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Articles and news of interest to IASSIST members

North American DDI Conference April 2013

Registration is now open for NADDI 2013 (http://www.ipsr.ku.edu/naddi/). The North American Data Documentation Initiative Conference (NADDI) is an opportunity for those using DDI and those interested in learning more about it to come together and learn from each other. Patterned after the successful European DDI conference (EDDI), NADDI 2013 will be a two day conference with invited and contributed presentations. This conference should be of interest to both researchers and data professionals in the social sciences and other disciplines. Training sessions will follow the conference. One focus of the first year's conference will be on the use of DDI by individual research teams through the data lifecycle.  

Please note that thanks to the generous support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a limited number of reduced rate registrations for graduate students are available.

 

Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Jay Greenfield of Booz Allen Hamilton where he is the semantic architect for a DDI Lifecycle based metadata system that supports the National Children's Study (NCS).

 

The conference will be held in the Kansas Union at the University of Kansas on April 2 and 3 2013. An opening night reception will be held April 1, and workshops will be held on April 4.

 

The call for papers is also now open through January 31, 2013.

 

For more information visit the conference web site at http://www.ipsr.ku.edu/naddi/ or email naddi@ku.edu .

ICPSR Webinar on working with IRB's

For those of you who follow the IASSIST Interest Group on Human Subjects Review Committees and Privacy and Confidentiality in Research, you might be interested in this webinar:

Amy Pienta and Kaye Marz of ICPSR's National Addiction and HIV Data Archive Program will present a webinar on Nov. 28 titled "Navigating Your IRB to Share Research Data."

They will share guidelines for working with Institutional Review Boards to release data that may contain sensitive information, such as studies on substance abuse. This session will be relevant both to older data collections, which may not have been designed with sharing in mind, as well as newer studies that may have more complex designs. Please join us by reserving a seat at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/225075386.

IASSIST Quarterly (2011: Fall)

Sharing data and building information

With this issue (volume 35-3, 2011) of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ) we return to the regular format of a collection of articles not within the same specialist subject area as we have seen in recent special issues of IQ. Naturally the three articles presented here are related to the IQ subject area in general, as in: assisting research with data, acquiring data from research, and making good use of the user community. This last topic could also be spelled “involvement”. The hope is that these articles will carry involvement to the IASSIST community, so that the gained knowledge can be shared and practised widely.


“Mind the gap” is a caveat to passengers on the London Underground. The authors of this article are Susan Noble, Celia Russell and Richard Wiseman, all affiliated with ESDS-International hosted by Mimas at the University of Manchester in the UK. The ESDS, standing for “Economic and Social Data Service”, are extending their reach beyond the UK. In the article “Mind the Gap: Global Data Sharing” they are looking into how today’s research on the important topics of climate change, economic crises, migration and health requires cross-national data sharing. Clearly these topics are international (e.g. the weather or air pollution does not stop at national borders), but the article discusses how existing barriers prevent global data sharing. The paper is based on a presentation in a session on “Sharing data: High Rewards, Formidable Barriers” at the IASSIST 2009 conference. It is demonstrated how even international data produced by intergovernmental organizations like the International Monetary Fund, the International Energy Agency, OECD, the United Nations and the World Bank are often only available with an expensive subscription, presented in complex incomprehensible tables, through special interfaces; such barriers are making the international use of the data difficult. Because of missing metadata standards it is difficult to evaluate the quality of the dataset and to search for and locate the data resources required. The paper highlights the development of e-learning materials that can raise awareness and ease access to international data. In this case the example is e-learning for the “United Nations Millennium Development Goals”.


The second paper is also related to the sharing of data with an introduction to the international level. “The Research-Data-Centre in Research-Data-Centre Approach: A First Step Towards Decentralised International Data Sharing” is written by Stefan Bender and Jörg Heining from the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) in Nuremberg, Germany. In order to preserve the confidentiality of single entities, access to complete datasets is often restricted to monitored on-site analysis. Although off-site access is facilitated in other countries, Germany has relied on on-site security. However, an opportunity has been presented where Research Data Centre sites are placed at Statistical Offices around Germany, and also at a Michigan centre for demography. The article contains historical information on approaches and developments in other countries and has a special focus on the German solution. The project will gain experience in the complex balance between confidentiality and analysis, and the differences between national laws.


The paper by Stuart Macdonald from EDINA in Scotland originated as a poster session at the IASSIST 2010 conference. The name of the paper is “AddressingHistory: a Web2.0 community engagement tool and API”. The community consists of members within and outside academia, as local history groups and genealogists are using the software to enhance and combine data from historical Scottish Post Office Directories with large-scale historical maps. The background and technical issues are presented in the paper, which also looks into issues and perspectives of user generated content. The “crowdsourcing” tool did successfully generate engagement and there are plans for further development, such as upload and attachment of photos of people, buildings, and landmarks to enrich the collection.

