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Meet the MLA ’24 Presenters of Data Partners: Fostering Librarian-Researcher Partnerships

In the weeks leading up to MLA ‘24 in Portland, we’ll profile the experts leading each of the symposium sessions by sharing their answers to questions about themselves and their session. We continue the series with some of the presenters of Data Partners: Fostering Librarian-Researcher Partnerships, Ben Gerber (BG), Tess Grynoch (TG), and Alisa Surkis (AS).

Join them for their session on Monday, May 20, 2024, 9:00-10:15 a.m., pacific time. Please see the Symposium Session Schedule to learn about all the symposium sessions and their presenters.

What are you most looking forward to seeing/eating/experiencing in Portland?

BG: I’m excited that I’ll be attending the conference with my wife, Rebecca (who is a librarian at our medical school!). It will be my first time in Portland.

TG:  I’m looking forward to trying out the local hikes, food, and beer 😊.

AS: Kayaking and karaoke!

What’s a fun or surprising fact about partnering with librarians on data management?

BG: No surprises, being married to a librarian! Our librarians have been super-helpful with the new NIH Data Management and Sharing policy that went into effect in January of 2023. I appreciated their help in planning for data sharing after a recent study was completed a few months ago.

What’s a fun or surprising fact about partnering with researchers on data management?

TG: Getting to learn about other relevant conferences outside of librarianship, such as R/Medicine.

AS: That good intentions are necessary, but not sufficient, for data sharing.

How did you get started in your field?

TG: I worked in the University of Alberta library’s gifts and donations department during my undergrad and at the same time was having great discussions in my English classes about how libraries were community-building spaces. I pursued a master’s of Library and Information Studies to continue those conversations and draw on my Biology and English degree.

AS: I took a rather circuitous path to librarianship, wending my way through physics, neuroscience, and coding, and then having an inexplicable (and fortunately on-target) feeling that I should become a librarian.

What’s the main thing you want participants to take away from your session?

BG: I hope others will be inspired to collaborate with researchers! Perhaps our common (nerdy!) Interest in data can bring us closer together!

TG: How informative working with a researcher can be in all aspects of the research data management services you provide.

AS: Domain knowledge helps but a little domain knowledge goes a long way.

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