Program Session

4 - Dreaming of Datasets: Outreach Strategies for an Institutional Data Catalog

Monday, May 29
1:50 PM - 2:05 PM
Room: 613

Objectives: A data catalog was created at an academic medical center to facilitate collaboration among researchers by helping them discover and share datasets relevant to their work. The catalog describes public and licensed datasets as well as datasets created internally by institutional researchers. Librarians sought to grow the number of records for internally generated datasets in the catalog.


Methods: The library hired a project coordinator with outreach experience to engage researchers and increase the number of catalog records for datasets created by institutional researchers. A variety of outreach strategies were employed to identify institutional researchers interested in sharing descriptions of their data as a means to increase the discoverability of their work. Strategies used include: (1) searching publications in journals that require data sharing; (2) searching grant databases for grants that require data sharing; (3) presenting at faculty meetings; (4) developing marketing materials; (5) researcher and liaison librarian referrals. Throughout the outreach process, data was collected on how each researcher was identified, why they chose to share, how they chose to share, where their data lives, where they published their research, their grant funding, data collection standards that they use, and referrals to other library data services including data management, REDCap, or data visualization.


Results: To date, consistent outreach has resulted in 24 consultations with researchers and staff. These consultations have produced 21 new, published dataset records with 23 other datasets currently in the process of being cataloged, edited, and published. Preliminary analysis of our outreach data demonstrates that researcher and liaison librarian referrals are the most successful outreach strategy, followed by contacting authors who had been identified through publications in journals that require data sharing. The most often reported reason for sharing data is a pre-existing dedication for sharing their research outputs, followed by a desire to locate collaborators in other disciplines and departments. The majority of datasets in the catalog generated by institutional researchers are NIH funded, and some are funded by the CDC and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


Conclusion: Increasing the number of internally generated contributions to an institutional data catalog requires strong and consistent outreach that prioritizes building relationships with researchers and staff. The outreach process gives librarians an opportunity to engage in conversation with researchers, better understand their needs, and build new services based on researcher feedback.


Keywords: Outreach, Data Sharing, Data Curation, Collaboration, Discoverability, Marketing, Data Management



Program Session

Nicole Contaxis

Data Catalog Coordinator
NYU Health Sciences Library
New York, New York

Nicole Contaxis, MLIS, is the Data Catalog Coordinator at the NYU School of Medicine. She plans and conducts outreach efforts for the catalog, curates the datasets in the catalog, and assists researchers as they submit descriptions of their data. She has broad interest in data sharing, data curation, and outreach strategies.

Presentation(s):

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Alisa Surkis

Head, Data Services and Translational Science Librarian
NYU School of Medicine
New York, New York

Alisa Surkis is the Head of Data Services and the Translational Science librarian at the NYU Health Sciences Library. The Data Services unit provides support for research data management and data visualization, maintains an institutional data catalog, and serves as a locus for education on collecting, managing, analyzing, visualizing, and sharing data. In her role as Translational Science Librarian, Dr. Surkis is the Director of Team Science for the NYU-HHC CTSI and works to facilitate research collaboration. She received her MLS from Queens College, and has an MS in physics from Stanford University, and a PhD in neuroscience from NYU.

Presentation(s):

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Fred LaPolla

Knowledge Management Librarian
NYU Health Sciences Library
New York, New York

Fred LaPolla is a junior faculty member with NYU's Health Sciences Library Data Services team. He is interested in data visualization, bibliometrics, and research data management. Fred earned his MLS at Queens College, CUNY.

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Kevin B. Read

Knowledge Management Librarian
NYU Health Sciences Library
New York, NY

Kevin Read is Knowledge Management Librarian at the NYU Health Sciences Library. He is a member of the Data Services Team, and provides training and research support for faculty, residents and staff on topics including: research data management, REDCap, systematic reviews, grant support and citation management. His areas of expertise include data discovery, metadata, research data management, data sharing, literature searching, and education. Kevin is also the lead of the NYU Data Catalog project that makes datasets created by, and of interest to NYU researchers more discoverable. Kevin participates in several NIH-wide initiatives including the NIH Big Data to Knowledge Indexing Working Group, and NIH BioCADDIE.

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