Data library

data library , data archive , or data repository is a collection of numerical and / or geospatial data sets for secondary use in research. A data library is Normally portion of a larger institution (academic, corporate, scientific, medical, Governmental, etc.) Established for research data archiving and data to serve the users of That organization. The CD-ROMs or central server for download. A data library may also maintain subscriptions to licensed data for its users to access. Whether a data library is also considered a data archive may depend on the extent of unique holdings in the collection, Whether long-term preservation services are offered, and whether they serve a broader community. Most public data libraries are listed in the Registry of Research Data Repositories .

Importance of data libraries and data librarianship

In August 2001, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) published SPEC Kit 263: Numeric Data Products and Services , presenting results from a survey of ARL member institutions involved in collecting and providing services for numeric data resources.

Services offered by data libraries and data librarians

Library services providing good support at the institutional level for the use of numerical and other kinds of datasets in research. Amongst the support activities typically available:

  • Reference Assistance – locating numeric or geospatial datasets containing measurable variables on a particular topic or group of topics, in response to a user query.
  • User Instruction – providing hands-on training to groups of users in locating data resources on particular topics, how to download data and read it into spreadsheet, statistical, database, or GIS packages, how to interpret codebooks and other documentation.
  • Technical assistance – including easing registration procedures, troubleshooting problems with the dataset, such as errors in the documentation, reformatting and statistical methodology.
  • Collection Development & Management – acquire, maintain, and manage a collection of data files used by the local user community; Purchase institutional data subscriptions; Act as a data repository for the institution.
  • Preservation and Data Sharing Services – a process of preservation of data in the collection; Download and keep records from a central repository. Also, assist users in preparing original data for use by others; Either for formal or informal repository. XML standard, such as the Data Documentation Initiative, or adding other metadata to facilitate online discovery.


  • IASSIST (International Association for Social Science Information and Service Technology)
  • DISC-UK (Data Information Specialists Committee-United Kingdom)
  • APDU (Association of Public Data Users – USA)
  • CAPDU (Canadian Association of Public Data Users)

Examples of Data Libraries

Natural sciences

The following list of scientific data records.

  • CISL Research Data Archive
  • Dryad
  • ESO / ST-ECF Science Archive Facility
  • International Tree-Ring Data Bank
  • Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
  • Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity
  • National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging
  • National Archive of Criminal Justice Data [1]
  • National Climatic Data Center
  • National Geophysical Data Center
  • National Snow and Ice Data Center
  • National Oceanographic Data Center
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center
  • Pangea – Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science
  • World Data Center
  • Dataone

Social sciences

In the social sciences data libraries are referred to as archives. Data archives are professional institutions for the acquisition, preparation, preservation, and dissemination of social and behavioral data. Data archives in the social sciences evolved in the 1950s and has been perceived as an international movement:

By 1964 the International Social Science Council (ISSC) had sponsored a second conference on Social Science Data Archive and had a standing committee on social science data, both of which stimulated the data archives movement. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, most developed countries and some developing countries had organized formal and well-functioning national data archives. In addition, college and university campuses often have ‘data libraries’ which make data available to their faculty, staff, and students; (Rockwell, 2001, pp. 3227). In this paper, we present the results of the study. [1]

  • is a global registry of research data repository indexing data archives from all disciplines:
  • Members are CESSDA data archives and other organizations That social science data archive data and Provide for secondary use:
  • Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives:
  • The Danish Data Archives: ; Specific page (only in Danish):
  • Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research:
  • The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research:
  • The Social Science Data Archive:
  • The NCAR Research Data Archive:


  • And Sharon, C., “Sharing research data in social science.” In Sharing Research Data , S. Fienberg, M. Martin, and M. Straf, Eds. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1985, 39-88.
  • Geraci, D., Humphrey, C., and Jacobs, J. Data Basics . Canadian Library Association, Ottawa, ON, 2005.
  • Martinez, Luis & Macdonald, Stuart, ‘Supporting local data users in the UK academic community’ . Ariadne , issue 44, July 2005.
  • See the IASSIST Bibliography of Selected Works for articles tracing the history of data libraries and its relationship to the archivist profession, going back to the 1960s and ’70s up to 1996.
  • See IASSIST Quarterly articles from 1993 to the present, focusing on data libraries, data archives, data support, and information technology for the social sciences.

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