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Three librarians tell us about their experiences of working with research data – and why they do what they do

Tegan DarnellTegan Darnell, Research Librarian at the University of Southern Queensland

"As the librarian responsible for research support at my institution, it was inevitable that research data would become a part of my portfolio. Research data support is easily a job on its own, but it is only one of the many things I do. We are a small regional university and the scope of the role requires a careful balancing act.  

 It has been truly rewarding to have the opportunity to meet so many researchers at my university, and elsewhere, speaking to them about their work and their research data needs. I have learned so much in such a small amount of time!  Now that I have some (still limited) research data experience, a whole new world of opportunities has opened up. eResearch and the wider research data community, along with a whole new world of metadata schema, requires trainers, communicators, and cataloguers, as well as systems and applications architects.  

 My advice to anyone eager to get involved in research data support is: don't worry - there are plenty of fantastic ANDS resources available. Join online communities and make connections with people in different organisations, work in collaboration with others in your institution and don't be intimidated by all the tech speak – share what you think!"

Photo courtesy of University of Southern Queensland

Katie HannanKatie Hannan, eResearch Project Officer at Flinders University and eRSA

"Last year l started as an eResearch Project Officer with Flinders University and eRSA. My job is split between providing support to Digital Humanities projects at the University, and working on the NCRIS funded Access to Data for Cultural and Community Research project. 

I'd always wanted to work in the Digital Humanities area and getting some experience working with research data was an added bonus. I often refer to myself as a metadata evangelist, knocking on academic's office doors and coming to speak to them about the benefits of open data. People are generally interested, but they don't often have much time. If they are interested, it can be hard to convince them that they've got research data worth making available. 

Being able to convince researchers to make their research data available openly with a creative commons license is the most satisfying part of my job. 

Ten years ago I had no idea that I'd be working in the area that I am now, so I'm hoping the types of jobs that we'll be doing in the future are ones we can't predict now. Ten years is a long time for some really interesting developments in augmented reality, wearable technology, bionics and linked open data to happen. I'm hoping that I'm part of that world."

Photo courtesy of eRSA

Dominic HoganDominic Hogan, Data Librarian at CSIRO

"Immediately upon starting in the CSIRO library in 2003 I had people asking me about data issues. It came up regularly, and I'm fairly techy, so when there was a dedicated role in research data I put my hand up. 

My teammates and I all work closely with the software development and infrastructure teams that support the Data Access Portal. With researchers too, depending on where they are in their project. 

I like the variety of research. I learn how the data was collected and about the experiment design, so get to see what happens after the researchers have reviewed the literature. 

The research data experience has given me opportunities to present at conferences, which is great. I've also learned a lot more about programming."

Photo courtesy of Dominic Hogan

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