By LHorton | June 6, 2013
From 28-31 May, GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences hosted the 39th Annual Conference of the International Association for Social Science Information Service and Technology, aka #iassist2013
IASSIST conferences provide an overview of what’s happening in information technology and data services and allow exchange of ideas between participants working in different backgrounds - from social science and humanities to information and computer science. The aim of this year’s event was to help us move closer to the dream of technical and organizational measures that make research data discoverable and accessible.
Two-hundred and eighty five participants were welcomed to Cologne by GESIS President York Sure-Vetter ahead of a program of workshops, presentations, posters and discussions around this year’s topic of “Data Innovation: Increasing Accessibility, Visibility, and Sustainability”.
The first day of the conference offered eight workshops, providing participants the opportunity to look at specific topics like licensing data, data visualization or DOI assignment. Sessions on a variety of tools and methods were also offered, specifically the OLAP analysis method, R open source software, and CharmStats - GESIS’s newly developed data harmonization software which was formally launched at IASSIST.
Over the following three days there were a total of three plenaries and 32 concurrent sessions organized in three tracks.
Presentations and discussions were concentrated in the track “Research Data Management” (RDM). This embraced a spectrum of topics related to all aspects of the data lifecycle. Emphasis was on policies, strategies and tools to support researchers in managing their research data. In addition presentations demonstrated various supporting collaborative infrastructures and virtual research environments at institutional, national or international level. Another focus was data citation and publications to enhance discoverability of data and professional credit for data sharing. Additional discussion offered answers to the question of how responsible use of complex or sensitive data can be facilitated. Finally sessions in the RDM track dedicated themselves to the subject of data curation and long-term preservation.
The track “Data Developers and Tools” presented a technical point of view with offerings from those working in application development – seasoning their work with a good dash of metadata. Questions were asked and solutions presented on the topics of interoperability, interconnection and integration, and preservation of data. A special role here is played by the DDI metadata standard to which many tools and applications have been introduced to simplify the creation and management of DDI metadata or provide value-added services on setting the standard up.
The track “Data Public Services/Librarianship” confronted aspects of access to research data. Here, development of data services from country-specific perspective (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia) was highlighted, but the track also managed to look at specific data types (non-digital, historical, confidential and sensitive data).
Slides of the presentations and video recordings of selected events will be published in the coming weeks on the IASSIST website providing you an opportunity to plunge into the world IASSIST 2013. Let’s do it all again in Toronto for IASSIST 2014!
Astrid Recker, Laurence Horton, Alexia Katsanidou GESIS Archive and Data Management Training Center
IASSIST 2013 by the numbers
- 285 participants from 29 countries (a new IASSIST record!)
- Nearly two-thirds from Europe (64%), one-third from North America
- 2 Participants from Africa and 9 from the Asia-Pacific region
Top 5 countries represented
- Germany: 88
- United States: 66
- UK: 32
- Canada: 23
- Netherlands: 10
- 8 workshops with 103 participants
- 32 parallel sessions featuring 126 presentations
- 35 Posters
- 11 Pecha Kuchas
- 3 Plenary Sessions
- 2 songs
- 1 Banquet
- Lots of white asparagus served
- Many glasses of Kölsch drunk
- 8 Complaints about the venue Wi-Fi