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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
Summer 2011
DOI: 10.5062/F46Q1V55

[Board Accepted]

E-Science Librarianship: Field Undefined

Elsa Alvaro
ealvaro@umail.iu.edu
Heather Brooks
hemabroo@imail.iu.edu
Monica Ham
molham@umail.iu.edu
Stephanie Poegel
spoegel@indiana.edu
Sarah Rosencrans
scrosenc@indiana.edu

Graduate Students
School of Library and Information Science
Indiana University
Bloomington, Indiana

Copyright 2011, Elsa Alvaro, Heather Brooks, Monica Ham, Stephanie Poegel, and Sarah Rosencrans. Used with permission.

Abstract

The potential of librarians working in e-science, a term for using the Internet and other digital tools to facilitate scientific data collection, management, and sharing, has been the cause of much discussion. Many professionals agree that librarians could participate in or facilitate e-science tasks. This article explores what e-science librarianship is by examining the skills and requirements from job advertisements for e-science related library positions. After reflecting on the sample of job advertisements, the analysis of the sample, and the use of the word e-science itself, the authors conclude that e-science librarianship is at present not a defined field and that the role of librarians in e-science is nebulous.

Introduction

It may go by a variety of names, but no matter what terminology is used, e-science is big. Experiments in particle physics carried out at the CERN Laboratory's Large Hadron Collider in Geneva involve the collaboration of over 1,000 physicists from over 100 international institutions. Additionally, it has been estimated that several petabytes of data will be generated each yeara (Hey and Trefethen 2005). One petabyte is equal to 1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes and a mere two petabytes is equivalent to the contents of all the academic research libraries in the United States (Lyman and Varian 2003).

Continue multiplying that year after year after year and it is easy to see that preserving, organizing, managing, and making e-science project data easily available is a huge challenge facing researchers. In order to deal with this data explosion, the National Science Foundation has created an Office of Cyberinfrastructure and the ARL has formed a Joint Task Force on Library Support for E-Science (Office of Cyberinfrastructure 2008; Association of Research Libraries 2007). Will librarians be the ones to step in and meet the challenge? According to a variety of professional organizations, scientists, and information professionals, it appears that the answer could be yes. Results of the 2009 ARL e-science survey show that of the responding libraries 42% have hired and 39% have plans to hire staff members with e-science expertise (Hahn 2009). Librarians can be important team members on e-science projectsb, but both the responsibilities and desirable skills of an e-science librarian are still up for debate.

In order to better understand the librarian's role in this emerging field, the authors of this paper decided to examine existing literature in addition to library employment advertisements. The key questions addressed are as follows:

Defining E-Science

To gain more understanding of e-science librarianship, it is first important to take a look at the meaning of the term e-science. In 1999, the term e-Science was coined by John Taylor who, at the time, was the United Kingdom's Director General of the Office of Science and Technology (Jankowski 2007). E-science as defined by the National e-science center refers to "...large scale science that will increasingly be carried out through distributed global collaborations enabled by the Internet (National E-Science Center 2003)." E-Science and cyberinfrastructure are both commonly used to describe scientific work facilitated by Internet-based tools that make collections of large data sets available to scholars and enable long distance collaboration (Jankowski 2007). For consistency, the term e-science will be used to refer to this concept throughout the paper.

Despite the general definition provided above, definitions and uses of terms pertaining to the concept of e-science are inconsistent. In her article Cyberinfrastructure, Data, and Libraries, Anna Gold (2007) notes that she uses the terms e-science and cyberinfrastructure rather interchangeably. However, Brian Schottlender asserts that the two are quite different. Cyberinfrastructure refers to supportive infrastructure and e-science to the resulting project (Schottlaender 2010). In contrast, Tony and Jessie Hey's often cited article, e-Science and its Implications for the Library Community, places emphasis on the usage of e-science not as a term for a new scientific discipline in and of itself, but rather as a descriptor for the technological infrastructure used to support online collaborative scientific projects (Hey and Hey 2006). To further complicate the matter, two more terms, cyberscience and e-research are occasionally used for this same concept (Jankowski 2007; Jones 2008).

