Collections, Programs and Services
As the need for research data management plans and policy grows, many academic libraries are beginning to provide research data services to students, faculty, staff, and the community at large in order to support their institutions research mission and goals. These services are intended to assist researchers during all phases of the research data lifecycle. They can include the development of individualized data management plans, documentation, dissemination, preservation, and visualization. Increasingly it is the case that these services, though well intentioned, often mirror many of the exclusionary structures found in the predominately white institutions that offer them.
In 2017, the University of Michigan Library’s Research Data Services Team set out to rethink the way it offered these services. The genesis of this effort was two-fold. Firstly, it aligned with the library’s newly adopted Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Strategic Plan. But perhaps more importantly, it reflected the reality the Research Data Services Team was seeing on the ground. Mainly, that the data researchers were working with was as diverse as the people and subjects they covered. In an attempt to better serve its diverse communities, the University of Michigan Library’s Research Data Services Team sought out a test case by which it could explore some of the issues that prevented it from effectively providing those services to the benefit of underrepresented and marginalized peoples. In recognizing a clear need for this type of approach the team also hoped to develop new methods and techniques it could share with others in this emerging field.
The test case used by the library’s Research Data Services Team aimed to preserve the endangered Ojibwe (Chippewa) language of the Bay Mills Indian Community in Michigan by annotating and converting language instruction videos to raw machine-readable data in an effort to preserve their endangered language. Covered will be some of the challenges this project offered, how the team overcame those challenges, what was learned, and how that was applied to other projects and services aimed at preserving data and culture of underrepresented and marginalized peoples.