Data library

A data library, data archive, or data repository is a collection of numeric and/or geospatial data sets for secondary use in research. A data library is normally part of a larger institution established for research data archiving and to serve the data users of that organisation. The data library tends to house local data collections and provides access to them through various means. A data library may also maintain subscriptions to licensed data resources for its users to access. Whether a data library is also considered a data archive may depend on the extent of unique holdings in the collection, whether long-term preservation services are offered, and whether it serves a broader community. Most public data libraries are listed in the Registry of Research Data Repositories.

Importance of data libraries and data librarianship

In August 2001, the published , presenting results from a survey of ARL member institutions involved in collecting and providing services for numeric data resources.

Services offered by data libraries and data librarians

Library service providing support at the institutional level for the use of numerical and other types of datasets in research. Amongst the support activities typically available:

Natural sciences

The following list refers to scientific data archives.
In the social sciences, data libraries are referred to as data archives. Data archives are professional institutions for the acquisition, preparation, preservation, and dissemination of social and behavioral data. Data archives in the social sciences evolved in the 1950s and have been perceived as an international movement:
By 1964 the International Social Science Council had sponsored a second conference on Social Science Data Archives and had a standing Committee on Social Science Data, both of which stimulated the data archives movement. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, most developed countries and some developing countries had organized formal and well-functioning national data archives. In addition, college and university campuses often have `data libraries' that make data available to their faculty, staff, and students; most of these bear minimal archival responsibility, relying for that function on a national institution.