Data & Primary Sources

Explore and work with data and primary sources

Quick links: 


Research Data Management

Research Data Management (RDM) is the management of data used or created as part of the research life cycle.

RDM aims to make the research process as efficient as possible. It helps meet expectations and requirements of the University, research funders, and legislation while also making research more accessible to the broader community.
It is involved with how you:

  • Create data and plan for its use
  • Organize, structure, and name data
  • Make it secure, provide access, store and back it up
  • Find information resources, and share with collaborators and more broadly, and publish and get cited

Librarians can help manage your data more efficiently and comply with funder and publisher requirements for data management and sharing through:

  • Guidance on creating data management plans
  • Reviews of draft data management plans
  • Assistance choosing appropriate archival storage for data, including on- and off-campus repositories
  • Help preparing, documenting, and sharing data

RCL Data Grant and Purchase Programs

Do you need data for your research? Depending on your status and research needs, the River Campus Libraries provides two opportunities to apply for data set purchases. 

RCL Data Set Grant

The River Campus Libraries offers grants to current undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the Arts, Sciences & Engineering, Warner School of Education and Simon Business School to support unique, out-of-reach data needs for their independent studies.

Data grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis and applicants are encouraged to submit their application as soon as they identify the data set needs for their research.

Learn more

Social Sciences/Humanities Data Purchase Program

Students, faculty, and researchers affiliated with the River Campus who need social science, humanities, or business data sets are eligible to apply to the social sciences/humanities data purchase program.

Funds may be requested to purchase numeric, spatial, and text data sets for sale from third parties. To request a purchase, please fill out this form Data requests are accepted on a rolling basis and will be reviewed monthly.

Data analysis & visualization

Data analysis is a process of inspecting, cleansing, transforming, and modeling data. The River Campus Libraries offers resources to support this work from finding data to visualizing it.

Finding Data

Looking for publicly available and open-access data sets? Here are some good places to get started.

  • – government data at the local, state, and federal level
  • – collection of data repositories with theme or subject specialties
  • Dyrad – datasets related to published papers
  • Pew Research Center – datasets related to public opinion, polling, and demographic research focused on the U.S.
  • Figshare – data in support of open science shared by researchers
  • Open Science Framework – researcher profiles, which may include data, papers, methods, etc.

Not finding what you need? Your librarian can help. We have access to a variety of discipline-specific datasets. You can also recommend a dataset for purchase or apply for our data grant.

Cleaning Data

Even when you find a good dataset, you may have to organize and clean it before you can begin your analysis. The library offers periodic workshops on tools, like OpenRefine, R, and Python that can help you easily clean your datasets. Check out River Campus Libraries’ upcoming events to see what is being offered, and sign up.

Data Modeling and Visualization

The library also workshops that can help get you started with data visualization tools like Tableau. Check out River Campus Libraries’ upcoming events to see what is being offered, and sign up.

We also have resources to help with data science and statistics. Visit our data science guide to learn more.

Data Citation

It is important to cite data that you use. Managing citations can be cumbersome if you leave it to the last minute. Don’t worry! The River Campus Libraries has got you covered. Visit Data and statistics: Data Citation for everything you might need.

You may also benefit from getting others to cite your data. By sharing your data in one of the resources below, you can increase the probability of your data being discovered and cited correctly.

  • DataCite: Identify online repositories of research data, get help obtaining persistent identifiers for datasets, workflows and standards for data publication, or link underlying data to your published articles.
  • figshare: A repository where users can make all of their research outputs available in a citable, shareable and discoverable manner.
  • Dryad: Find and archive data files associated with any published article in the sciences or medicine.
  • Open Researcher & Contributor iD (ORCID): Researchers can obtain a free, unique digital identifier to distinguish their research activities from others with similar names.

Organize Data for Sharing

Planning how you will organize your data in advance will make it easier to work with your data, share it, and preserve it long-term. Librarians can offer advice regarding best practices for file-naming, persistent identifiers (such as DOIs), and version-controlling.

To learn more about metadata and standards for various disciplines, visit the Understanding Metadata page.

For examples about the type of support, go to Metadata Outreach – Project and Services.

Archival Collections & Manuscripts

River Campus Libraries’ Archival Collections can be found in the department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation (RBSCP). They hold the University’s unique, rare, and most important materials and collections, and they are home to the University Archives. Visit to learn more. Below are some useful links to help you get familiar with the RBSCP spaces:

Accessing other University Collections

The University of Rochester also has great collections beyond River Campus Libraries. Below are some useful links to access these collections.

Need an item Rochester doesn’t own? Don’t let that stop you! Interlibrary Loan connects our community to the nearly limitless resources of libraries across the globe. Follow these steps to request material.