Research Data Management (not only) for music librarians
25th February 2022 (CRDA of NFDI4Culture, in collaboration with IAML DE)
Research data management (RDM) becomes necessary when it comes to planning and applying for a research project. However, it should not be included in one's research process in a merely superficial manner: a structured RDM is often already part of the research design. It is therefore not least inherent to research design and becomes relevant even before an application is submitted, especially when creating collections and archives and in research partnerships or networks. The NFDI4Culture course "Research Data Management (not only) for music librarians" on the morning of 25th February 2022 was attended by around 50 dedicated colleagues and intended to show that data management plans and sustainable file storage are not only necessary funding requirements or conditions for applications. Focusing primarily on music-related data, a variety of ethical, legal, and technical issues were discussed, especially with regard to handling third-party data and making interoperable research results available for reuse, to enable their enrichment with metadata by a research project or even an extended community.
The course, jointly organised by the Cultural Research Data Academy (CRDA) of NFDI4Culture and the German branch of the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres (IAML), was primarily aimed at music librarians. Although there are numerous offers on this topic, especially digital training courses, only a few focus on the field of music (studies), including its specific data and media. In terms of sequence, the course structure was based on the data life cycle and the task areas of NFDI4Culture. In the process, the CRDA team introduced a number of contact points and information services, explained the FAIR and CARE principles and addressed case studies as well as the NFDI4Culture Helpdesk. Not only were the various legal barriers of reusable digital preservation discussed, but also the benefits of an integrated approach in collaboration with local university libraries and university data centres. Participants repeatedly highlighted a kind of best practice: namely the data-specific selection of an already established, often institutionally hosted repository and its adaptation to their own needs, especially with regard to community-specific maintenance and enrichment with metadata.
In the course of the event, many points were raised that concern the NFDI as such and which further showed that there is still a need for improvement in this area, both in terms of equipment and networking of infrastructural facilities and training offers. The discussion emphasised the need for consulting and funding support, for the establishment of subject/community-specific repositories and with regard to ensuring their sustainable interoperability. Emphasis was put on the enhancement of already existing offers to address one's own research questions. The partial lack of RDM initiatives at federal state level as well as the desire for community-specific exchange were also points of discussion. According to the participants, resources and handouts, specifically around data and for the community, would be welcome as an addition to the numerous generic offers that already exist. Likewise, there were questions about the integration of graduate training offers as well as about data maintenance as a component of undergraduate teaching (introductions, modules, basic courses ...). The course concluded with initial suggestions for further workshop and hands-on training opportunities.
In conclusion, the need for local subject-specific or data-specific repositories, for funding and development support as well as for training opportunities can be pointed out. In this respect, there is a general, proven need for training (especially at graduate level), while the generic need (i. e. basic RDM, FAIR, etc.) is often and sufficiently covered by initiatives and services provided by universities and libraries. The main demand is for the teaching of media- and subject-specific and research-related tools as well as options for publication and digital preservation. The discussion also highlighted the overall impression that RDM does not yet seem to have been sufficiently integrated into the curricula and module catalogues, yet that numerous information platforms already do exist. In this respect, the potential of local development regarding RDM competencies and repositories was particularly emphasised. Further (specific) networking opportunities are desirable, even if these already exist in various forms at different levels. The integration of corresponding forums and working groups within professional associations seems to be a constructive means for an exchange about tools and methods as well as for the promotion of data and code literacy. The very positive feedback from the participants included a request for follow-up events, workshops and forums – especially on licenses (such as Creative Commons) and licensing organisations, rights and rights management, repositories and GLAM.