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Databib is Tackling Tough Data Sharing Problems

September 7, 2012

By  Michael Witt
Principal Investigator and Editor-in-Chief of Databib

A new resource called Databib has been created to help people identify and locate online repositories of research data. With support from IMLS, the Purdue and Penn State University Libraries collaborated to develop open-source software that enables bibliographers to create and curate records that describe research data repositories that users can browse and search on the Internet. Interns from the School of Library and Information Science at Indiana University-Indianapolis worked with librarians at Purdue to identify and catalog over 200 data repositories, with a goal of cataloging 500 repositories by the end of the year.

Screenshot of Databib Website

Conversations about sharing research data have become increasingly common among universities, scholarly societies, policy makers, and research funding agencies. These conversations are driven by a recognition that increased data-sharing holds great potential for advancing the creation of new knowledge and benefits to society.

This focus on data-sharing has raised some interesting questions, such as:

  • What repositories are appropriate for a researcher to submit her or his data to?
  • How do users find relevant data repositories and discover datasets that meet their needs?
  • How can librarians help patrons locate and integrate data into their research or learning?

Databib helps address these questions by providing useful information about data repositories such as the title and URL of a repository; who maintains the repository; its access, deposit, and reuse policies; a concise abstract; annotations from other users; and Library of Congress Subject Headings, which are linked to other repositories in the same subject areas.

You can follow @databib on Twitter to get updates when new repositories are added or use RSS to integrate Databib into library resource guides or other feeds. You can also share or recommend data repositories with more than 300 different social network platforms. Databib also integrates with the Semantic Web, serializing all of its metadata as RDFa and exposing it as Linked Data.

Databib is guided by an international advisory board with representation from Europe, Australia, Asia, Africa, and North America. An editorial board is currently being assembled to increase the coverage and continue the curation of records in Databib. Contact or visit the Databib website if you’re interested in participating.

National Leadership Grants for Libraries