Literature Review

First, this literature review will examine what past studies have found to be necessary qualities and responsibilities of librarians involved in e-science. Next, it will discuss similar studies and explain what unique contribution this paper adds to the body of existing literature.

According to a review of relevant literature, a combination of strong interpersonal and technology skills is quite valuable in the emerging field of e-science librarianship.c E-Science is not a solitary endeavor. Therefore, it is not surprising that interpersonal skills are frequently mentioned in e-science literature. Kim, Addom, and Stanton's 2011 study found that the abilities to act as a liaison, communicate and collaborate effectively, analyze researcher needs, train others on proper technology usage, and manage projects were valued by both professionals in the field and graduate students interning in e-science related positions. Of course, in order to implement projects and teach others about technical aspects of the project, one must have strong technology skills. Interviews conducted with subject experts in Lankes, Cogburn, Oakleaf, and Stanton's 2008 study reveal that expertise in the following technical areas is important for e-science projects: database design tools, website development tools and content management systems, server administration, large scale computing (mainframes, supercomputing, grids), and distributed collaboration tools.

Because e-science is interdisciplinary, knowledge of both scientific disciplines and library and information science is important for success.d According to Garritano and Carlson (2009), the same skill sets used in reference services, collection development, and information organization are beneficial to e-science projects when applied to the management of resulting large data sets. In her 2007 discussion of proposed roles for the librarian in e-science, Anna Gold (2007) details many responsibilities that focus on working with data. These include the selection, acquisition, and licensing of data sets, metadata creation, data preservation, making decisions about what to retain for long term preservation, developing data creation prototypes, and reference services that pertain to collected data (Gold 2007b). Subject area knowledge related to the specific e-science project at hand gives the librarian both a deeper understanding of the data being worked with and how discipline-specific research methods influence the way it is collected and utilized (Gold 2007b; Lougee 2010). It additionally gives the potential e-science librarian vocabulary necessary for effective communication and collaboration with scientific researchers (Garritano and Carlson 2009).

Two significant past studies on e-science librarianship are similar to this study. Lankes, Cogburn, Oakleaf, and Stanton (2008) examined the skills and tools of seven jobs similar to e-science positions and interviewed subject matter experts in order to create a clearer picture of cyber infrastructure facilitators, information professionals who partner with e-research teams. Kim, Addom, and Stanton (2011) analyzed the results of focus groups and interviews with laboratory directors and scientific researchers in addition to the experiences of graduate students who participated in e-science internships with the goal of better understanding the skills necessary for working in e-science. However, the topic of employers' desired qualifications and expected responsibilities has not been investigated extensively nor have issues of the state of e-science and the fit of librarians to e-science been much explored. This study aims to further examine e-science librarianship by using job advertisements to learn about the current climate of the field.

Methods

A content analysis of job advertisements was conducted in order to discover characteristics and responsibilities sought after in e-science librarian positions as well as to better ascertain what jobs can be thought of as e-science librarianship. We executed two searches over the course of two weeks at the end of May 2011.

First, we collected job advertisements for librarian positions mentioning e-science through Internet searches, focusing on professional library organizations, universities, RSS engines, and mailing lists. (A complete list of the sites searched can be found in Appendix 1). We carried out a second search using the same sites as in the first search but different keywords. This time the keywords data curation, cyberinfrastructure, research specialist, knowledge manager, and data management were each used. These terms were chosen because of the frequency with which they are used in the literature about e-science either in place of the term e-science or as duties an e-science librarian might perform. Including positions found using these search terms allows the study to present a more comprehensive and realistic sampling of the possible positions describing librarian involvement in e-science. When possible, a keyword search was performed to search the individual pages of job advertisement listings. Depending on the site, this sometimes involved searching the full text of job advertisements. At other times it involved searching only position titles. In cases where sites had no searching or limiting features, job postings were browsed.

