Spring cleaning and data curation

5.25 inch floppy disk
Image from http://www.freeimages.co.uk


Before I spring clean my home office, I am weeding out some paper files.  I ask myself such questions as:

  • Do I need to keep this document?
  • Why do I need to keep it?
  • For how long?

These questions resemble the ones that data curators ask.  Erway notes that data curators need to consider, among other questions, which data they keep and for how long (as cited in Koltay, 2015, p. 5).

The Information has Value frame also speaks to these issues (Association of College & Research Libraries, 2016).  If we need to keep data, the data have value to someone.  The ACRL Information Creation as a Process frame mentions “static or dynamic information” (Knowledge Practices sub-section).  When we consider how long to keep information, we usually consider how frequently it is updated.  More dynamic information would require more updating and attention on our part.

I use the terms “information” and “data” interchangeably for the sake of brevity.  Though they are not the same thing, they both require regular attention and upkeep.  In other words they both require spring cleaning.


Association of College & Research Libraries. (2016).  Framework for information literacy for higher education. Retrieved from ACRL website : http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework

Koltay, T. (2015). Data literacy for researchers and data librarians. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 49(1), 3-14. doi:  10.1177/0961000615616450

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