IASSIST Colleague Named Fulbright Scholar

July 1st, 2010

Michael Witt, assistant professor of library science and interdisciplinary research librarian at Purdue University, has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship. He will spend January to May of 2011 at the Bibliotheca Alexandria in Egypt.  Michael’s research focuses, in part, on the roles of librarians in data curation and managing electronic resource collections.

See this Purdue Libraries June 16  press release for all the details.

Workshop: Providing Social Science Data Services: Strategies for Design and Operation

March 22nd, 2010

Announcement of Workshop:
Providing Social Science Data Services: Strategies for Design and Operation
August 9-13, 2010
Ann Arbor Michigan

Chuck Humphrey, Head of the Data Library, University of Alberta
Jim Jacobs, Data Services Librarian Emeritus, University of California San Diego

This five-day workshop is being offered for individuals who manage or provide local support services for ICPSR and other numeric data for quantitative research. binary option trading in india

Providing access to data has taken on greater prominence over this past decade with the emergence of several significant developments, including, e-Science infrastructure funding, the open data movement, national and institutional digital preservation strategies & services, data enclaves for confidential data, lifecycle data management planning, and data mash-up technologies on the Internet. Given these major environmental changes, how does one plan and design appropriate levels of data service in her or his local institution?

This workshop is structured around a five-stage data lifecycle model that focuses on data production, data dissemination, data repositories, data discovery and data repurposing. A day is dedicated to each stage in this model during which discussions address issues for local data services and computer exercises demonstrate service activities.  In this context, fundamental data topics are  covered, including understanding the data reference interview, working with variables, interpreting data documentation, coping with various dissemination formats, accessing different online services (e.g., SDA and Nesstar), searching for social science data, subsetting data using Web-based tools, selecting and downloading ICPSR data, and options for local data delivery. Throughout the workshop, an emphasis will be placed on social science concepts and terminology, as well as on practical solutions to service delivery.

Who Should Attend: Anyone who is new to providing services for numeric social science data or is seeking to revitalize an existing service. This is not a course in statistics and attendees are not expected to know how to analyze data.

Online Registration:

Workshop will remain open only until the Summer Program office has received 20 paid applications. indian binary trading app

If you have questions about registration, fees, travel, housing, or other courses at the ICPSR Summer program, please get in touch with ICPSR directly:

If you have any questions about the workshop content, please feel free
to send email to Chuck or Jim:

Chuck: humphrey@datalib.library.ualberta.ca
Jim:   jajacobs@ucsd.edu

Dates: August 9-13, 2010
Location: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor MI.
Fees (Participants from ICPSR member institutions): $1,500
Fees (Participants from institutions that are not members of ICPSR): $3,000

List of ICPSR member institutions and Official Representatives:

Information about transportation and housing:

This workshop is part of the ICPSR Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research

Jim Jacobs

Odds Are, It’s Wrong Science fails to face the shortcomings of statistics

March 18th, 2010

In the March 27, 2010 issue of Science News, this article talks about how “widespread misuse of statistical methods makes science more like a crapshoot”. The problem appears to be based in the misunderstanding and misuse of the concept of statistical significance. The comments at the end of the article make interesting reading, as do those at the end of the Slashdot posting on the same article.

UKDA Director

February 19th, 2010

Congratulations to IASSIST members Kevin Schürer and Matthew Woollard!

Professor Schürer has announced he’ll be leaving the directorship of the UK Data Archive in order to take up a new post at the University of Leicester as Pro-Vice Chancellor of Research later this year.

Dr. Woollard, currently Associate Director and Head of Digital Preservation and Systems, will become Director-Designate from the beginning of March 2010. binary trading is legal in india

Read more at UKDA news.

Posted by Robin Rice, 19 Feb 2010.

IASSIST Quarterly 32 available on-line

January 15th, 2010

The IASSIST Quarterly (IQ) volume 32 2008 contains a collection of the 1, 2, 3, and 4 issues into a single issue for 2008.