A few difficulties should be mentioned about the job advertisement search process. Most universities and professional organization retain job postings for only a couple of months. Thus, many sites cross list the same recent positions and it is difficult to harvest the variety of advertisements. Efforts were taken to search several list serve archives to discover older job postings. Also, RSS feeds from libworm.com were searched. These feeds often date back further than one year and while the original job postings linked to by LibWorm were usually no longer available, the full job advertisement was occasionally found by doing a Google search of the position title, year, and institution or company.

A second difficulty occurred when trying to decide whether or not to include certain advertisements in the analysis. Including all job advertisements discovered with any of the key terms would mean including some positions that were related to neither science nor librarianship. On the other hand, excluding advertisements that did not mention librarian in the title or an MLS requirement would exclude positions that might be applicable for individuals with librarianship-type skills. Additionally, excluding job advertisements with no mention of science or any particular scientific field in the title might exclude positions that have interaction with science departments and require science subject knowledge. When uncertain of whether or not to include an advertisement, the authors voted on it. If the majority voted to keep the advertisement it was analyzed, if not the advertisement was excluded from analysis. The criteria for keeping an advertisement was that it should be:

The two searches yielded a total of 32 positions. Twenty-four of those mention the word e-science in the title and/or the text of the advertisement. Of the 24, four were excluded from analysis. These were excluded because while the term e-science appeared, it appeared only as a desired qualification with none of the job responsibilities or the job description involving e-science related concepts. Eight advertisements were included that did not mention e-science but the content of which fit the criterion in the bulleted list above. In the end, a total of 28 job advertisements were analyzed according to a general data analysis scheme (Appendix 2) that considered: 1) title of the job; 2) year of the advertisement, if available; 3) institution; 4) degree required; 5) workers' characteristics, that is, the worker's qualifications; and 6) job responsibilities, that is, the workers' functions in a certain position. The workers' characteristics were classified into personal and technical skills, and were coded using an inductive approach. For the job responsibilities, we used Kim, Addom, and Stanton's (2011) framework, though more codes were added as they emerged from the job advertisements. The main categories for the job responsibilities were data-related responsibilities, interpersonal/collaboration responsibilities, and technical responsibilities.

Results

Twenty-seven job advertisements posted between 2008 and 2011 were analyzed. In five of the cases, the posting date was not determinable. One of the job advertisements accounted for two positions, leaving a total of 28 job positions (see Appendix 2 for position titles). Of those, four were e-science librarian positions, 15 corresponded to what could be defined as a subject librarian positions with e-science or data-related responsibilities, and nine were data- or digital library-related positions (i.e., science data librarian, research data specialist, data curation librarian, etc.).

Twenty-five out of 28 (89%) job advertisements in our sample were university positions. The remaining job advertisements came from a national laboratory, a national agency, and a research center sponsored by the NSF. It is interesting to note that this study found no e-science related positions in the private sector.

Workers' Characteristics

Workers' characteristics are defined here as the previous qualifications that a candidate possesses for performing a job, and are divided into personal and technical skills. The personal skills appearing most frequently in the job advertisements (Table 1) were communication (86%) and collaboration (82%). The technical skill appearing most frequently was science subject knowledge (50%), which encompasses knowledge of terminology, resources, research, and/or technology trends in a discipline, and having experience with data, which included managing, archiving, and/or curating data.

Table 1. Personal skills appearing most frequently in the sample (see Appendix 3 for the complete list)

Personal skills

n

%

Communication

24

86

Collaboration

23

82

Interpersonal

14

50

Leadership and management

10

36

Service oriented

9

32

Table 2. Technical skills appearing most frequently in the sample (see Appendix 3 for the complete list)

Technical skills

n

%

Science subject knowledge

14

50

Experience with data

13

46

Knowledge of metadata

10

36

Instruction

10

36

Knowledge of programming languages, scripting, and/or web design

9

32

Regarding academic degree requirements, 86% of the positions (24) required a master degree in Library or Information Science. In 14 of those cases, a BS or advanced degree in a scientific discipline was either required or desired.

