This post is part of our Curators’ Corner series. Every so often we’ll feature a different DCN Curator. The series grew out of a community-building activity wherein curators at our partner organizations interview each other “chain-letter style” in order to get to know each other and their work outside of the DCN better. We hope you enjoy these posts!

Jennifer Moore is Head of Data Services for Washington University Libraries at Washington University in St. Louis. Jennifer was interviewed by Rachel Woodbrook in May of 2019.

How did you come to your current position?

I started as a Social Science Librarian with a focus in Anthropology at WashU about eight years ago. I’ve had five or six title changes since then – Anthropology Librarian, then GIS Outreach Librarian, where I started to shift towards data, then GIS/Data Project Manager, Data Services Coordinator, and now Head of Data Services. I have a background in anthropology and visual arts.

What do you do?

I’m currently transitioning into a library leadership role. Our team has been working to more fully-define the data services program at Wash U for the past year or so (still in-process). Our services include data management, curation, visualization and analysis. We have very strong functional support for GIS, R and 3D data, but hope to expand. We’ve recently hired a Social Science Data Curator/GIS Librarian in addition to our GIS Developer and GIS analyst. We will be recruiting for a Humanities Data Curator, Data Visualization Librarian and hopefully one more professional position in the coming year. We are also in the process of building a new data repository that is more integrated with the rest of our systems. It’s an exciting time of growth for our team, including me!

How much of your job involves data curation?

We receive about two to three datasets per month and we currently have two curators – staff within the libraries that are dedicated to data curation part of the time. Data services is also involved in a partnership on campus with a research data storage service that provides data to the community, but it’s largely targeted at faulty. We’re building in a workflow to help users move their data from active storage to easily initiate a curation consultation and services.

Why is data curation important to you?

In library school I took a course on current topics in collection development which focused on open access, copyright, open data, etc. It became clear that everything I’d learned so far about traditional librarianship wasn’t enough and I knew data curation was where I wanted to focus. It was scary, but exciting! Research data can and should help us do good in the world, and data curation is essential to making that research data meaningful, reusable, and transparent.

Why is the Data Curation Network important?

The Data Curation Network is working to make data fair, transparent and ethical. It’s exciting to get feedback, and enhance our knowledge. The training component of the network is really important too. I consider building the network good practice!

If you weren’t doing data curation, what would you be doing?

Maybe open a roller-skating rink/bakery/pottery studio? Or maybe I’d do a PhD in Data Science with a focus on data ethics. I enjoy being a part of developing useful things, such as the collaborative work on 3D data preservation.

To learn more about Jennifer, and some of the datasets she’s curated for the DCN see her curator page!

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