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International Digital Curation Conference 2016 (IDCC16)

The International Digital Curation Conference 2016 was in Amsterdam between 23-24 February.

IASSIST was again a sponsor, and presented a poster on IASSIST members’ activities. In addition, plenty of familiar faces were present including our current IASSIST president and three former ones.

This year’s conference was the eleventh IDCC and took the title of "Visible data, invisible infrastructure". This asks what can we do to make the hard work of preserving data and making it and keeping it usable as easy as possible for researchers to use and as unobtrusive as possible in their work.

One feature of this year’s conference was the importance of terminology. In his opening keynote, Barend Mons made a good point that accessible data is not open data and sharing data does not make it reusable. Reusable is what is important. In his plenary, Andrew Sallans spoke of openness and sharing as core to scientific activity. His presentation was insightful on how data is lost (paywalls, broken links, TIF walls), as was his call for five percent of research budgets be reserved for data stewardship and the need for Europe to train 500,000 data experts in the next decade. The final keynote from Susan Halford was a warning about sloppy research methodology as researchers gorge on new big data sources. Using social media as an example, she cautioned on how these are not “naturally occurring” data but mediated by private companies using methods we do not know about.

The rest of the conference split into concurrent sessions with either a national or institutional focus, or featuring demonstrations and elaborations on tools and services. It is interesting to see how ventures like Dataverse and DMPonline/Tool fit into national infrastructure initiatives like Australian National Data Service or Canada’s Portage and institutional ones like those demonstrated by the universities of Oxford and California. If they are to do so successfully, it will be with a vison of enabling researchers to do better science rather than compelling researchers to comply with bureaucracy, and that the route to achieving this will be through open standards and building on existing initiatives rather than going back to constructing new tools to do essentially the same job.

An impressive feature of IDCC is the methodological rigour applied to research papers. An example to highlight from the programme was Renata Curty’s research on Factors influencing research data reuse in social sciences.

The final notable aspect of IDCC16 was how almost none of the suggestions in keynotes and tools presented supported “traditional” academic publishing. Reuse needs discoverable, machine readable, contextualised data with minimal barriers to access and minimal limits on usage – not the business model on which some well-known academic publishers thrive.

All presentations, posters, demonstrations, as well as blogs reporting on IDCC16 can be found on the DCC website.

Share Your Story: Case Studies of Data Reuse

Late last year, a colleague at Innovations for Poverty Action, Stephanie Wykstra, and I started having conversations about reuse of open data and what we do and don’t know about the re-use of existing data sets, particularly which data sets and how they are used.  We are also interested in the specific challenges researchers face as they try to re-use data sets collected for other research purposes.  Stephanie and I would like to start filling this gap so we are putting out a call for case studies.

If you have re-used data for your own research (or know someone else who has), we would love to hear about it! The parameters and further details for the call can be found in this blog post on the Mozilla Science Lab blog: https://www.mozillascience.org/share-your-story.

We are particularly interested in stories of data re-use that are not from large-scale surveys or census data sets as there are many examples of those.  We are also aware of some instances where large data repositories collect information on use of data sets housed in their collections (see ICPSR Bibliography of Data-related Literature and UK Data Archive).  While we will be incorporating some of those cases in our report, we’d like to hear more about stories that may not be included in those collections.

There is a very simple form at the blog post linked above.  We are basically interested in:

1) What made the data that you re-used valuable for your own research?

2) What made the data easy or challenging to re-use?

and

3) Your advice to researchers who are sharing their data for re-use.  

The deadline for submitting case studies is March 10, 2016.  We will make all responses publicly available in a report after an analysis of the responses (with your permission). Depending on funding, we may be able to sponsor researchers who provide case studies to a workshop on data re-use.  Please spread this call far and wide to any you think would be interested in participating.  

If you have questions, feel free to tweet or email either Stephanie Wykstra (@Swykstr) or myself, Stephanie Wright (@shefw).  We appreciate any support you can provide!

IASSIST Quarterly back issues all online

Dear Friends,

The IASSIST Communications Committee is very happy to announce that the back issues of IQ--ALL of the back issues, back to 1976--are now available on the IASSIST web site.  In the left sidebar where you are able to select from a few back issues, you may recall there is a link at the bottom to More issues.  That link can now transport you back to the early days of the association.  Older issues are wonderful to peruse, offering a window into how far we've come and at the same time putting in perspective the many on-going issues with which we're still grappling, all these years later.  Please take a moment to take a walk down memory lane and reflect on the past and future of IASSIST.  And please congratulate Robin Rice and Harrison Dekker for all their work in getting these issues online.

All the Best,

Michele Hayslett

For the Communications Committee

Data Viz Position at UNC at Chapel Hill

Topic:

Please see the announcement below for a new position created here in the Libraries at UNC at Chapel Hill.  It will be based in our Digital Research Services Department (you’d get to work with me and a bunch of other great people!) supporting the mission of our Research Hub in Davis Library.  Note that there is a requirement for an advanced degree, but a master’s or PhD in a related subject field is admissible in place of a library degree.  Please let me know if I can answer any questions.

Michele Hayslett

michele_hayslett@unc.edu

======================

Data Visualization Services Librarian

Available: March 1, 2016

UNC Chapel Hill invites applications for the position of Data Visualization Services Librarian in the Digital Research Services department. Based in the Davis Library Research Hub, the Data Visualization Services Librarian is responsible for expanding data analysis and visualization services in support of teaching and research.

The Data Visualization Services Librarian:

  • Advises, consults, instructs, and serves as technical lead on data visualization projects with UNC students and faculty from all academic disciplines.
  • Identifies, evaluates and recommends new and emerging digital research tools for the Libraries and UNC research community.
  • Develops and supports visualization services in response to current trends, campus needs and Libraries priorities.
  • Shares ideas and concepts effectively across diverse interdisciplinary audiences and serves as the point person for data visualization and analysis efforts in the Libraries.
  • Develops relationships with campus units supporting digital research, including the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science.

The Data Visualization Services Librarian works with staff from the Digital Research Services and Library Information & Technology departments to identify hardware and software needs, and to develop scalable, sustainable practices related to data visualization services. The librarian designs and delivers workshops and training sessions on data visualization tools and methods, and develops a range of instructional materials to support patrons with data visualization needs.

The Data Visualization Services Librarian may share some program coordination responsibilities with other Research Hub staff and may supervise student employees.

Qualifications

Required

  • ALA-accredited master’s degree in Library or Information Science OR advanced degree in Geography, Sociology, Psychology, Design, Informatics, Statistics, or a related field.
  • Demonstrated experience with data visualization tools and programming libraries.
  • Proficiency with at least one programming language (such as Python, Ruby, JavaScript, Java, R).
  • Ability to use a variety of tools to extract and manipulate data from various sources (such as relational databases, XML, web services and APIs).
  • Demonstrated technical expertise and experience using technology to support research and teaching.
  • Experience providing instruction or research consultations.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Strong commitment to public service.

Preferred

Experience working effectively with a team to plan and complete projects.

  • Background working in a large academic library.
  • Experience supporting data analysis and visualization in a research setting.
  • Proficiency using tools and programming libraries to support text analysis.
  • Familiarity with geospatial technology.
  • Experience identifying and recommending new tools or technologies.
  • Graphic design skills and proficiency using relevant software.

The University and The Libraries

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the country’s oldest state university. UNC Chapel Hill has an enrollment of approximately 29,000 students, employs more than 3,500 members of the faculty, and offers 69 doctoral degrees as well as professional degrees in dentistry, medicine, pharmacy and law. The UNC Health Sciences Library is a recognized leader within the Association of Academic Health Science Libraries.  University Library collections include over 6.5 million volumes. The Library is a member of the Association of Research Libraries and the Center for Research Libraries. Together with the libraries at Duke University, North Carolina Central University, and North Carolina State University, the members of the Triangle Research Libraries Network (TRLN) provide services and collections to their students, faculty, and staff in support of the education, research, and service missions of the universities.

The University Library invests proudly in its employees, strives to create a diverse environment of respect and collaboration, and encourages vision and innovation.

The Region

The Triangle region is one of the most desirable places to live and work in North America and offers its residents a wide array of recreational, cultural, and intellectual activities. The mountains or the seashore are less than half day’s drive from Chapel Hill.

The University of North Carolina is an equal opportunity employer and is strongly committed to the diversity of our faculty and staff.

Salary and Benefits

This is twelve-month academic librarian appointment.  Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience. Standard state benefits of annual leave, sick leave, and State or optional retirement plan.

Deadline for Application

Review of applications will begin on February 11, 2016. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled, but preference will be given to applications received by the begin review date.

To Apply

Please visit http://unc.peopleadmin.com/postings/90462 and complete the online application. Please include a letter of application, a resume and the name, mailing address, email address, and telephone number of three professional references, one of whom must be a current supervisor.  Additionally, please indicate in your cover letter where you first learned of this position.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is an equal opportunity employer that welcomes all to apply, including protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.

======================

IASSIST Fellows Program 2015-16

The IASSIST Fellows Program is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for financial support to attend the IASSIST 2016 conference in Bergen [http://iassist2016.org/] from data professionals who are developing, supporting and managing data infrastructures at their home institutions.

Please be aware that funding is not intended to cover the entire cost of attending the conference. The applicant's home institution must provide some level of financial support to supplement an IASSIST Fellow award. Strong preference will be given to first time participants and applicants from those countries currently with insufficient representation at IASSIST. Only fully completed applications will be considered. Applicants submitting a paper for the conference will be given priority consideration for funding.

You may apply for funding via this form<http://tinyurl.com/jsutx9z>. The deadline for applications is the 31st of January 2016.

For more information, to apply for funding or nominate a person for a Fellowship, please send an email to the Fellows Committee chairs, Florio Arguillas (foa2@cornell.edu) and Stuart Macdonald (stuart.macdonald@ed.ac.uk)

All best wishes
Stuart Macdonald & Florio Arguillas

IQ double issue 38(4)/39(1) is up, and so is vol 39(2)!

Hi folks!  A lovely gift for your reading pleasure over the holidays, we present two, yes, TWO issues of the IASSIST Quarterly.  The first is the double issue, 38(4)/39(1) with guest editors, Joachim Wacherow of GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences in Germany and Mary Vardigan of ICPSR at the University of Michigan, USA.  This issue focuses on the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) and how it makes meta-analysis possible.  The second issue is 39(2), and is all about data:  avoiding statistical disclosure, using data, and improving digital preservation.  Although we usually post the full text of the Editor's Notes in the blog post, it seems lengthy to do that for both issues.  You will find them, though, on the web site: the Editor's Notes for the double issue, and the Editor's Notes for issue 39(2).

Michele Hayslett, for the IQ Publications Committee

Data-related webinars available

See video
The North Carolina Library Association's Government Resources Section runs a webinar series. In addition to having some data-related webinars on YouTube, our upcoming August webinar may be of interest to IASSIST members.

Help! I’m an Accidental Government Information Librarian presents ... Accessing Datasets for the Data Curious

The Government Resources Section of the North Carolina Library Association welcomes you to a series of webinars designed to help us increase our familiarity with government information. All are welcome because government information wants to be free.

Directing patrons to subscription repositories of data like ICPSR and Roper is a useful service that any reference librarian can learn to do. But can the generalist take data-seeking patrons just a little bit further before referring to the data librarian? This webinar will help the generalist or subject librarian learn ways to help patrons download data successfully, use documentation to explore the relevance of a dataset to answer a question, and alert patrons to common pitfalls and patterns. Participants will learn strategies to apply their librarian expertise for finding and accessing information to the rarified realm of datasets.

Presenter Kristin Partlo is the Reference & Instruction Librarian for Social Science and Data at Carleton College in Minnesota. She has been helping undergraduates find and evaluate data for over ten years and especially enjoys looking for connections between research data services and other areas of librarianship. Her MA of LIS is from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

We will meet for Session #49, online on Wednesday, August 12 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. (Eastern). Please RSVP for the session by August 12 at 10:00 am using this link:  http://tinyurl.com/grs-session49

Technical requirements: We will be using collaborative software called Blackboard Collaborate. It requires that you be able to download Java onto your computer, but you do not need any special software. After you RSVP, we will send you a link that you can use to test the software. If you have any questions, please contact Lynda Kellam (lmkellam@uncg.edu). You do not need a microphone as a chat system is available in the software, but you do need speakers or headphones.

We make recordings available on our website (http://www.nclaonline.org/government-resources/help-im-accidental-government-information-librarian-webinars) and our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6CfualeU8N77us06prY10Q)

Linda Kellam

Looking Back/Moving Forward - Reflections on the First Ten Years of Open Repositories

Open Repositories conference celebrated its first decade by having four full days of exciting workshops, keynotes, sessions, 24/7 talks, and development track and repository interest group sessions in Indianapolis, USA. All the fun took place in the second week of June. The OR2015 conference was themed "Looking Back/Moving Forward: Open Repositories at the Crossroads" and it brought over 400 repository developers and managers, librarians and library IT professionals, service providers and other experts to hot and humid Indy.

Like with IDCC earlier this year, IASSIST was officially a supporter of OR2015. In my opinion, it was a worthy investment given the topics covered, depth and quality of presentations, and attendee profile. Plus I got to do what I love - talk about IASSIST and invite people to attend or present in our own conference.

While there may not be extremely striking overlap with IASSIST and OR conferences, I think there are sound reasons to keep building linkages between these two. Iassisters could certainly provide beneficial insight on various RDM questions and also for instance on researchers' needs, scholarly communication, reusing repository content, research data resources and access, or data archiving and preservation challenges. We could take advantage of the passion and dedication the repository community shows in making repositories and their building blocks perfect. It's quite clear that there is a lot more to be achieved when repository developers and users meet and address problems and opportunities with creativity and commitment.

 

While IASSIST2015 had a plenary speaker from Facebook, OR had keynote speakers from Mozilla Science Lab and Google Scholar. Mozilla's Kaitlin Thaney skyped a very interesting opening keynote (that is what you resort to when thunderstorms prevent your keynote speaker from arriving!) on how to leverage the power of the web for research. Distributed and collaborative approach to research, public sharing and transparency, new models of discovery and freedom to innovate and prototype, and peer-to-peer professional development were among the powers of web-enabled open science.
 
Anurag Acharya from Google gave a stimulating talk on pitfalls and best practices on indexing repositories. His points were primarily aimed at repository managers fine-tuning their repository platforms to be as easily harvestable as possible. However, many of his remarks are worth taking into account when building data portals or data rich web services. On the other, hand it can be asked if it is our job (as repository or data managers) to make things easy for Google Scholar, or do we have other obligations that put our needs and our users first. Often these two are not conflicting though. What is more notable from my point of view was Acharya's statement that Google Scholar does not index other research outputs (data, appendixes, abstracts, code…) than articles from the repositories. But should it not? His answer was that it would be lovely, but it cannot be done efficiently because these resources are not comprehensive enough, and it would not possible for example to properly and accurately link users to actual datasets from the index. I'd like to think this is something for IASSIST community to contemplate.

Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) had a very strong presence in OR2015. ORCID provides an open persistent identifier that distinguishes a researcher from every other researcher, and through their API interfaces that ID can be connected to organisational and inter-organisational research information systems, helping to associate researchers and their research activities. In addition to a workshop on ORCID APIs there were many presentations about ORCID integrations. It seems that ORCID is getting close to reaching a critical mass of users and members, allowing it to take big leaps in developing its services. However, it still remains to be seen how widely it will be adopted. For research data archiving purposes having a persistent identifier provides obvious advantages as researchers are known to move from one organisation to another, work cross-nationally, and collaborate across disciplines.

Many presentations at least partly addressed familiar but ever challenging research data service questions on deposits, providing data services for the researcher community and overcoming ethical, legal or institutional barriers, or providing and managing a trustworthy digital service with somewhat limited resources. Check for example Andrew Gordon's terrific presentation on Databrary, a research-centered repository for video data. Metadata harmonisation, ontologies, putting emphasis on high quality metadata and ensuring repurposing of metadata were among the common topics as well, alongside a focus on complying with standards - both metadata and technical.

I see there would be a good opportunity and considerable common ground for shared learning here, for example DDI and other metadata experts to work with repository developers and IASSIST's data librarians and archivists to provide training and take part in projects which concentrate on repository development in libraries or archives.

Keynotes and a number of other sessions were live streamed and recorded for later viewing. Videos of keynotes and some other talks and most presentation slides are available already, rest of the videos will be available in the coming weeks.

RDA Congratulates IASSIST on Successful Conference

Topic:

RDA Congratulates IASSIST on Successful Conference

Earlier this month, several members of the Research Data Alliance had the pleasure of attending and participating in the 41st IASSIST Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  With the theme “Bridging the Data Divide: Data in the International Context,” the conference provided an ideal venue for us to exchange perspectives with attendees on numerous data-related challenges and trends as well as share recent accomplishments of the RDA.

We were intrigued by the presentation of Steven Ruggles, Director of the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota, which covered the U.S. Census’ role in data innovation and the Minnesota Population Center’s project to connect census data. Curtiss Cobb, manager at Facebook, was impressive during his discussion detailing Facebook’s approach in evaluating and aggregating publicly available data to conduct in-depth analyses. In the presentation covering the implementation of an open data policy in Minneapolis, Andrew Johnson, city councilor, clearly demonstrated the importance of government’s role in ensuring the accessibility of data to the public.

RDA’s two panel sessions titled “First Products of the RDA” were also well received.   Several of our members introduced RDA’s recently released products, which include:

•    A terminology query tool, already adopted by DataFed and CLARIN, which ensures researchers use common terminology when referring to data.
•    A data type model and registry that provides machine-readable and researcher-accessible registries of data types that support the accurate use of data.  
•    Machine-actionable policies and templates to enable best practices in data management and interchange between communities
•    A Prototype Metadata Standards Directory describing hundreds of metadata standards in an editable and transparent system with full version control.  

For more information on these and other RDA products, view RDA’s brochure titled “Research Data Alliance Outputs.”
 
Overall, with an agenda encompassing plenaries, workshops and various meetings, the IASSIST conference did an excellent job in covering numerous data-related topics that impact the social sciences as well as numerous other disciplines. We look forward to participating in future IASSIST events and working with the organization to continue to raise awareness on the importance of data sharing and exchange.

Yolanda Meleco, RDA-US Communications Manager
Mary Vardigan, Chair, RDA DSA-WDS Partnership Working Group on Repository Certification

Brief IASSIST conference wrap up

Topic:

These are my brief notes from the sessions I was able to attend and take notes (a few times I was unable to stay in a session because of questions elsewhere). I would suggest looking at the twitter feed if you are interested. We had a new member taking sketch notes during the conference, which were quite popular. Also Laurence Horton from LSE took very detailed Google Doc notes and wrote a great blog post.

Day 1 kicked off with a fantastic plenary by Steve Ruggles from the conference host, Minnesota Population Center (MPC). His talk focused on the development of the Census over time. His main argument was that the Census Bureau (CB) played a tremendous role in developing innovative technology and data collection methods during the early years through the mid-twentieth century, but that the more recent Census years have seen stagnation and a loss in the CB's leadership. While depressing at points, Ruggles highlighted a few collaborations between the CB and the MPC that are promising such as the Census Longitudinal Infrastructure Project (CLIP).

I chaired a session entitled Training Data Users. King-Hele discussed training efforts at the UK Data Archive. Primarily they have concentrated on in-person workshops, but they have also started creating webinars and training guides/videos. I'm looking forward to checking some of these out during my summer! Katharin Peter at the Univ of Southern California talked about supporting data-related assignments. Her univ had a competitive grant program for faculty to encourage the creation of these assignments in conjunction with instructional designers and Katharin as the data librarian. Although USC was able to offer significant grant amounts, I think faculty could be encouraged with much lower amounts at other schools. Another incentive could be the creation of communities of practice where faculty can share and learn. They will eventually create a repository of data assignments but that is in the early stages. Finally Kristin Eschenfelder and her team from Univ of Wisconsin (Go Badgers!) closed out our session.  They used the IASSIST journal, IQ, to analyze connections between Social Science Data Archives over time. Using historical network analysis they were able to track the interactions between the different archives and funding agencies. It is a really interesting project and I can't wait to see where they go with more data. They were also part of our new paper track and were required to submit a paper in advance, which anyone can access. They also won the first paper award prize.

The plenary for day 2 was a bit controversial, but we meant it that way. We had Curtiss Cobb, head of the Population and Survey Sciences Team at Facebook, talk about Facebook's interest in the digital divide in the developing world and its initiative Internet.org. They have also been acquiring third party data to inform their research, so Curtiss discussed his evaluative framework for acquiring data. Again, Laurence has more notes on the specifics of the talk. While there were questions about Facebook's "altruistic" intentions, I enjoyed having an outside perspective on social science data and its use.

I also attended a fabulous session with the Minnesota Population Center on their various data programs. So much goodness in this one. They talked about their products from the old standbys like IPUMS-USA and IPUMS-International to newer products like Terra Populus, which integrates environmental and population data. The one I am really excited about for my history graduate work and haven't used much is the North Atlantic Population Project. With our Atlantic World focus at UNCG, it seems that this could be popular.

One of my favorite sessions brought together geospatial data and qualitative data specialists, two areas that are increasingly popular in libraries. Andy Rutkowski formerly of USC talked about combining GIS methods with qualitative data especially archival information. It was a really nice discussion of the more theoretical aspects of these techniques. In addition, Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh talked about her analysis of job postings related to qualitative data support in libraries. She found that it is an under-supported area. You can read more about her project soon in the edited volume Databrarianship: The Academic Data Librarian In Theory And Practice, coming to a library near you in Fall(ish) 2015.

The last session I could attend was Training Data Users II David Fearon and Jennifer Darragh from Johns Hopkins talked about training for de-identifying human subjects in data sets. This is a really cool and extremely specialized service, but one that I am sure lots of faculty would welcome with the new sharing requirements. They developed their workshop information from a training session offered by ICPSR. They have some handouts, but I couldn't get the URL down in time. I will add when it is available.

Finally, we closed out with a plenary talk by Andrew Johnson (no, not that Andrew Johnson) on Politics of Open Data. He is a city council ward representative for Minneapolis and was one of the creators of What We Pay For, a website that tracks federal government spending and connects your salary to actual government expenditures. He talked about his interest in providing open data access and the political roadblocks he encountered along the way. Great way to end a conference all about data!

The presentation, poster, and pecha kucha PowerPoints are being collected now. We will make them available as possible, but unfortunately there may be a delay. If you are interested in any particular presentation, get in touch with me and I can send you more information. Overall it was definitely the best IASSIST ever.

  • IASSIST Quarterly

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