Data Reference Services Librarian

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Created: May 16, 2014


Data Reference Services Librarian
Assistant or Associate Librarian depending upon experience (tenure-track)
Duration:  Initial three-year appointment with possibility for renewal
Salary:  Commensurate with experience
Posting number: 14-AL9892-06
The McGill Library seeks an innovative, autonomous and resourceful person to co-ordinate and lead the delivery of data reference services in the library to support teaching, learning and research activities at McGill University.


The Library is committed to the delivery of innovative information products, services and programs of the highest quality focused on client needs in support of the University's strategic mission and directions. The Library proactively supports the teaching, learning and research needs of faculty and students to ensure that the university’s strategic mission of excellence as a research intensive, student-centred university is satisfied. Collection building is based upon the premise of preference for electronic versions.

McGill Library has the largest collection in Quebec and is one of Canada’s largest academic libraries with over 6 million monographs and 80,000 online serials and databases. The library is a member of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Bureau de coopération interuniversitaire (BCI, formerly CRÉPUQ), the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), and is the first Canadian member of the HathiTrust Digital Library.


Information about the University and the McGill Library is at the University’s web site ( and  As a tenured stream appointee, the successful candidate is expected to devote himself or herself to the full range of academic duties as defined in the Regulations Relating to the Employment of Librarian Staff (

Evening and weekend work may be required.


Primary Purpose of Position

To co-ordinate and lead the delivery of data reference services in the library to support teaching, learning and research activities at McGill University.

Duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
  • Provide training to librarians on data-related information services, resources and problem-solving approaches to handle data-related reference questions.
  • Provide guidance to librarians in answering advanced or unusual data-related questions from patrons.
  • Assist librarians in updating and maintaining subject guides to include applicable data information sources.
  • Assist Collection Services staff in the acquisition, cataloguing and preparation of data for users (e.g., creating metadata for available datasets).
  • Work with Digital Initiatives to create and maintain a portal or service to facilitate user access various types of data.
  • Review data-related contracts and licenses to identify, and where necessary, escalate and resolve compliance issues for access to numeric data services
  • Develop and maintain awareness on best practices related to data collection, management and use within the academic library field.
  • Act as the representative to and provide internal support for the Data Liberation Initiative (DLI) project.
  • Participate in the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) metadata project.
  • Attend various Library, local, national and/or international data organization forums and/or meetings and represent the Library as required.
  • Participate in the general planning and policy development of the unit, in support of the Library’s strategic directions.

Reporting relationship
The Data Reference Services Librarian reports to the Associate Dean, User Services.

  • ALA-accredited Master of Library of Information Science degree or equivalent. Equivalent combinations of training and experience may be considered.
  • Effective analytical, problem-solving, communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Expertise with numeric data information sources, resources and uses for one or more disciplines and willingness/interest in adding others.
  • Experience with common qualitative and quantitative research methods, descriptive statistics and data analysis tools & techniques.
  • Ability to develop and deliver training for both technical skills (e.g., creating Pivot Tables in Excel) and problem-solving skills (e.g., approaches to data) to a variety of users, including librarians, students, staff and faculty.
  • Exposure to or familiarity with common data manipulation/analysis software tools, including such as: GIS (e.g., ESRI ArcGIS), Quantitative and Qualitative Statistics (e.g., SPSS, SAS, STATA, NVivo, R), Databases & SQL (e.g., Microsoft Excel/Access/SQLServer, PostGRE), Data Visualization tools (e.g., Microsoft Excel Mapflow, Tableau), Data Delivery Systems (e.g., Equinox), Data Extraction/Transformation/Loading tools (e.g., OpenRefine).
  • Familiarity with government documents and common data-related metadata standards, such as the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI).
  • Ability to handle multiple concurrent projects and redefine priorities in a rapidly shifting environment.
  • Understanding of scholarly communication issues and trends.
  • Demonstrated commitment to user service.
  • Proven ability to work collaboratively with diverse stakeholders.
  • Excellent oral and written communication and presentation skills.
  • Creative and analytical thinking skills and good problem solving ability.
  • Demonstrated project management skills both as a leader, and group member.
  • Working knowledge of French an asset.

Applications should address the above selection criteria, be accompanied by a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, and the names and addresses of three referees and should be submitted by June 8, 2014, as one (1) .pdf document. Please indicate the number of the posting (14-AL9892-06) on the letter of interest and on the subject line of the email.

Isabelle Roberge
Office of the Trenholme Dean of Libraries
McGill University
3459 McTavish Street
Montreal, Qc H3A 1Y1

Last updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 23:43 UTC