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Data preservation, the new science and the practitioner librarian

Joint, Nicholas (2007) Data preservation, the new science and the practitioner librarian. Library Review, 56 (6). pp. 451-455. ISSN 0024-2535

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Abstract

This paper outlines the information management principles of the so-called 'new science', and attempts to put these in the context of traditional library and information science principles. It gives a brief review of some work in the area, in particular focussing on the work show-cased by the annual digital preservation conference series hosted by the Digital Curation Centre in Scotland (http://www.dcc.ac.uk/). There is a danger that scientists (as opposed to LIS professionals) will apply the information management techniques of the new science to their own activities inappropriately, especially to research that is best curated as 'old' not new science. This is something on which information professionals are well placed to give advice and make judgements. More practice-oriented research is needed to enhance understanding of how traditional librarianship practices can be applied to the data intensive scientific research carried out by so-called 'virtual organisations'. This paper makes some initial suggestions about how the tools of library and information practice can be related to the 'new science'. In particular, it highlights their relevance to distinguishing between the information management needs of the 'old' and the 'new' sciences: these needs are quite distinct, though easily confused. This paper relates terms from pure science such as the virtual organisation, cyberinfrastructure and e-science to traditional LIS concepts, and tries to create an understanding of the relationship between the two disciplines for the library practitioner.