As my summer internship with DataONE draws to a close, I find myself taking a long look at what we have accomplished and zeroing in on any loose ends in need of attention. Over the next week or so I will continue with interviews as future story contributors return from vacations and set aside room in their schedules to support our Data Stories project.
I am constantly amazed by how very generous the people I interview are with their time. Many of the researchers and scientists I have talked with divide their time between careers, projects, families, and (on occasion) sleep. They juggle so many roles in their personal and professional lives that it seems there would be little time left over for recounting data stories to an acquaintance. And yet these contributors recognize the value in our project and are willing to do what they can to help it succeed. More than that, they see how it might benefit greater data and science communities and humbly offer up their experiences as bits of wisdom to be shared. So I am very grateful to those that have taken time out of their day (several of them sacrificing a lunch break or two) to participate in our research. Their enthusiasm for what they do and their understanding of how to do it well will not only add to our knowledge of data management and sharing, but will also help us share that knowledge with others.
Our most recent data story, which is set to make an appearance on the blog after another round of revisions, includes a fair amount of American history (the Great Depression in particular). It has been quite a treat to dig around and do some of my own historical research for inclusion in one of our stories. While the target audience for our Data Stories project primarily consists of people from data backgrounds, it feels so enriching to include information from other disciplines and in the process add some appeal for readers that might be less familiar with the data management world. Be on the lookout soon for this new story and a couple others as we wrap up a productive summer!