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Researchers and Data Managers Gather for UVM Libraries' Day of Data

Date: 
Friday, January 12, 2024

The University of Vermont’s first-ever Day of Data brought together a room full of researchers and data managers to talk shop. At the all-day event on Tuesday, January 9, in the Waterman Building, seven speakers discussed best practices in data methods during sessions about data analysis, data storage at UVM, data sharing, data ethics and data visualization. 

Maria Sckolnick, statistical design and data specialist for the UVM Libraries and a Day of Data coordinator, said she was happy to see the interest and excitement when registration for the event filled up quickly. “We created the Day of Data to better connect researchers to data services at UVM and to stimulate conversations between those who use data for their research,” she added. “We hope to offer similar events in the future and that the campus community will take advantage of our year-round workshops.”  

Representatives from the UVM Health Network Data Management Office (DMO) joined the group for the panel discussion, “Accessing Medical Data at the UVM Medical Center and Data Governance.” Leah Fullem, vice president for Enterprise Information Management and Analytics at the UVM Health Network, taught researchers about how to access hospital data through the DMO by partnering with a clinician and submitting requests six months in advance. 

The involved nature of making these requests is critical in protecting patient privacy, the group explained. One DMO representative compared data governance in the Health Network to a balancing act. Data is crucial for innovation, they said, but privacy is a necessary facet of the Health Network’s mission to improve the health of the people in the communities it serves.  

Marie English, soil health and climate change research specialist with UVM Extension said that the day’s presented resources will help researchers on campus go the distance when doing quality assurance and quality control. “As a research specialist and a lab manager, I was most interested in learning about the tools available to help us create reproducible data,” she said.  “The data consulting, data visualization, and database management resources available are helpful for my team when learning about the full stream of data processing.”  

The topic “Research Computing and Data Storage at UVM” was led by Terry Barrett, senior research computing facilitator, and Travis Bartlett, IT professional senior manager, from Enterprise Technology Services (ETS). Barrett and Bartlett work in the Vermont Advanced Computing Center (VACC) on campus which has resources for when a researcher’s computing needs outgrow their device. The center has clusters of computer processing units that act as a ‘university cloud’ for researchers to store their data.  

Barrett and Bartlett said the VACC team offers help in migrating desktop computing to these clusters, which helps researchers both store and protect their data. They advised attendees to use the VACC knowledge base or to contact a team member for more information. 

UVM can look forward to more events like Day of Data and in the meantime, continue to seek support across campus. 

“The Libraries are committed to offering a range of research support services,” said Denise Hersey, director of the Dana Health Sciences Library.  “We were pleased by the attendance and outcomes of the Day of Data workshop. It met the goals of supporting UVM community members who work with data and conduct research, while also reminding them that there are many support services available to them through the Libraries and other departments on campus.”