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!

Hoa Luong is the Assistant Director of Research Data Curation for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Hoa was interviewed by Jennifer Moore in May of 2019.

How did you come to your current position?

I received my MLIS from UIUC and then I got a position in the Engineering Library at the University of Illinois. I initially did some part-time work for the Research Data Service and helped out during their transition, and then I was promoted to my new position when my supervisor took on a new role.

What do you do?

I’m in charge of curation activities at the Illinois Data Bank, which includes data submissions for sharing, and repository consultations. I serve on library committees and do research. I’m also in charge of the Data Nudge, a monthly subscription newsletter covering various data topics.

How much of your job involves data curation?

All of it. I’m the first person to touch any datasets that come in. I either curate them myself or triage them subject specialists or the DCN as necessary.

Why is data curation important to you?

Data curation is one of the most promoted services of the repository. Curation gives the researcher different eyes on their data. Researchers are familiar with their own data, but curators are able to look at it objectively and make suggestions and researchers are usually willing to add or change things when it’s suggested. Curation makes data better.

Why is the Data Curation Network important?

The DCN has a very diverse array of experts, whereas I have very specific domain and technical expertise. If I receive a GIS dataset, an area where I have no expertise, now I can pass it on to someone who does have that expertise. This would not be possible without the DCN.

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

I’d like to do more research, specifically continue working on a data management planning analysis project. I found it interesting to learn what researchers are planning to do with their data, what they’re actually doing, and how they’re storing their data (one researcher kept it in his car).

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

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