SILS Ph.D. Students Sarah Ramdeen and Angela Murillo Win ESIP Poster Award

September 21, 2012

Sarah RamdeenSome quick thinking and a lot of Post-It Notes® notes recently earned University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science (SILS) Ph.D. students Angela Murillo and Sarah Ramdeen a small grant to pursue a project aimed at better understanding what skills are needed in searching for scientific data sets. 

Every year at the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) Summer Meeting, conference attendees are invited to participate in the FUNding Friday Competition. Participants are given poster board 24 hours before the poster session begins on Friday, in which time they must make and exhibit a poster that will be judged by other attendees. Novelty of research ideas and presentation are encouraged – hence the Post-It Notes®.
“You had to design something on the fly,” Ramdeen said, “So we got creative with Post-Its® to add color. It was a lot of fun, and challenging too.”
At this summer’s meeting in Madison, Wisconsin, Ramdeen and Murillo used their poster to propose a study of the current state of skills, access, and trust pertaining to data use and reuse in the ESIP community. To perform the study, they will send a questionnaire to ESIP members asking how they reuse data sets: specifically, the skills and training they felt they needed to be successful searchers, how they accessed collections, what barriers they encountered along the way, and, finally, how they determined the trustworthiness and quality of the data they discovered and used. 
When the votes were tallied at the FUNding Friday Competition, Ramdeen and Murillo were awarded a $3,000 grant to complete the project. Their goal, said Ramdeen, is to present the preliminary results of the study – provisionally titled “Assessing Skills, Access and Trust of Data Use and Reuse within the ESIP community” – at the ESIP winter meeting in Washington, D.C. next January. Ramdeen and Murillo will then produce a white paper for the ESIP community and possibly a journal article.