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Library, College of Information only recipients of multiple research awards

William Moen, assoc dean, College of InformationUNT Libraries and the College of Information have received more than $800,000 in grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to study the challenges of curating and preserving digital information.

William Moen, above right, associate dean for research in the College of Information, and Martin Halbert, below right, dean of UNT Libraries, successfully applied for two grants from IMLS’ Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program. The grants support recruitment and education of the next generation of librarians and faculty, and support research related to library education and staffing, curriculum development and continuing education.

The research also addresses new requirements from the National Science Foundation and other agencies that require an explanation of how data will be managed and archived.  

Martin Halbert, dean, UNT LibrariesThe 2011 Laura Bush program awarded 24 grants  after receiving 119 applications. UNT was the only recipient of more than one award, which Halbert said is very unusual.

“IMLS almost never gives dual awards to the same institution and the same programs,” he said. “The fact that we received two is a testament to how pleased IMLS is with UNT’s reputation as a leader in digital preservation, and validates the partnership between the library and the College of Information.”

The first grant of $624,663 is for a three-year project to create four graduate-level courses in digital curation and data management beginning in 2012.  Moen is principal investigator.

The courses will make up the curriculum of a proposed Graduate Academic Certificate in Digital Curation and Data Management, which the College of Information plans to submit for approval by the spring of 2014.

The certificate program will be aimed at library and information science professionals who need retraining in digital curation. Moen said graduate students in biological sciences, computer science, electrical engineering, environmental science, history and political science also will be recruited to enroll in Cyberinfrastructure Fundamentals for Digital Curation and Data Management. The students will receive stipends, Moen said.

“The idea is to give basic information about data management to students whose future jobs may have a data management requirement,” he said. “Right now, the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health are the two funding agencies that are most concerned with the preservation of research data and having it available to be shared to other researchers. Data-driven research using large-scale datasets - numeric, textual, image or audio - allows scientists and scholars to pose and answer problems in new ways.”

The second IMLS grant of $226,786 will fund a two-year investigation of the new roles, knowledge and skills that will be required of library and information science professionals to successfully manage research data cited in articles in scholarly journals.

UNT researchers, led by Halbert, will conduct two national surveys of:

  • officials at NSF and other funding agencies
  • college and university vice presidents for research and campus research officers
  • faculty of library and information science programs
  • academic librarians
  • campus IT managers
  • provosts and chief academic officers
  • key researchers at universities and publishers of faculty research.

During the two years of the project, UNT researchers also will conduct focus groups.  

“We hope to include as many high-level administrators as possible in the focus groups,” said Halbert, who added that many members of Congress, including Sen. John Cornyn of Texas “believe it is critical that publicly funded research is publicly available.”

“This research project will lay a foundation for many new directions in library and information science education, and lead to systematic change by providing documentation concerning the state of research data management planning,” he said. 

The UNT Libraries has been recognized as a national and international leader in developing digital content and in digital preservation.

UNT Libraries are one of only three college and university libraries designated an Affiliated Archive of the National Archives. The designation recognizes UNT’s creation of the nation’s only CyberCemetery, which preserves defunct websites of federal agencies, including the White House.

Posted on: Mon 08 August 2011

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