Phases of work: Reflecting & writing

The past several weeks have been full of pressured writing, with much less reflecting and doing than usual. Add in the travel and I’m feeling a bit off sync from the daily/weekly rhythm I had going. Once the spring travel is over, I have a lot of decompressing, reflection after MLA 2014 and IASSIST40 in preparation for the next phase of doing my actual job, rather than talking about it. For whatever reason, I find it difficult to balance doing and reflecting on a daily or weekly basis. So I tend to cycle through phases, which is sometimes frustrating when the phases last longer than my energy/patience.

Anyway, my summer short list is growing longer than is practical.  It’s punctuated with enough external deadlines that I think much of the work on recalibrating the data management lab for a fall series will have to wait until August. On the other hand, the Indiana Health Sciences Summit is in June, so I’ll be forced to finish my guide on open/licensed data for public health by then. Also, we’re going to be offering an informal data bootcamp for IUPUI librarians, which I have been wanting to do for a while. I’m excited to work with Ted and Eric to get our librarians and staff more excited and comfortable with data services. Once I get through June, July is all about finishing up a manuscript that has been languishing for far too long. Assuming my research leave gets approved…

We offered our first workshop on the NIH Data Sharing Plan Policy yesterday at the Medical Library. Registration and attendance were low, in part due to distraction and a lack of promotion on my part, but the conversations that resulted were great and the attendee evaluations were very positive. (The slides and handout are available on Slideshare, freely available for reuse.) We are lucky to have such great support from our Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, but communication on our campus is a challenge, particularly across school silos. Once we reach people, the information/service we’re providing is typically valued. So how to break through to busy researchers who are unaware of key resources and services for research on campus? How do we provide point-of-need service for research support if the need isn’t being expressed or communicated to the right person?

I had some good conversations at the NNLM Middle Atlantic Region Research Data Management Symposium Doing It Your Way: Approaches to Research Data Management for Libraries. The keynote speakers were excellent, and I enjoyed preparing my talk on the practical side of developing data services. Sadly, I missed the workshop offered by Sherry Lake and Andrea Denton on Tuesday because of flight changes, but it looked great. I’m always interested in how other people approach teaching data competencies, which is why I’m really hoping the Data Information Literacy Project continues on in some form to facilitate the development of this community. I meant to write more on this, but just have not had the time. My goal for MLA is take session notes with the intention of sharing them here since I appreciate reading others’ notes on sessions I am unable to attend.

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By Heather L. Coates

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