Special Advisor for Strategic Initiatives, Libraries
What are the barriers to finding and using interdisciplinary data, and how do we overcome them? The Rutgers University Libraries are leading the development of the data services layer of the Virtual Data Collaboratory (VDC), a National Science Foundation-funded regional multidisciplinary research data portal in development by Rutgers University, Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) and others. To design the portal, Rutgers, Penn State, and Temple University librarians interviewed research faculty and graduate students about their problems finding and selecting research data. We discovered that research has become interdisciplinary to the point that graduate students, in particular, had difficulty identifying a discipline they were associated with. Instead, research has become, at least for our sample, inherently multidisciplinary and problem-based. Interviewees identified trust in data as a primary determiner for selecting data for reuse. Researchers want to know as much, if not more, about the creator of the data as information about the data. To understand the data, they want to know the problem it addresses and the methodology employed more than the discipline it represents. This presentation will present the enlightening results of our research as well as our solution, a Portland Common Data Model metadata representation of the data creator that interacts with metadata for the research data to integrate information about both, including reuse of the data by other VDC participants, in a linked data Samvera environment.