When Use Cases Are Not Useful: Data Practices, Astronomy, and Digital Libraries

TitleWhen Use Cases Are Not Useful: Data Practices, Astronomy, and Digital Libraries
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsWynholds, L., Fearon, Jr. D. S., Borgman C. L., & Traweek S.
Date Published2011
ISBN Number978-1-4503-0744-4
Keywordsastronomy, collaboration, Data repositories, digital data curation, ethnography, gap_evidence, gap_relationships, information behavior, science &#38, scientific data practices, sg_data_archiving, sg_data_reuse, sg_ps, technology studies, user-centered design

As science becomes more dependent upon digital data, the need for data curation and for data digital libraries becomes more urgent. Questions remain about what researchers consider to be their data, their criteria for selecting and trusting data, and their orientation to data challenges. This paper reports findings from the first 18 months of research on astronomy data practices from the Data Conservancy. Initial findings suggest that issues for data production, use, preservation, and sharing revolve around factors that rarely are accommodated in use cases for digital library system design including trust in data, funding structures, communication channels, and perceptions of scientific value.


Gap Area Study Type:

Sought to understand issues in developing the institutions and practices needed to provide access to research data
Conducted interviews of users of the SDSS dataset covering their type of research, participation in sky survey projects, data challenges, conceptions of data, data sources, data analysis tools, walk-throughs, end of project curation, and funding structures for data