Nikos Askitas is the head of the International Data Service Center of the Institute for the Study of Labor in Germany (IZA). At the 2008 IASSIST conference he presented what is here an article on the “Data Documentation and Remote Computing at the International Data Service Center of IZA.” The data documentation of the IDSC that started with translation of German metadata into English has developed into a detailed, in depth, searchable and standardized information service, especially helpful for comparative research. The datasets are in the areas: Employment and Wages, Education and Training, and Demographics and Migration. The documentation is available in HTML, PDF, and as DDI-files. This documentation production is explained in the first part of the article. In the second part of the article the IDSC experience with “remote computing” is described. Germany uses the concept of “factual anonymization” and the production of “scientific use files”. However, such files are not allowed for export. Instead IDSC supplies interfaces to scientists with both local and remote support for which IDSC has developed special software (JoSuA).

The article “A Documentation Model for Comparative Research Based on Harmonization Strategies”, by John Kallas from University of the Aegean at Mytilene on Lesvos, Greece and Apostolos Linardis from the National Centre for Social Research in Athens, is proposing a documentation model for both longitudinal and cross-cultural studies. Different harmonization strategies are examined and three documentation models are proposed. The authors have chosen the term “cross-cultural” rather than “cross-national” as cultural discrepancies may exist within the same nation. The article underlines the importance of the data element, the concept, the universe, and the classification as they are study components where even small changes may affect the overall comparability. This is leading to looking at the stages for the different types of harmonization strategies: ex ante input, ex ante output, and ex post. Most documentation processes at data archives are ex post harmonization. The authors are aware that the proposed study documentation procedure is laborious for the researchers; however, the positive side is the benefits in searching and locating the data.

At the 2009 IASSIST conference in the session “Protecting Privacy While Preserving Access: Restricted Use Data and Disclosure Considerations”, Sharon Bolton and Matthew Woollard gave a presentation that is now an article titled “Strengthening Data Security: an Holistic Approach” and they are advocating exactly that. The authors both work at UK Data Archive (UKDA) as Data Services Manager and Head of Digital Preservation and Systems. The holistic approach to data security includes “the education of data creators in the reduction of disclosure risk, the integration of robust and appropriate data processing, handling and management procedures, the value of emerging technological solutions, the training of data users in data security, and the importance of management control, as well as the need to be informed by emerging government security and digital preservation standards”. The background is a massive governmental data loss that hit front pages and has resulted in reports and laws with criminal penalties for the disclosure of confidential information. These lessons as well as the laws are relevant for the archival society. The UKDA had an audit of its “in-house data handling” which resulted in existing good practice being identified and additional methods developed. These were collated into a comprehensive set of data security procedures with effect for both UKDA staff and the users.

At the same IASSIST conference in the session “Sharing Data: High Rewards, Formidable Barriers” Carina Carlhed and Iris Alfredsson from respectively Mälardalen University, Sweden and the Swedish National Data Service (SND) presented a report from an investigation carried out earlier in 2009. The report has been turned into an article for the IQ with the title: “Swedish National Data Service’s Strategy for Sharing and Mediating Data. Practices of Open Access to and Reuse of Research Data – The State of the Art in Sweden 2009“. The report is based upon a joint project between SND and four university libraries that carried out a national survey of existing databases and database research, as well as attitudes towards data sharing among researchers. This was carried out by email questionnaires sent to professors and doctoral students. In general the results show that doctoral students expressed great uncertainty about questions of amounts of reusable digital data, while professors emphasize lack of resources for researchers to document and make their data accessible for others. The groups consider the most effective interventions for enhancing accessibility to digital data to be that research grants should include funds for preparing the data for sharing and archiving, and that archiving data for use by the scientific community is acknowledged to be of scientific merit. A similar study was carried out in Finland and compared to this Swedish study. We hope to present the Finnish study in a later issue of the IQ. The Swedish Research Council founded in 2006 a Database Infrastructure Committee (DISC) to promote the development of an effective infrastructure for sharing research data. A product of this initiative has been the formation of the Swedish National Data Service (SND) that also is described in the article. The article further describes the procedures of the surveys and there might be followers for doing similar user investigations among other data organizations. The survey contains questions as to the knowledge of plans such as the roadmap “The Swedish Research Council´s Guide to Infrastructure” (2007) and the “OECD Guidelines on Open Access to Research Data from Public Funding” (2007). Answers to these questions exhibited a low level of knowledge, as did questions about making own data available. Read more in the article, and also about reasons given for not reusing digital data, and the seven suggested obstacles to sharing digital data.