Articles for the IQ 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. If you don’t have anything to offer right now, then please prepare yourself for the next IASSIST conference and start planning for participation in a session there. Chairing a conference session with the purpose of aggregating and integrating papers for a special issue IQ is much appreciated as the information in the form of an IQ issue 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

December 2011

IQ Special Quadruple Issue: The Book of the Bremen Workshop

Welcome to this very special IASSIST Quarterly issue. We now present volume 34 (3 & 4) of 2010 and volume 35 (1 & 2) of 2011. Normally we have about three papers in a single issue. In this super-mega-special issue we have fourteen papers from the countries: Finland, Ireland, United Kingdom, Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Slovenia, Belarus, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Switzerland. This will be known in IASSIST as the “The book of the Bremen Workshop”.

The workshop took place in April 2009 at the University of Bremen. The workshop was hosted by the Archive for Life Course Research at Bremen and funded by the Timescapes Initiative with support from CESSDA. The background and context of the workshop as well as short introductions to the many papers are found in the Editorial Introduction by the guest editors Bren Neale and Libby Bishop. The many papers are the result of the effort of numerous authors that were instrumental in the development and fulfillment of the many outcomes of the workshop. The introduction by the guest editors shows impressive lists of short-term activities, agreed goals, and also strategies for development. There are future initiatives and the future looks bright and interesting.The focus of the Bremen Workshop is on “qualitative (Q) and qualitative longitudinal (QL) research and resources across Europe”. I would have called that a qualitative workshop but you can see from the introduction and the papers that this subject is often referred to as “qualitative and QL data”. The “and QL” emphasizes that the longitudinal aspect is the special and important issue. In the beginning of IASSIST data was equivalent to quantitative data. However, digital archives found in the next wave that the qualitative data also with great value were made available for secondary research. The aspect of “longitudinal” further accentuates that value creation.

This is a growing subject area. During the processing one of the authors wanted to update her paper and asked for us to replace the sentence “80 archived qualitative datasets and yearly around 30-40 datasets are ordered for re-use” with “115 archived qualitative datasets and yearly around 50-60 datasets are ordered for re-use”. Yes, we do have a somewhat long processing time but this is still a very fast growth rate. I want to thank Libby Bishop for not being annoyed when I persistently reminded her of the IQ special issues. I’m sure the guest editors with similar persistency contacted the authors. It was worth it.

As in Sherlock Holmes we might look for what is not there as when curiosity is raised by the fact that “the dog did not bark”. IASSIST has had and continues to have a majority of its membership in North America so it is also remarkable that we here present the initiative on “qualitative (Q) and qualitative longitudinal (QL) research” with a European angle. Hopefully the rest of the world will enjoy these papers and there will probably be more papers both from Europe but also from the others regions covered by the IASSIST members.

Articles for the IQ 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. If you don’t have anything to offer right now, then please prepare yourself for the next IASSIST conference and start planning for participation in a session there. Chairing a conference session with the purpose of aggregating and integrating papers for a special issue IQ is much appreciated as the information in the form of an IQ issue 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 description for layout and sending papers to the IQ:
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 (editors) I will also delighted to hear from you.

Karsten Boye Rasmussen
Editor August 2011

Image Credit: by mitko-denev on flickr

Stephen S. Clark Library for Maps, Government Information, and Data Services is open for business!

Three cheers for Jen Green!!! 

When not keeping IASSIST finances in check as the IASSIST Treasurer, Jennifer Green, director of the new Stephen S. Clark Library for Maps, Government Information, and Data Services, at the University of Michigan has been busy getting the library in shape for the recent opening day! 

Check out the announcement of the grand opening festivities in the Record Update (a publication of the Office of the Vice President for Communications at the University of Michigan) and don't miss the brand new website of the Setphen S. Clark Library

Green says the new library’s unique combination of collections, government information expertise, and data services will provide scholars and researchers with unprecedented opportunities for exploration, discovery, and collaboration.

“Before the Clark, there was a large degree of interaction among these three units,” Green says. “Our new proximity, in a purposefully designed and equipped space, means that we can more effectively collaborate with each other, which in turn really enhances our ability to creatively collaborate with students, faculty, and researchers.”

