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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

Plenary III (Fri, 2006-05-26)
Moderator: John P. Wilkin

  • Toward a System of Trusted Digital Repositories
    Robin Dale (Research Libraries Group)

F1: We All Count: Quantitative Literacy Efforts and Approaches (Fri, 2006-05-26)
Chair:Libbie Stephenson, University of California at Los Angeles

  • Developing a Framework for Quantitative Literacy: Counting on IASSIST
    Wendy Watkins (Carleton University)


    If there were a real question regarding the need for progress in Quantitative Literacy (QL), the 2003 International Adult Literacy Skills Survey's results on numeracy are illustrative of the answer. Of the seven participating countries, only Norway and Switzerland have a majority of their total populations able to function at a minimum level for success in everyday numeric situations. A problem in developing a QL program at the tertiary level is that it lacks a disciplinary home. While there is general agreement within the academy that it is an essential element of an overall education, no department appears willing to make QL a part of its curriculum. In contrast, standards in Information Literacy have been long-established and have gained wide acceptance. This paper will examine the processes by which these programs have become mainstream, and recommend approaches to develop a QL framework based on best practices.

  • Creating a Repository of Training Materials: The Canadian Experience
    Jane Fry (Carleton University)


    Over the past nine years, many presentations, demonstrations, and workshops have been given at the four annual training sessions for the Data Liberation Initiative (DLI) across Canada. These sessions are rich in content and remain useful long after the initial presentation. However, if one were looking for a certain item, there was often a difficulty finding it because the material was stored in an ad hoc fashion and not archived in a central location. This became increasingly problematic for the trainers as the number of sessions grew. The Education Committee of the DLI was examining this issue and the idea of a Training Repository (TR) was born. The enthusiastic responses given at the latest training sessions, which introduced the TR, reaffirmed the need for it. And everyone was pleased to see the ease of retrieving a session. Currently there are over 150 presentations in the TR. This presentation examines the history of the Training Repository, the criteria used to choose the program that houses it, and the processes used to populate it.

  • Statistical Literacy Survey Results
    Milo Schield (W.M. Keck Statistical Literacy Project, Augsburg College)


    In 2002, an international survey on reading tables and graphs of rates and percentages was conducted by the W. M. Keck Statistical Literacy Project. Respondents included US college students, college teachers worldwide, and professional data analysts in the US and in South Africa. The survey focused on reading informal statistics rates and percentages in tables and graphs. Some high error rates were encountered. In reading a 100 percent row table, 44 percent of students (28% of professionals) misread a description of a single percentage. In reading a pie chart, 68 percent of students (53 percent of professionals) misread a comparison of two slices. In reading an X-Y plot, 81 percent of college teachers misread a "times more than" comparison. Educators should accept responsibility for establishing the grammatical rules for writing ordinary English descriptions and comparisons of rates and percentages and for teaching students to read and write such statements correctly.

  • European Social Survey Education Net: Research-Like Learning in the Social Sciences
    Atle Jastad (Norwegian Social Science Data Services)


    European Social Survey Education Net (ESS EduNet) is an online analysis-training programme that makes it easier and more efficient for lecturers to use ESS data in their teaching. ESS EduNet is a resource that unites different elements of social science in pursuit of a common goal -- the achievement of more penetrating and better-founded analysis of attitudinal survey data than hitherto. The intention is to create an environment for learning that challenges the students on theoretical, methodological, and practical issues simultaneously. Our hope is to improve the students' knowledge of a range of different approaches to social scientific analysis, stimulate independent thinking, and offer them the technical means of investigating empirical data and interpreting results. ESS EduNet is funded by the European Commission as a part of Round Two of the European Social Survey, and developed by the Norwegian Social Science Data Services. ESS EduNet is freely available at:


F2: Catch and Release: Best Practice Across the Data Life Cycle (Fri, 2006-05-26)
Chair:Chuck Humphrey, University of Alberta

  • Producing Archive-Ready Datasets: Compliance, Incentives, and Motivation
    Margaret Hedstrom (University of Michigan)


    Digital archiving assumes some degree of cooperation between data producers and data archives. Experience shows that current incentives are insufficient to overcome the obstacles that data producers report to providing complete and accurate documentation with their data. A multidisciplinary team of experts in digital archiving, social science research, and experimental economics at the School of Information and ICPSR are investigating ways to increase cooperation between producers and archives. With their government partner, the National Institute of Justice, researchers use multiple methods (surveys and experiments) to identify barriers to compliance, revise guidelines and responsibilities, and develop and test alternative incentive mechanisms. This presentation will report on initial findings from a survey about the obstacles that data producers face when they deposit data in an archive.


