How to Handle a Deluge of Data? Library to Host Event

April 06, 2012

April 9, 2012 — The University of Virginia Library will host its first Data Management Day symposium Thursday, an event designed to address issues faced by researchers and others who deal with the ever-increasing challenges of digital research data.

The symposium, which begins at 10 a.m. at the Curry Library Innovation Commons on the third floor of Ruffner Hall, will feature data management experts from the University and beyond, said Andrew Sallans, head of strategic data initiatives in the library.

"We want researchers, graduate students, IT people, grant administrators, librarians," Sallans said. "This event is designed for everyone who has some intersection with research data."

There was a time when research data management meant sturdy cabinets and a good filing system, but technological advances have led to massive digital data sets and questions about the best ways to capture and preserve that information.

Federal grant applications often now call for detailed data management plans, and many researchers and universities are grappling with the best ways to address data management issues. At U.Va., Sallans heads the Scientific Data Consulting Group, which helps U.Va. researchers formulate data management plans.

"Data Management Day will also feature sessions with librarians from other institutions who can talk about their own initiatives," Sallans said. "We want researchers and people here to see that this is also something of concern at our peer institutions, and we'll see some of the ways they are going about addressing it."

Alberto Conti, an innovation scientist with the Space Telescope Science Institute, will deliver the keynote address. Conti serves as the senior technical adviser on innovation and core technology initiatives for the James Webb Space Telescope, the planned successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, and is one of the co-creators of the Google Sky project.

Other sessions will include panel discussions on how to plan and develop data management services, U.Va.'s strategic initiatives for research, and data management training and support. A panel of U.Va. researchers will also discuss their own data management problems and successes.

Data Management Day events will be broadcast in high definition via the 4-VA Network, which also includes Virginia Tech, George Mason University and James Madison University. In addition, streaming video will be  available from the Data Management Day Web page.

Afterward, when possible, video recordings of the sessions  will be available online, Sallans said. Direct questions to the event organizer, Sherry Lake, at