IASSIST Report of the Canadian Regional Secretary
The Data Centre
The past year has seen Canadian institutions continuing and expanding their co-operative ventures and partnerships. The following report is based on specific institutions per se, but rather reflects on-going and new initiatives of a national and regional nature.
- CAPDU at the Learneds
CAPDU was held in conjunction with the Learneds in Calgary last June. This was the second year that meetings were held with the Learned Societies of Canada. It was decided that this would continue in the future,except in those years where IASSIST was held in Canada. In this case, CAPDU will meet with IASSIST.
- The Data Liberation Initiative
Championed by the Social Science Federation of Canada, the Data Liberation Initiative would see Canadian universities entering into a partnership with Statistics Canada, the Depository Services Programme and government funders to supply publicly-available datasets to the academic community. To date, all parties are enthusiastic. What remains to be found are firm commitments to funding.
- The ARL/GIS Literacy Project
Twenty-one Canadian universities will be participating in Phase III of the ARL/GIS Literacy Project. This is a partnership between industry and Canadian research libraries to provide training in GIS for information professionals. Two sessions to train the trainers will be held in Montreal in June and Edmonton in September. All that remains to be negotiated is access to the data. (See above.)
- Data Consortia
The 1991 Canadian Census of Population and the 1986 and 1991 Census of Agriculture have been received and processed by the University of Toronto. The agriculture files have been disseminated and the light is visible at the end of the population tunnel.
Round 2 of the General Social Survey has been disseminated. In addition, the Solicitor General of Canada underwrote the cost of providing the Violence against Women Survey to all Census/GSS consortium participants.
- Other Nationally-available Datasets
Negotiations with the Health Canada Monitor and Price Waterhouse will likely see the Canadian Health Monitors made available for non-commercial use by Canadian universities. Other datasets that are soon to be nationally released at no cost include:
- The Canadian National Survey on Health and Ageing
- Polls from Insight Canada Research (Omnibus Quarterlies from 1992 to 1994 and special polls from 1990 to 1994)
- datasets from the Canadian Labour Market Productivity Centre
- DSP Review
All Canadian government programs, including the DSP, were under review during the past year. A group representing various types of libraries and including the Social Science Federation participated in a series of meetings that was to decide the future direction of the program. Thus far, no final report has been issued and no final decision has been made, although it does appear that the program has survived.
ACCOLEDS (A COPPUL Consortium of Library Electronic Data Services) entered year two of their federation. They held their annual meeting and workshop at UBC in August. The workshop focused on (1) Unix tools for verifying data orders and (2) mainstreaming data in the library.
The consortium of universities in Ontario and Quebec is planned to formally join ICPSR July 1, 1995. This will bring the number of Canadian institutions subscribing to ICPSR to an all-time high.
- CANSIM (East and West)
Network access to CANSIM (Statistics Canada’s Socio- economic Database) has been advanced on two fronts: UofT’s EPAS client/server and Web access and UBC/SFU’s client/server and recent Web access. ACCOLEDS proposed to COPPUL directors a project to provide access to members through UBC/SFU’s CANSIM network server in November. A more detailed proposal was presented in April, and will hopefully be implemented in the next month or two. EPAS is now providing service to about 10 Canadian institutions.
- CREPUQ (Quebec)
The second annual meeting of la Groupe de travail sur les fichiers de donnees numeriques was held at McGill with about twenty universities represented. The Universite de Montreal and Laval are developing a joint gopher to assist data users.
- Data Rescue (Alberta) The UofA Data Library participated in the data rescue of governmental research data emanating from 20 years of the Alberta Hail Study. These are valuable data that would have disappeared as a result on a provincial government program being eliminated had not efforts been taken to preserve the data.
Representation on National Committees
CAPDU (and by association, IASSIST) are formally represented on the following committees:
- Statistics Canada’s Library Consultative Group
- Canadian Global Change Program of the Royal Society of Canada (Data and Information Systems Panel)
- Bureau of Canadian Archivists Planning Committee on Descriptive Standards and Rules for Archival Description Project
- Campaign for Open Government
- Electronic Democracy Advisory Board
- Task Force on the Use of Statistics Canada Products in Libraries (report available from Statistics Canada on request)
Canadian Data-related Gophers and WWW sites
- University of Alberta Data Library Gopher
- IASSIST Home Page
- Queen’s Centre for the Study of Public Opinion