By mhayslett | September 20, 2016
Our World and all the Local Worlds Welcome to the first issue of Volume 40 of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ 40:1, 2016). We present four papers in this issue. The first paper presents data from our very own world, extracted from papers published in the IQ through four decades. What is published in the IQ is often limited in geographical scope and in this issue the other three papers present investigations and project research carried out at New York University, Purdue University, and the Federal Reserve System. However, the subject scope of the papers and the methods employed bring great diversity. And although the papers are local in origin they all have a strong focus for generalization in order to spread the information and experience.
We proudly present the paper that received the ‘best paper award’ at the IASSIST conference 2015. Great thanks are expressed to all the reviewers who took part in the evaluation! In the paper ‘Social Science Data Archives: A Historical Social Network Analysis’ the authors Kristin R. Eschenfelder (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Morgaine Gilchrist Scott, Kalpana Shankar, and Greg Downey are reporting on inter-organizational influence and collaboration among social science data archives through data of articles published in IASSIST Quarterly in 1976 to 2014. The paper demonstrates social network analysis (SNA) using a web of ‘nodes’ (people/authors/institutions) and ‘links’ (relationships between nodes). Several types of relationships are identified: influencing, collaborating, funding, and international. The dynamics are shown in detail by employing five year sections. I noticed that from a reluctant start the amount of relationships has grown significantly and archives have continuously grown better at bringing in ‘influence’ from other ‘nodes’. The paper contributes to the history of social science data archives and the shaping of a research discipline.
The paper ‘Understanding Academic Patrons’ Data Needs through Virtual Reference Transcripts: Preliminary Findings from New York University Libraries’ is authored by Margaret Smith and Jill Conte who are both librarians at New York University, and Samantha Guss, a librarian at University of Richmond who worked at New York University from 2009-14. The goal of their paper is ‘to contribute to the growing body of knowledge about how information needs are conceptualized and articulated, and how this knowledge can be used to improve data reference in an academic library setting’. This is carried out by analysis of chat transcripts of requests for census data at NYU. There is a high demand for the virtual services of the NYU Libraries and there are as many as 15,000 annual chat transactions. There has not been much qualitative research of users’ data needs, but here the authors exemplify the iterative nature of grounded theory with data collection and analysis processes inextricably entwined and also using a range of software tools like FileLocator Pro, TextCrawler, and Dedoose. Three years of chat reference transcripts were filtered down to 147 transcripts related to United States and international census data. The unique data provides several insights, shown in the paper. However, the authors are also aware of the limitations in the method as it did not include whether the patron or librarian considered the interaction successful. The conclusion is that there is a need for additional librarian training and improved research guides.
The third paper is also from a university. Amy Barton, Paul J. Bracke, Ann Marie Clark, all from Purdue University, collaborated on the paper ‘Digitization, Data Curation, and Human Rights Documents: Case Study of a Library Researcher-Practitioner Collaboration’. The project concerns the digitization of Urgent Action Bulletins of Amnesty International from 1974 to 2007. The political science research centered on changes of transnational human rights advocacy and legal instrumentation, while the Libraries’ research related to data management, metadata, data lifecycle, etcetera. The specific research collaboration model developed was also generalized for future practitioner-librarian collaboration projects. The project is part of a recent tendency where academic libraries will improve engagement and combine activities between libraries and users and institutions. The project attempts to integrate two different lifecycle models thus serving both research and curatorial goals where the central question is: ‘can digitization processes be designed in a manner that feeds directly into analytical workflows of social science researchers, while still meeting the needs of the archive or library concerned with long-term stewardship of the digitized content?'. The project builds on data of Urgent Action Bulletins produced by Amnesty International for indication of how human rights concerns changed over time, and the threats in different countries at different periods, as well as combining library standards for digitization and digital collections with researcher-driven metadata and coding strategies. The data creation started with the scanning and creation of the optical character recognized (OCR) version of full text PDFs for text recognition and modeling in NVivo software. The project did succeed in developing shared standards. However, a fundamental challenge was experienced in the grant-driven timelines for both library and researcher. It seems to me that the expectation of parallel work was the challenge to the project. Things take time.
In the fourth paper we enter the case of the Federal Reserve System. San Cannon and Deng Pan, working at the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City and Chicago, created a pilot for an infrastructure and workflow support for making the publication of research data a regular part of the research lifecycle. This is reported in the paper ‘First Forays into Research Data Dissemination: A Tale from the Kansas City Fed’. More than 750 researchers across the system produce yearly about 1,000 journal articles, working papers, etcetera. The need for data to support the research has been recognized, and the institution is setting up a repository and defining a workflow to support data preservation and future dissemination. In early 2015 the internal Center for the Advancement of Research and Data in Economics (CADRE) was established with a mission to support, enhance, and advance data or computationally intensive research, and preservation and dissemination were identified as important support functions for CADRE. The paper presents details and questions in the design such as types of collections, kind and size of data files, and demonstrates influence of testers and curators. The pilot also had to decide on the metadata fields to be used when data is submitted to the system. The complete setup including incorporated fields was enhanced through pilot testing and user feedback. The pilot is now being expanded to other Federal Reserve Banks.
Papers for the IASSIST Quarterly are always very welcome. We welcome input from IASSIST conferences or other conferences and workshops, from local presentations or papers especially written for the IQ. When you are preparing a presentation, give a thought to turning your one-time presentation into a lasting contribution. We permit authors ‘deep links’ into the IQ as well as deposition of the paper in your local repository. Chairing a conference session with the purpose of aggregating and integrating papers for a special issue IQ is also much appreciated as the information reaches many more people than the session participants, and will be readily available on the IASSIST website at https://www.iassistdata.org.
Authors are very welcome to take a look at the instructions and layout: https://www.iassistquarterly.com/index.php/iassist/about/submissions.
Authors can also contact me via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 June 2016 Editor