Kelvin Smith Library’s big data research study contributes to national report

Case Western Reserve University recently contributed to a cross-institutional study that examined the research practices of faculty and research staff in a variety of humanities, social science and STEM fields who use data science or “big data” methodologies. The resulting study, “Supporting Big Data Research at Case Western Reserve University,” was included in the Ithaka S+R report, “Big Data Infrastructure at the Crossroads: Support Needs and Challenges for Universities,” published in December. The Ithaka S+R report takes a close look at how big data research is pursued in academic contexts and focuses on identifying typical methodologies, workflows, outputs and challenges big data researchers face.

The CWRU study contributed to the wider fields of library and information studies and data science. The goal was to understand researchers’ processes in working with big data and “to inform conversations and planning on how to better support big data research at CWRU,” according to Jen Green, team leader at Freedman Center for Digital Scholarship at Kelvin Smith Library. Green, along with Ben Gorham, research data and GIS specialist at Freedman Center for Digital Scholarship, were primary investigators for the research phase and the primary authors of CWRU’s study.

Green and Gorham led the CWRU team in collaboration with Roger Zender, associate director of creation and curation services at Kelvin Smith Library, and Lee Zickel and Emily Dragowsky from University Technology’s Research Computing and Cyberinfrastructure team.