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We’re Working on It: Transferring the Sloan Digital Sky Survey from Laboratory to Library
International Journal of Digital Curation (2014)
  • Ashley E. Sands, University of California - Los Angeles
  • Christine L. Borgman, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Sharon Traweek, University of California - Los Angeles
  • Laura A. Wynholds

This paper reports on the transfer of a massive scientific dataset from a national laboratory to a university library, from one kind of workforce to another. The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) data archive offers a unique case study of one of the largest open access datasets in astronomy being transferred for long term management by non-astronomers. Within the transfer we see a complex array of knowledge and expertise in development; we use this data transfer process to examine the formation of a new workforce for scientific research data management. The case study illustrates the variety of tasks and persons involved in the transfer and management of a very large dataset, more than 130 terabytes. We find a large number of people with diverse educational backgrounds and domain experience involved in SDSS data management: domain scientists, computer scientists, software and systems engineers, programmers, and librarians. These types of positions have been described using terms such as: Research Technologists, Data Scientists, E-science Professionals, Digital Researchers, Data Curators, Data Stewards, and Data Governors. We find that data management activities encompass multiple tasks and multiple types of expertise. We describe the importance of teamwork amongst the diverse members of the workforce and how the success of the transfer of the archive depended on the library staff’s ability to work collaboratively and effectively as a team. doi:10.2218/ijdc.v9i2.336

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Citation Information
Ashley E. Sands, Christine L. Borgman, Sharon Traweek and Laura A. Wynholds. "We’re Working on It: Transferring the Sloan Digital Sky Survey from Laboratory to Library" International Journal of Digital Curation Vol. 9 Iss. 2 (2014)
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