New IQ issue - intro from the editor

By robin | June 15, 2007

The IASSIST Quarterly (IQ Vol. 30 issue 2 - 2006) is now available on the web:

Winter came late in Denmark, but suddenly the situation was normal: snow came and traffic stopped. And now 14 days after spring was here in March. I sat outside in the sun reading articles. Still it’s more difficult to write articles outside, we are waiting for the improvements of the computer screens. However, some people have stayed inside to write articles for the IASSIST Quarterly. They are presented below.

The first article “Microdata Information System - MISSY” is written by Andrea Janssen and Jeanette Bohr from Centre for Survey Research and Methodology, ZUMA at Mannheim in Germany. The MISSY was presented at the session on “Effective Strategies for Metadata Management” by Andrea Janssen, Jeanette Bohr, and Joachim Wackerow at the IASSIST conference in April 2006 in Ann Arbor. The data behind or in the system is the German microcensus for 1995 and 1997 containing a sample of one percent of all German households. The microcensus has been carried out since 1957, and parts of the microcensus are available for research. The researchers need extensive metadata on both the study and variable level, e.g. the microcensus uses complicated classifications of professions, sectors, and household arrangements. The system is based on the standard from the Data Documentation Initiative and documentation includes general information such as questionnaire, codebooks, interviewer guides, frequencies and also some tips and recommendations on use of the data. MISSY is a German system, in German language, and for researchers in Germany. However, all are free to gain from the experiences presented in the article.

This second article was also presented at the IASSIST 2006 conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan, at the session “Innovations in Data Dissemination”. The title of the article is “User-Centered Design and Innovation in the Sociometrics Social Science Electronic Data Library (SSEDL)”. The authors Josefina J. Card, Tamara Kuhn, and Thomas Wells are all at Sociometrics Corporation. The article describes the Sociometrics Data Archives SSEDL (the Social Science Electronic Data Library) as being a rich source of data for those in the public health, medical, nursing, social work, and social science professions. Datasets comes with several description files for SAS and SPSS. This is the “product package”. Purchasers can acquire data on CD-ROM or download from a web site and downloading have had high rise in usage. In order to help users identify relevant datasets Sociometics have launched a topic based drill down system showing “areas of richness” which helps users identify and reach datasets and variables and the documentation behind.

The last pages are the “Overview of a Proposed Standard for the Scholarly Citation of Quantitative Data” by Micah Altman and Gary King. This is an extended abstract summarizing a proposed standard for citation. This was presented at the IASSIST 2006 conference in Ann Arbor at the session “New Standards in Statistics and Data Citations” by Micah Altman, Harvard University. Micah Altman is Associate Director, Harvard-MIT Data Center & Senior Research Scientist , Institute for Quantitative Social Science; Harvard University. Gary King is David Florence Professor of Government, Institute for Quantitative Social Science, Harvard University. The authors mention that as a minimum citations should include author(s), date of publishing the data set, and the data set title. These fields have been discussed earlier during the last close to 50 years of documentation of data sets; and the fields are not so unambiguous now not to be discussed further. For instance a great many people can be called “authors” in the production of a data set, and the same data set can have several other relevant dates attached besides “publishing date”. The authors recommend using the DDI elements but their main business is to propose some novel fields that are directly linked to the use of modern technology. First of all a Unique Global Identifier. The authors mention a naming resolution service and that brings to mind the technology of the internet with name servers for looking up the correct IP, however in this context more than one copy of the dataset can exist at different physical locations. Secondly technology is applied in adding a Universal Numeric Fingerprint. This should guarantee that the data set has not been changed even though the data set might exist in different software. This should probably apply to the documentation as well.

The IASSIST is always open at the website and you can look at conference information and visit the IASSIST blog - the IASSIST Communique - at

Articles for the IASSIST Quarterly are most welcome. Articles can be papers from IASSIST conferences, from other conferences, from local presentations, discussion input, etc. Contact the editor via e-mail:

Karsten Boye Rasmussen Editor of IASSIST Quarterly

Associate Professor Department of Marketing & Management University of Southern Denmark Campusvej 55, DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark +45 6550 2115 fax: +45 6615 5129