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Digging through data? Get some help at Data Day

Robert G. May has spent several years sifting through pages and pages of poet F.R. Scott’s typescripts and manuscripts housed at the W.D. Jordan Special Collections and Music Library. Dr. May and his colleague Dean Irvine at Dalhousie University intend to post the material online and publish an authoritative edition of works by Scott, a seminal figure in modern Canadian poetry.

Dr. May will share the unique challenges that arise when working with such a vast and rich archive during Data Day on Monday, May 11.

[Robert May]
Robert G. May is digitizing the typescripts and manuscripts of seminal Canadian poet F.R. Scott. Dr. May will share his experience managing the archival material at Data Day on May 11.

“Digitizing four archive boxes of material is a painstaking, page-by-page process,” says Dr. May (English Language and Literature). “During Data Day, I am interested to see what researchers in other disciplines are doing with archival research and data in their fields.”

Scott Lougheed, another panelist at Data Day, has some advice for fellow researchers looking to improve their data management practices.

“I recommend researchers pick a “New Year’s resolution project” where they go to Data Services in Queen’s University Library (QUL) at the outset and develop a data management plan,” says the doctoral candidate in the School of Environmental Studies.  “I have found that researchers frequently encounter challenges with their data at the end of the project. By that time, though, they have moved on to another project and it’s too late to make the necessary changes.”

Mr. Lougheed is one of several presenters at this year’s Data Day, an annual event where researchers and service providers share their expertise and experiences working with diverse data sets.

During the panel discussion, Mr. Lougheed will make the case that having a well-defined plan in place at the start of the project is worth the time and effort.

Data Day 2015
When: Monday, May 11, 8:45 am-1 pm
Where: Douglas Library
More information and register online

“Working with QUL early on can streamline the research process,” he says. “With a plan, you can avoid getting halfway through your project and realizing that you haven’t properly stored your interview transcripts or data sets, for example.”

Karina McInnis, Executive Director, University Research Services (URS), notes that the tri-council funding agencies will require researchers to submit a data management plan with their proposals in the future.  Jeff Moon, QUL Data Librarian, will provide an introduction to data management plans during his Data Day session (Graham George Seminar Room, second floor of Douglas Library, 10:45 am).

Ms. McInnis, along with Sharon Murphy, Head of Academic Services, QUL, Bo Wandschneider, Associate Vice-Principal (Information Technology Services) and Chief Information Officer, and Ted Hewitt, President, SSHRC, recently shared the tri-council and university perspective on data management planning at a conference hosted by the Consortia Advancing Standards in Research Administration Information (CASRAI). The Queen’s group won best presentation at the conference.

“Data Day allows us to highlight the ways URS, the library and ITS have partnered to raise awareness and advance the services Queen’s offers to researchers to manage their data and make it accessible and reusable by the wider research community for years to come,” Ms. Murphy says.

Visit the Data Day 2015 website to view the complete program and register.