Data Librarian Lu Chou Retires after 30 Years at UW

Congratulations and a big thank you go to Lu Chou, who retired in July from her position as senior special librarian at the Data and Information Services Center (DISC) after 30 years of service to the UW.

As many know, Chou provided data and library services to Center affiliates by helping faculty and students find and access data. She was also an invaluable resource for campus researchers looking for guidance on archiving and preserving research data, including curating datasets so that they could be used freely by other researchers. Chou worked closely with the larger campus community by collaborating with UW librarians on reference services and served as the university’s representative to ICPSR, Roper, and Datastream. Among many other tasks, Chou also helped CDHA affiliates navigate federal public access requirements and was central in developing a system to ensure Center publications were consistently deposited into PubMed Central.

Chou received a master’s in library and information studies from UW in 1990. She focused her studies on cataloging but became interested in data librarianship after working at the Data and Program Library Services (or DPLS, DISC’s predecessor) in her last semester in library school. After graduation, Chou joined the staff as an information processing specialist.

During her time at DPLS, Chou became a special librarian and, in 2005, she took on the role of data librarian for CDHA. Two years later, DPLS and the Center for Demography and Ecology Data Library merged to become DISC, where Chou served as senior special librarian until her retirement.

From 2013 to 2015, Chou worked on the NIA-funded grant (R03AG045503) “Archiving Three Waves of the National Surveys of Families and Households,” working closely with James Walker (PI) and Charlie Fiss, then a senior information manager, who is now the director of DISC. Chou’s work on this large-scale archiving project led to the publication of a book chapter co-authored with Fiss that appeared in Curating Research Data, Volume Two: A Handbook of Current Practice (2017).

Throughout her career, Chou generously shared her expertise widely. On campus, she led training sessions for graduate students and worked closely with the General Library System to ensure that access to social science data on campus was readily available. Beyond the UW, Chou stayed an active member of the data librarianship community, particularly the International Association for Social Science Information Service & Technology. She published in the organization’s peer-reviewed journal, IASSIST Quarterly, and made many appearances at the annual conference as a presenter.

Thank you, Lu, for your innumerable contributions to CDHA and UW! We wish you all the best in your retirement.