What Makes a Data Librarian?

An Analysis of Job Descriptions and Specifications for Data Librarian


  • John Christopher La Torre Fredeluces University of the Philippines Diliman
  • ROSELLE SAGUIBO MAESTRO De La Salle College of St. Benilde


data librarian, data services, job advertisements, data management


This study examines the essential and desirable knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience for data librarians and related positions in academic libraries. It also aims to explore the duties and responsibilities of these positions to define the profession of data librarianship clearly. This paper attempted to address the following research questions: (1) What are the common competencies and duties of data librarians and related positions as stated in job advertisements?; (2) What are the specific duties and tasks related to research data management are being performed by librarians in Philippine academic libraries?; and, (3) Based on the job advertisement data, what are the training needs of data librarians? This study employed content analysis approach to explore the patterns in library hiring trends and recognise the wide range of competencies needed by data librarians. Various online job search sites were used to collect job advertisements for data librarians and other positions related to data management in libraries. Job descriptions and qualifications were examined based on the following characteristics: position titles, degree requirements, expected years of experience, and salary range. The content analysis was performed using NVivo drag and drop coding technique based on the pre-set categories and sub-categories of qualifications, duties and responsibilities adopted from the job analysis frameworks used by previous studies. The findings of this study are quite interesting as it presents an increasing demand for data librarian positions in many libraries abroad. However, data librarian is not an emerging position in selected Philippine academic libraries. Librarians with research data services responsibilities are commonly known as data librarians. Many job announcements require at least three-year work experience in research data management. The results of this study provide useful information for librarians seeking for positions and library managers who wish to hire data librarians as well as for LIS school administrators who desire to produce LIS graduates with the necessary skills to provide data services. It is also unique as Filipino librarians are included in this study to determine if existing librarian positions perform duties and tasks related to research data management and services.