“The story of data”

Lyn Robinson (City, University of London, London, UK)
David Bawden (City, University of London, London, UK)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Publication date: 15 August 2017



The purpose of this paper is to describe a new approach to education for library/information students in data literacy – the principles and practice of data collection, manipulation and management – as a part of the Masters programmes in library and information science (CityLIS) at City, University of London.


The course takes a socio-technical approach, integrating, and giving equal importance to, technical and social/ethical aspects. Topics covered include: the relation between data, information and documents; representation of digital data; network technologies; information architecture; metadata; data structuring; search engines, databases and specialised retrieval tools; text and data mining, web scraping; data cleaning, manipulation, analysis and visualisation; coding; data metrics and analytics; artificial intelligence; data management and data curation; data literacy and data ethics; and constructing data narratives.


The course, which was well received by students in its first iteration, gives a basic grounding in data literacy, to be extended by further study, professional practice and lifelong learning.


This is one of the first accounts of an introductory course to equip all new entrants to the library/information professions with the understanding and skills to take on roles in data librarianship and data management.



Robinson, L. and Bawden, D. (2017), "“The story of data”", Library Management, Vol. 38 No. 6/7, pp. 312-322. https://doi.org/10.1108/LM-01-2017-0009

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