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Syllabus for Data Management and Practice, Part I, Winter 2017, UCLA Information Studies 262A


Information is the foundation of scholarship. Data is a particular class of information. Once considered primarily a part of the scholarly process, data are now viewed as products to be shared, mined, combined, managed, and sustained for reuse. Data scientists are information professionals who manage data, whether in science, social sciences, humanities, arts, medicine, law, government, or private institutions. As the practical and political roles of research data advance, so does scholarship on data practices, policies, and technologies. These two courses prepare graduate students for professional positions in data management in all fields and for research on data practices. The job market is expanding rapidly for data science professionals at both the master’s and PhD research level, providing many employment opportunities. The Harvard Business Review named data scientist as “the sexiest job of the 21st century.” Course topics survey the landscape of data management, practices, services, and policy across fields and sectors, focusing primarily on scholarly applications. Themes include data management practices (e.g., metadata, provenance, technical standards); national and international data policy (e.g., intellectual property, release policies, open access, economics); management of data by research teams, data centers, libraries, and archives; and data curation, preservation, and stewardship. Managing data is a complex process, involving expertise in knowledge organization, information policy, technology, and in the specific research domain. The courses are intended for graduate students in information studies and any other domain that requires the management of research data. By bringing together students from across campus, these seminar courses will engage students in practical, professional, and theoretical challenges in the use and reuse of research data. Assignments include hands-on analyses of data archives, data management plans, curating data for a research team, and domain-specific activities. Students will work in teams on real-world problems with UCLA researchers and will make class presentations.  Data management and practice (262A in winter 2017) provides a basic foundation for the data sciences. We focus on practical concerns, engaging with faculty research teams to address their data management requirements. At least two guest speakers will join us to discuss current issues in their domains. Data curation and policy (262B in spring 2017) builds upon this foundation to examine longer time issues of curation, stewardship, and knowledge infrastructure. We combine practical, policy, and research concerns with an advanced project to broker partnerships between faculty research teams and data repositories. Several guest speakers – national and international – will represent stakeholders in areas such as government data policy, publishing technologies, and ethics in data.  Data management and practice (262A) is a pre-requisite for 262B; students may choose to take only 262A or both courses. Thus, 262B in spring 2017 is open to students who completed 262A in 2016 or 2017.

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