WU Libraries Staff Spotlight: Cynthia Hudson-Vitale

The Spotlight is an occasional feature that will profile a Libraries staff member.


Cynthia Hudson-Vitale holds a B.A. in international studies and communication from Saint Louis University and an M.A. in information science and learning technologies from the University of Missouri. Cynthia joined WU Libraries as shelving coordinator in 2006. In May 2009, she was promoted to engineering librarian. In 2012, Cynthia was appointed digital data outreach librarian. She was appointed data services coordinator and research transparency librarian in 2016. Cynthia lives in St. Louis County with her son, Louis, and husband, Nick.

What does it mean to be a Research Transparency Librarian? Supporting research transparency involves more than just making research data available upon the completion of a research project. Research data lacks value unless it’s properly documented and the research protocols and any scripts and code used to create, clean, combine, or statistically analyze the data are made available. Research transparency seeks to ensure that the entire research lifecycle is as open as possible, while also abiding by any restrictions on the data or methods. In supporting research transparency, I work with faculty on documenting the research lifecycle and preparing research outputs for broader sharing and/or accessibility.

What do you like most about your job? I like the project-based nature of the work. I get to collaborate with faculty across both campuses, learn what they’re passionate about and help them enhance their work.

You’re involved with the Data Curation Network (DCN) Project. Tell us about it. The project seeks to develop a “network-of-expertise” model for curating data sets. Given the heterogeneous nature of data created at many academic institutions and the domain expertise required to effectively curate the data, it’s unreasonable to expect one institution or curator to have all of the needed skills. Through the DCN, collaborating institutions can tap into the expertise at other universities and have their local data appropriately curated. The project just finished up a round of faculty focus groups at our six institutions (University of Michigan, Penn State, University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, Cornell, University of Minnesota, WU) where we asked faculty to identify the most important curatorial activities. Also, the team was selected to develop an ARL SPEC Kit on data curation activities that will run in January. We’re looking forward to analyzing the results of all of this work.

What do you like to do in your free time? I like to hang out with my family—go to swimming lessons, watch soccer and T-ball games.

Have you read anything good lately? My son and I have been reading the “Magic Tree House” series.

— Julie Hale


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