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Happy (40th) Birthday UK Data Archive

The UKDA celebrated its anniversary in style, with a reception at the Houses of Parliament in London on Wednesday, 10th July (2007), a forward-looking workshop in its new building at the University of Essex on the 11th, with a return of some familiar faces who have moved on to retirement or other fields. See press release at The occasion called for reflection on the past, as the news story illuminates:

"Jointly funded by JISC and the ESRC, the UKDA is now an internationally renowned centre of expertise in data acquisition and is curator of the UK's largest collection of digital data in the social sciences and humanities. But as the booklet highlights, the development of the Archive has not always gone smoothly and in the early years even its strongest supporters could scarcely have imagined how successful it would become.


The first major challenge for the Archive was acquiring useful data to store - a process that proved much more difficult than expected. Three years after it was established, the Archive had only acquired a small random collection of surveys and there were only a handful of users. The breakthrough came in the 1970s with the acquisition of data collected in large government surveys including the General Household Survey, the Labour Force Survey, and the Family Expenditure Survey. Since then, the Archive's holdings have grown from strength to strength and its data are in high demand both nationally and internationally."

The Archive staff produced a booklet for the occasion, which is mirrored in a content-rich anniversary website here


including a photo montage at


Congratulations, guys!


Robin Rice


EDINA & Edinburgh University Data Library


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