Recovering and Reusing Scientific Data

Investigating Data Curation Practices Across Disciplines


  • Amanda H. Sorensen University of Maryland
  • Katrina Fenlon University of Maryland
  • Camila Escobar-Vredevoogd University of Maryland
  • Travis L. Wagner University of Maryland



metadata, data rescue and recovery, archival and library science, digital curation


Legacy scientific data relevant to current and future scientific research exist scattered across memory institutions. This data remains unexplored and often faces the potential to be destroyed. This poster focuses on data rescue initiatives within the sciences, exploring how these efforts suggest the need for greater focus on scientific thinking and collaboration between the sciences and LIS.

This research explores the efforts of digital curators and scientists to recover library and archival records housed on obsolete formats (both physical and digital) and data within unpublished documents. The ongoing "Recovering and Reusing Archival Data for Science" project (RRAD-S) draws on semi-structured interviews with scientists from atmospheric sciences to ornithology and data curators, including metadata librarians and archivists. These interviews document the catalysts, priorities, and challenges of participants' data reuse/recovery efforts. This poster reports on initial findings regarding how scientific data rescue entails a degree of digital curation expertise and planning on the part of scientific research teams, meaning that scientists thinking proactively about data preservation or reuse might collaborate with information professionals to develop data conservation plans.

Historically, LIS education dedicates limited attention to understanding scientific thinking, which usually emphasizes generating new data over reuse. This poster asserts that LIS education can support long-term scientific scholarship by consciously educating students to participate in scientific data preservation initiatives. Additionally, educators can utilize scientific data practices to inform LIS pedagogy by prioritizing and centering proactive data creation within scientific endeavors.






Works in Progress Posters