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Data Management at USU  

Last Updated: Mar 26, 2014 URL: http://libguides.usu.edu/data Print Guide

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Welcome to the Data Management, Curation and Archiving Research Guide. This guide is intended primarily for researchers and data librarians to facilitate the management, sharing and archiving of their data. This guide covers a rapidly changing large and complex topic.

We will regularly update, correct and add information and tools to the guide. Please let us know if you do not find what you need, feel that some information or concepts are incorrect, or want to add information from your field of research. Also, you may want to check back periodically for updates.

As research data librarians, we are here to help you:

  • Create data management plans for grant proposals
  • Manage, curate and archive your data.
  • Maximize the usefulness of your data.
  • Increase the lifespan of your data.
  • Manage sharing of your data.
  • Prepare your data for archiving.
  • Collaborate with you in creating innovative new ways to share your data.


This Research Guide should give you the necessary background and tools to better manage your data. We also hope it will help you in understanding what supporting information (metadata) will help increase the usability, understandability and longevity of your data.

Please do not hesitate to contact the research data librarian specializing in your field of research for more information or assistance.


Why Manage Your Data?

The rapid increase in the use of digital formats for data has allowed data to be shared more easily among researchers. Often this sharing is between close collaborators, but data is also increasingly being made open for anyone to use. There are many benefits to sharing data. Shared data can...
  • be combined to answer otherwise unanswerable questionsbe reused in unexpected way
  • Recent advancements in Alzheimer's research made possible by making data open for use. (NY Times arcticle)
  • be used to plan new studies
  • help avoid repeating studies
  • help avoid repeating mistakes
  • allow data to be audited

Although there are many benefits to digital data, there are also potential problems.

  • First, digital formats can quickly become obsolete, corrupted or otherwise lost (Digital Dark Age). While digital data is easily shared, finding data without firsthand knowledge of its existence is difficult.
    • Average life expectancy for born digital data has been estimated to be as short as five years.
    • We are already losing vast amounts of data.
  • Understanding data without the participation of its creator is often impossible.
  • Researchers are often poorly positioned to manage and curate their data.
    • Researchers are focused on using data for publishing results.
    • Researchers usually have no background in digital preservation or data curation.

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Becky Thoms
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Utah State University
Merrill-Cazier Library
3000 Old Main Hill
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Phone: 435.797.0816
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