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Conference Presentations 2006

  • IASSIST 2006-Data in a World of Networked Knowledge, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
    Host Institution: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), University of Michigan School of Information Science, and the University of Michigan Library

C3: Effective Strategies for Metadata Management (Wed, 2006-05-24)
Chair:San Cannon, Federal Reserve Board

  • Microdata Information System MISSY
    Andrea Janssen (GESIS/ZUMA (Centre for Survey Research and Methodology))
    Jeanette Bohr (GESIS/ZUMA (Centre for Survey Research and Methodology))
    Joachim Wackerow (GESIS/ZUMA (Centre for Survey Research and Methodology))


    The MISSY provides online information for the German Microcensus in a structured design. The Microcensus is a multipurpose annual sample which covers 1 percent of the German households. It is produced by the Federal Statistical Office. Though the Microcensus was originally not designed for research, it is accessible as scientific use files. Because it is of great value for the scientific community, there is a need for knowledge transfer from the federal office to the scientific community. MISSY offers the metadata both in a broad and differentiated way. MISSY takes different aspects of data documentation into account: The central part of the sample and data description are based on DDI (Data Documentation Initiative). Furthermore, additional information concerning methodical and scientific subjects are integrated to improve the usability of the Microcensus. Another aspect is related to the organization of information: related metadata in MISSY is linked in multiple ways, guided by different views on the subject. In addition, different possibilities for access facilitate the search of information and consider different needs and skills of scientists. The presentation will introduce the structure of MISSY.


Plenary II (Thu, 2006-05-25)
Moderator: Judith Rowe

  • Optimizing the Use of Microdata
    Julia Lane (National Opinion Research Center)
  • Protecting Confidentiality in Canadian Research Data Centres
    Cynthia Cook (Southwestern Ontario Research Data Centre Program)

D2: Metadata Models: Mining and Retrieval (Thu, 2006-05-25)
Chair:Melanie Wright, UK Data Archive and UK Economic and Social Data Service

  • Mine Your Data: Contrasting Data Mining Approaches to Numeric and Textual Data Sources
    Louise Corti (UK Data Archive)
    Karsten Boye Rasmussen (University of Southern Denmark)


    Data mining can be defined as exploration and analysis of large quantities of data in order to discover meaningful patterns and rules. For numeric data the process of this discovery is either directed or non-directed based upon whether there is a fact that we wish to explain through models of explanatory variables, or there is a search for patterns that can prove useful. Text mining is a variation on the field of data mining. It is the discovery by computer of new, previously unknown information, by automatically extracting and linking information from different textual sources. In both methods, automated processes help put together information to uncover new meanings or suggest new hypotheses to be explored further, typically by more conventional means of research. But what are the pros and cons of these methods and how does traditional social science data fit in? This joint paper will elaborate on the typologies of data and text mining, and provide examples and typical models that are relevant to social science and business data. The applicability for Data and Computational Grid applications (e-science) will also be highlighted.

  • Metadata by Design and Fielded Metadata: The Poles of a Space in Which Data Processing Takes Place
    Reto Hadorn (Swiss Information and Data Archive Service for the Social Sciences)


    The approach usually taken when conceptualizing metadata is typically one of 'documentation', which supposes a reference object, e.g., data, and something to be told about it. That documentation is static; it describes data in a specific state, usually as ready for publication. The life-cycle idea introduces a new perspective. Sure, one can still reduce metadata to a report about what happened across the life cycle of the data. But there is also an opportunity to model metadata in a way to support work done to obtain data, process, edit and publish them. The following example will be developed. Because we don't use the integrated tools for handling metadata and data all over the life cycle, consistency between the two levels of information may be broken. We need a metadata model, which supports the comparison of metadata drawn from more than one source, e.g., the questionnaire, treated as 'metadata by design', and information extracted from a semi-documented data file, an SPSS data file for example, which stands as the 'fielded metadata'.

