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June 2006

Q and A on data-librarianship

During the colloquy hosted by the Chronicle of Higher Education today, there were a number of questions about the role of libraries and librarians in preservation of and access to data. Although the focus was on e-science more than social science, the questions and answers might be of interest. All the questions and answers are available here. D. Scott Brandt, associate dean of libraries at Purdue University, is helping to build a repository of scientific data.


-- jim jacobs


The Chronicle: Colloquy: Data Deluge


The Chronicle of Higher Education is sponsoring an online discussion on Thursday, June 22 on the topic of preserving data.


The Chronicle: Colloquy: Data Deluge more...

What to do about data in old formats?

Recently I posted a message to the IASSIST mailing list about a study in in the ICPSR Publication Related Archive that had a data file in an old (SST) statistical software format. I had no tools to convert or even read that file and was looking for a solution to get the data. I solved that problem through the kindness of the software producer who converted the file for me.

This brought to mind a new question:

Is there something IASSIST or ICPSR can or should be doing to share solutions for saving or converting data in old, no-longer-common formats?

I'm thinking that some very small project might be a useful start: something like a registry of data libraries that still have "older" software and that would be willing to help data libraries that need to read or convert old datasets.

But there might be other opportunities as well: e.g.,

  • incorporating information about older formats and utilities for using them in ICPSR metadata;
  • formal communications with other groups that are interested in digital preservation (e.g., PRONOM for tools like JHOVE and Droid);
  • archiving old software
  • procedures at ICPSR for accepting deposit of converted datasets.

I'm not sure if others are interested in this general problem or if there is an IASSIST committee that might investigate it or propose solutions.

I'm posting this message to the IASSIST list and the blog and invite your comments and ideas...

- jim jacobs

Cataloging query: how does cataloging data differ from traditional library material?

In their never ending quest for information, Jen, Tiffani and Paula would like to know about people's experiences cataloging data. Do you use MARC format? Have you tried using DDI? At what level do you tend to catalog collections? How does it depart from cataloging traditional library matter? Enquiring minds want to know.


- Contributed by Jen Darragh

Statistical software in the news?

The Washington Post reports that the personal information recently stolen from the VA "was stored in a format that could make it difficult for thieves to use, according to an internal VA memo."
In the May 5 memo, VA privacy officer Mark Whitney wrote that the critical data "may not be easily accessible" because most of it -- including names, birth dates and Social Security numbers -- was stored in a specialized, standard format used for data manipulation and statistical analysis.
See the full article: "VA Data in Format Not Widely Used" By Christopher Lee.

Defining Data Librarian - call for comments

Tiffani Conner, Paula Lackie and Jen Darragh are working on the handouts for an ALA poster session and have found that defining "data" and "data librarian" clearly, in a concise manner, for a non-data audience is really hard. In addition, some of the sources they consulted (the Online Dictionary of Library and Information Science - ODLIS , Oxford English Dictionary ) were not adequate (ODLIS has data, data set, social science data set but the definitions are not that great). They also looked at Wikipedia, and there is nothing for data librarian. more...

Waxing Lyrical about IASSIST 2006

The lyrics from this year's song are now available.

Conceptualizing the Digital Life Cycle

The Digital Life Cycle was mentioned many times during the IASSIST 2006 conference. Reaction toward this concept was varied. Some were unsure they liked this idea claiming that the life cycle was a confusing or imperfect metaphor. Others applied a very exact meaning to the concept associating it to the stages through which information passes within a system or large process. The Session that I chaired on Institutional Repositories and Social Science Data: Supporting the Data Life Cycle (B1) provided different visual representations of the digital life cycle. more...

  • IASSIST Quarterly

    Publications Special issue: A pioneer data librarian
    Welcome to the special volume of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ (37):1-4, 2013). This special issue started as exchange of ideas between Libbie Stephenson and Margaret Adams to collect


  • 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...

  • community

    • LinkedIn
    • Facebook
    • Twitter

    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...