Full-Length Paper

Responding to Reality: Evolving Curation Practices and Infrastructure at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Authors: , , , ,


Objective: The Illinois Data Bank provides Illinois researchers with the infrastructure to publish research data publicly. During a five-year review of the Research Data Service at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, it was recognized as the most useful service offering in the unit. Internal metrics are captured and used to monitor the growth, document curation workflows, and surface technical challenges faced as we assist our researchers. Here we present examples of these curation challenges and the solutions chosen to address them.

Methods: Some Illinois Data Bank metrics are collected internally by within the system, but most of the curation metrics reported here are tracked separately in a Google spreadsheet. The curator logs required information after curation is complete for each dataset. While the data is sometimes ambiguous (e.g., depending on researcher uptake of suggested actions), our curation data provide a general understanding about our data repository and have been useful in assessing our workflows and services. These metrics also help prioritize development needs for the Illinois Data Bank.

Results and Conclusions: The curatorial services polish and improve the datasets, which contributes to the spirit of data reuse. Although we continue to see challenges in our processes, curation makes a positive impact on datasets. Continued development and adaptation of the technical infrastructure allows for an ever-better experience for the curators and users. These improvements have helped our repository more effectively support the data sharing process by successfully fostering depositor engagement with curators to improve datasets and facilitating easy transfer of very large files.

Keywords: Data curation, research data service, cloud infrastructure, Globus, archive type files, DCN

How to Cite: Luong, H. Q. , Fallaw, C. , Schmitt, G. , Braxton, S. M. & Imker, H. (2021) “Responding to Reality: Evolving Curation Practices and Infrastructure at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign”, Journal of eScience Librarianship. 10(3). doi: https://doi.org/10.7191/jeslib.2021.1202