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The next generation Timescapes Archive - supporting the complex structures and relationships of qualitative longitudinal data

Presenter 1
Ben Ryan
University of Leeds

Timescapes, an ESRC funded study, has developed an archive to hold the data and documentation outputs of seven empirical longitudinal qualitative projects. One limitation that has become clear is that the platform used to archive the data (DigiTool) does not support the rich diversity, structure and inter-relationships that the data sets require to be of maximum use to the research community. The archive platform treats all files as "digital objects" and does not allow the modelling of complex structures of information and its inter-relationships. It is not possible to clearly display the connections between artefacts produced from a number of interviews and cohort activities over a number of phases. A consequence of this lack of relation is the inability to present the artefacts utilising time as a dimension other than simplistic date based searching, severely constraining the usability of longitudinal data. Adopting the Fedora Commons platform will allow the archive to represent concepts and relationships between concepts, such as collections, waves, and longitudinal case studies to be directly represented in the archive. The new architecture will support the representation of standards e.g. DDI and emerging initiatives e.g. QuDeX (an XML standard for qualitative data exchange) directly within the archive.

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