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Against The Grain Journal

Charleston Library Conference 

Mar 19, 2017

Big Data 2.0: Critical Roles for Libraries and Librarians

Big Data is a live issue in e-commerce and market intelligence, e-government and politics, national security, and smart healthcare; a key feature of digital scholarship and open science; and an emergent concern for education and the cultural heritage sectors. Big Data 2.0 raises the stakes: the convergence of e-science with business intelligence, crowdsourcing, data analytics, social media, and Web2.0 technologies allows broader and deeper applications, involving cooperative processing of structured and unstructured data.

Hype around the "data talent gap" highlights a shortage of candidates for data science jobs with the requisite computational and analytical skills, but informed observers point to an equally critical need for competence in digital curation to ensure proper stewardship of data, best done by institutions with preservation know-how. Libraries already provide data literacy education, research data services, data mining support, and open linked data, but should now engage with the Big Data initiatives launched in the US and globally as collaborative, interdisciplinary, cross-sector endeavors predicated on large-scale community participation.

The session explains how data-intensive research is moving to new levels of technical and organizational complexity, promising advances in human knowledge for the benefit of society, but raising critical issues for institutions and individuals relevant to information professionals.

Presentation PDF

Sheila Corrall,Professor
University of Pittsburgh, Department of Information Culture & Data Stewardship


Sheila Corrall worked in UK public, special, and national libraries in acquisitions, cataloging, reference and information services, before moving into higher education, where she served as university librarian at two institutions and as CIO at a large research university. In 2004, she became Professor of Library & Information Management at the University of Sheffield, then head of the Sheffield iSchool, before moving to the US in 2012 to lead the LIS program at Pittsburgh. She is lead faculty for the academic libraries track at Pitt, where she teaches courses on Academic Libraries, Research Methods, and Academic Culture & Practice. Her research interests include the changing roles and skills of librarians in the digital world, particularly in information literacy, research data, scholarly communications, and the open movement in higher ed. She serves on the advisory boards of Credo Reference and Facet Publishing and on the editorial boards of six international journals.