Data acquisition guidelines
We encourage MIT faculty, students and staff to recommend numeric data resources to be purchased with library collections funds. Following are guidelines and factors that will be considered when making purchasing decisions:
Scope: The data should be relevant to research and instruction at MIT in the social sciences, management, and related areas. The data could pertain to any geographic area or time period.
Demand: There should be an expectation of both current and future user demand for the resource.
Format: Either electronic or print resources may be requested. Electronic products must function in MIT’s supported computing environment. Preference is given to electronic resources that are/can be made accessible online, easily searchable and can be manipulated by the user (e.g., data items can be downloaded). Preference also is given to products that contain software-independent formats (e.g., a spreadsheet in CSV in addition to Excel format). In addition, only complete data files or products will be purchased; custom tabulations or extractions will not be considered. Data should be in numeric or alpha-numeric format; GIS data can be requested from the MIT GIS Laboratory.
Documentation: The data should be supported by adequate documentation, preferably in English.
Reliability: The producer of the data must be considered reliable by the MIT Libraries (e.g., an established academic, governmental, commercial, or nonprofit publisher).
Currency/Longevity: The data should not be superseded quickly by subsequent data files or require frequent updates. In addition, access to purchased data should not expire.
Confidentiality: The data must be in a public-use version. We will not purchase data which contain personal identifiers (except in such cases where these data are part of the public record).
Cost: As the Libraries have a limited budget, adequate resources must be available to purchase the data.