Published: Jan. 9, 2024

Is it “data” or “data?” However you pronounce it, there’s one thing that’s clear: figuring out how to work with data, statistics, and other basic units of information can be arduous. But, with the resources and expertise offered by the University Libraries, you don’t have to do it all on your own.
At the Libraries and the Center for Research Data and Digital Scholarship (CRDDS), subject librarians and specialists can help students and faculty with various data-oriented challenges. These could include finding demographic, market, and industry data as well as helping to answer experimental design questions so that you can ensure you follow useful guidelines when gathering your own data.
Librarians are equipped to tackle many questions students and faculty pose. Business students might be looking for assistance with market research or data on how much money certain industries make in a year. Scientists may need assistance in locating informative resources and the appropriate databases for research. Those within the humanities, language study, history, and other fields shouldn’t shy away either; subject librarians can help you with just about any reference question you may have. That includes conducting a search for publication trends or assisting you in building a map.
Recently, the Libraries held an event to discuss data and the challenges involved in collecting and analyzing it in a gamified way. The event was also designed to introduce students and others to resources that they may not have known were available to them.

“Students selected a data point, which included the title of a book someone loves, and something they love about the book,” said Success and Engagement Librarian Katie Sparks. “With that information, the students had to categorize the book into one of eight types of books: Mystery, Sci-fi/Fantasy, biography/autobiography, etc.”

Due to limited data, the participants faced trouble at times when determining the correct category. This gave the librarians an opportunity to discuss difficulties often encountered when collecting and coding data. 
“[Thirty percent] of the books were placed correctly by students,” said Sparks. “A total of seven different methods were proposed to improve data collection.”
The event collected some of its own data by asking attendees to share the books and genres that they enjoy reading, with 65% of books being fiction and 35% nonfiction. Readers are encouraged to submit their recommendations for books to be included in future events through the library’s Google form.
Courtesy of the librarians, here’s a short and incomplete list of recommended books about data available through CU Libraries:

If you’re doing computer-heavy work or dabbling in major modeling projects, check out CRDDS' resources. In addition to helping you locate large-scale computing resources, CRDDS also offers lessons and training related to your project and can teach you how to use a specific program for data analysis. They can even go the next step and take a more hands-on approach and work with you. 
To meet with a librarian, search through the subject librarians' page until you find a librarian who can assist you in your area of interest. After clicking the librarian’s name, you’ll be directed to a link to schedule an appointment. Be sure to include sufficient information about your reference question for the librarian to prepare and do background research in order to maximize the effectiveness of the meeting. 
For CRDDS, check for their interdisciplinary data consultation hours to get help with education and training, ask specific questions, or find out more about appointments if you feel you’d benefit from further support.