Research Uncovered—Christine Borgman on Data, Scholarship, and Libraries


Admission: free
Booking: registration is not necessary but is advisable to ensure your place

Data, long understood as essential evidence for scholarship, are now viewed as products to be shared, reused, and curated. Libraries, long understood to be responsible for curating the products of scholarship, are now assessing their roles in acquiring, managing, and sustaining access to research data. While libraries have adapted to the evolution of document technologies for centuries – from papyri to eReaders – accepting long-term obligations for research data may reposition the role of the library in the university. Publications, the traditional remit of libraries, play established roles in scholarship. Data are much different entities than publications. Rarely do they stand alone, separable from software, protocols, lab and field conditions, and other context. Data practices are local, varying from field to field, individual to individual, and country to country. They are a lens to observe the rapidly changing landscape of scholarly work in the sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. Inside the black box of data is a plethora of research, technology, and policy issues. Concerns for data sharing and open access raise questions about what data to keep, what to share, when, how, and with whom. The stakes and stakeholders in research data are many and varied, posing new challenges for scholars, librarians, policy makers, publishers, students, and their partners. This talk is drawn from Big Data, Little Data, No Data: Scholarship in the Networked World (MIT Press, 2015), much of which was written at the University of Oxford when the author was an Oliver Smithies Fellow at Balliol College in 2012-2013.


Christine L. Borgman, Distinguished Professor and Presidential Chair in Information Studies at UCLA, is the author of more than 250 publications in information studies, computer science, and communication. These include three books from MIT Press: Big Data, Little Data, No Data: Scholarship in the Networked World (2015), winner of the 2015 American Publishers Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE Award) in Computing and Information Sciences; Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet (2007); and From Gutenberg to the Global Information Infrastructure: Access to Information in a Networked World (2000). The latter two books won the Best Information Science Book of the Year award from the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIST). She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Association for Computing Machinery; a member of the Board of Directors of the Electronic Privacy Information Center; U.S. Co-Chair of the CODATA-ICSTI Task Group on Data Citation and Attribution; and previously served on the U.S. National Academies’ Board on Research Data and Information and the U.S. National CODATA. She received the Paul Evan Peters Award from the Coalition for Networked Information, Association for Research Libraries, and EDUCAUSE, and the Research in Information Science Award from ASIST. In 2004-2005 she was a Visiting Scholar at the Oxford Internet Institute; in 2012-2013, she was an Oliver Smithies Fellow at Balliol College and a Visiting Scholar at both the Oxford Internet Institute and the Oxford eResearch Centre, University of Oxford. Prof. Borgman directs the Center for Knowledge Infrastructures at UCLA with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the National Science Foundation.

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