Metadata Research Center Receives Funding to Advance LIS Doctoral Education in Data Science

MRC group

The Metadata Research Center (MRC) at Drexel University’s College of Computing & Informatics (CCI) has been awarded $313,269.00 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services' Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program to advance LIS doctoral education in data science. The project, LIS Education and Data Science-for-the National Digital Platform (LEADS-4-NDP), is being led by PIs Jane Greenberg, PhD, the Alice B. Kroeger Professor and Associate Department Head for Graduate Affairs, and Xia Lin, PhD, information science professor and Department Head, along with CoPIs Professor Il-Yeol Song, PhD, and and Associate Professor Weimeo Ke, PhD.

LEADS-4-NDP will provide stipends for 18 library and information science doctoral students across the country who will complete an online preparatory curriculum, an intensive three-day data science boot camp at Drexel University, and a ten-week immersive data science research experience. The participants will work with our LEADS project partners, including Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), Smithsonian, California Digital Library (CDL), Digital Curation Innovation Center (DCIC), University of Maryland, Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP), Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), Philadelphia Free Public Library, and University of Pennsylvania Libraries.  A team of mentors and internationally recognized data and library science experts will also help guide the LEADS-4-NDP initiative.

“Increasingly, we see LIS graduates with data science skills seeking employment in the tech industry. Although attractive salaries are part of the draw, LIS graduates with data skills may not pursue libraries simply because they lack exposure to the value proposition of data science in the library domain,” Greenberg explained. “We need to provide infrastructure along with education, so future faculty and graduates alike can see the application of predictive analytics and other data science methods for services and operations in libraries, museums, and other aspects of the National Digital Platform,” she said.

“The LEADS-4-NDP program will address this need, and allow Drexel University to share our expertise in data science with LIS programs by teaching future faculty, and making lesson plans and other resources open and accessible beyond the immediate LEADS program,” added Lin.

This program will differ from other data science initiatives in that it aims to teach students to apply data science methods, frameworks, processes, and tools to the NDP. The goal is to prepare the next generation of LIS faculty so that they may bring data science knowledge and skills, in a meaningful way, into LIS education. LEADS-4-NDP will develop a template for educating library data scientists, while also readying this first cohort to serve as educators and leaders in libraries and archives.

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