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Meet new data services librarian

Ethan Fridmanski. Photo courtesy of Wells Library Ethan Fridmanski. Photo courtesy of Wells LibraryIn his new role as Indiana University Libraries’ first data services librarian, Ethan Fridmanski’s goal is to make a complex and intimidating subject less overwhelming.

Fridmanski can help faculty and staff with data of any structure with his specialties including survey data, longitudinal data, network data and time series data. He is available to help organize, store and preserve data.

“These all help promote scholarly communication and visibility of research as well as provide more efficient data flows between scholars within and between disciplines, which ultimately lays the foundation for interdisciplinary and truly innovative research to emerge,” Fridmanski said.

His services are especially important for researching, often an integral part of the life of professors and students that can result in frustration for many. Fridmanski is also passionate about data preservation and sees it as an underrated subject.

“Information and digital content are essential to research and teaching,” said Diane Dallis-Comentale, interim d​ean of University Libraries. “Researchers use data to solve problems and make new discoveries in every field of study. His role is to support students and faculty across campus and anticipate needs as well as new technologies to advance IU’s ability to use data effectively in learning and research.”

Originally from Danville, Fridmanski became familiar with the Bloomington area after his hometown General Motors plant closed nearly three decades ago and many of his family members moved to Bloomington in search of job opportunities. He has many fond memories of holidays and family gatherings here.

While attending the University of Notre Dame to receive his Ph.D. in sociology, his interest switched to a more data-driven focus. The limberness of sociology allowed him to experiment to find his passion.

“In the field of sociology there is wide variation in the methods and skills that scholars choose to focus on – really it’s a trend in the social sciences and humanities more broadly,” he said. “This flexibility allowed for me to become more data and computationally focused while still studying the social scientific questions I have always been interested in.”

A day in the life of a data services librarian consists of four main duties: consultations, administrative work, education material and research. Fridmanski said he enjoys that each day has a different focus and that his position allows him to meet many new people.

Recently, Fridmanski has been helping archive old and new research data, which helps make the data publicly available for other scholars in ScholarWorks. He also helps students with their research projects.

In his free time, he likes restoring his Victorian-style home or gardening with his wife.

Fridmanski has a wide range of knowledge in data, statistics and computation. For help in any of those areas, contact him at ejfridma@iu.eduor 812-855-7769.

Samantha Hyde is an intern with IU Studios.