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Conference Presentations 2005

  • IASSIST 2005-Evidence and Enlightenment, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
    Host Institution: EDINA National Data Cente and Edinburgh University Data Library

G1: Topical Data Collections: Cultural Gems (Fri, 2005-05-27)
Chair:Van der Meer, Cor

  • ASPECT: a digital library approach to Scottish electoral data
    Jane Barton (Centre for Digital Library Research, University of Strathclyde)
    Alan Dawson (Centre for Digital Library Research, University of Strathclyde)
    Andrew Williamson (Centre for Digital Library Research, University of Strathclyde)


    This paper reports on ASPECT (, an initiative which addresses both the public’s need for ready access to empirical data and ephemeral information associated with Scottish parliamentary elections, and the scholarly community’s need for continuing access to and preservation of such data and information.

    ASPECT has created a digital archive of electoral ephemera, together with detailed election results and statistics, from the 1999 and 2003 Scottish parliamentary elections. In the second phase of development, the digital archive will be extended to incorporate party election broadcasts, hustings, media interviews and news reports. The aim is to support both participative democracy in Scotland and retrospective analysis by the scholarly community; initial usage statistics suggest that ASPECT is already attracting a diverse range of users.

    The data covers not only the historic election of the first Scottish parliament for 300 years, but also the subsequent election in which the Scottish political context moved from a four-party to a six-party structure. The data provides unparalleled insight into the ways in which politicians’ discourse addresses the need to construct party identity in this more complex context and reflects Scotland’s multiple identities as a distinctive nation within the UK and the EU.

  • The North American Jewish Data Bank: a rare population archive
    Cindy Teixeira (Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, University of Connecticut)


    The North American Jewish Data Bank is a social science data archive focusing on historical and contemporary life of Jewish Communities in the United States. During the summer of 2004 the Data Bank moved to the University of Connecticut to better achieve its vision. This presentation will focus on current efforts to realize the three main goals of the Data Bank: 1) to upgrade the Data Bank's datasets to today's processing standards including material organization and metadata storage, 2) to increase the archival holdings of the Databank with both newly acquired datasets and supplemental materials from Roper Center collections, and 3) to stimulate and facilitate research and teaching using the Data Bank.

    The North American Jewish Data Bank is a collaborative project of United Jewish Communities, the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life at the University of Connecticut, and the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research.

G2: Gaining New Insight from Tables and Aggregate Data: Pivotal News (Fri, 2005-05-27)
Chair:Edwards, Michelle

  • The FRB and XML: national data and international standards
    San Cannon (Division of Research and Statistics, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve)


    Given the speed of technological progress, web users have become savvy surfers who are no longer content to look at static information on a text page. Users of Federal Reserve Board data are no exception and in an effort to address the needs of these more sophisticated users, the Board has undertaken to provide interactive access to the wealth of data it provides to the public. We have developed a web product which will allow both novice and power users easy access to exactly the data they want. From guided queries to batch download capabilities, users are able to specify which series, date range and format they’d like for their download. The data are modeled in XML using the SDMX (Statistical Data and Metadata eXchange) standard developed by a consortium of international agencies. Data modeled in XML using this new standard can be easily served up in a variety of formats, including XML, which will facilitate data exchange with other organizations that use the standard. We have developed a system, which will be demonstrated, that meets the current user needs and yet positions us for Web services and other technologies on the horizon.

  • Bring your tables to the Web
    Jostein Ryssevik (NESSTAR Limited)


    The presentation will focus on various aspect related to the documentation, publishing and presentation of aggregated multidimensional data (cubes) on the Web. Issues to be covered are: a) the principal differences between survey data and aggregated data, b) the DDI extensions for aggregated data compared to other alternatives (like SDMX) and c) elements of the Nesstar solution for aggregated data. Examples will be drawn from a variety of live data services based on aggregated data.

