January 19, 2022

Conference Paper: “What is a Data Librarian?: A Content Analysis of Job Advertisements for Data Librarians in the United States Academic Libraries”

The following paper will be presented at the IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations ) WLIC 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at the end of August.


What is a Data Librarian?: A Content Analysis of Job Advertisements for Data Librarians in the United States Academic Librarie


Hammad Rauf Khan
University of North Texas

Yunfei Du
University of North Texas




Society has begun to transition from the information age into the era of big data. The growth in the volume of data and statistics we have is larger than ever before. Researchers interest for big data and e-research has resulted in librarians taking on new job titles such as data librarian.

Data librarian was once essentially a buzzword that has now become an actual job title and position in academic libraries, yet the American Library Association (ALA) has not developed a framework of core competencies for this emerging profession, neither has the Library and Information Science (LIS) curriculum begin to address a specialization for this rapidly growing and expanding field.

This research attempts to understand what is required to be a data librarian from viewing job advertisements by hiring professionals in the United States academic libraries and applying a content analysis approach. This will allow us to understand the amplitude and meaning of what a data librarian is and how it is defined by the hiring managers through the description and qualifications they state and list in their job advertisements. By understanding what employers seek in data librarians, LIS curriculum developers can better implement coursework and pedagogy that will help address employer needs as well as developing successful candidates for these new job titles in academic libraries.

Direct to Full Text Paper
9 pages; PDF.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.