Already a member?

Sign In
Syndicate content

News and Announcements

Articles and news of interest to IASSIST members

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.

New IQ now available!

Editor notes: 

Data, the whole Data, and nothing but the Data … and the Metadata, and the Access to Data

Welcome to the third issue of volume 38 of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ 38:3, 2014). This issue is unquestionably about data. There are three papers on projects for improving delivery of data to users.

The first paper is ‘Distributing Access to Data, not Data’ by David Schiller from the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) at Nuremberg (Germany) and Richard Welpton at UK Data Archive, University of Essex (UK). They focus on the problem that access to European microdata for researchers is restricted by national borders and the barriers for performing comparative analyses between the member states. The ‘Data without Boundaries’ project now has an initiative to build a ‘European Remote Access Network’ (EuRAN). The problem is that prevention of identifying respondents in the microdata conflicts with the importance for modern research methods of access to detailed data. Some control is necessary and the paper describes remote access as the appropriate answer in the forms of job submission, remote execution, and remote desktop. As an example, one version of secure remote desktop access encrypts pictures of the desktop screens to make secure the transport over the Internet. The authors reference a set of principles for access, e.g., that it is not desirable to physically move data and that access should come through a single point that can access multiple sources of data. The researchers’ need to analyse the data is supported by a ‘Virtual Research Environment’ that includes software for generating and presenting results through the EuRAN project.

The next paper presents a two-year metadata project based upon two well-known series of studies: the American National Election Study (ANES) and the US General Social Survey (GSS). The goal is to improve their metadata and build demonstration tools to illustrate the value of structured, machine-actionable metadata as reported in ‘Creating Rich, Structured Metadata: Lessons Learned in the Metadata Portal Project’. The authors are Mary Vardigan (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)), Darrell Donakowski (American National Election Studies (ANES), University of Michigan), Pascal Heus (Metadata Technology North America (MTNA)), Sanda Ionescu (ICPSR), and Julia Rotondo (NORC at University of Chicago). The article reports on their experiences, and also includes recommendations. The National Science Foundation funded the project under the ‘Metadata for Long-standing Large-Scale Social Science Surveys’ (META-SSS) program. ICPSR and ANES are co-distributors of most of the ANES studies while the GSS is co-distributed by NORC, the Roper Center, and ICPSR. In the project metadata tools revealed small differences between supposed identical datasets, for instance in study titles, variable names, etc. The project also decided which types of content to include. Both of the the series are huge collections - as the 58 ANES surveys contain 79,521 variables and the cumulative GSS has 5,558 variables. Marking up this legacy documentation is laborious and time-intensive and the future naturally lies in capturing the metadata at the source. In conclusion, the project learned a great deal about converting legacy documentation and identified several steps for documentation development, including the areas of paradata and versions of datasets. The concept of versions of datasets relates to the solution described in the first paper of not bringing data but access to data to the users.

The third paper demonstrates further work in the project described above. In the paper ‘Mapping the General Social Survey to the Generic Statistical Business Process Model: NORC’s Experience’ the three authors - Scot Ausborn, Julia Rotondo, and Tim Mulcahy – all from NORC at the University of Chicago - present how they carried out the mapping of the GSS workflow to the Generic Statistical Business Process Model (GSBPM). An analysis of the business processes for the production of survey data was carried out with the intention of direct capture of survey cycle DDI-based metadata, thus avoiding the need to generate it retroactively. The work is based upon an internal survey of GSS staff, asking them to explicate their respective roles on the survey in terms of the GSBPM. Connecting aspects of the GSS workflow to elements of the GSBPM produced a comprehensive and integrative view of the individual efforts that together produce the survey. Of the lessons learned, I noticed that they later found that it may have been more fruitful to have held a workshop in which GSS staff could discuss the workflow processes together, rather than having a survey with each person providing his or her input in isolation. They mention that they think an expert in GSBPM could have conducted the mapping of the workflow; however they did identify points for improvement in the workflow relating to both metadata and paradata.

Articles for the IASSIST Quarterly are always very welcome. They can be papers from IASSIST conferences or other conferences and workshops, from local presentations or papers especially written for the IQ. When you are preparing a presentation, give a thought to turning your one-time presentation into a lasting contribution to continuing development. As an author you are permitted ‘deep links’ where you link directly to your paper published in the IQ. Chairing a conference session with the purpose of aggregating and integrating papers for a special issue IQ is also much appreciated as the information reaches many more people than the session participants, and will be readily available on the IASSIST website at http://www.iassistdata.org.