Job Responsibilities

Job responsibilities are defined here as the duties that are associated with a certain position. Job responsibilities were classified into: 1) data responsibilities, 2) people responsibilities, and 3) technical responsibilities. The data responsibilities most frequently observed in our sample were managing (50%) and storing (46%) data (Table 3). Managing data included cleaning, annotating, managing, and future planning, whereas storing data comprised creating databases, managing metadata, storing, and preserving data.

Table 3. Data responsibilities appearing most frequently in the sample

Data responsibilities

n

%

Managing data

14

50

Storing data

13

46

Presenting data

8

29

Collecting data

5

18

Analyzing data

1

4

The most prevalent duties associated with working with people (Table 4) were collaboration (75%) and outreach (68%), whereas reference (64%) and collection development (54%) were the most frequently mentioned technical responsibilities (Table 5).

Table 4. People responsibilities appearing most frequently in the sample (see Appendix 3 for the complete list)

People responsibilities

n

%

Collaboration with faculty and researchers

21

75

Outreach

19

68

Instruction

16

57

Liaison

15

54

Table 5. Technical responsibilities appearing most frequently in the sample (see Appendix 3 for the complete list).

Technical responsibilities

n

%

Reference and information services

18

64

Collection development

15

54

Scholarly communication

11

39

"E-Science responsibilities"[*]

10

36

Investigating/recommending technology solutions

7

25

* "E-Science responsibilities" were required in some positions without further explanation.

It is interesting to note the lower prevalence of data responsibilities in our sample with respect to people and technical responsibilities. While the most common category in data responsibilities was present in only 50% of the cases, the top categories in people and technical responsibilities reached 75% and 64%, respectively. This fact could be the result of the sample not being homogeneous: subject librarian positions that involve e-science responsibilities may not be as focused on data responsibilities as positions that are clearly identified as e-science librarians.

In order to clarify this aspect, these two different subgroups within our sample were compared by employing an exact Fisher test. The results yielded a statistically significant difference between the two groups for collecting data (P = 0.035): the e-science positions are more likely to involve some sort of data collection, including cleaning and checking data, collecting primary or secondary data, and understanding data needs. In the cases of managing (P = 0.12) and presenting (P = 0.071) data, no statistically significant differences were found, though there seemed to be a trend toward e-science librarians being more involved in those tasks.e The comparison between people and technical responsibilities between the two subgroups in the sample did not yield statistically significant differences in any of the cases. These results suggest that positions identified as e-science librarians may be more oriented towards data responsibilities than subject librarian positions.

Discussion

The breakdown of skills and responsibilities found in the sample of job advertisements coincides with the skills and responsibilities highlighted in the literature. Just as the literature stated a need for librarians working with e-science to possess strong interpersonal and technological skills,c the most frequently mentioned skills and requirements in the sample were "communication" and "collaboration with faculty and researchers" respectively. Although technical skills do not have a strong presence in the sample, one fourth or more of the advertisements required exploring technology solutions along with managing, storing, and presenting data, all of which presumably require technological ability. The sample also showed that science subject knowledge and library skills are sought after in e-science-related library positions, again reflecting the literature.d Fifty percent of the advertisements listed science subject knowledge as a requirement and 14 either required or desired a BS or advanced degree in a science. Over half of the advertisements mentioned reference and collection development responsibilities. Traditional library skills applicable to data, such as storing and collecting data also appear in the job advertisements (Table 4).

