VALA2020 Roundtables

The following Roundtable session will be conducted at VALA2020. See also the VALA2020 Programme.

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VALA2020 Roundtable

Wednesday 12 February 2020

Roundtable Session sponsored by SAGE Publishing

1345 – 1440 Room: Goldfields Theatre

Topic: Data and Privacy – Promises & Pitfalls

Sponsor representative: Rosalia da Garcia, Managing Director SAGE Publishing

View the video of the Introduction by Rosalia da Garcia here:

Facilitator: Carmel O’Sullivan

Guest Panellists:

  • Catherine Nicole Coleman, Stanford University
  • Dr Philippa Sheail, The University of Edinburgh
  • Rachel Newnham, Austin Hospital

Please tag your comments, tweets, and blog posts about this session: #vala2020 #rt1

View the video of the Roundtable Presentation on the VALAView channel here:


As a profession we collect, create and connect data about our clients, collections, institutions and vendors. This enables convenience, accessibility, and creativity, but also raises questions of privilege, privacy, vulnerability and risk. How do we navigate both the promise of a connected, data-rich environment, and the pitfalls of that same environment?

  • What are the key advantages of making data connective and open?
  • As practitioners, how are we preparing our clients of varying types for an even more connected future?
  • As custodians and creators of data and metadata, what are we doing to protect our clients and our institutions?
  • Where are the great examples of striking the balance between the promise and potential pitfalls of a data saturated profession and society?
  • Does the profession have enough interest in these questions about data and privacy, or do we have so much interest that we risk becoming too paralysed by debate and discussion to act? What should our next steps be? If we aren’t doing quite enough yet, what are the obstacles to overcome?
About the Sponsor Representative and Guest Panellists:

Sponsor Representative:

  • Rosalia da GarciaRosalia da Garcia – As the Managing Director, SAGE Publications Asia-Pacific Pte Ltd, Rosalia is responsible for the strategic direction of textbook and library business, as well as publishing development and marketing within the Asia Pacific region. Her role also involves cooperating with our partners and about the future of big data and publishing including Open Access. Rosalia also sits on the board of directors of SAGE Asia-Pacific. She is passionate about publishing and which she sees as a means of educating the future leaders and researchers of the world.


Guest Panellists:

  • Catherine Nicole Coleman – Digital Research Architect for the Stanford University Libraries and Research Director for Humanities + Design, a research lab at the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis. Nicole works at the intersection of the digital library and digital scholarship as a lead architect in the design and development of research services. She is currently leading an AI initiative within the Library to make the collections of maps, photographs, manuscripts, data sets and other assets more easily discoverable, accessible, and analyzable. Her work within Humanities + Design is encoding interpretive method in tools to create human-centered applications of machine intelligence in support of research.


  • Dr Philippa Sheail – Lecturer in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh, and Programme Director for the MSc in Digital Education. Her research interests are interdisciplinary, based in the area of digital and higher education, but drawing on organisational theory, cultural geography, and social theories of time. Philippa has also been developing research in the library sector, with a particular interest in practices of organising in a research library context. Her Data Bodies in the Library project was developed in partnership with the University of Edinburgh Library and the National Library of Scotland.


  • Rachel Newnham – Digital Content Coordinator at Austin Health Sciences Library. In this role Rachel works towards sensibly connecting systems to improve user experiences, ensuring people are seamlessly connected with the information they need. Rachel is passionate about learning and seeking out innovative solutions to help library users navigate diverse technology in a complex and rapidly changing health environment.