Virtuous and Vicious Circles in the Data Life-cycle

By Elizabeth Yakel, Ixchel M. Faniel, and Zachary J. Maiorana

In this article published in the journal Information Research, the authors present an in-depth case study that follows collaborative data sharing, curation, and reuse practices among 11 zooarchaeologists and two curators during a large data reuse project. A data life cycle model highlights how factors in one life cycle phase impacted other phases forming virtuous (positive) and vicious (negative) circles.

Studies of data practices have generally engaged issues from the singular perspective of data producers, sharers, curators, or reusers. Taking a perspective that captures the trajectory of data, this case study discusses actions and their consequences throughout the data life cycle. This research theme explores how different stakeholders and their work practices positively and/or negatively affected other phases of the life cycle. More specifically, the authors focus on data production practices and data selection decisions made during data sharing as these have frequent and diverse consequences for other life cycle phases in our case study. The authors address the following research questions:

  • How do different aspects of data production positively and negatively impact other phases in the life cycle?
  • How do data selection decisions during sharing positively and negatively impact other phases in the life cycle?
  • How can the work of data curators intervene to reinforce positive actions or mitigate negative actions?

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Suggested citation:

Yakel, Elizabeth, Ixchel M. Faniel, and Zachary J. Maiorana. 2019. Virtuous and vicious circles in the data life-cycle. Information Research 24(2), paper 821.