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Articles and news of interest to IASSIST members

IASSIST new look website

Welcome to the new (May, 2010) IASSIST website, based on Drupal open source technology and hosted by LIS-host. The new logo and website artwork was commissioned by the Publications Chair, Walter Piovesan, and done by Josh Laidlaw, from British Columbia.

Harrison Dekker, from University of California-Berkeley, is our 'drupal guru' who has done the lion's share of the work, porting over the old content and setting up the new format. more...

Odds Are, It's Wrong Science fails to face the shortcomings of statistics

In the March 27, 2010 issue of Science News, this article talks about how "widespread misuse of statistical methods makes science more like a crapshoot". The problem appears to be based in the misunderstanding and misuse of the concept of statistical significance. more...

UKDA Director

Congratulations to IASSIST members Kevin Schürer and Matthew Woollard!

Professor Schürer has announced he'll be leaving the directorship of the UK Data Archive in order to take up a new post at the University of Leicester as Pro-Vice Chancellor of Research later this year.

Dr. Woollard, currently Associate Director and Head of Digital Preservation and Systems, will become Director-Designate from the beginning of March 2010. more...

US and UK governments embrace 'open data'

The US Open Government Directive, released on December 8, 2009, instructs all federal agencies to provide high-value information to the public online in open, accessible, machine-readable formats. more...

ICPSR's Myron Gutmann to head NSF Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate

U-M's Gutmann to head NSF Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate, University of Michigan News Service, July 27, 2009.

Gutmann, who specializes in historical demography and population-environment relationships, currently directs the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR). He begins his NSF position Nov. 2.

- Jim Jacobs

After the hype: Behind the Scenes of the Wolfram Alpha Search Engine

There was a lot of hype when the new search engine WolframAlpha was launched earlier this year.  An article in the current issue of Technology Review does a better job of explaining how it works and how it fits in with other search engines. more...

ICPSR Summer Program course on DDI

As you may have heard during last week’s wonderful IASSIST meeting in Tampere, there are still spaces available in the ICPSR Summer Program course on DDI, to be held at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, on July 13-16. The course is titled “Documenting Data Using DDI 3.0: Supporting Research, Collection Management, and Access,” and instructors are Wendy Thomas (Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota) and Arofan Gregory (Open Data Foundation). more...

Special IQ: Moving Research Data Into and Out of Institutional Repositories

The IASSIST Quarterly IQ Vol. 31 issue 3&4 is now available on the web:

http://iassistdata.org/publications/iq/iqvol31.html

This issue will only be available on the web. There will be no printed version mailed out to the membership.

This double issue is the work of the authors and their articles are introduced below. We are presenting an integrated double issue of high quality. We should also give a special thanks to the editors of the issue. Gretchen Gano is the writing guest editor of this IQ as you can see below. Gretchen Gano is the Assistant Curator Librarian for Public Administration & Government Information and Coordinator, Data Service Studio at New York University Libraries. Gretchen Gano collaborated on this issue from the start with former IASSIST president Ann Green. Together with the authors a great issue has been made.

Enjoy

Karsten Boye Rasmussen, IQ editor, associate professor, kbr@sam.sdu.dk, Marketing & Management, SDU, University of Southern Denmark +45 6550 2115

Guest Editor's Notes:

The 2008 IASSIST Conference, “Technology of Data: Collection, Communication, Access and Preservation” included a session entitled “Moving Research Data Into and Out of Institutional Repositories” from which several papers emerged. In “Interoperability Between Institutional and Data Repositories: a Pilot Project at MIT”, Katherine McNeill describes a pilot project to enhance study discovery between two repository systems housed in the same institution, DSpace and the Institute for Quantitative Social Science Dataverse Network, by enabling the harvesting and replication of metadata and content across the two systems. In a related project across the pond, Libby Bishop scales this discussion in her description of crossinstitutional collection sharing between the University of Leeds and the UK Data Archive in the Timescapes project. Bishop asserts that coordination among multiple agents is likely to be challenging under any circumstances. Challenges magnify when the trajectories of different life cycles, for research projects and for data sharing, are considered. Robin Rice echoes these sentiments in her article on the DISC-UK DataShare Project, a collaboration between the Universities of Edinburgh, Oxford and Southampton and the London School of Economics. Rice provides visual evidence in a compelling diagram of the data sharing continuum based on storage, discovery, and preservation conditions of the digital research materials at each level along the scale -- from the lowly thumb drive to the officious national archive. We see plainly that as one moves up the continuum, more and more human effort and intervention is required to craft the discovery, access, analytic and preservation environment. In other words, data curators matter.

Two other papers tackle these challenges by emphasizing the needs of data producers. Luis Martinez-Uribe introduces the University of Oxford’s Scoping Digital Repository Services for Research Data Management project and the findings of a requirement gathering exercise. While the study results reveal researchers’ needs and workflows. Martinez-Uribe asserts that the study process itself made an impact on the participants. Study participants reflected on and, as a result, fine-tuned how they work with data, why they create these materials in the first place and were able to articulate reasons for managing these resources the way they do. Similarly, Research Data & Environmental Sciences Librarian, Gail Steinhart, writes about the development of DataStaR, a Data Staging Repository hosted by Cornell University’s Albert R. Mann Library. The project developed as a “managed workspace” where researchers contribute datasets they are still actively using in direct response to questions that have to do with sharing in the active research environment, rather than an archival one.

While the authors in this issue describe projects going on in many different places and settings, taken together, these articles address common themes. All address the challenge of scaling data exchange between systems and then between institutions. This raises the perennial question of standards: by what mechanisms will we set them, and how well will we be able to follow them and still accommodate local needs? The importance of aligning repository services with researcher needs is another common thread. Data managers must ask, “how will the active researcher benefit from curation efforts”? The answer may be that benefit is more than finding or accessing a particular resource (yep, I have downloaded the whole thing and all the bits are there), but instead being able to examine this resource in many ways (okay, lets run frequencies, now I want to see it on a map, and let’s include some other variables). This is a rich reuse experience, creating a real digital “laboratory.”

Finally, each contributor notes the expanding role of data manager. In its own way, each project described here moves data managers upstream, pre-publication, into the place where research is actively happening. Though all of the articles focus on technological choices and architectures to support research data curation, it is striking to realize that each of these choices emerge from old-fashioned personal, social, and organizational relationships. What we can strive for as data and information managers is to work together as fellow researchers and to be ever curious about how these partnerships and the sharing of information back and forth can be enhanced by thoughtful information and technology design. Some call this the digital plumbing, but I like to think of it as e-gilding.

Gretchen Gano, New York University Libraries

Google Launches Data Visualization Service

Several weeks ago, Google contacted me at BLS to let us know they were using some of our data in a launch of a new service in data visualization.  Their plan is to make as much data available as possible with as rich a tool set as they can provide.  To see an example, enter the phrase "US Unemployment Rate" in the Google search box.  The top link sends you to a page that allows you to superimpose historical graphs of unemployment rates down to any county in the US.  There is a link at the bottom of the page for "Information for Publishers" for people interested in l more...

New IQ!

The IASSIST Quarterly (IQ Vol. 31 issue 2 - 2007) is now available on the web:

 

http://iassistdata.org/publications/iq/iqvol31.html

 

This issue will be printed and mailed to the membership. From next issue IASSIST will be saving trees and only publish the IQ on the web. We hope you agree with our decision. Thanks.

  more...

  • Iassist Quarterly

    Publications 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.

    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...

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    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...