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Library and Information Science professors receive $355,816 IMLS grant

September 29, 2017

Ayoung Yoon, assistant professor, and Andrea Copeland, associate professor and chair, Department of Library and Information Science at the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI, have been awarded a three-year research grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Ayoung Yoon

Yoon and Copeland, co–principal investigators, received $355,816 for their project, “Data Reuse for Local Community.”

Their goal is to support community members’ data reuse by facilitating their connection with existing resources and data infrastructure. The project will address societal challenges in education, health, economic development, and environment to help members gain better access to stores of data being collected about their communities. Yoon and Copeland will focus on public libraries, which can play a role in facilitating community interaction.

In the past, data reuse research has been overwhelmingly focused on scientific and academic contexts, according to Yoon. “As the practice of data reuse is expanded, it is timely to investigate data reuse practices outside the academic context, particularly from community and citizen perspectives,” Yoon says.

The researchers will conduct interviews and surveys, collaborate with stakeholders to create theoretical models for data exchange and workflows, and develop educational resources for librarians. Partner organizations across the country will help the team connect with local data reusers in order to understand their needs, practices, and challenges.

Andrea Copeland

Copeland says, “Most citizen science projects utilize citizens through their contribution of data to a large research dataset, but do not involve them in the complete research cycle. This project takes an important step in the direction of including citizens throughout the process.”

This project evolved from an earlier pilot study conducted by Yoon. She was able to address critical issues, most notably the lack of interaction between communities and libraries. Yoon and Copeland will attempt to identify other barriers through this project, in order to create a data workflow model and understand the role of public librarians in supporting community members in data reuse. They hope to create a collaborative data reuse culture by designing services and providing useful resources for librarians.

“I think this research has the potential to change the way public librarians provide access to data-rich resources and data services,“ says Copeland.