From the Record Update

IASSIST 2012 - Conference website

The IASSIST 2012 conference website is now live and ready to receive submissions:  http://www.iassist2012.org/index.html

Call for Papers

Data Science for a Connected World: Unlocking and Harnessing the Power of Information

The theme of this year's conference is Data Science for a Connected World: Unlocking and Harnessing the Power of Information. This theme reflects the growing desire of research communities, government agencies and other organizations to build connections and benefit from the better use of data through practicing good management, dissemination and preservation techniques.

The theme is intended to stimulate discussions on building connections across all scholarly disciplines, governments, organizations, and individuals who are engaged in working with data.  IASSIST as a professional organization has a long history of bringing together those who provide information technology and data services to support research and teaching in the social sciences.  What can we as data professionals with shared interests and concerns learn from others going forward and what can they learn from us?  How can data professionals of all kinds build the connections that will be needed to address shared concerns and leverage strengths to better manage, share, curate and preserve data?

We welcome submissions on the theme outlined above, and encourage conference participants to propose papers and sessions that would be of interest to a diverse audience. Any paper related to the conference theme will be considered; below is a sample of possible topics

Topics:  
  • Innovative/disruptive technologies for data management and preservation
  • Infrastructures, tools and resources for data production and research
  • Linked data: opportunities and challenges
  • Metadata standards enhancing the utility of data
  • Challenges and concerns with inter-agency / intra-governmental data sharing
  • Privacy, confidentiality and regulation issues around sensitive data
  • Roles, responsibilities, and relationships in supporting data
  • Facilitating data exchange and sharing across boundaries
  • Data and statistical literacy
  • Data management plans and funding agency requirements
  • Norms and cultures of data in the sciences, social sciences and the humanities
  • Collaboration on research data infrastructure across domains and communities
  • Addressing the digital/statistical divide and the need for trans-national outreach

Papers will be selected from a wide range of subjects to ensure a broad balance of topics.

The Program Committee welcomes proposals for:
- Individual presentations (typically 15-20 minutes)
- Complete sessions, which could take a variety of formats (e.g. a set of three to four individual presentations on a theme, a discussion panel, a discussion with the audience, etc.)
- Posters/demonstrations for the poster session
- Pecha Kucha (a presentation of 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each, heavy emphasis on visual content) http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/magazine/15-09/st_pechakucha
- Round table discussions (as these are likely to have limited spaces, an explanation of how the discussion will be shared with the wider group should form part of the proposal).
[Note: A separate call for workshops is forthcoming].

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

Proposals for complete sessions should list the organizer or moderator and possible participants; the session organizer will be responsible for securing both session participants and a chair.

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).  Abstracts submitted for complete sessions should provide titles and a brief description for each of the individual presentations.  Abstracts for complete session proposals should be no longer than 300 words if information about individual presentations are needed. 

Please note that all presenters are required to register and pay the registration fee for the conference; registration for individual days will be available.

  • Deadline for submission of individual presentations and sessions: 9 December 2011.
  • Deadline for submission of posters, Pecha Kucha sessions and round table discussions: 16 January 2012.
  • Notification of acceptance for individual presentations and sessions: 10 February 2012.
  • Notification of acceptance for posters, Pecha Kucha sessions and round table discussions: 2 March 2012.

We would want to receive confirmation of acceptance from those we invite to present by two weeks after notification.

ANES Announcement: The ANES 2012 Time Series Study

On June 30, 2011, the American National Election Studies (ANES) began accepting proposals for questions to include on the ANES 2012 Time Series Study.  Proposals may be submitted through the ANES Online Commons. The following describes the goals of this study and the opportunity to include questions on it.

About The ANES 2012 Time Series Study

The ANES’s core mission is to promote cutting-edge and broadly-collaborative research on American national elections. The heart of the ANES is its presidential year time series surveys. The time series legacy is well known, serving as a model for election studies around the world and having generated thousands of publications. Every four years, a large representative sample of American adults has been interviewed on two occasions, first between Labor Day and Election Day, and again between Election Day and the onset of the winter holidays. The two face-to-face interviews will last approximately one hour each in 2012. Pre-election interviews focus on candidate preferences and anticipated vote choice; an array of possible predictors of candidate preferences, turnout, citizen engagement; and an array of indicators of cognitive and behavioral engagement in the information flow of the campaign. Post-election interviews measures a variety of behavioral experiences people might have had throughout the campaign (e.g., turnout, mobilization efforts), plus additional posited predictors of candidate preferences, turnout, and citizen engagement.

Some of the questions asked during these interviews are categorized as standard (also known as core) items, meaning that they have been asked regularly over the years.  These questions are scheduled to appear on subsequent editions of the ANES Time Series in order to permit comparisons across elections.  The purpose of categorizing items as standard is to assure scholars who conduct longitudinal analyses that they can continue to depend on ANES to include variables that have been shown to perform well in the past.