The results confirm a definition of e-science librarian: someone who works collaboratively, and uses technology and library skills within the domain of science. Yet this definition is so vague, it does little to answer the question of "what is an e-science librarian" in terms of the actual roles, tasks, and positions of librarians involved in e-science. In fact, by taking a closer look at the job titles and the breakdown of positions in the sample, it becomes clear that e-science librarianship is not a defined field. For instance, despite the fact that this study only considered advertisements including both e-science and library related skills, the resulting job titles were still disparate, from titles as vague as Head Librarian and Research Librarian to titles as specific as Scientific Data Curation Specialist and Director of Science and Engineering Libraries (see Appendix 2 for position titles). These titles reveal the different focuses of the positions such as data, metadata, liaison responsibilities, scholarly communication, and specific scientific subject knowledge. If the field were defined, one would expect some consistency in the job titles, but what was found was not two different terms being exchanged in and out, but titles referring to different positions that would coincide with e-science in different ways. The natural grouping of advertisements from the sample according to their listed responsibilities supports this last point. The variations in the job responsibilities fell into three distinct categories of e-science-related jobs. The first job category, "data librarian," includes responsibilities related to collecting, managing, and storing data, but few or no collection development and reference responsibilities. "Subject librarian," the second job category contains the most advertisements, has traditional librarian responsibilities such as reference, collection development, and scholarly communication, while including some job responsibilities related to e-science in the form of liaison or project management duties. The third job category is that of "E-Science Librarian," which consists of jobs with the actual title "E-Science Librarian." There are only four of these titles in the sample. While not a large enough group to be significantly distinguished from the other categories, these jobs clearly trended toward having more data responsibilities than subject librarians and less than data librarians.

This breakdown into categories raises further questions; Will the number of data oriented librarian positions grow or will a hybrid data and subject librarian position become more common? Will the responsibilities currently handled by subject librarians increase to the extent that they become their own position? Will e-science be a standard means of science information work and its features become subsumed by existing positions so that no specific e-science position ever becomes defined? How will and to what extent will e-science methods grow and become universal? These of course are conjectures about the future, with no immediate answers. The answers depend on e-science itself and they will affect libraries and librarian training.

Clearly, there is no consensus on what to call a librarian involved in e-science, and no standard set of responsibilities for librarians in e-science. This may be because e-science itself is a nascent field, and not yet common practice. Different organizations will use e-science to different degrees. Some organizations are pushing e-science forward. For instance, The National Science Foundation (NSF), as of January 2011 requires a data management plan for all new research proposals, wherein "[g]rantees are expected to encourage and facilitate such sharing" (University of Minnesota 2010a). Others, such as the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, are on the cusp of deciding whether or not to share their data with the outside world (Butler 2011). While it seems that e-science is slowly coming into use, it is not yet common practice. Despite the limits of the job advertisement collection methods of this study, it is still interesting to note that no position including librarian and e-science skills was found in the private sector. It makes sense that the competitive commercial world would not want to share its data. Even academic science communities can be competitive and may not be keen on sharing their research. Yet, given this study's sample of job advertisements, of which 25 of 28 positions were university positions and the expanded requirement by the NSF which affects academic and other research institutions, it seems that academic libraries are most likely to encounter the possibility of working with e-science. Overall the future of e-science is not yet clear, which means that the librarian's possible role in it is also uncertain.

Even if e-science is being applied, whether or not librarians have a role in it and the type of role they have is still unclear. The 2009 ARL survey on existing e-science positions and the 28 job advertisements from the sample show that some degree if e-science librarianship is being adopted (Hahn 2009). Librarians are candidates for e-science tasks because they involve certain principles common in librarianship, such as developing collections, instructing users, working with copyright issues, and acting as liaison between different user groups. However, some aspects of e-science require advanced computing knowledge that is not standard in library school education. Besides librarians, e-science duties are also within the realm of computer programmers and the scientists themselves. As Garritano and Carlson (2009) note "some discussions do not even include the term 'librarian' at all (Borgman et. al. 2007) and therefore if there is a role for librarians to play in e-science, they must continue to build their skills so they can adequately contribute". Furthermore, even those with the skills to assist in e-science could find themselves with researchers who do not want assistance.

