What is a Data Librarian?: A Content Analysis of Job Advertisements for Data Librarians in the United States Academic Libraries Page: 3
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
emerging, such as data librarian, data services librarian, data curation librarian, and research
data management librarian. Data librarian is not a new concept, but the current state of the
data deluge and the increase in digital data requires more professional librarians to manage
data at academic institutions, which has resulted in more positions being created for data
librarians. Kim (2013) states that "Academic libraries should be challenged to develop a new
professional strand of practice in the form of data librarianship" (p.502).
Semeler, Pinto and Rozados (2017) state that data librarianship has its origin in the social
sciences and they go on to assess the concepts used in data science to serve as a basis for data
librarianship. Semeler et al. (2017) comment that data librarians "focus on disseminating the
important findings relating to their research in the form of relevant information by gathering
data from various sources and organizing and cleaning them. The role of data librarians is to
act as facilitators in all stages of scientific research, contributing with potential services that
might be useful for data management and data curation" (p.2). Semeler et al. state that data
librarians should have the skills that are taught in data science, however Kellam (2011) states
that data librarians "come from a variety of disciplines and by diverse routes(p.151). While
Kellam's observation is not in disagreement to Semeler et al. view on preparing data
librarians through data science, it does bring up the question on how to prepare students to fill
these new roles as data librarians? Kellam and Thompson (2016) have addressed the concerns
of data librarianship in their book titled Databraianship: The Academic Data Librarian in
Theory and Practice. In the book they have focused on how data is viewed and used across
disciplines, its role in scholarly communication, and specific case studies of data support
services in academic libraries. They have also included a proposal on teaching data
librarianship to LIS students. Kellam and Thompson (2016) state that academic data
librarianship "is not a single specialty but rather a varied collection of overlapping but
distinct roles that center on providing access to, documenting, and preserving data, much as
traditional librarianship has done for print sources" (p.5-6).
Federer (2018) looked at defining data librarianship through a survey of information
professionals who spent a significant portion of their work providing data services. She
created a survey in SurveyMonkey which gauged employment and educational background,
skills and expertise, and data-related skills. The survey was distributed to the e-mail list for
the Medical Library Association(MLA) and the Association of Academic Health Sciences
Libraries. 90 total participants responded, and she concluded that data librarians are "a
heterogeneous community of information professionals from varied educational and
professional background, conducting many different types of work" (Federer, 2018, p.299).
The main limitation of this study is that the respondents only belonged to the biomedical and
health science field. Federer (2018) recognized that data librarianship jobs are becoming
more common, but the field is still nascent.
Since the field of data librarianship has not been fully defined, this research intends to build
upon previous work and adopt a content analysis approach to job advertisements for data
librarian positions in academic libraries. Conducting a job analysis of library positions is
common in the discipline of librarianship. The majority of the studies (Clyde, 2002; Deeken
& Thomas, 2006) focus on analyzing trends over time or reviewing the job market in terms of
specific positions or skills. Kim, Warga, & Moen (2013) conducted an analysis of job
advertisements for the field of digital curation. Zhu (2008) sought to understand employers
expectations for head of technical services positions by conducting a content analysis for the
positions responsibilities. Zhu (2008) noted that job ads might not express all the employers'
Here’s what’s next.
This paper can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Paper.
Khan, Hammad & Du, Yunfei. What is a Data Librarian?: A Content Analysis of Job Advertisements for Data Librarians in the United States Academic Libraries, paper, July 31, 2018; (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1225772/m1/3/: accessed March 22, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Information.