Authors are very welcome to take a look at the instructions and layout:http://iassistdata.org/iq/instructions-authors.

Authors can also contact me via e-mail: kbr@sam.sdu.dk. Should you be interested in compiling a special issue for the IQ as guest editor(s) I will also be delighted to hear from you.


Karsten Boye Rasmussen
March 2015
Editor

Winner announced for first IASSIST Paper Competition

Dear IASSIST Members,

In our call for this year's conference we included a new Paper Track that would require members to submit a full paper in advance of the conference. We also created a best paper competition as an incentive to submit. I have the pleasure to announce a winner of our first IASSIST Paper Competition!

The winning paper was "Sustainability of Social Science Data Archives: A Historical Network Perspective” by Kristin R. Eschenfelder, Morgaine Gilchrist Scott, Kalpana Shankar, Ellen LeClere, Rebecca Lin, and Greg Downey. Kristin as lead author will receive a free registration for a future IASSIST conference, and the entire team will be recognized at the IASSIST Business Meeting on Wednesday, June 3 at 4:45-5:15. The paper stood out for its fit with the conference theme, relevance to IASSIST Quarterly, and research design.

We have all submitted conference papers available on our website as a way to encourage feedback from attendees (https://sites.google.com/a/umn.edu/iassist-2015/paper-submissions). Every paper will be considered for publication in IQ.

A big IASSIST thanks to our authors for helping us kick off a potentially new tradition. Also, thank you to the sub-committee members (Karen Hogenboom, Thomas Lindsay, Sara Holder, Michelle Edwards, and Berenica Vejvoda) for the hard work to select a winner.

They are helping to make IASSIST 2015 the best conference ever!  See you all soon!

Lynda & Sam
Program Committee Co-Chairs

Lynda M. Kellam Data Services & Government Information Librarian Adjunct Lecturer in Political Science University of NC at Greensboro

IASSIST election results, 2015

Hello IASSISTers!

Here are the official results of the 2015 IASSIST elections.  There was a 61% voter turnout.  The winning candidates are:

President: Tuomas Alaterä

Vice President: Jen Green

Secretary: Ryan Womack

Africa Regional Secretary: Lynn Woolfrey

Asia-Pacific Regional  Secretary: Sam Spencer

Canada Regional Secretary: Carol Perry

Europe Regional Secretary: David Schiller

USA Regional Secretary: San Cannon

AC Member, Canada: Berenica Vejvoda

AC Members, Europe: Oliver Watteler and Arne Wolters

AC Members, USA: Kate McNeill, Jen Darragh, and Ashley Jester

Many, many thanks to all candidates who agreed to stand, and congratulations to our new officers.  Newly elected officers’ terms officially begin at the end of the Annual Business Meeting of the Association at the 41st Annual IASSIST conference in Minneapolis, but they are welcome to attend the Administrative Committee meeting preceding the conference as observers if they so wish.

Melanie Wright

Chair, IASSIST Nominations and Elections Committee

IASSIST Fellows Program 2014-15

The IASSIST Fellows Program is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for financial support to attend the IASSIST 2015 conference in Minneapolis [https://sites.google.com/a/umn.edu/iassist-2015/], 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 <https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?usp=drive_web&formkey=dEhLcnNIcE4xWW9NUzBwZnViNy1sUWc6MA#gid=0>.The deadline for applications is the 31st of January 2015.

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)

New 'Special Issue' IQ now available!

Editor’s notes

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 papers relating to the work of Sue A. Dodd. Margaret Adams (Peggy) acted as the guest editor and the background and content of this volume is described in her preface to this volume on the following page. As editor I want to especially thank Peggy and Libbie for pursuing and finalizing their excellent idea. I also want to thank all the authors that contributed to produce this volume. As one of the authors I can witness that Peggy did a great job.

Articles for the IASSIST Quarterly are always very welcome. They can be papers from IASSIST conferences or other conferences and workshops, from local presentations or papers especially written for the IQ. When you are preparing a presentation, give a thought to turning your one-time presentation into a lasting contribution to continuing development. As an author you are permitted “deep links” where you link directly to your paper published in the IQ. Chairing a conference session with the purpose of aggregating and integrating papers for a special issue IQ is also much appreciated as the information reaches many more people than the session participants, and will be readily available on the IASSIST website at http://www.iassistdata.org.