Conclusion

E-Science is an emerging way of practicing science that creates a need for workers with some combination of curatorial, interpersonal, and advanced technological skills along with knowledge in a scientific field. Currently, it is impossible to know the degree to which e-science will be used and thus how much of a need there will be for anyone, including librarians, to engage e-science. What exact type of skill gap will need to be filled is also uncertain. This study showed that mainly academic institutions have been seeking three types of e-science related positions: subject librarians with limited e-science duties, e-science librarians with some data responsibilities, and data librarians heavily focused on managing digital data. Whether these three types of positions are equally represented in the job market, and whether one type will grow faster then the others is also uncertain. To make informed decisions on how and who to train for e-science positions studies like this one need to be repeated periodically and compared. Institutions need to examine how many of these advertised positions are being filled, what tasks current e-science information professionals are performing, and what standards are being set by science foundations and organizations. Organizations thinking of hiring an e-science librarian need to assess what e-science duties current staff can fill, what amount of data is being produced, and if it will need to be or will be required to be shared. Additionally, the state of e-science must continue to be monitored and studied so that those considering it can proceed in a smart and efficient way. E-Science may provide potential for librarians to branch out beyond the bounds of traditional library practices, while still dealing with the information management that characterizes library science. Yet, because e-science is not yet common practice, the library field must proceed into this new territory with caution.

Notes

a This is an example of a very large project. E-Science also occurs on a smaller scale. In "The Challenges of E-Science Data Set Management and Scholarly Communication for Domain Science and Engineering: A Role for Academic Libraries and Librarians," James Mullins writes that data produced by projects can range from "a few gigabytes to the creation of 30 terabytes a day (2010, pg.34)."

b See Garritano and Carlson (2009) for an example of a librarian's participation in an e-science project.

c Many articles perused for the purpose of this literature review mention both people and technology skills. For more information see Gold (2007b); Kim (2011); and Lankes (2008).

d A variety of authors discuss the importance of Library and Information Science knowledge and scientific subject area knowledge. See Garritano (2009) and Gold (2007b).

e Three out of four e-science librarian positions required managing data, whereas only four out of 15 subject librarian positions required that. Likewise, three out of the four e-science librarian positions required presenting data, whereas only three out of 15 subject librarian positions required that.


Appendix 1

List of Sites and Mailing Lists Searched for Job Advertisements

Chemical Information Sources Discussion List (CHMINF-L)
https://listserv.indiana.edu/cgi-bin/wa-iub.exe?A0=CHMINF-L

University of Texas School of Information
http://www.ischool.utexas.edu/jobweb/Search.php

American Library Association Job list
http://joblist.ala.org/index.cfm

LisJobs.com - career information for librarians and information professionals
http://www.lisjobs.com/

Special Libraries Association Career Center
http://careercenter.sla.org/jobs

Greater New York metropolitan Area Chapter Association of College and Research Libraries
http://acrlny.blogspot.com/

Simply Hired - Job Search Made Simple
http://www.simplyhired.com/

Google groups - Careers in Federal Libraries
http://groups.google.com/group/careers-in-federal-libraries/browse_thread/thread/32f6c96b07b8c0d5?pli=1

New England Higher Education Recruitment Consortium
http://www.newenglandherc.org/

American Association for the Advancement of Science
http://scjobs.sciencemag.org/JobSeekerX/SearchJobsForm.asp

Indeed - Job Search One Search
http://www.indeed.com

North Carolina Special Libraries Association
http://ncslajobs.blogspot.com

Jobs.com - Search Opportunities
http://jobs.com

Libworm -- Librarianship Rss Search and Current Awareness
http://libworm.com/

Special Libraries Association Biomedical & Life Sciences Division
http://units.sla.org/division/dbio/development/

