The SIG was set up in response to the findings of the 2013 IFLA Trend Report. The SIG helps libraries to find out how they could be part of the big data movement and leverage the associated rich streams of data generated by it as a possible source of information. It investigates how libraries can act as a data intermediary between data producers and data consumers for cultural heritage datasets as well as newly generated research and scholarly datasets which reflect big data characteristics to varying degrees.

The SIG’s focus areas are to:

  1. Translate big data concepts to the domain of libraries
  2. Explore the broader professional issues of data librarianship
  3. Facilitate discussions within and external to the IFLA community on the positioning of data-related activities. For example, partake in annual WLIC program through joint sessions with Sections, arrange annual business meetings and/or host pre-conference satellite meetings to discuss data-pertinent issues.


The goals of the SIG are:
1. Investigate the ethical considerations for governing big data in libraries, in the areas of:

  • privacy, copyright and ethics involved with working with data in libraries
  • public access to big data and e-government
  • retention periods of data and information
  • openness of big data

2. Explore data literacy initiatives and skills development, not limited to the following:

  • practical skills development when sourcing, wrangling, analysing and visualising data
  • organising and accessing data
  • developing the “data savviness” of library professionals
  • data and software carpentry interventions when relevant

3. Create a focus point to discuss the infrastructural considerations for strategically administering big data. Key focus points for the SIG are:

  • investigate technology related issues in administering big data in libraries
  • share frameworks and applications (use cases)
  • investigate techniques such as data mining (TDM), visualisation and data analysis
  • data analytics and library dashboard systems

The SIG reviews and adjusts these goals annually where needed.

Related works in other institutions


This unit is sponsored by the Information Technology Section.

This unit is part of the Professional Division H.