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Review of Managing Research Data.

Pryor, Graham, Ed. Managing Research Data. London, UK: Facet Publishing, 2012.

This volume, like many a themed journal issue, aims at providing a high-level snapshot of the current state of the art in research-data policy, planning, management, and preservation. While few readers will find occasion to read every piece included, almost everyone in research libraries will find one or more articles of considerable interest.

Pryor's opening essay, frank and wide-ranging, combined with Sarah Jones's overview of country, funder, and journal data policies, are required reading for any library making an internal or external case for data-management services. Brian Lavoie discusses the economic underpinnings of data preservation in terms that will be familiar to readers of the famous Blue Ribbon Task Force report, of which his essay is a useful brief distillation. Service planners will also have their thinking clarified by Martin Donnelly's delightfully offhanded discussion of data-management planning.

The gem of the collection is Sheila Corrall's thorough, dispassionate analysis of where libraries and librarians stand with respect to research-data management. Service planners looking for their options as they shape data-related services could hardly do better. Most refreshing of all, Corrall's well-researched essay is free of overweening hype as well as finger-shaking blame (especially of library schools, a common failing in the practitioner literature).

The final three pieces address data centers, strategies, and emerging infrastructure for data management across much of the English-speaking globe. These essays will inevitably become dated quickly as policies and infrastructure change, but US practitioners particularly will find them useful, as overseas scholarly-communication innovations tend to prefigure events in the US with a typical lead time of three to five years.

No collection of this sort is wholly free of misfires. Sarah Higgins's essay on the DCC (Digital Curation Centre) data-management lifecycle uncritically accepts this model as the only one available, quite the opposite of the truth, nor does it acknowledge critiques of lifecycle models generally and the DCC model in particular. In light of the excellent Pryor and Jones essays, the Procter et al. overview feels somewhat redundant as well.

Still, this collection belongs at every library considering or already implementing tools and services to help researchers manage their data better and comply with the bewildering array of data-related policies emerging from all quarters.

Dorothea Salo (

School of Library and Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Author:Salo, Dorothea
Publication:Collaborative Librarianship
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jul 1, 2013
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