Although recognizing the importance of continuity, ANES has also sought to develop the time series in innovative ways. The non-standard component of each questionnaire has routinely focused on matters of interest to the current election cycle. These items are often selected from an "ANES Question Inventory," which includes the standard questions and questions that have been asked in past ANES surveys but are not part of the standard battery of questions.  Researchers can access the question inventory at:

ftp://ftp.electionstudies.org/ftp/anes/OC/CoreUtility/ALT2010core.htm

The non-standard content of questionnaires has varied over the years. For example, candidate positions on issues of government policy are recognized as predictors of candidate preferences, but two one-hour interviews do not permit measuring positions on all of the many issues enjoying government attention at any one time in history. So from year to year, different choices have been made about which issues to include in the questionnaire.

As in the past, ANES will continue to emphasize best practices in sample design, respondent recruitment, and interviewing.  As always, we aim to provide top-quality service in many respects, including: (1) the careful and extensive planning that must be done before the field work begins, (2) the hard work that will be done by interviewers, supervisors, and study managers during data collection to monitor productivity and make adjustments in strategy to maximize the quality of the final product, and (3) the extensive data processing efforts (including integration of an extensive contextual data file) that will be required to assemble and document the final data set.

 

About the Online Commons

Content for the ANES 2012 Time Series Study will primarily evolve from two sources:  previous ANES Time Series questionnaires and new proposals received via the ANES Online Commons (OC).  The OC is an Internet-based system designed to promote communication among scholars and to yield innovative proposals about the most effective ways to measure electorally-relevant concepts and relationships. The goal of the OC is to improve the quality and scientific value of ANES data collections, to encourage the submission of new ideas, and to make such experiences more beneficial to and enjoyable for investigators. In the last study cycle, more than 700 scholars sent over 200 proposals through the OC.

Proposals for the inclusion of questions must include clear theoretical and empirical rationales. All proposals must also clearly state how the questions will increase the value of the respective studies. In particular, proposed questions must have the potential to help scholars understand the causes and/or consequences of turnout or candidate choice.

The ANES Online Commons will accept proposals until 3:00pm Eastern Time on August 30, 2011. The deadline for members of the Online Commons community to comment on proposals is September 8, 2011. The deadline for revisions to proposals is at 3:00pm Eastern Time on September 14, 2011.

For additional information about how to submit a proposal, please visit:

http://www.electionstudies.org/

 

Proposal Evaluation Criteria

The following criteria will guide the PIs and the ANES Board in evaluating proposals made through the Online Commons. We strongly encourage anyone who is considering making a proposal to read the following carefully.

1. Problem-Relevant. Are the theoretical motivations, proposed concepts and survey items relevant to ongoing controversies among researchers? How will the data that the proposers expect to observe advance the debate?

What specific analyses of the data will be performed? What might these analyses reveal? How would these findings be relevant to specific questions or controversies?

2. Suitability to ANES. The primary mission of the ANES is to advance our understanding of voter choice and electoral participation. Ceteris paribus, concepts and instrumentation that are relevant to our understanding of these phenomena will be considered more favorably than items tapping other facets of politics, public opinion, American culture or society.

3. Building on Solid Theoretical Footing. Does the proposed instrumentation follow from a plausible theory of political behavior?

4. Demonstrated Validity and Reliability of Proposed Items. Proposed items should be accompanied by evidence demonstrating their validity and reliability. Validity has various facets: e.g., construct validity, concurrent validity, discriminant validity and predictive validity. Any assessment of predictive validity should keep in mind criterion 2, above.

Reliability can be demonstrated in various ways; one example is test-retest reliability. We understand that proposals for novel concepts and/or instrumentation will almost always lack empirical evidence demonstrating validity and/or reliability. Proposals for truly "novel" instrumentation might be best suited for the series of smaller, cross-sectional studies ANES will field in the period 2010 through the summer of 2012; as a general matter, we are highly unlikely to field untested instrumentation on the Fall 2012 pre-election and post-election surveys.

5. Breadth of Relevance and Generalizability. Will the research that results from the proposed instrumentation be useful to many scholars?

Given the broad usage of ANES data, we may be unable to accommodate requests to include items that are relevant for one -or only a few- hypothesis tests. Ceteris paribus, items that are potentially relevant for a wide range of analyses will be considered more favorably than items that would seem to have less applicability.