  • The Nature of Data
    Frank Farance (Farance Inc.)
    Daniel W. Gillman (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


    Traditionally, the term "data" is defined by what data does, not what it is. What is data? Often, books and documents are called information. Are objects information? Do they contain information? Data are often defined in terms of information, vice versa, or in terms of some other undefined concept, such as knowledge. All this leads to much confusion. This paper is an attempt to shed light on these and related issues. Terminology theory is the study of concepts and their representations in special languages. It focuses on the essential characteristics of concepts, and therefore on what a concept is. Applying the theory, we define data in a new way, by defining what data is, by investigating its essential characteristics. This, in turn, provides a way to distinguish between data and information usefully. The role of metadata is clearly defined. Then, a definition of data element is derived. Implications for the Semantic Web are discussed.


D3: Enabling Access to Data: Promising Approaches (Thu, 2006-05-25)
Chair:Michelle Edwards, University of Guelph

  • The Special Licence Model for Access to More Detailed Microdata
    Karen Dennison (UK Data Archive)


    Access to most microdata supplied by the UK Data Archive (UKDA) only requires user registration. Such data are fully anonymised and certain variables may be suppressed or aggregated to minimise disclosure risk. However, there is a research need for more detailed data, such as more precise geographic and occupation codes. To increase the range of data available for research, whilst continuing to safeguard the confidentiality pledge made to survey respondents, the Office for National Statistics (ONS), UKDA, and ESDS Government have developed a Special Licence (SL) and an associated guide to good practice. A range of more detailed ONS data are now available via this new access initiative. This paper describes the data available, discusses the SL model, and outlines the conditions for access to the more detailed data.

  • UK 2001 Census Microdata: Providing Access to Data Subject to Confidentiality Constraints
    Jo Wathan (University of Manchester)


    Disclosure control issues are particularly salient to census microdata release. Data of this type do not benefit from protection arising from small samples. They are derived from the same source as tabular outputs. Additionally, they are subject to statutory requirements above and beyond that of standard data protection. This paper will describe the range of approaches used to ensure that research quality data from the 2001 Census were made available to the research community, following increased concern about confidentiality at the UK census offices. These solutions involved a mixture of broad banding, perturbation, access controls, and differing levels of licensing. A range of microdata are now available. Very detailed files are held in a safe setting; users travel to a secure site and leave outputs to be checked before release. Less detailed files are disseminated to licensed users. Hierarchical household data are subject to a special license.

  • Open Access Movement and Data
    Jeffrey S. Bullington (University of Kansas Libraries)


    Given the theme 'Data in a Networked World of Knowledge', what importance does the Open Access Movement have for data? Calls have been made for systems ensuring that publicly funded research results remain in the public domain, adhering to Open Access values of no economic or use-restrictive barriers between knowledge and those who wish access to the same. These include the National Institutes of Health and Wellcome Trust efforts for biomedical research, the declaration from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development for open access to publicly funded research, and the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society discussing the same. And advocacy organizations such as the Alliance for Taxpayer Access have emerged, working to ensure that these values are realized. This paper examines and discusses some of these actors in the Open Access movement and how they may be seen to touch on 'data'.


E1: DDI for the Next Decade: Toward Version 3.0 (Part 1) (Thu, 2006-05-25)
Chair:Ron Nakao, Stanford University

  • Locating the Geographic Center of DDI 3.0
    Wendy Thomas (University of Minnesota)


    For years the DDI has struggled with improving its ability to cover geographic information. Each of the past three revisions included new elements and attributes to address geography. The structural changes taking place in DDI 3.0 provided an opportunity to make major improvements in geographic information. A working group of the Expert Committee was formed to address the following needs: (1) Provide a means of describing geographic coverage that allows for more detail and better alignment with other description standards; (2) Describe geographic hierarchies and the relationship of those levels; and (3) Expand the ability to reference external maps and geographic data files (shape/boundary). The changes introduced in DDI 3.0 allow for improved description, searching, manipulating, and linking data based on geography. This presentation reviews what was changed, why it was done, and how it improves your ability to work with data.

  • 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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