Authors are very welcome to take a look at the instructions and layout:
http://iassistdata.org/iq/instructions-authors

Authors can also contact me via e-mail: kbr@sam.sdu.dk. Should you be interested in compiling a special issue for the IQ as guest editor(s) I will also be delighted to hear from you.

 

Karsten Boye Rasmussen

April 2014

Editor

New IASSIST Quarterly now available!

Editor’s notes

Special issue: The organizational dimension of  digital preservation

Welcome to the special double issue 3 & 4 of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ) volume 36 (2012). This special issue addresses the organizational dimension of digital preservation as it was presented and discussed at the IASSIST conference in May 2013 in Cologne, Germany.

The two guest editors Astrid Recker and Natascha Schumann from the GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences in Cologne have earned special thanks. If you find their names familiar it is because they co-wrote a paper in the IQ 36-2. They are concerned with data preservation and curation at the Data Archive for the Social Sciences, and as a member of the Archive and Data Management Training Center, Astrid also trains others in these areas. Furthermore, they co-chaired the  panel on ‘Beyond Bits and Bytes: the Organizational Dimension of Digital Preservation’ at IASSIST 2013, both also participating as panelists in the session. They have now persuaded the other panelists to contribute to this combined special issue. Thanks also therefore to Michelle Lindlar, Stefan Strathmann and Achim Oßwald, and Yvonne Friese.

Articles for the IASSIST Quarterly are always very welcome. They can be papers from IASSIST conferences or other conferences and workshops, from local presentations or papers especially written for the IQ. Authors are permitted “deep links” where you link directly to your paper published in the IQ. Chairing a conference session with the purpose of aggregating and integrating papers for a special issue IQ is also much appreciated as the information reaches many more people than the session participants, and will be readily available on the IASSIST website at http://www.iassistdata.org.

Authors are very welcome to take a look at the instructions and layout:http://iassistdata.org/iq/instructions-authors.
Authors can also contact me via e-mail: kbr@sam.sdu.dk.

Should you be interested in compiling a special issue for the IQ as guest editor(s) I will also be delighted to hear from you.

Karsten Boye Rasmussen

January 2014

Editor

IASSIST Fellows Program 2013-14

The IASSIST Fellows Program is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for financial support to attend the IASSIST 2014 conference in Toronto [http://www.library.yorku.ca/cms/iassist/], 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.The deadline for applications is the 31st of January 2014.

For more information, to apply for funding or nominate a person for a Fellowship, please send an email to the Fellows Committee chairs, Luis Martínez-Uribe (
lmartinez@march.es) and Stuart Macdonald (srm262@cornell.edu).

IASSIST 2014 Call for Papers

ALIGNING DATA AND RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE
IASSIST 2014 Annual Conference Call for Paper and Session Proposals

This year’s conference theme touches upon the international and interdisciplinary requirements of aligning data and research infrastructure. The 2013 OECD Global Science Forum report on New Data for Understanding the Human Condition identifies key challenges for international data collaboration that beg for new solutions. Among these challenges is the mounting pressure for new forms of social science data. In today’s abundance of personal data, new methods are being sought to combine traditional social science data (administrative, survey, and census data) with new forms of personal data (social networking, biomarkers or transaction data) or with data from other domains. Similarly, the need for open data, archiving, and long-term curation infrastructures has been identified for research data in the natural, physical, and life sciences. Funders in all areas are pushing to enable the replication and/or reuse of research data. What alignments are needed between data and research infrastructure to enable these possibilities?

The international research community is in the midst of building a global data ecosystem that consists of a mixture of domain data repositories, data archives, data libraries, and data services and that seeks ways to facilitate data discovery, integration, access, and preservation. Evidence of this transformation is found in the recently established ICSU World Data System and in the Research Data Alliance. Like IASSIST, these organisations are contributing to the development of a global data ecosystem. Alignment or unification of strategies must take place at many levels to achieve this. How do we proceed? What advancements are needed in research data management, research infrastructure, and the development of new expertise?

Conference Tracks

We welcome submissions on the theme outlined above and encourage conference participants to propose papers and sessions that will be of interest to a diverse audience. To facilitate the organisation and scheduling of sessions, three distinct tracks have been established. If you are unsure which track your submission belongs or you feel that it applies to more than one track, submit your proposal and if accepted, the Programme Committee will find an appropriate fit.

