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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

D3: Numeracy, Quantitative Reasoning and Teaching about Data (Thu, 2008-05-29)
Chair:Wendy Watkins, Carleton University

  • Torturing Nurses with Data
    Kristi Thompson (University of Windsor)


    This session will describe two iterations of an effort create a quantitative research module for a Masters in Nursing research methods course at the University of Windsor. The first version involved a single three-hour class incorporating both a lecture and a hands-on practice session followed by an assignment to independently locate and analyze a dataset, with extensive support from the library. The second version was both more extensive and more structured, with a three-hour lecture, an assigned reading, a three-hour practice session and an analysis assignment using a pre-selected data set. This session will discuss what worked and what didn’t work and will include an analysis of feedback from an anonymous questionnaire filled out by the students following the second unit.


E1: Data Security and Access: Connecting from Afar (Thu, 2008-05-29)
Chair:Jane Roberts, Nuffield College, University of Oxford

  • The Development of Remote Access Systems
    Tanvi Desai (Research Laboratory, London School of Economics)


    The paper will outline the history of the development of remote access systems, in particular for access to microdata. I will then look at the types of remote access solution in use today by various data providers internationally and assess the strengths and weaknesses in each. Strengths and weaknesses will be judged primarily in terms of ease of use, data quality, data accessibility, data security, and support burden on the data provider.

  • (Meta)Data and Remote Computing at IdZA: Experiences from IZA
    Nikos Askitas (IZA)


    The IdZA at IZA is a Data Service Center with its own Data Enclave and related technology, whose primary focus is (meta)data relevant for labor economics. The Enclave supports all known approaches to making data available (Ultra-thin Computing Environment, Remote Computing) and some developed in-house (JoSuA). The DSC is making metadata about German data available to a large international Fellow network and beyond, using DDI and other standards for its documentation. One of the major undertakings of the DSC is to provide DDI based English translations of German (meta)data on a large array of datasets relevant to labor economics. The talk will go over the experiences gathered the last 3 or so years, the shortcomings of DDI 2.*, the ways in which these were mended and what we hope for in DDI3.* Some of the newer ambitions and undertakings of IdZA and the context in which (meta)data and remote computing are seen as complementary will also be mentioned.

  • Secure Remote Access to Statistical Microdata
    Tim Mulcahy (NORC)


    A great deal of attention has recently been paid to promoting researcher access to statistical microdata. In this paper, we describe the NORC Data Enclave which offers a secure mechanism for data custodians (e.g., Federal statistical agencies, foundations, etc.) to provide approved researchers access to sensitive business microdata. The enclave offers two modes of access: remote and onsite. We will highlight several innovative features of the enclave. First, the Data Enclave uses a portfolio approach to provide access, whereby physical and logical security technologies are combined with statistical, educational, legal and organizational features to protect confidentiality. Second, the Data Enclave provides a platform for collaboration for geographically dispersed researchers working on an approved research project. Third, data custodians can become directly engaged with researchers in producing and providing DDI compliant metadata documentation by means of blogs and wikis during the research process. The environment extends to providing access to Stata and SAS code to promote replication of research. Finally, researchers can work with data custodians and other researchers to add new data through linkages and addition of new datasets to further build a rich, community-based database infrastructure.


E2: Under the Hood: Choosing a Standard (Thu, 2008-05-29)
Chair:Dan Gilman, US Bureau of Labor Statistics

  • Practical Metadata Lessons: Utilising Metadata Standards for Archiving Data at Statistics New Zealand
    Euan Cochrane (Statistics New Zealand)


    At Statistics New Zealand we have been developing a data archiving solution in preparation for an organisation wide strategy (The "Business Model Transformation Strategy" (BmTS)) which will redesign processes, systems and tools for managing and storing data and metadata. The data archiving solution has been developed to apply to our current data stores and to archive surveys which will not transition as part of the BmTS. To fulfil the needs of the metadata component of the archiving solution we have used two standards: the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) and the Preservation Metadata Implementation Strategies (PREMIS). The implementation of these standards has proven both a challenge and a learning experience. This presentation will cover some of the lessons we have learnt when implementing the two standards, as separate entities and in conjunction with each other, along with some of the benefits that have come from utilizing such open and established standards.

  • SDMX and the DDI: Using the Right Tool for the Job
    Arofan Gregory (Open Data Foundation)


    This paper covers the major features of the SDMX standard, and positions it relative to DDI versions 1.*/2.* and 3.0. It describes the typical use cases for each of the standards, and how to make an informed decision about which one best fits your needs. The two standards are complimentary, and the way in which they can be usefully employed in a single system is also addressed. There is an obvious overlap when dealing with multi-dimensional data, but there are many other points of alignment between the standards, and these are presented. Although DDI 3.0 was designed to be used in registry applications, it contains no specification of a standard registry, which SDMX does. The integration of DDI metadata into a standard SDMX registry implementation is described, to support collection, dissemination, data sourcing, and question, concept, and variable banks. Available tools and their integration are also discussed.

  • Using XBRL to Reengineer a Data Collection and Collaboration Process
    Linda Powell (Federal Reserve Board)


    In 2003, three U.S. banking regulatory agencies combined resources to revolutionize the collection, editing, storage, and dissemination of Commercial Bank Reports of Income and Condition. The regulatory agencies relied heavily on web-based technology and the XBRL transmission protocol. This paper will review the creation of an interagency data collection and dissemination facility. It will focus on the business problem that needed to be solved, the evolution of the technology that enabled the project, and what is XBRL and why was it selected as the transmission protocol. The paper will also review the challenges and benefits associated with using a standard transmission protocol versus creating a customized XML transmission facility.


E3: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Data on the Web from Vision to Practice to Sustainability (Thu, 2008-05-29)
Chair:Wendy Watkins, Carleton University

  • Evidence on the Web: The ZACAT Data Portal
    Ekkehard Mochmann (CESSDA)
  • Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow - The Vision
    Bo Wanschneider (University of Guelph)


    If any of you have ever read the popular book by Nicholas Carr titled, "Does IT Matter", you know that he is being intentionally provocative in challenging us to redefine how we invest in Information Technology. In his book he talks about proprietary and infrastructural technology, and lumps most IT into latter. The premise is that the true value of IT is not fully realized until it is broadly shared, homogenized and standardized. In essence, we lose our ability, or need, to differentiate ourselves and we are at a point where innovation on an individual/institutional level will not lead to a meaningful advantage. That does not preclude this innovation, it simply states that the true value lies in sharing the innovation. Although his book is geared towards the private sector, there are many parallels to the world of Higher Education and certainly the financial realities are prominent. Faced with inevitable budget constraints, the maturation of DDI, and advances in other technologies the need to articulate a shared vision and act collectively becomes imperative. In this part of the panel we will talk about commoditization of IT and how we painted a vision for shared development, resources and access with the ODESI project.

  • Tomorrow - Ensuring Sustainable Data and Metadata for the Future
    Mary Vardigan (ICPSR)


    How do we ensure that the digital assets we create, enhance, and disseminate are preserved for future generations and remain usable for research, despite rapid-paced technological change? How do we protect the investment we make in data resources over the full life course of a project and not lose information along the way? These are questions that the social science data archives and others concerned with the development of cyberinfrastructure need to answer as we look to tomorrow. This presentation will focus on the big picture in terms of recent developments in the field of digital preservation and then will narrow in scope to discuss the role of DDI in a sustainable digital preservation program; the use of DDI at ICPSR and in a new project that covers the data life cycle; and finally some challenges remaining that we collectively need to solve.

  • 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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