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SBE 2020: Submission Detail

ID Number: 161
Title: Documenting Extant Cultural Collections: A Grand Challenge for the Social Sciences
Lead Author: Barker, Alex W.
Abstract: One of the biggest questions facing field-based social sciences is not a conceptual conundrum but the practical problem of how much and what kinds of information already exist. In the absence of either a focused national survey of existing cultural collections or generally-accepted metadata standards to allow inter-institutional comparison of extant datasets, it is impossible for researchers to effectively determine whether data to address substantive research questions already exists. As a result NSF makes awards to generate datasets which may have been previously collected, and in the absence of policies requiring proper curation of new datasets or standards whereby such datasets could be easily accessed the problem is compounded with time. Five initiatives are proposed to address this grand challenge: 1) development and deployment of metadata standards for cultural collections; 2) a national survey of existing cultural collections; 3) award programs to fund curation of existing datasets and collections; 4) research award programs focused on the use of extant datasets or proposing new techniques to employ existing collections in novel ways; and 5) new policies for grant recipients requiring that appropriate arrangements for curation of materials and associated documentation be demonstrated as part of funded proposals.
PDF: Barker_Alex_161.pdf

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