2016 marks 10 years since the launch of “23 Things”(1); an active learning program aimed at supporting librarians to adapt to Web 2.0 and related technologies such as social media. At the IFLA Conference in 2015, Purdue University unveiled “23 Things: Libraries for Research Data” (2); an adaptation of the 23 Things model focussed on research data. This inspired a small group of Australian librarians and information specialists to create an Australian version of the program called 23 Research Data Things. Rolled out during 2016 by the Australian National Data Service, this ALIA supported initiative sought to actively engage library staff with research data and the many opportunities it offers our profession.
This paper will discuss the 23 Research Data Things program currently being undertaken by numerous librarians across Australia and New Zealand who all have, or want to develop, skills that will aid them in including research data in their library toolkit.
23 Research Data Things is a free, self-directed program designed to take little time (~1 hour a week). It “utilizes practical, free online resources and tools that can be used today to incorporate research data into your librarianship” (2). In rolling out the program, we encouraged networking and community involvement by crowd sourcing an initial long list of ‘thing’ candidates, forming local groups, and establishing a national forum using MeetUp (http://www.meetup.com/23DataThings/) augmented with regular virtual catch ups. The program was designed to be carried out over a 23 week period starting in February, with gap periods built in for known busy and holiday periods, and targeted librarians unable to participate in previous research data librarian development programs.
The 23 Research Data Things program is engaging librarians working across various sectors to develop news skills, connect with colleagues, and share learning experiences. This paper will report the results of the program to date reflecting on such issues as participation levels, reported outcomes for participants, outcomes for development of research data programs, and compare our experiences with past 23 Things programs.
Research data is rapidly emerging as an exciting opportunity for all libraries and librarians; from public libraries supporting GovHack and citizen science programs, to school libraries supporting tomorrow’s research, data and IT experts, university libraries supporting teaching and research, and special libraries supporting data intensive industries. The 23 Research Data Things program is a low cost, flexible program designed to challenge librarians to build their confidence and skills to embrace research data as a professional pathway.
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