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Digital Curation Tools I Want to Learn

When I first started my job as Digital Curation Coordinator in June, I didn’t quite know what I would be doing. Then I started figuring it out.  As I’ve gotten settled, I’ve realized that I want to be more proactive in identifying tools and platforms that the researchers I’m working with are using so that I can connect with their experience more easily.

However, the truth is that I find it hard to know what tools I should focus on. What usually happens when I learn about a new tool is a cursory read through the documentation… I familiarize myself well enough to share in a few sentences what it does, but most of the time I don’t become incredibly familiar. There are just soooo many tools out there. It’s daunting.

Knowing my tendencies, I decided it would be a good challenge for me to dig deeper into three areas where I am more ignorant than I’d like to be.

Data analysis programs R, SPSS, & SAS

I don’t know a lot about data analysis but I think it will be critical in terms of how well I can understand researchers. Of the three, I’m most familiar with SPSS already and I’ll probably devote the most time to learning R (perhaps through this data science MOOC, which fellow LITA blog writer Bryan pointed out). With SAS, I’m mostly interested in learning how it differs from the others rather than delving too deep.

Metadata editors Colectica & Morpho

Why these two? It’s pretty arbitrary, I guess: I learned about them in a recent ecology data management workshop I was presenting at. As is often the case, I learned a lot from the other presenters! A big part of my job is figuring out how to help researchers manage their data – and a big barrier to that is the painstaking work of creating metadata.

Digital forensics tool BitCurator

I was lucky enough to be able to attend a two-day workshop at my institution, so I have played around with this in the past. BitCurator is an impressive suite of tools that I’m convinced I need to find a use case to explore further. This is a perfect example of a tool I know decently already – but I really want to know better, especially since I already have people bringing me obsolete media and asking what I can do about it.

What tools do you want to learn? And for anyone who helps researchers with data management in some capacity, what additional tools do you recommend I look into?