our first UX/UI Un-Conference


Date: Monday, April 25, 2016
to Location: Faculty & Staff Dining Room right outside of The Fens Cafe in the Simmons College Main College Building.
See who else is going and RSVP :
We will have a virtual participation option! Please email, if you would like to be a virtual participant.

This is a great opportunity to discuss current trends and best practices with usability experts in an informal setting. Come bring your ideas and questions for our UX experts. Discussion topics will include distance usability testing, flash ethnography, and more!

Our experts:

Elizabeth Quigley
Topic: Distance Testing
User Experience Lead, IQSS
Elizabeth has an M.S. in Library and Information Science from the School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College. Her usability research mainly focuses on improving open source products for researchers, such as The Dataverse Project, an open source data repository. Her research interests are: discoverability of data, user experience of academic products, and best practices for integrating user experience processes into existing products.

Deirdre Costello
Topic: Flash Ethnography
Deirdre Costello is a Sr. User Experience Researcher at EBSCO Information Services. She is passionate about discovering how technologies fit into users’ lives and their pursuit of information. Deirdre is a librarian, and has a background in research, analysis and writing.

Amy Deschenes
Topic: Building Empathy through User Interviews
Amy Deschenes is the Library User Experience Specialist at Harvard University. In addition to overseeing various user studies in the libraries, she also hosts training workshops with staff on how to conduct usability testing, ethnographic research, and user interviews. During her first year at Harvard she worked to establish the User Research Center, a dedicated space to support user experience research at Harvard. She is the author of the book, “Free Technology for Libraries.” Her website is

And our 2016 NEASIS&T Travel Award Winners are…


Anna Newman and Regina Raboin!

Anna Newman, who attends the Simmons College School of Library Information Science, is our student travel award winner.  She is also currently working part-time as the Research Data Manager Intern at the Harvard Medical School.  Regina Raboin is the Associate Director for Library Education and Research at at the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Lamar Soutter Library.   Both have chosen to attend this year’s ASIS&T RDAP (Research Data Access and Preservation) Summit in Atlanta, Georgia.

We received many impressive applications this year.  Anna and Regina demonstrated a compelling case for how their work or scholarship will have a positive impact on the community and each made an exceptionally strong case for how their attendance at RDAP will inform their scholarship and practice.

As is the tradition at NEASIS&T, we will have a summer event to congratulate and to get to know our travel award winners.  We will keep you posted on the details.

NE-ASIS&T Travel Awards 2016: 3 Conference Options


Application Deadline: Friday, February 19, 2016
Notification of Award Winners: February 26, 2016

About the Awards: Professional and Student

The Association for Information Science & Technology, New England Chapter (NE-ASIS&T) is pleased to announce two awards to support participation in an ASIS&T Summit or Annual Meeting. Our goals are to support scholarship and connect research and practice, bringing new voices to the chapter. The student award (of up to $1000) and the practitioner award ($500) will support your year-long membership in ASIS&T as well as your conference registration and part of your travel costs to Atlanta (for the Information Architecture or Research Data Access and Preservation Summits) or Copenhagen (for the Annual Meeting).

In addition to the conference support, the award provides ASIS&T membership, offering significant benefits:

  • Membership in our New England regional chapter
    • Mentorship and networking with experienced NE-ASIS&T members
    • Opportunities to build professional skills (including project management, budgeting, marketing, etc.)
  • Discounted conference registration for ASIS&T and NE-ASIS&T events
  • Webinars and discounts on other publications
  • A year’s subscription to the Journal of ASIS&T and the Bulletin

Eligibility & Applications

Applicants must be either current graduate students or practitioners in the field of information science at the time of their application. We define information science broadly: librarians, archivists, data/knowledge managers, information architects, web developers, etc., are all encouraged to apply. Applicants do not need to be current NE-ASIS&T members, nor do they need to live or work in Boston. However, award winners are expected to participate (in person or remotely) in NE-ASIS&T programming in 2016-17.

Each applicant must submit a cover sheet and two short personal statements to by Friday, February 19th, 2016. The winner will be notified by Friday, February 26th, 2016.  The subject line should read “Travel Award Application 2016.”

  • Cover sheet including this information
    • Applicant’s name
    • Address
    • Phone number
    • Email
    • For students, school affiliation
    • For practitioners, professional affiliation
  • Two short personal statements
    • How will attending the Summit or Annual Meeting inform your current or future professional practice? (150 words)
    • In five years, how do you hope your work in information science will have had a positive impact on your community? (500 words for students and 750 words for professionals)

Terms of Awards

Each award winner will be welcomed into our New England regional chapter by participating in events in person (at least once) and remotely. As a travel award winner, you will:

  • Meet with a NE-ASIS&T representative at the conference
  • Share your conference experience with the NE-ASIS&T chapter
  • Participate in a NE-ASIS&T meet-up based on the winners’ professional interests
  • Review award applications for the 2017 Travel Awards
  • Submit receipts documenting travel- and conference-related expenses, such as registration, airfare, food, and lodging, up to the value of the award

*If a winner is unable to meet all of the terms due to a relocation, NE-ASIS&T should be notified immediately.

Questions? Contact Annie Erdmann at (617) 251-2723, e-mail: