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Cataloging query: how does cataloging data differ from traditional library material?

In their never ending quest for information, Jen, Tiffani and Paula would like to know about people's experiences cataloging data. Do you use MARC format? Have you tried using DDI? At what level do you tend to catalog collections? How does it depart from cataloging traditional library matter? Enquiring minds want to know.

 

- Contributed by Jen Darragh

What to do about data in old formats?

Recently I posted a message to the IASSIST mailing list about a study in in the ICPSR Publication Related Archive that had a data file in an old (SST) statistical software format. I had no tools to convert or even read that file and was looking for a solution to get the data. I solved that problem through the kindness of the software producer who converted the file for me.

This brought to mind a new question:

Is there something IASSIST or ICPSR can or should be doing to share solutions for saving or converting data in old, no-longer-common formats?

I'm thinking that some very small project might be a useful start: something like a registry of data libraries that still have "older" software and that would be willing to help data libraries that need to read or convert old datasets.

But there might be other opportunities as well: e.g.,

  • incorporating information about older formats and utilities for using them in ICPSR metadata;
  • formal communications with other groups that are interested in digital preservation (e.g., PRONOM for tools like JHOVE and Droid) http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/aboutapps/pronom/tools.htm;
  • archiving old software
  • procedures at ICPSR for accepting deposit of converted datasets.

I'm not sure if others are interested in this general problem or if there is an IASSIST committee that might investigate it or propose solutions.

I'm posting this message to the IASSIST list and the blog and invite your comments and ideas...

- jim jacobs

Statistical software in the news?

The Washington Post reports that the personal information recently stolen from the VA "was stored in a format that could make it difficult for thieves to use, according to an internal VA memo."
In the May 5 memo, VA privacy officer Mark Whitney wrote that the critical data "may not be easily accessible" because most of it -- including names, birth dates and Social Security numbers -- was stored in a specialized, standard format used for data manipulation and statistical analysis.
See the full article: "VA Data in Format Not Widely Used" By Christopher Lee.

Defining Data Librarian - call for comments

Tiffani Conner, Paula Lackie and Jen Darragh are working on the handouts for an ALA poster session and have found that defining "data" and "data librarian" clearly, in a concise manner, for a non-data audience is really hard. In addition, some of the sources they consulted (the Online Dictionary of Library and Information Science - ODLIS , Oxford English Dictionary ) were not adequate (ODLIS has data, data set, social science data set but the definitions are not that great). They also looked at Wikipedia, and there is nothing for data librarian. more...

Waxing Lyrical about IASSIST 2006

The lyrics from this year's song are now available.

Conceptualizing the Digital Life Cycle

The Digital Life Cycle was mentioned many times during the IASSIST 2006 conference. Reaction toward this concept was varied. Some were unsure they liked this idea claiming that the life cycle was a confusing or imperfect metaphor. Others applied a very exact meaning to the concept associating it to the stages through which information passes within a system or large process. The Session that I chaired on Institutional Repositories and Social Science Data: Supporting the Data Life Cycle (B1) provided different visual representations of the digital life cycle. more...

Blog the Conference!

Welcome to the 2006 IASSIST Conference in Ann Arbor! For those who can't join in the fun, we have decided it's a good idea for us to blog the conference! Conference delegates: Use this post to comment with your thoughts on a session that really got you thinking.

Also - as our first plenary speaker, Dan Atkins requested, please comment on the NSF’S CYBERINFRASTRUCTURE VISION FOR 21ST CENTURY DISCOVERY (chapter 3), at http://www.nsf.gov/od/oci/ci_v5.pdf

Metadata Musings from IASSIST 2006

A metadata novice ponders questions raised at this years conference

Research Spin-offs from Commercial Data Mining

Edmonton Journal technology columnist Steve Makris wrote about recent developments in data mining that could have potential implications for providing access to confidential social survey data (see "Hot Data," Edmonton Journal, Business, G1, May 17, 2006.) Makris mentioned some major companies raiding each other's data mining experts, such as Google hiring Kai-Fu Lee away from Microsoft only to see Microsoft swoop up Rakesh Agrawal from IBM.

Open Data Surfaces at the ALA Annual Meeting

On May 11, 2006, the following announcement was made about an upcoming forum at the American Library Association annual meeting that will address issues related to Open Data.

During the past several years, Open Data has become a field of urgent interest to researchers, scholars, and librarians. With the amount of scientific data doubling every year, issues surrounding the access, use, and curation of data sets are increasing in importance. The data-rich, researcher-driven environment that is evolving poses new challenges and provides new opportunities in the sharing, review, and publication of research results. Ensuring open access to the data behind the literature will play a key role in seeing that the scholarly communication system evolves in a way that supports the needs of scholars and the academic enterprise as a whole.

As Open Data moves to the forefront of scholarly communication, librarians, administrators, and researchers will be responsible for considering new access policies for data and data curation issues. This SPARC-ACRL forum will introduce Open Data as an emerging focus, explore the challenges of managing the data deluge, and aid participants in crafting their own digital data preservation and curation policies.

This discussion is arising out of the scholarly publishing movement known as SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.) Their coalition consists of more than 300 academic and research libraries and likely include the libraries of many of our IASSIST members. The European members of this movement have a separate website at SPARC Europe.

IASSIST members should become involved in these discussions. Many of the Open Data issues are familiar turf for our members.

Contributed by Chuck Humphrey

  • IASSIST Quarterly

    Publications Special issue: A pioneer data librarian
    Welcome to the special volume of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ (37):1-4, 2013). This special issue started as exchange of ideas between Libbie Stephenson and Margaret Adams to collect

    more...

  • Resources

    Resources

    A space for IASSIST members to share professional resources useful to them in their daily work. Also the IASSIST Jobs Repository for an archive of data-related position descriptions. more...

  • community

    • LinkedIn
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    • Twitter

    Find out what IASSISTers are doing in the field and explore other avenues of presentation, communication and discussion via social networking and related online social spaces. more...