When the 2012 questionnaires are designed, the status of the standard questions will be central considerations. Standard questions do not have an infinite shelf life -- Science advances and new insights can reveal more effective ways of asking important questions or can show that some questions do not in fact meet the requirements of remaining a standard question.  However, proposed changes made to standard questions will be scrutinized with recognition of the value of continuity over time.  While we will welcome proposals to change standard questions, the burden of proof required for making such changes will be high. We will take most seriously arguments that are backed by concrete evidence and strong theory.

All proposals that include a change to a particular question (standard or non-standard) should name the specific question that would be altered and provide a full explanation as to why the ANES user community will benefit by such a change.

Tools To Assist Your Proposal Development

As previously mentioned, researchers can access the ANES Question Inventory at:

ftp://ftp.electionstudies.org/ftp/anes/OC/CoreUtility/ALT2010core.htm

This Inventory provides the list of standard and non-standard questions that have been part of the Time Series, and includes frequencies for the most recent studies.

We have also created a second resource to review questions that have been asked previously.  The ANES Time Series Codebook Search utility searches existing codebooks from studies in the ANES Time Series.   You can access the utility at http://ftp.nes.isr.umich.edu/backup/searchhelp.htm  

(Please note that there are some limitations to the utility that are documented on the search help page, the link to that page is at the top of the utility page.)

We hope that you will find these tools useful as you prepare your proposals.

The opportunity to submit proposals is open to anyone who wants to make a constructive contribution to the development of the ANES 2012 Time Series Study. Feel free to pass this invitation along to anyone (e.g., your colleagues and students) who you think might be interested. We hope to hear from you.

For additional resources and information on how to submit a proposal, please visit http://www.electionstudies.org/onlinecommons/

 

Darrell Donakowski

Director of Studies

American National Election Studies (ANES)

Videos from the IASSIST 2011 Plenaries

Hello - for those who were not able to attend IASSIST 2011 and for those asking to have access to video presentations, the two videos of the Plenaries from IASSIST 2011 are now available for viewing:

Chuck Humphrey - Data Library Coordinator, University of Alberta
Research Data Infrastructure: Are the Social Sciences on Main Street or a Side Road?

Chuck Humphrey is passionate about data and has been examining research data infrastructure with a global perspective. His talk will locate the social sciences in the broader E-science picture and give us a glimpse of the future.

Plenary II 

Date: Thursday, June 02 

Video   

 

Andrea Reimer - Councillor, City of Vancouver
Open Data in Vancouver: The Inspiration and the Vision


Andrea Reimer is a Councillor for the city of Vancouver and is a passionate advocate for democracy and civic engagement. The City of Vancouver has led the way with the adoption of a resolution in May [2009] that endorsed open and accessible data, open standards, and open source software. Ms Reimer has been heavily involved in this initiative and will share her passion with IASSIST.

Plenary III 

Date: Friday, June 03 

Video

 

The QuickTime .mov files are available in a variety of viewing formats: via desktops, iPhone, iPod, iPad, smartphones.

We have had various and mixed reports on streaming successes. These are large Video files (each over an Hour in length), so patience is required.


IASSIST SIGDC Meeting Held in Vancouver

The IASSIST Special Interest Group on Data Citation (SIGDC) met in Vancouver on Wednesday, June 1, with 15 people in attendance. The group discussed ways in which IASSIST members could influence data citation standards and behavior. Suggestions were made to:

  • Inventory the resources that the SIG maintains and knows about
  • Create a set of simple slides to share with faculty and students; these might include guidelines on citation format with examples but would not endorse a certain format
  • Create posters on data citation to hang in prominent places
  • Contact bibliographic software companies to make sure they include data as a specific resource type
  • Contact style guides – APA, Chicago, MLA – to ensure that they are providing appropriate citations for data and including DOIs
  • Create a set of Web pages on this topic on the IASSIST site
  • Contact Google Scholar with a list of issues related to data

Joachim Wackerow presented information on ways to make DOIs more machine-actionable. He pointed out that CrossRef has a new project to provide for HTTP negotiation. This would permit the DOI to link to rich structured metadata like DDI in addition to a human-readable metadata record.

US Budget Cuts Threaten Statistical Abstract

When the big news broke last month that the US Census Bureau is proposing budget cuts that would lead to the demise of the Statistical Compendia Branch, including the beloved Statistical Abstract, the library listservs lit up with concern.  It's not too late to take action if you haven't already notified your representatives about this issue.  There are now several venues where you can add your voice:

You can read more about the issue in Information Today and Library Journal.  Interestingly, the LJ article references commentators who believe that Data.gov could be a viable replacement for the Stat Ab (which I refuted), but even the future of Data.gov isn't necessarily secure.

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