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Transitions and Comparisons

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Issue: 
Fall 2010

Lynn Yarmey (PAL,CCE)

I recently returned from a 6-week internship with the National Snow and Ice Data Center (nsidc.org) made available through the Data Curation Masters degree program at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign and the flexibility of the Ocean Informatics (OI) group at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.   I am now moving on to a recently created position as the Science Data Librarian at Stanford University (yarmey@standford.edu).   With school 1, the internship, and my recent and new employment, there is an increased intertwingling 2 amongst the realms of libraries, science and information management for me. All of these changes present an opportunity to reflect on my own local information management experiences with the OI team and the LTER IM community and culture.

Of all the communities I have had the privilege of interacting with over the past busy months, the LTER Information Managers are an amazingly sophisticated and integrative community-of-practice staged for continuing success through cross-fertilization.  There is an array of critical community elements in place: informal and formal communication channels (Databits, annual meetings, VTCs, 3), open attitudes towards cross-site sharing, community working space (working groups, the IM website), awareness and involvement in the internal governance process 4. These elements allow the LTER IM groups to traverse the distance and language 5 issues that come with distributed collaborative work.  Unlike more centralized efforts, the bringing together of such experiences, needs and perspectives of the various sites makes for rich discussions. Also evident, however, is the realization of a more robust set of practices, products and processes that contribute to insights into and development of quality data management and data curation. 

Though my location and title are changing, it remains clear to me that my role will in many ways remain that of an information manager.  I am looking forward to helping the academic library community address the data landscape illuminated by my work with the Ocean Informatics group, the LTER IMC and others.  My title will change to that of librarian, but I am confident that my unique experiences and perspective as a field-based information manager will prove valuable with my new community.

1 http://databits.lternet.edu/fall-2009/continuing-education-options-information-managers
2 http://cce.lternet.edu/docs/publication/2006/06spring_databits/intertwingling.pdf
3 http://databits.lternet.edu/spring-2010/openness-and-transparency-development-lter-network-information-system
4 http://databits.lternet.edu/fall-2009/imc-governance-working-group
5 http://databits.lternet.edu/spring-2009/vocabulary-development-tool-community-building