  • Data management lessons learned from developing GPW v3: implications for users
    W. Christopher Lenhardt (CIESIN - Columbia University)


    CIESIN and it partners have recently released their most recent version of Gridded Population of the World, version 3 (GPW v3). This data set is unique in that it integrates traditional social science data, population data derived from national census counts, with administrative and boundary data to produce a new data product with many interdisciplinary applications. Data file inputs number in the thousands and the output data set files and documentation number in the hundreds. The volume of these data presents unique data management and documentation issues above and beyond the usual technical issues related to the methodology behind the production of the integrated data product. This paper will present lessons learned from developing GPW v3, as well as implications of these lessons for end-users of the data. These issues gained increased salience in light of the use of GPW v3, and related data products, in response to the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

  • Strengths and weaknesses of the DDI Aggregate Data Extension in directly driving an on-line data visualisation system
    Humphrey Southall (University of Portsmouth)


    The "Vision of Britain through Time" website, UK National Lottery-funded, presented at IASSIST 2004 and launched last October, makes diverse historical information on Britain's localities available to the general public, but most of its contents are statistical: currently, 10.6m distinct data values. This paper focuses on our implementation of the DDI Aggregate Data Extension, fundamental to the system's internal operation: data are all held in one column of one database table and must be assigned to an nCube to be mapped or graphed. Some extensions reflect the particular application: the definition of themes and rates as additional entities. Others may be of more general applicability: defining universes and measurement units as entities, not attributes. Holding data in Oracle means the data map holds "cell references", not physical locations. Our metadata has to organise data from multiple censuses to chart change over time, making metadata authoring an act of interpretation.


G3:Transforming Data Archives: the Latest Insights (Fri, 2005-05-27)
Chair:Pagrach, Karel

  • A new data infrastructure for the humanities and social sciences in the Netherlands
    Peter Doorn (NIWI-KNAW)
  • Transforming National Data Services: Australia
    Deborah Mitchell (ACSPRI, Australian Social Science Data Archive (ASSDA))
    Sophie Holloway (ACSPRI, Australian Social Science Data Archive (ASSDA))


    The Australian Social Science Data Archive (ASSDA) faces interesting challenges in acquiring and distributing social science data to a relatively small but widely dispersed - in geographic terms - research community. This presentation will examine how new technologies can assist in transforming an archive that has primarily functioned in a highly centralised manner to a distributed archive that operates nodes in major cities around Australia. The first part of the paper will concentrate on the institutional and management issues that arise fom such a change. The second part of the paper will address a range of technical challenges, including: the provision of a seamless access interface to holdings for users; maintenance of consistent archiving pratices at each node; and describe a software program (APS) developed by ASSDA staff to achieve a common standard.

  • Transforming National Data Services: Canada
    Charles Humphrey (University of Alberta)
  • The data infrastructure in Central and Eastern Europe: current situation and prospects
    Birgitte Hausstein (Central Archive for Empirical Social Research, University of Cologne)
    Ludmila Khakhulina (Independent Institute for Social Policy Russian Social Data Archive)
    Larissa Kosova (Independent Institute for Social Policy Russian Social Data Archive)
    Janez Stebe (Social Science Data Archive, University of Ljubljana)


    The data infrastructure in Central and Eastern Europe: Current situation and prospects It took about two decades to implement the idea of data archives in western Europe. When the first European data archives were founded in the sixties, social sciences were considered data poor and an infrastructure for social research was weak. As regards Eastern Europe on the one hand we are facing similar problems, but on the other hand there are completely new preconditions for setting up a data archive. New technologies and the World Wide Web have opened up undreamed-of possibilities for creating a social data archive. Additionally, the new archives can take advantage of the experience and support of the well established data archives. This presentation will describe the development of data services for social sciences in the East European countries and it will discuss the need of creating special networks and experts groups to concentrate the efforts in the field of the development of archive tools and meta data production. It will introduce the activities of the East European Data Archive Network (EDAN). Larisa Kosova from the Russian Data Archive (RSDA) and Janez Stebe from the Slovenian Archive (ADP) will report on their experiences and new challenges.

  • 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


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