Virginia Tech Awarded Grant to Study Big Data Management

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded Virginia Tech (VT) University Libraries, in partnership with researchers at VT, a $308,175 National Leadership Grant for Libraries to study and develop recommendations for managing big data—collections so large and complex they must be analyzed computationally. The project team will explore such questions as how and where big data should be stored, who should fund the storage, what kinds of computers are needed to process the data, and how to ensure that the data will be accessible and reusable into the future.

Tyler Walters, dean of the VT University Libraries and founding director of SHARE, is a member of the grant project team. The team also includes Zhiwu Xie, technology development librarian in the University Libraries; Edward Fox, professor of computer science in the College of Engineering; and Pablo Tarazaga, assistant professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering. Jiangping Chen, associate professor in the Department of Library and Information Sciences at the University of North Texas, will help evaluate and review the project.

The project team will test the performance of three different data infrastructures that the University Libraries have developed or collaborated on and that members of the team lead: SHARE, the Event Digital Library and Archive, and the Virginia Tech Smart Infrastructure Laboratory. Based on the test results, the team will recommended strategies for other libraries and institutions to use in supporting big data projects. One outcome of the research will be a “data-sharing-and-reuse decision tree,” which will include such elements as data types, storage options, computing needs, financial support, and the skills and knowledge of the people involved.

For more details, see the June 3, 2016, Virginia Tech news release about the grant.