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Abstract

In The Data Librarian’s Handbook, authors Robin Rice and John Southall have used their thirty years’ combined experience as data librarians to create a well-organized guide that instructs readers on key data management concepts and provides practical advice.
BOOK REVIEW
DOI: dx.doi.org/10.5195/jmla.
2019.601
jmla.mlanet.org
107 (1) January 2019 Journal of the Medical Library Association
117
Rice, Robin, and Southall, John. The
Data Librarian’s Handbook. Lon-
don, UK: Facet Publishing; 2016.
177 p. $79.99. ISBN: 978-1-78330-
047-1.
Academic libraries are increasingly
finding themselves in a position to
provide data support services to
their institutions, and as a result,
many librarians are moving into
new roles as data librarians. In The
Data Librarian’s Handbook, authors
Robin Rice and John Southall have
used their thirty years’ combined
experience as data librarians to cre-
ate a well-organized guide that in-
structs readers on key data
management concepts and pro-
vides practical advice. Both new
and experienced data librarians
will find this book to be useful for
their day-to-day work.
The book is divided into ten
chapters that lead readers from
introductory topics in data man-
agement to more advanced topics
related to real-world practice. It
opens with an introduction to the
development of data services in
academic libraries, an overview of
research data characteristics, and
the common support duties that
data librarians perform.
The book transitions into
providing practical advice in areas
like teaching data literacy, building
a data collection, and supporting a
data management policy with data
support services. Later chapters
discuss creation and maintenance
of a data repository, common chal-
lenges associated with sensitive
and confidential data, and different
disciplinary attitudes about data
sharing. The book concludes with a
discussion of how libraries can
support open scholarship and open
science.
Each chapter ends with a bul-
let-point summary of the main con-
cepts for quick review and includes
a selection of five to eight “Reflec-
tive Questions,which prompt the
reader to engage more deeply with
the content by thinking critically
about current practices and identi-
fying areas for improvement. The
text includes charts, maps, tables,
and illustrations to drive home key
points, making the book a visually
interesting read. The entire book is
full of references to useful re-
sources, articles, and organizations
that readers can use to further their
education in data management.
The Data Librarian’s Handbook is
an excellent resource for academic
librarians from any discipline who
are new to the area of data man-
agement, and it would make a suit-
able textbook for library science
students. It would also be a useful
reference for more experienced da-
ta librarians who are interested in
further developing or improving
their data management services
and expertise.
Kathryn Vela, MLIS, AHIP,
kathryn.vela@wsu.edu, Spokane Academic
Library, Washington State University,
Spokane, WA
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