Posted by benniefinch on April 24th, 2023
Posted in: Blog
Marissa Iverson has been a fantastic partner of the NNLM in Region 7 and we are so pleased to congratulate her on earning the Data Services Specialization. The following interview shares a little about Marissa and her work.
I went through phases of wanting to be just about every type of scientist: biologist, zoologist, marine biologist, astronomer, and paleontologist were the big ones. I went off to college intending on double-majoring in biology and music, and then I was pre-veterinary for a bit, but I ended up majoring in neuroscience and heading off to library school after graduation instead.
I’m the Research Support Librarian for the UConn Health Sciences Library, which is located at UConn Health in Farmington, CT. UConn Health is the University of Connecticut’s academic medical center. On one side of the building, we’ve got John Dempsey Hospital, and on the other we’ve got UConn’s Schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine, Public Health, and other graduate/doctorate programs. I’ve been at UConn Health since 2014, but I’ve only had the title of Research Support Librarian for a little over a year. I work with our researchers, faculty, and students on evidence synthesis projects, research data management services, and general research assistance. I also lead instruction sessions relating to research services topics, and work with our medical and dental students.
Over the past year, due to my new role and the new NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy that came into effect in January, I’ve been learning as much as I can about research data management, data services, and doing what I can to support researchers’ needs in this area. I had heard a bit about data management here and there over the course of my career, but it’s recently become a big part of my day-to-day duties and a focus of the professional development opportunities that I pursue. It’s all culminated in me recently earning MLA’s Data Services Specialization Level 1.
I started offering research data management services in January, which includes answering data management-related questions, reviewing data management plans as part of grant applications, and giving presentations on data management topics. I’ve also built a LibGuide on research data management, which includes a page specific to the new NIH Data Management & Sharing Policy. So far, I’ve reviewed about ten data management plans, given a presentation on the new NIH requirements to one research department, met with folks from various offices within the Office of the Vice President of Research, and been updating my LibGuide in response to questions and comments I’m getting from researchers. I’m hoping to meet with more research departments in the future, develop training opportunities, and continue to raise awareness of the library within UConn Health’s research environment.
In line with my newly acquired data responsibilities, I’ve come to appreciate the Common Data Elements (CDEs) repository. When talking to researchers about adopting better data management practices, providing standardized ways to define and record their data really helps to give them a starting point. It also gets them on the path to ensuring their data is findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (aka the FAIR principles.)
The funding that the NNLM is able to provide is a lifesaver. My institution can only pay for so much, but through the NNLM, I was able to have the application fee for my Data Services Specialization covered. My library also received Collection Equity Awards that allowed us to purchase new materials that wouldn’t usually be considered within our typical budget priorities. Lastly, the amount of free trainings offered by the NNLM help me find new professional development opportunities and learn about new topics.
Our library received a Collection Equity Award in early 2022, which we used to purchase books relating to the LGBTQ+ experience. This included memoirs, graphic novels, history books, resource guides, and training materials for physicians on treating diverse patients. It’s located in a prominent spot in the library, and we’re planning on doing outreach and programming with the collection. You can browse all the books we purchased with the award online (https://uconn-health.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/discovery/collectionDiscovery?vid=01UCT_HC:01UCT_HC&collectionId=8133620640002434) and the collection was featured in a UConn Today story (https://today.uconn.edu/2022/06/lgbtq-collection-now-at-uconn-health-sciences-library/). My colleagues and I also presented a poster on the award and the new collection at the NAHSL 2022 conference.
Connection: especially in regards to connection to funding, and connection to colleagues through communities of interest and training opportunities
I’ve still got UConn fever coming off the big NCAA Championship win for our men’s basketball team (Go Huskies!), and I think one of the coolest things about UConn is our live mascot Jonathan the Husky, aka Jonathan XIV. There’s been a long line of Jonathan’s going back to the 1930s. They’re named after Jonathan Trumbull, Connecticut’s last colonial and first state governor. I highly recommend Jonathan’s Instagram account (@jonathanhusky14) if you need a goofy husky in your social media feed.