Data management

Librarians or science informationists?

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As representatives of an international group of library directors, scientists and research administrators, we recognize that science librarians have evolved into 'science informationists' (see go.nature.com/jmvjej). This more accurately reflects their expanded responsibilities, interdisciplinary skills and specialized knowledge.

The increasing volume and complexity of knowledge demands new organizational techniques. Transforming library services calls on technological advances in searching, visualization, data mining and analysis. As technologies and data sources proliferate, there is a growing need to educate students and researchers about these capabilities.

Science informationists collaborate with scientists to enhance their research by helping them to assess its impact, and to curate and manage data. They make knowledge accessible, for example by using their skills in tailoring vocabularies and ontologies. They preserve and showcase their institutions' intellectual output by building networked repositories, and they work with publishers to improve standards, platforms, publication models and search facilities in the interests of better communication.

Science informationists also build sustainable systems through broad collaborations and seek out the best ways to develop these relationships within their institutions. Like researchers, they understand that science needs risk-takers, innovators and visionaries.

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Correspondence to Ludmila Pollock.

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Pollock, L. Librarians or science informationists?. Nature 490, 343 (2012) doi:10.1038/490343d

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