University of Illinois

Palmer discusses 'Big Data' with U of I News Bureau

GSLIS Professor and CIRSS Director Carole Palmer recently shared her thoughts in the University of Illinois feature, "A Minute With . . .," following the Obama administration's announcement of a $200 million research initiative in "big data" computing:

Informatics is about methods and strategies for using information in organizations, networks, cultures, and societies. Our job is to make advances that help people get access to and work with information to solve problems and make new discoveries.

The definition of data curation that we promote is the active and ongoing management of data through its life cycle of interest and usefulness to scholarship, science, and education.

Data are very valuable assets—the raw materials of research—with tremendous potential for re-use in new and innovative ways. But digital data are high risk—extremely fragile and with few standards of good practice.

We study how to collect and add value to data, to promote sharing and integration across institutions and fields of research, looking at both technical and social problems in making data a collective, shared resource.

The Data Conservancy is a large multi-institutional collaboration led by Johns Hopkins University. We are partners, contributing to research and education through our data curation initiatives at CIRSS.

GSLIS has been at the forefront of data curation education since launching its specialization within the Master of Science degree in 2006, beginning with a focus on the sciences and expanding to include the humanities in 2008. Currently, more than 50 students enroll each year in the Foundations of Data Curation course, with many completing the GSLIS Specialization in Data Curation.

The interview with Professor Palmer was conducted by Dusty Rhodes, news editor for the U of I News Bureau.


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