Developing Librarian Data Services Skills: An Assessment of Current Levels of Competency and a Plan for the Future
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Introduction: Research data services are increasingly offered by academic libraries. Librarians may need to upskill to provide sufficient services or to build capacity within their institution. This study measures the current level of data services skills of academic librarians and explores their preferred method of continuing education to support data services.Methods: A twenty-two question online survey was circulated. Respondents self-assessed their data skills in four categories: general data services, programming languages and software, library instruction, and soft skills. Likert-scale questions were also used to measure how important various professional development initiatives were to respondents. Results: There were 120 responses to the survey. There is statistical significance between percentage of time providing data services and higher levels of technical data services skill. Conclusion: Academic libraries that plan to or currently offer technical data services should hire dedicated data librarians. In addition, training should be provided for librarians who provide any level of data services, with respondents preferring workshops, communities of practice, and mentorship with peers.