Improving data collection, documentation, and workflow in a dementia screening study

Kevin B. Read, Fred Willie Zametkin LaPolla, Magdalena I. Tolea, James E. Galvin, Alisa Surkis


Background: A clinical study team performing three multicultural dementia screening studies identified the need to improve data management practices and facilitate data sharing. A collaboration was initiated with librarians as part of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) informationist supplement program. The librarians identified areas for improvement in the studies’ data collection, entry, and processing workflows.

Case Presentation: The librarians’ role in this project was to meet needs expressed by the study team around improving data collection and processing workflows to increase study efficiency and ensure data quality. The librarians addressed the data collection, entry, and processing weaknesses through standardizing and renaming variables, creating an electronic data capture system using REDCap, and developing well-documented, reproducible data processing workflows.

Conclusions: NLM informationist supplements provide librarians with valuable experience in collaborating with study teams to address their data needs. For this project, the librarians gained skills in project management, REDCap, and understanding of the challenges and specifics of a clinical research study. However, the time and effort required to provide targeted and intensive support for one study team was not scalable to the library’s broader user community.


REDCap; Informationist ; Data Management; Data Collection; Data Standards; Data Sharing; Medical Library

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Copyright (c) 2017 Kevin B. Read, MLIS, MAS, Fred Willie Zametkin LaPolla, MLS, Magdalena I. Tolea, PhD, James E. Galvin, MD, MPH, Alisa Surkis, PhD, MLS

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.