One aspect of the development of an e-infrastructure for research discovery that is often overlooked is the human element. Data is only as interoperable as the scientists who are willing to meet data standards and share their work with others. Information literacy in the data world has at least as many challenges as it does in the world of documents. For example, the provenance of data, who collected it, how they collected it, and whether and how it has been verified, are all very important factors for researchers to consider before incorporating external data into their analyses. With this in mind, the Purdue University Libraries and Earth and Atmospheric Sciences department partnered to offer a geoinformatics course to teach our next generation of scientists about the stores of data available for them to use and the power and limitations of networked tools and data structures to enhance the value and relevance of their own data, while fostering good data hygiene. Students will realize through hands-on activities why good data habits are critical to their professional success in the sciences. In this course, students follow a research project from the data gathering stage, through geospatial visualization and incorporation of external data sets, analysis of the combined data through workflow management software, comparison of results with data models, and, finally, curation of their data, culminating in its deposition in a disciplinary data repository, where it will be shared with and peer reviewed by classmates. The authors will describe how the goals and objectives of this course were determined and implemented and report findings from the pilot offering of this course.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/michael_fosmire/34/