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The role of libraries and information professionals during the Big Data Era/ Poloko Ntokwane


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Botswana 30-31 Oct 2017

Published in: Data & Analytics
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The role of libraries and information professionals during the Big Data Era/ Poloko Ntokwane

  1. 1. The Role of libraries and information professionals during the Big Data Era. Data Awareness and Capacity Building Workshop. National Workshop on Open Data Open Science (ODOS), University of Botswana Conference Centre. 30th -31st October 2017. Gaborone Botswana. By Poloko Ntokwane-University Librarian
  2. 2. Outline of the presentation 1. Introduction 2. Definition of Terms and acronyms 3. Characteristic of Big Data 4. Types of Big Data 5. Benefits of Big Data 6. Opportunities for Libraries 7. Challenges 8. New Roles for information professionals 9. Conclusions and Recommendations
  3. 3. Introduction • Society is undergoing profound and rapid changes resulting from the development of the information superhighway • According to Cosby (2001) the revolution in information and communication technologies (ICT) has created a platform for the free flow of information, ideas and knowledge across the globe • The metamorphosis of the library professional to information profession largely reflects the shifting in the emphasis and activities aimed at realizing the basic goal of profession that is to participate and facilitate the creation, transmission and use of data
  4. 4. Definition of Terms Dan Ariely, 2013 quotes “Big data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it…” Big Data: “an all-encompassing term for any collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand data management tools or traditional data processing applications.” Open Data: “Open data is the idea that some data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control” There are three principles to open data which are: • Availability and Access: that people can get the data • Re-use and Redistribution: that people can reuse and share the data • Universal Participation: that anyone can use the data Wikipedia
  5. 5. Characteristic of Big Data Figure 1. Characteristics of big data. Source:
  6. 6. Characteristics Conti… Volume The quantity of generated and stored data. The size of the data determines the value and potential insight- and whether it can actually be considered big data or not. Variety The type and nature of the data. This helps people who analyse it to effectively use the resulting insight. Velocity In this context, the speed at which the data is generated and processed to meet the demands and challenges that lie in the path of growth and development. Variability Inconsistency of the data set can hamper processes to handle and manage it. Veracity The data quality of captured data can vary greatly, affecting the accurate analysis
  7. 7. Types of Big Data Data Type Examples Social interactions Online search activities, online page viewers, blogs and posts, social media activities, audio images, videos. Sensors/meters and activity records from electronic devices Mobile phones, satellite/GPS devices, climate sensors, road traffic sensors Administrative Data Electronic medical records, insurance records, tax records Business transactions Bank transactions , online purchases
  8. 8. Benefits of Big Data • New innovations and • New product opportunities, • Cost savings • Efficiencies • Use predictive analytics that will enable businesses to understand what their customers want now as well as in the future
  9. 9. Opportunities for Libraries Data Issue Libraries and data centres opportunities Availability Lower barriers to researchers to make their data available Integrate data sets into retrieval services Findability Support of persistent identifiers Engage in developing common meta-description schemas and common citation practices Promote use of common standards and tools among researchers Support crosslinks between publications and datasets Interpretabil ity Provide and help researchers understand meta-descriptions of datasets Establish and maintain a knowledge base about data and their context Curate and preserve datasets Archive software needed for re-analysis of data Re-usability Be transparent about conditions under which data sets can be re-used (expert knowledge needed, software needed) Engage in establishing uniform data citation standards Citability Support and promote persistent identifiers Transparency about Curation of submitted data Promote good data management practice Curation /Preservatio n Collaborate with data creators Instruct researchers on discipline specific best practices in data creation (preservation formats, documentation of experiment,)
  10. 10. New Roles for information professionals example of Librarians Information Professional Managing data licensed data Build infrastructure Data advisory services Training and support Advice on intellectual property rights Coordinate research data support - Build services to contribute to institutional research
  11. 11. Challenges • Budget • Communicating about changes in the Library • Declining patron requests for content • Career advancement • Keeping up with changing technical requirements • Understanding research trends & the librarian’s role in the research cycle • Staying current on policy changes • Managing library operations and tracking staff performance • Conveying the value of librarians to researchers • Managing continuous transition from a print to a digital-based collection
  12. 12. Conclusions and Recommendations Conclusion It is evident that information professionals have a key role to play in the era of open data. A new generation of data scientists have to combine the skills of a statistician and software programmer along with the visualization expertise of a graphic designer and a story teller. Recommendations
  13. 13. Recommendations • Information professionals and librarians need to know their community research practices in regards to information use, production, and sharing, and the platforms, tools and services that they use. • Advocating and raising awareness: promotion of the benefits of Open Science should take place in parallel with the development of tools and services, the incentives and recognition mechanisms that support excellence in Open Science. • Libraries can advocate within institutions to develop open access policies and roadmaps. This will benefit not only researchers, but also other stakeholders at institutional level and international level, and even the whole society, promoting Open Science and engaging with citizens • There is need for them to cultivate skills as “data scientists” as well.