The River Campus Libraries recently created a website for its data purchase program, making data more accessible to faculty and students.

Faculty, academic professionals and students wishing to request or recommend purchases of datasets can do so by email. The price, budget, accessibility and likely usefulness to other researchers are considered before data are purchased, as purchased data are made available in the data collections for others to use.

“The way it works is basically the same way that it would work if you recommend the library purchase a book,” data librarian Kathleen Fear explained. “We’ve had funds to purchase data for some time now, and the program has been jointly administered by myself, Suzanne Bell, who’s the business librarian; Kathy Wu, who’s the political science and economics librarian and Blair Tinker, who’s our [Geographic Information System] research specialist.”

In expanding the data purchase program, the librarians aimed to keep students in mind.

“We often get requests from graduate students, you know, folks who need a data set for their dissertation, but often graduate students don’t have funding to buy their own resources,” Fear said. “So we can kind of provide that support and help people move along in their programs.”

This program will also give undergraduates and other students learning how to research the opportunity to access and analyze real datasets.

Fear continued, “We really try to provide access to the diversity of information resources that faculty and students need for research, teaching and learning.”

Lai is a member of the class of 2018. 

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