Data profession, Language, Translation, Data Theory, Critique
While institutions, methodology and geography all present barriers for communication and development of infrastructure, sometimes the greatest barriers may be in reaching not across the world but across the hallway. Engaging in the work of unified infrastructure requires finding language that bridges modes of inquiry and meaning, so that all participants see their place in the whole. This work of finding shared language involves translation at many levels. Data librarians know that not everyone means the same thing by ‘data’ and increasingly they seek language that spans the practices of social science, sciences, humanities, and performing arts. This paper aims to highlight some of the ways in which data professionals are already adept at translation. Drawing on examples from work as a subject librarian and data professional at an undergraduate institution, I will elaborate on ways in which translation permeates the daily work of data librarians, from helping new researchers learn the language and methods of a field, to supporting faculty as they expand their teaching and research across disciplines. Additionally, librarians’ role as semi-outsiders within the institution situates them well to help drive conversations spanning disciplinary modes of thinking, in which faculty may also find themselves as semi-outsiders.
The IASSIST Quarterly is published in digital form and the author has the right to keep and distribute the digital form of the article. It is also permitted to link directly (deep link) to the article on the IASSIST website or journal repository (https://iassistdata.org/iq/instructions-authors). Carleton College does not own the copyright to this work and the work is available through the Carleton College Library following the original publisher's policies regarding self-archiving. For more information on the copyright status of this work, refer to the current copyright holder.
Fully Open Access
Partlo, Kristin. 2014. "From Data to Creation of Meaning Part II: Data Librarian as Translator." IASSIST Quarterly 38, (2): 12-15. Available at: https://iassistdata.org/sites/default/files/iqvol38_2_partlo.pdf. Accessed via Staff and Faculty Work. Library. Carleton Digital Commons https://digitalcommons.carleton.edu/libr_staff_faculty/6
The definitive version is available at https://iassistdata.org/sites/default/files/iqvol38_2_partlo.pdf