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January 2012

IASSIST 2012 Fellows Program

The IASSIST Fellows Program is now accepting applications for financial support to attend the IASSIST 2012 conference in Washington [], from data professionals from countries with emerging economies who are developing and managing data infrastructures at their home institutions.

Please be aware that funding is not intended to cover the entire cost of attending the conference. The applicant’s home institution must provide some level of financial support to supplement the IASSIST Fellow award. Strong preference will be given to first time participants, and applicants from Latin-American countries. Only fully completed applications will be accepted. Applicants submitting a paper for the conference will be given priority consideration for funding.

 You may apply for funding via this form.

For more information, to apply for funding or nominate a person for a Fellowship, please send an email to the Fellows Committee chair, Luis Martínez-Uribe.


IASSIST Quarterly (2011: Fall)

Sharing data and building information

With this issue (volume 35-3, 2011) of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ) we return to the regular format of a collection of articles not within the same specialist subject area as we have seen in recent special issues of IQ. Naturally the three articles presented here are related to the IQ subject area in general, as in: assisting research with data, acquiring data from research, and making good use of the user community. This last topic could also be spelled “involvement”. The hope is that these articles will carry involvement to the IASSIST community, so that the gained knowledge can be shared and practised widely.

“Mind the gap” is a caveat to passengers on the London Underground. The authors of this article are Susan Noble, Celia Russell and Richard Wiseman, all affiliated with ESDS-International hosted by Mimas at the University of Manchester in the UK. The ESDS, standing for “Economic and Social Data Service”, are extending their reach beyond the UK. In the article “Mind the Gap: Global Data Sharing” they are looking into how today’s research on the important topics of climate change, economic crises, migration and health requires cross-national data sharing. Clearly these topics are international (e.g. the weather or air pollution does not stop at national borders), but the article discusses how existing barriers prevent global data sharing. The paper is based on a presentation in a session on “Sharing data: High Rewards, Formidable Barriers” at the IASSIST 2009 conference. It is demonstrated how even international data produced by intergovernmental organizations like the International Monetary Fund, the International Energy Agency, OECD, the United Nations and the World Bank are often only available with an expensive subscription, presented in complex incomprehensible tables, through special interfaces; such barriers are making the international use of the data difficult. Because of missing metadata standards it is difficult to evaluate the quality of the dataset and to search for and locate the data resources required. The paper highlights the development of e-learning materials that can raise awareness and ease access to international data. In this case the example is e-learning for the “United Nations Millennium Development Goals”.

The second paper is also related to the sharing of data with an introduction to the international level. “The Research-Data-Centre in Research-Data-Centre Approach: A First Step Towards Decentralised International Data Sharing” is written by Stefan Bender and Jörg Heining from the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) in Nuremberg, Germany. In order to preserve the confidentiality of single entities, access to complete datasets is often restricted to monitored on-site analysis. Although off-site access is facilitated in other countries, Germany has relied on on-site security. However, an opportunity has been presented where Research Data Centre sites are placed at Statistical Offices around Germany, and also at a Michigan centre for demography. The article contains historical information on approaches and developments in other countries and has a special focus on the German solution. The project will gain experience in the complex balance between confidentiality and analysis, and the differences between national laws.

The paper by Stuart Macdonald from EDINA in Scotland originated as a poster session at the IASSIST 2010 conference. The name of the paper is “AddressingHistory: a Web2.0 community engagement tool and API”. The community consists of members within and outside academia, as local history groups and genealogists are using the software to enhance and combine data from historical Scottish Post Office Directories with large-scale historical maps. The background and technical issues are presented in the paper, which also looks into issues and perspectives of user generated content. The “crowdsourcing” tool did successfully generate engagement and there are plans for further development, such as upload and attachment of photos of people, buildings, and landmarks to enrich the collection.

Articles for the IQ are always very welcome. They can be papers from IASSIST conferences or other conferences and workshops, from local presentations or papers especially written for the IQ. If you don’t have anything to offer right now, then please prepare yourself for the next IASSIST conference and start planning for participation in a session there. Chairing a conference session with the purpose of aggregating and integrating papers for a special issue IQ is much appreciated as the information in the form of an IQ issue reaches many more people than the session participants and will be readily available on the IASSIST website at

Authors are very welcome to take a look at the instructions and layout:

Authors can also contact me via e-mail: 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

December 2011

Call for Workshops


Don't forget to propose that extra special workshop for IASSIST 2012. Deadline is Jan 16. You can also propose Pecha Kuchas, posters, and roundtable discussions until Jan 16.

Call for Workshops

Data Science for a Connected World: Unlocking and Harnessing the Power of Information

The 38th International Association for Social Science Information Services and Technology (IASSIST) annual conference will be hosted by NORC at the University of Chicago and will be held at the George Washington University in Washington DC, June 4 - 8, 2012.

The theme of this year's conferences is Data Science for a Connected World: Unlocking and Harnessing the Power of Information. This theme reflects the growing desire of research communities, government agencies and other organizations to build connections and benefit from the better use of data through practicing good management, dissemination and preservation techniques. Submissions are encouraged that offer improvements for creating, documenting, submitting, describing, disseminating, and preserving scientific research data.

Workshops details:
The conference committee seeks workshops that highlight this year’s theme Data Science for a Connected World: Unlocking and Harnessing the Power of Information.  Below is a sample of possible workshop topics that may be considered:

  • Innovative/disruptive technologies for data management and preservation
  • Infrastructures, tools and resources for data production and research
  • Linked data: opportunities and challenges
  • Metadata standards enhancing the utility of data
  • Challenges and concerns with inter-agency / intra-governmental data sharing
  • Privacy, confidentiality and regulation issues around sensitive data
  • Roles, responsibilities, and relationships in supporting data
  • Facilitating data exchange and sharing across boundaries
  • Data and statistical literacy
  • Data management plans and funding agency requirements
  • Norms and cultures of data in the sciences, social sciences and the humanities
  • Collaboration on research data infrastructure across domains and communities
  • Addressing the digital/statistical divide and the need for trans-national outreach
  • Citation of research data and persistent identifiers
  • The evolving data librarian profession

Successful workshop proposals will blend lecture and active learning techniques.  The conference planning committee will provide the necessary classroom space and computing supplies for all workshops.  For previous examples of IASSIST workshops, please see our 2010 workshops and our 2011 workshops. Workshops can be a half-day or full-day in length.

Procedure: Please submit the proposed title and an abstract of no longer than 200 words to Lynda Kellam ( With your submission please include a preliminary list of requirements including:

  • computer Lab OR classroom
  • software and hardware requirements
  • any additional expected requirements

Deadline for submissionJanuary 16, 2012
Notification of acceptance: March 2, 2012

Please contact Lynda Kellam, IASSIST workshop Coordinator, if you have any questions regarding workshop submissions at

IASSIST is an international organization of professionals working in and with information technology and data services to support research and teaching in the social sciences.  Typical workplaces include data archives/libraries, statistical agencies, research centers, libraries, academic departments, government departments, and non‐profit organizations.  Visit  for further information.

June 4 - 8, 2012
Washington DC, USA

-IASSIST 2012 Program Chairs: Jake Carlson, Pascal Heus and Oliver Watteler

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    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...

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