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Friday, 20 May 2016

HILJ Editorial on Big Data and why it matters for librarians

In the latest issue of the Health Information and Libraries Journal, Andy Tattersall writes the editorial on Big Data and why library and information professionals should take notice of it. 

Big data is a much-used term these days, yet it's definition varies depending on who you talk to. Dan Ariely in a Facebook status update crudely, but accurately compared to teenage sex: “Everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it." 

In addition, who owns big data, or more importantly who's role is it to oversee and look after these large datasets, increasingly hosted on publicly accessible websites. Certainly there is much scope for librarians to get involved in big data as it falls under the remit of research data management, a role often carried out in the library or associated departments.  The abstract of the article is below and subscribers to the journal can read the full editorial or at some point find the pre print full text via the White Rose Repository.

Abstract
Big data, like MOOCs, altmetrics and open access, is a term that has been commonplace in the library community for some time yet, despite its prevalence, many in the library and information sector remain unsure of the relationship between big data and their roles. This editorial explores what big data could mean for the day-to-day practice of health library and information workers, presenting examples of big data in action, considering the ethics of accessing big data sets and the potential for new roles for library and information workers.
Big Data – What is it and why it matters
White Rose Repository entry

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