Metropolitan New York Library Council
http://www.metro.org/en/jobs/search.asp

Securing a Hybrid Environment for Research Preservation and Access
http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/

jSESSE listserve - a listserv discussion group that promotes discussion of library and information science education issues in a world-wide context.
http://web.utk.edu/~gwhitney/jesse.html

MEDLIB-L Archives
http://list.uvm.edu/cgi-bin/wa?S1=MEDLIB-L&D=0


Appendix 2

Titles of Positions Analyzed

Title

Institution

Research Data Specialist

Cornell University

Scholarly Communication and Sciences Librarian

Northwestern University Library

Head Librarian

Princeton University

Translational Science Librarian

NYU

Eugene Garfield Residency in Science Librarianship - Librarian A

University of Pennsylvania

Research Librarian

Weill Cornell Medical College

Associate Director for Liaison, Education, and Interdisciplinary Services

University of Minnesota

Research Data Services Specialist

University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

Digital Information Research Specialist

Yale University

Library Information Specialist III

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Director, Science and Engineering Libraries

Columbia University

Science and Emerging Technologies Librarian

Temple University Libraries

e-Science Librarian

IUB Libraries

Sciences Liaison Librarian

George Mason University

e-Science Librarian (will serve as the subject librarian for chemistry)

UNC-Chapel Hill

Coordinator for Science and Engineering

Northwestern University

E-Science Librarian and Lab Liaison

NIST

E-Science Librarian

Brown University

Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Sciences Librarian

University of Minnesota

Physical Sciences and Engineering Librarian

University of Minnesota

Scientific Data Curation Specialist / Metadata Librarian

Cornell University

Vector Control Development Network (VCDN) Digital Library Professional

University of Notre Dame

Metadata Librarian

Oregon State University

Data Curation Librarian

Northeastern University

Data Curator - OOI Project

University of California

Chemistry Subject Specialist/Faculty engagement librarian

Georgia Institute of Technology

Science and Engineering Librarian/Information Scientist

University of New Mexico

Science Data Librarian

Stanford University

Research Data Specialist

Cornell University Libraries

Scholarly Communication and Sciences Librarian

Northwestern University Library


Appendix 3

Complete Tables of Skills and Responsibilities

Table 1. Personal skills appearing most frequently in the sample

Personal Skills

n

%

Communication

24

86

Collaboration

23

82

Interpersonal

14

50

Leadership and management

10

36

Service oriented

9

32

Organized

8

29

Multi-tasker

7

25

Problem solver

6

21

Presentation

5

18

Self-motivated

4

14

Detail-oriented

3

11

Table 2. Technical skills appearing most frequently in the sample

Technical skills

n

%

Science subject knowledge

14

50

Experience with data

13

46

Knowledge of metadata

10

36

Instruction

10

36

Knowledge of programming languages, scripting, and/or web design

9

32

Scholarly communication

8

29

Knowledge of databases

8

29

Knowledge of e-science

7

25

Reference

6

21

Grant writing and management

4

14

Information literacy

4

14

General computer skills

1

4

Table 3. Data responsibilities appearing most frequently in the sample

Data responsibilities

n

%

Managing data

14

50

Storing data

13

46

Presenting data

8

29

Collecting data

5

18

Analyzing data

1

4

Table 4. People responsibilities appearing most frequently in the sample

People responsibilities

n

%

Collaboration with faculty and researchers

21

75

Outreach

19

68

Instruction

16

57

Liaison

15

54

Training in the use of data and/or IT

6

21

Management

4

14

Communication

2

7

Table 5. Technical responsibilities appearing most frequently in the sample

Technical responsibilities

n

%

Reference and information services

18

64

Collection development

15

54

Scholarly communication

11

39

"E-Science responsibilities"[*]

10

36

Investigating/recommending technology solutions

7

25

Implementing/managing technologies

1

4

[*]"e-Science responsibilities" were required in some positions without further explanation.

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Brian Winterman for the helpful suggestions, encouragement, and discussion he provided as we went through the research and writing processes.

References

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