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Objective: Promoting discovery of research data helps archived data realize its potential to advance knowledge. Montana State University (MSU) Dataset Search aims to support discovery and reporting for research datasets created by researchers at institutions.

Methods and Results: The Dataset Search application consists of five core features: a streamlined browse and search interface, a data model based on dataset discovery, a harvesting process for finding and vetting datasets stored in external repositories, an administrative interface for managing the creation, ingest, and maintenance of dataset records, and a dataset visualization interface to demonstrate how data is produced and used by MSU researchers.

Conclusion: The Dataset Search application is designed to be easily customized and implemented by other institutions. Indexes like Dataset Search can improve search and discovery for content archived in data repositories, therefore amplifying the impact and benefits of archived data.


Data catalog, data discovery, research data

Data Availability

Code associated with this paper is available in Zenodo, via Github, at: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4046567.

MSU Dataset Search is available at: https://arc.lib.montana.edu/msu-dataset-search.


This project is made possible in part by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Pacific Northwest Region. The mission of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) is to advance the progress of medicine and improve the public health by providing all U.S. health professionals with equal access to biomedical information and improving the public's access to information to enable them to make informed decisions about their health. To learn more, visit https://nnlm.gov. This project is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, through grant # LG-89-18-0225-18. The IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. They advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Their vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov. Many thanks to Dataset Search’s 2018-2019 Advisory Board: Jeffrey Grethe, Kevin Read, Nicole Contaxis, and Cynthia Hudson-Vitale. Montana State University Dataset Search is a member of the Data Discovery Collaboration: https://datadiscoverycollaboration.org. Disclosures: The substance of this article is based upon a lightning talk at RDAP Summit 2020: “Dataset Search: A lightweight, community-built tool to support research data discovery at small and mid-sized institutions” available at https://osf.io/qctfa.

Corresponding Author

Sara Mannheimer, Montana State University, P.O. Box 173320, Bozeman, MT 59717; sara.mannheimer@montana.edu

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Copyright: © 2021 Mannheimer et al. This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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