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ICPSR to Participate in Project to Certify Digital Archives

ICPSR will be taking part in the RLG-NARA Digital Repository Certification project to identify the criteria repositories must meet for reliably storing, migrating, and providing access to digital collections.ICPSR has been selected to serve as a "test subject" in the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) project to develop an audit checklist for certification of trusted digital repositories. Funded by the Mellon Foundation, this project builds on the work of a Task Force consisting of members from the Research Libraries Group (RLG) and the U.S. National Archives and Research Administration (NARA). The Task Force is charged with developing criteria to identify digital repositories capable of reliably storing, migrating, and providing longterm access to digital collections.

RLG has released a draft of the "Audit Checklist for the Certification of Trusted Digital Repositories," which is available at http://www.rlg.org/en/page.php?Page_ID=20769. This represents the fifth generation of the RLG-NARA group’s work and provides best, current practice and thought about the organizational and technical infrastructure required for a digital repository to be considered trustworthy and capable of certification.

Leveraging the RLG-NARA audit tool, the CRL project will test audit criteria and metrics with three test subjects, including:

  • Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)
  • Koninklijke Bibliotheek National Library of the Netherlands, which maintains the digital archive for Elsevier Science Direct Journals
  • Portico, an archive for electronic journals incubated within Ithaka Harbors, Inc.

Stanford's LOCKSS system will also participate in this effort, which runs through October 2006.

Comments on the draft are welcomed and are due before mid-January 2006 to Robin Dale, the RLG-NARA Task Force Co-chair and project manager: Robin.Dale@rlg.org (+1-650-691-2238).

Contributed by Ann Green

The Practice of User Registration to Access Data

The practice of requiring users to register prior to receiving permission to access data files is increasing among distributors of data. In a message posted on the IASSIST discussion list on September 8, 2005, Libbie Stephenson mentioned various forms of registration employed by data distributors. She has heard it argued that such practices have become barriers to data access and are increasing the cost of research. She asked the IASSIST community if anyone has evidence of registration practices actually increasing the cost of research, whether such costs are related to time, staff, hardware, software or some other aspect of research.

Papers from First E-Social-Science Conference Online

The papers from the first conference on e-social science, which was held in late June of 2005 in Manchester, England, are now online.

-Contributed by Jim Jacobs

Data versus Conventional Wisdom: A Book Review

Topic:

Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner provides an economist's analysis of some social issues not normally associated with economics, such as, the causes of crime, the impact of parenting on child development, and the power of information in combating racial discrimination. more...

CODATA meeting notes

Notes from US National Committee for CODATA (Committee on Data for Science and Technology) meeting, July 13-14, 2005, with follow-on activities proposed for IASSIST member involvement

IASSIST Members Participate in Social Science Week

As part of the celebration of ESRC Social Science Week (June 20-24, 2005) in the UK, guest authors were invited to post articles on a blog dedicated to this event. Three IASSIST members (Alastair Allan, Robin Rice and Melanie Wright) contributed pieces about online access to data.

Report on Access to Scientific Research Data

The final report of the Canadian National Consultation on Access to Scientific Research Data has just been released containing eighteen recommendations to improve open access to research data in Canada. While some of these recommendations are unique to the Canadian context, others share a close relationship with the recommendations of the International Council for Science report, Scientific Data and Information.Supported by the National Research Council of Canada, a task force was established in June 2004 to provide advice about improving access to scientific research data. more...

Postmodern Values that Threaten National Data Archives

Following John Curtice's plenary address in Edinburgh about postmodernism and Session G3 on Transforming Data Archives, I wrote an essay outlining the threat that certain postmodern values pose for national data archives. This discussion summarizes this argument and proposes actions aligned with the IASSIST Strategic Plan to present a line of defense for data archives.

Discovering a Profession: the accidental data librarian

A session at the Edinburgh conference addressed a topic that arose earlier in the year on the IASSIST email discussion list about how people prepare and enter the profession of data librarianship. In general, is there a profession of data librarianship?An interesting question was presented on the IASSIST email discussion list earlier this year asking how one becomes a data librarian. Several people replied by relating personal accounts about their entry into this profession. Out of this discussion came the observation that many were 'accidental' data librarians, that is, they had not pursued a career as a data librarian but by happenstance discovered the profession.

This conversation was continued in a session at the Edinburgh conference: E4. Discovering a Profession: the accidental data librarian. Speaking in this session, Paul Bern (Syracuse University) questioned whether data librarianship qualifies as a real profession. He listed three attributes that W.M. Sullivan in Work and Integrity (2005) uses to characterize a profession:

  • a commitment to public service
  • public recognition of a degree of autonomy to regulate themselves
  • specialized training in a field of codified knowledge.

Paul noted that the first characteristic is one on which we clearly qualify as a profession. Data librarians are known for their dedication to public service. How data librarianship measures up to the next two characteristics, however, is debatable. This blog entry is dedicated to continuing this debate.

Ernie Boyko Begins First Term as Incoming President

Ernie Boyko began his first term as the incoming President of IASSIST in Edinburgh. A little less than a year since his retirement with Statistics Canada, Ernie Boyko took the reigns of IASSIST as their new President.  Having retired at the end of June 2004, Ernie has kept himself busy in the world of data as a VP with Nesstar Americas Inc. He has also remained active as an external adviser with the Data Liberation Initiative's (DLI) External Advisory Committee and as an instructor in the DLI training programme. Ernie's experiences as a data producer with a national statistical agency, a manager of Census operations and the director of Statistics Canada's Library and Information Centre provide him with a rich background in data services and first-hand knowledge of the major issues facing our profession. Ernie's first IASSIST conference was in Jerusalem in 1989 and since then, he has been active in the organization. Most recently, he was finishing a term as a member of the Administrative Committee for Canada when he was elected President.

Ernie is a "strategic thinker" and we look forward to the plans he has for the organization over the next two years. Good luck, Ernie. We're right behind you.

  • 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...

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    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...

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