Research data is being increasingly recognised as a valuable output of research and as a valuable resource for further research. Managing research data is a challenge that is being taken up on many fronts but it is a particular challenge for academic libraries who have a role in supporting research through maximising the discovery and reuse of research data. Traditional library skills are being deployed on a new front, but the learning curve is steep.
During 2014/15 the John de Laeter Centre for Isotope Research (JDLC), a Perth-based multi-institutional research infrastructure centre, will commission a new mineral analyser TESCAN Integrated Mineral Analyser (TIMA) instrument that will be used on up to 2,000 samples from the Geological Survey of Western Australia (GSWA), characterising the mineralogy of the samples into searchable digital mineralogical and geochemical datasets.
Curtin University Library, in partnership with the Centre and supported by funding from the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) Major Open Data Collections program will work towards the creation of an appropriate metadata schema for these datasets, the capture and enhancement of the metadata for a 150 sample subset of the collection under that schema and the making of that metadata available to Research Data Australia (RDA) and the AuScope portal to facilitate discovery and access to the datasets by the international research community.
What was the role played by the library, what library skills sets needed to be developed, which software solutions were employed and how does a collaborative project such as this one lead to the mainstreaming of research data discovery as a library service?