Track 1: Research Data Management

  • New data types and their management
  • Challenges in exchanging research data across disciplines
  • Using social science data with data from other domains
  • Data linkage in the creation of new social science data
  • Data management within the global research data ecosystem
  • Data archives and repositories in the global data ecosystem
  • Best practices in the global data ecosystem
  • Metadata enabling the interoperability of research data
  • Application of DDI, SDMX, other metadata schema, taxonomies or ontologies in research data management
  • Data management policies and workflow systems
  • Data attribution and citation systems

Track 2: Professional Development

  • Training challenges given the growing number of professional positions within the global data ecosystem, which includes data curators, data scientists, data librarians, data archivists, etc.
  • Teaching end-users to work with research data
  • Data and statistical literacy
  • Data collection development in libraries and other institutions
  • Explorations of data across subject areas and geographic regions
  • Copyright clearance, privacy and confidential data
  • Working with ethics review boards and research service offices
  • Interdisciplinarity – promoting the cross-use of data
  • Training researchers about research data management planning
  • Liaison librarians’ roles in research data

Track 3: Data Developers and Tools

  • New infrastructure requirements in the global data ecosystem
  • Infrastructure supporting Data Without Borders
  • Tools to develop and support new social science data
  • Crowdsourcing applications in producing new social science data
  • Data dives or hackathons
  • API development supporting research data management
  • Open data web services
  • Applications of research data visualisation in the social sciences
  • Preservation tools for research data
  • Tools for data mining
  • Data technology platforms: cloud computing and open stack storage
Conference Formats

The Programme Committee welcomes submissions employing any of the following formats:

Individual proposal
This format consists of a 15 to 20 minute talk that is typically accompanied with a written paper. If your individual proposal is accepted, you will be grouped into an appropriate session with similarly themed presentations.
Session proposal
Session proposals consist of an identified set of presenters and their topics. Such proposals can suggest a variety of formats, e.g. a set of three to four presentations, a discussion panel, a discussion with the audience, etc. If accepted, the person who proposed the session becomes the session organiser and is responsible for securing speakers/participants and a chair/moderator (if not standing in that role him/herself).
Pecha Kucha proposal
A proposal for this programme event consists of a presentation of 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each, with heavy emphasis on visual content. Presentations in this event are timed and speakers are restricted to seven minutes.
Poster or demonstrations proposal
Proposals in this category should identify the message being conveyed in a poster or the nature of the demonstration being made.
Round table discussion proposal
Round table discussions typically take place during lunch and have limited seating. Please indicate how you plan to share the output of your round table discussion with all of IASSIST.

Session formats are not limited to the ideas above and session organisers are welcome to suggest other formats.

All submissions should include the proposed title and an abstract no longer than 200 words (note: longer abstracts will be returned to be shortened before being considered). Please note that all presenters are required to register and pay the registration fee for the conference. Registration for individual days will be available.

Please use this online submission form to submit your proposal. If you are unsure which track your submission fits or if you feel it belongs in more than one track, the Program Committee will find an appropriate place.

We also welcome workshop proposals around the same themes. Successful proposals will blend lecture and active learning techniques. The conference planning committee will provide the necessary classroom space and computing supplies for workshops. For previous examples of IASSIST workshops, please see the descriptions of 2011 workshops and 2013 workshops. Typically workshops are half-day with 2-hour and 3-hour options.

  • Deadline for submission: December 9, 2013 (2013.12.09)
  • Notification of acceptance: February 7, 2014 (2014.02.07).
Program Chairs
  • Johan Fihn
  • Jen Green
  • Chuck Humphrey

Announcing the Release of the CRDCN Dataset Builder

The Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN) is pleased to announce the release of the CRDCN Dataset Builder.

In collaboration with Statistics Canada and Metadata Technology North America, the Dataset Builder allows researchers working (or intending to work) in a Canadian RDC the ability to browse, search for and select variables in the Statistics Canada surveys currently housed in the RDCs. 

Utilizing DDI Lifecycle metadata, the Dataset Builder allows researchers to find and select variables, as well as produce SAS, SPSS or Stata syntax to help read in and format the variables, and produce customized documentation (Layout and Codebooks) for the dataset they create using the app. 

 A one-page installation, setup and use guide can be found at this link, with a link to more descriptive documentation if necessary: https://docs.google.com/document/d/135Eq2fwVRtlMdENpQjmZe5Zjm1OFGImCxtyWeV_7sdI [docs.google.com]

The application is open-source software, so please contact Metadata Technology NA if you're interested in contracting them to customize this application for your own organization.

Please contact Dave Haans (dave.haans@utoronto.ca) for more information.

  • 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
    • Facebook
    • 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...