US and UK governments embrace ‘open data’

December 23rd, 2009

The US Open Government Directive, released on December 8, 2009, instructs all federal agencies to provide high-value information to the public online in open, accessible, machine-readable formats. This adds to the momentum already in place at Data.gov to “increase public access to high value, machine readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government.” The Open Knowledge Foundation blog describes progress to date and milestones to come.

The UK government also recently announced similar plans to open up data, and the imminent launch of a new Data.gov.uk developer’s site.

Another Open Knowledge Foundation blog post summarises what we can expect, including the release of the following the datasets:
# public services performance data – including on crime, hospitals and schools
# new transport data
# geospatial data from Ordnance survey

Tim Berners-Lee has advised both governments to release data in a way that will add to the Linked Data Web, paving the way for the realization of his envisaged Semantic Web.

Chuck Humphrey elected Chair of DDI Expert Committee, Mari Kleemola new Vice Chair

December 11th, 2009

From the DDI Directions Newsletter:

“The DDI Alliance is pleased to announce that Chuck Humphrey (Chair), University of Alberta, and Mari Kleemola (Vice Chair), Finnish Social Science Data Archive, have been elected to lead the DDI Expert Committee, beginning January 1, 2010.  Chuck has been the Head of the Data Library at the University of Alberta since 1992 and also assumed responsibility for the implementation and management of a Statistics Canada Research Data Centre (RDC) at the University of Alberta in 2001. Mari is Information Services Manager at the Finnish Social Science Data Archive (FSD) in the areas of User Services, Data Processing, and Documentation.  Congratulations, Chuck and Mari, and thank you for being willing to serve in this capacity.  We look forward to a productive year ahead!”

Great news!

Diane Geraci receives the 2009 Flanigan Award for Distinguished Service as an ICPSR Official Representative

November 23rd, 2009

The 2009 William H. Flanigan Award for Distinguished Service as an ICPSR Official Representative was presented to Diane Geraci, Associate Director for Information Resources at Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries. Diane is a long time IASSIST supporter and former Admin Committee member.

Congratulations, Diane!

At the same ceremony, friends of IASSIST Merrill Shanks and Steven Ruggles were each presented the 2009 Warren E. Miller Award for Meritorious Service to the Social Sciences.

Nancy McGovern Named SAA Fellow

November 11th, 2009

IASSIST member Nancy McGovern was recently inducted as a Fellow by the Society of American Archivists at its August meeting in Austin, Texas.  SAA Fellow is an honor that recognizes outstanding contributions to the archival profession.

Nancy has been Digital Preservation Officer (DPO) at ICPSR since 2006 and brought a substantial record of accomplishment to her current position.   She served as DPO and director of the Research and Assessment Services Department at Cornell University; Electronic Records Manager at Audata, Ltd. and at the Open Society Archives in Budapest; and as Senior Electronic Records Projects Archivist at the National Archives and Records Administration.   Her accomplishments include a substantial body of publications and presentations as well as leadership roles in numerous professional organizations.

Open Data Fellowships at University of Michigan

October 13th, 2009

Students with research interests in scientific data management, sharing and reuse have a unique opportunity to participate in the Open Data fellowship program. Open Data is an Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) sponsored by NSF. Open Data fellows engage in a vibrant set of research activities at the University of Michigan in the conduct of responsible data-intensive science and engineering involving faculty and doctoral students from SI, Computer Science and Engineering, Bioinformatics, Materials Science, and Chemical Engineering.

The Open Data fellowships are designed to build a new community of practice around open sharing and reuse of scientific data through inter-disciplinary collaborative research, campus-based seminars and forums, and travel to research conferences.

URL – http://opendata.si.umich.edu/index.html

Note: only open to US citizens or permanent residents


Stuart Macdonald

EDINA National Data Centre