A world of possibilities

This past summer, McGill Library staff members got together to participate in an exercise introduced at the 2014 E-Science Institute capstone event. Everyone was asked to come up with examples of services supporting the stages of the research lifecycle. Two brainstorming sessions were held and staff members were divided into groups on both occasions to facilitate discussions.

Although we took note of traditional and current services, the emphasis was on possible future library services supporting the research lifecycle stages: idea development, funding, proposal planning and writing, conducting and disseminating research.

Examples from the brainstorming sessions have been compiled and made available in a Google document. One of the themes throughout is the formation of partnerships with researchers and with other groups on campus, with services that aim to bring people and ideas together. There is also a focus on data management, from data collection, description, and archiving, to access and discovery, and the possibility of data management plan advising.

Please join in the discussion by sharing your ideas and comments with us.

What do we mean by support services for E-Research?

It’s a question we get a lot as we’re looking at what exists on campus and what we should do in the future. What exactly do you mean by e-research or e-science and support services for it? Don’t we do that already? Well, yes and no.  We have many types of support for research on the McGill campus, and we do it well. Yet we are increasingly understanding the production of scientific and other research output in digital form as a lifecycle that requires many different kinds of assistance along the way.

The E-Science Institute provides for a broad definition of e-research, that “encompasses computational and e-science, cyberinfrastructure and data curation. E-research projects often make use of grid computing or other advanced technologies, and are usually data intensive, but the concept also includes research performed digitally at any scale.”

And doing research has indeed become increasingly digital. Research projects are planned and funded through electronic communication; instruments feed digital data to computers; software is used to process this data and analyze results; more software is used to visualize those results; disk, tape, and cloud based solutions are used to store and transmit data; digital technologies are used to write the results up and share them with the research community through journal articles and other emerging forms; technology is used by publishers, societies, and others to manage and disseminate research output, and the web is used to locate and build upon other relevant research that then feeds into new work.

Research Lifecycle

This research lifecycle is ongoing and supported by many actors at different stages. Support is needed for researchers identifying funding opportunities, locating relevant research and data sets, effectively using appropriate software tools, disseminating research results effectively, storing and making available research data, collaborating with peers, and engaging students.

All of these support services are part of “e-research,” and all fit together on a campus and within a discipline to promote the creation and sharing of new knowledge.

As part of McGill’s participation in the E-Science Institute, the Library is leading an analysis of where our campus’ strengths and gaps are in e-science support. We will use this analysis to develop a strategic agenda for our campus’ next steps in growing, funding, and coordinating e-research support services to best fulfil our researchers needs and promote the utility of this research in society.

E-Science supplemental webinars

The recording for the E-Science Supplemental Webinar “Data Information Literacy Project” presented by Jake Carlson from Purdue University Libraries is now available. You can watch the video or view the slides.

There are two upcoming webinars in the Redpath Conference Room:

Approaches to Training Data Savvy Librarians
Thursday, March 6, 1-2:30pm EST
Presented by Chris Erdmann, Harvard University

Emerging Issues in E-Science: Digital Humanities, Data Publishing, Electronic Lab Notebooks
Thursday, March 20, 1-2:30pm EST
Presented by
•  Heather Gendron, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
•  Joan Beaudoin, Wayne State University
•  Todd Vision, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
•  Daureen Nesdill, University of Utah

Data Information Literacy Project

WHAT: E-Science Institute supplemental webinar – “Data Information Literacy Project”
WHERE: Redpath Library e-classroom, room 23, first floor
WHEN: Thursday, February 6, 2014, 1:00-2:30pm

The E-Science Institute is offering a supplemental webinar from Jake Carlson, Associate Professor of Library Science and Data Services Specialist at Purdue University. He will discuss the work that he and others have done at Purdue University Libraries to explore what competencies graduate students need to acquire in working with data and how librarians could respond in teaching competencies to graduate students.

This webinar will be of interest, not just to library staff but also to researchers and others teaching and working with graduate students.

We hope to see you there!

E-Science Institute Module 1 Webinar, January 16

WHAT: E-Science Institute Module 1 webinar – “Context”
WHERE: Redpath Library e-classroom, room 23, first floor
WHEN: Thursday, January 16, 2014. 1:00-2:30pm

Please join us for the webinar presentation and discussion for Module 1 of the E-Science Institute, “Context.” In this module, we will “set the stage for [McGill's] strategic [e-science] agenda by exposing institutional environment and organizational goals.”

All library staff and campus stakeholders are welcome.

A recording will be made available following the event for those who wish to listen afterwards.