  • Two Documents, Three Legs, and Five Stages: Developing an Organizational Response to Digital Preservation Requirements
    Nancy McGovern (Cornell University)


    Recent developments in digital preservation provide organizations with a framework, useful perspectives, and some tools for responding to the challenges of preserving digital content over time. To build an effective digital preservation program, an institution requires a three-legged stool consisting of an organizational infrastructure, a technological infrastructure, and a resources framework. Based on the "Digital Preservation Management: Implementing Short-term Strategies to Long-term Problems" workshop and tutorial developed by Cornell University Library, this paper reviews core components of a digital preservation program, highlights key standards and documents (focusing on Trusted Digital Repositories: Attributes and Responsibilities and Open Archival Information System standard), describes a five-stage maturity model for the incremental development of a digital preservation program, and incorporates the results from institutional readiness surveys completed by workshop participants.

  • The LEADS Database at ICPSR: Identifying Important Social Science Studies for Archiving
    Amy Pienta (ICPSR, University of Michigan)


    The National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) have funded a large number of social science data collections over the last several decades. ICPSR, as part of the Data Preservation Alliance for the Social Sciences (Data-PASS) project, has undertaken a systematic review of grant awards made by NSF and NIH with a major goal of determining the extent to which important social science data have been collected, but not preserved or archived. We have found that the majority of data collections produced by NIH and NSF awards have not been archived. Our preliminary results from this project suggest that there are many reasons that data are not archived. The benefits of developing and implementing a data archiving plan at early parts of the data life cycle will also be discussed.

  • What Goes Around, Comes Around: We Must All be Data Curators Now
    Peter Burnhill (University of Edinburgh)


    Data archives and data libraries emerged in order to deal with the born-digital, having a mix of mission with respect to re-use, re-purposing, and the historic record. Focus in the social and policy sciences has been on the stewardship of datasets that were generated as part of the research process, whether in academic, government, or commercial domains.

    The last decade or so has seen emergence of digitisation programmes for 'born-again' digital surrogates, data-sharing in the life and physical sciences, and corporate concerns with digital asset value and legal compliance. There is now a confluence of institutional repositories and self-publishing, with attempt to manage this within the context of the evolution of digital library provision. These generate challenges in terms of what constitutes best practice for those within IASSIST who provide data for others to thresh. Key to this is value-added activity, both in the curation of datasets for which there is stewardship and in the delivery of services, re-working the mixed mission of re-use, re-purposing, and historic record.

    Examples will be drawn from the operation and forward planning for Edinburgh University Data Library, EDINA National Data Centre, and the Digital Curation Centre.


F3: Moving Beyond Data to Networked Knowledge (Fri, 2006-05-26)
Chair:Cor van der Meer, Fryske Akademy

  • Alternative Ways of Presenting Historical Census Data
    Luuk Schreven (Netherlands Institute for Scientific Information Services)
    Anouk de Rijk (Netherlands Institute for Scientific Information Services)


    In 1997, the Netherlands Institute for Scientific Information Services in cooperation with other research institutes initiated a digitalization of Dutch censuses held between 1795 and 1970. Among other things, the project resulted in a Web site with all the tables and the additional information. Furthermore several hundreds of the tables were scanned, OCR'd, and subsequently transformed into Excel tables. Recently we have conducted a preliminary investigation into alternative ways to disseminate the data, i.e., via Nesstar. This application offers the possibility to present geographical data in a map and conduct analyses and calculations online. But whereas the initial project's primary objective was to be as historically accurate as possible, data need to meet other requirements to be suitable for Nesstar. The presentation will cover the considerations that play a part in the decision about how to present the census data, the options that are available, and the problems that we encountered.

  • 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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