Data Science in the Library

Over the last decade, data science has transformed academic disciplines and challenged existing university curricula. Joel Herndon explains how his new book delves into data science's role in the library.

Over the last decade, data science has transformed academic disciplines and challenged existing university curricula. As an increasing number of students and faculty adopt data science workflows that embrace reproducible research, data sharing, programming languages, and other open science practices, how can libraries engage with this dynamic field of research?

In Data Science in the Library (Facet Publishing, 2022), I collaborated with an international team of librarians and faculty who shared their experiences developing data science instruction and services. 


Data Science in the Institution

In the process of editing the book, I appreciated learning about the variety of approaches that librarians and faculty have employed to advance data science at their universities. In some of these institutions, data science acts as a catalyst for expanding existing library services devoted to data management and instruction. In others, data science provides an analytical tool that enables libraries to assess how well library programs and services meet community needs. Finally, in many academic institutions, data science offers new avenues for outreach and instruction that not only include classroom support but provide compelling alternatives to the existing curriculum. No matter which approach an institution chooses to implement, data science provides an opportunity for libraries to leverage  their existing strengths in information management, instruction, and data research support to navigate the challenges and questions of this emerging field.

We acknowledge that our experiences represent only a sample of the possible data science services, but the diversity of approaches offers a wide range of opportunities for research libraries. We hope that this collection of data science perspectives will encourage libraries to launch their own initiatives and expand existing programs. 

Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below  about how so we can move forward together!


About the Author

Joel Herndon is the Director of the Center for Data and Visualization Sciences at Duke University Libraries. The Center provides consultations, training, and project support to a variety of data science, data curation, and digital scholarship communities.