This case study describes an investigation into the data management and sharing practices within an interdisciplinary research lab. The Purdue Water Quality Field Station (WQFS) consists of researchers and graduate students generating data on a range of topics including: water quality, water flow, chemical composition of water, soil composition, soil moisture, and plant biomass. Many of these data are of interest beyond the lab, to other researchers, policy makers, and companies. Most of the data are gathered, processed and analyzed by graduate students from several different departments. The data gathered by one graduate student may be useful to others, but there are few common practices for documenting, managing or sharing data in the lab, making sharing data difficult even amongst lab personnel. To characterize the data sharing needs and practices in this setting, previous interviews with researchers were supplemented by interviews with 6 graduate students using a modified version of the Data Curation Profile Toolkit. The resulting Data Curation Profiles are being used as a foundation for a shared articulation of the data related needs of the lab and as a springboard for generating collaborations between the WQFS and the libraries to address these issues. We believe that this approach of studying the data management and sharing practices and needs at the local-scale can provide insight into larger scale needs in sharing data sets externally and in serving to inform community-scale initiatives in this area.


data information literacy

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