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Conference Presentations 2008

  • IASSIST 2008-Technology of Data: Collection, Communication, Access and Preservation, Stanford, CA
    Host Institution: Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources

Plenary I (Wed, 2008-05-28)

  • New Approaches to Complex Data Management
    Catherine Ruggles ()


    Technology such as SPSS and SAS used for retrieving and manipulating data has remained virtually unchanged since the first statistical packages were introduced almost four decades ago. In recent years, however, the scale and complexity of population and health data has expanded rapidly, and reliance on antiquated data management tools imposes heavy costs on the research community. This presentation will discuss new approaches to managing complex data and describe new technologies that will allow researchers to integrate and restructure complex data without custom programming.


A2: Describing Data and Data Use (Wed, 2008-05-28)
Chair:Jon Stiles, UC Berkeley

  • Best Practices Documents - Are They Really Necessary?
    Michelle Edwards (University of Guelph)
    Jane Fry (Carleton University)
    Alexandra Cooper (Queen's University)


    In Ontario, there is a movement afoot to mark up surveys in DDI and put them in an interface that allows them to be shared with other universities. A noble exercise, indeed! Our project, (Ontario Data Documentation, Extraction Service and Infrastructure Initiative) provides university researchers with unprecedented access to a significant number of datasets in a web-based data extraction system. Access to the data with its accompanying standardized metadata is key to our project. However, the staff marking up these surveys do not necessarily think alike, so the formats used in marking up the surveys can and do vary across institutions. And this is taking place in only one province so this begs the question of what the formatting looks like when the marking up is done nationally. In this presentation, we will discuss the five Ws of a Best Practices Document: why we need one; when it happened; where it was put together; what the process was; and who will benefit from it.

  • Assessing the Scientific Benefits of Interdisciplinary Use of Social Science Data through Citation Analysis
    Robert S. Chen (CIESIN)
    Joe Schumacher (CIESIN)
    Bob Downs (CIESIN)
    Chris Lenhardt (CIESIN)


    Those operating data center activities are often called upon to justify the value of their work in terms of the scientific impact of the data they manage. Although anecdotal evidence of the use and importance of such data is often available, providing quantitative measures of such benefits is difficult. The increased availability of full-text search tools of scientific literature opens up the possibility of more systematic citation analysis to characterize data use by the broader scientific community. We report here on our exploratory efforts to compare alternative search strategies for selected socioeconomic datasets and examine possible citation metrics that could form the basis for assessing usage and impacts over time. These efforts also suggest some possible avenues for encouraging scientists to improve their citation of data, for improving literature databases and search tools, and for developing unique identifiers for datasets. The ability to track and quantify citations to digital content is also likely to be important for other uses such as career advancement and assessment of data quality.

  • Data Description and the Terminal Approach
    Dan Gillman (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


    At the IASSIST 2006 conference, we showed how a datum is a designation in the theory of terminology for special languages (The Nature of Data). Now we show that the description of a datum is terminological, also. Even though metadata are designations in the terminological sense, this not our focus. We mean that the metadata describing a datum follow the basic terminology framework consisting of concepts, their characteristics, and properties associated with those characteristics. There are 3 inter-relating components of the description of a datum: representation, datatype, and semantics. Therefore, the talk will focus on the basic terminological framework, the components of the description of a datum, how those components fit together, and how the components fit into the terminological framework. Finally, since the conference is about social science data, all the examples will come from statistical surveys. For example, we will show how the kinds of statistical data (nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio) are really constituents of datatypes. In addition, units of measure, often associated with quantitative data, are seen as the bridge between datatypes and semantics. A full descriptive framework for a datum will be the result.

  • Persistent Identifiers: Cornerstone in a Web Oriented Scientific Environment
    Maarten Hoogerwerf (DANS)


    SurfShare is a national programme in the Netherlands which strives to create better access to high-grade (scientific) knowledge, at lower costs than is currently the case. This is feasible, as ICT not only accelerates the traditional communication processes, but also changes the nature of the knowledge chain. Traditional publications, instruments (models, algorithms, visualisations) and research data are increasingly interwoven due to the increased possibilities of knowledge sharing and dissemination. All the major scientific organisations in the Netherlands are cooperating to establish a joint infrastructure that advances the accessibility as well as the exchange of scientific information. In a web oriented infrastructure it is crucial that scientific publications and research data can be identified in a uniform and persistent way. Persistent Identifiers form an important component in the Netherlands joint infrastructure. This paper will address the organizational challenges and technical choices which are being made in the Netherlands and will focus on best practices and pragmatic solutions.


A3: Moving Research Data Into and Out of Institutional Repositories (Wed, 2008-05-28)
Chair:Gretchen Gano, New York University

  • DISC-UK DataShare Project
    Robin Rice (EDINA & Edinburgh University Data Library)
  • An Institutional Approach to Research Data Curation
    Gail Steinhart (Cornell University Library, Mann Library Data Staging Repository (DataStaR))
  • Moving data into and out of an IR: Off the map and into the territory
    Libby Bishop (University of Leeds, Timescapes Project, University of Essex, UK Data Archive)
  • Interoperability Between Institutional and Data Repositories
    Katherine McNeill (MIT Libraries, DSpace and the Harvard-MIT Data Center)

A4: Web Tech: Presentation and Design (Wed, 2008-05-28)
Chair:San Cannon, Federal Reserve Board

  • Using Pictures to Tell a Story: Mapping Economic Data for Researchers and the Public
    Katrina Stierholz (St. Louis Fed)


    The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has historically been a source of economic data. The FRED database has over 15,000 economic series available. In order to improve the accessibility of our FRED data, the St. Louis Fed developed a data mapping tool called GeoFRED™. The speakers will discuss the underlying data and the configuration of the GIS tool (created using open source software). They will also describe the intended audiences and goals for the project, issues that surround mapping data, and the ways that the St. Louis Fed has used this tool to reach new audiences. Curriculum has been developed to provide teachers with lesson plans that incorporate GeoFRED and meet state educational goals for economics, geography, and social studies. The speakers will also demonstrate the GeoFRED™ website, its features and the underlying 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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    A space for IASSIST members to share professional resources useful to them in their daily work. Also the IASSIST Jobs Repository for an archive of data-related position descriptions. more...

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