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Conference Presentations 2009

  • IASSIST 2009-Mobile Data and the Life Cycle, Tampere, Finland
    Host Institution: Finnish Social Science Data Archive and the University of Tampere

A3: Practicing What We Provide: Surveying Users of Surveys (Wed, 2009-05-27)
Chair:Pam Baxter (Cornell University)

  • The Data That Did Not Arrive For The Date: Talking The Non-Response Blues
    Karsten Boye Rasmussen (University of Southern Denmark)


    We have the exact formulas for computing sample errors when performing surveys with probability sampling. Most social scientists can recite some practical heuristics to the tune of if you have about 1000 questionnaires your error rate will be close to +/- 3 per cent. The precision of the actual calculations have vanished from memory, but some parts of the sampling theory are sufficiently sticky. However, the true and sad story is that the precision delivered by statisticians is unnecessary as the plausible error of nonresponse is momentous compared to the sample error even in surveys considered to have high response rates. Argumentation to diminish the effect of nonresponse is sought in methods like comparison with known values for the population and extrapolation in time for the nonresponse. The focus will be on the lightweight and insufficiency of the argumentation obtained by these methods. The presentation will demonstrate nonresponse through preliminary results from a data collection of companies using mailed out business survey, repeated phone reminding procedures with note taking, information obtained from valid registers, and special information evaluating the presence of the company. I'll be in your survey if you'll be in mine.

  • Data Services Awareness and Use Survey 2008: Five-year Follow-up at the University of Tennessee
    Eleanor Read (University of Tennessee)


    In fall 2003, the University of Tennessee Libraries conducted a survey to assess awareness of its data services among faculty and graduate students in selected departments. The information collected has been helpful in understanding how data users learn about and use Data Services, how successful various promotional and outreach methods have been, and what types of data are of interest, among other things. In fall 2008, we conducted a similar survey to assess the current state of needs for and use of secondary data, and whether there has been an increase in awareness of Data Services following several years of increased promotion and outreach activities. This session will discuss the survey process, some of the key results, and how the recent survey results compare to the 2003 survey.

  • Taking the Pulse of our Members: Creating a Healthy Data Environment
    Wendy Watkins (Carleton University)
    Michel Seguin (Statistics Canada)


    Staying in touch with users is an important part of being able to provide them with the right kind of service. After 12 years in existence, Canada's Data Liberation Initiative (DLI) has recently completed a comprehensive survey of contacts-those folk who are responsible for the day-to-day delivery of data services at their institutions. With an over 90% response rate there are many lessons to be learned. Some of the topics covered were a needs-assessment, as well as satisfaction with the collection, services and local support for data. A major component was the self-assessed competencies in data-related tasks. This session will concentrate on some surprising results regarding these data competencies and the implications for future training of both the contacts and their audiences.


A4: Public Opinion Data: Over Time and Across the Globe (Wed, 2009-05-27)
Chair:Brigitte Hausstein (GESIS)

  • Question Bank: New and Comparative Research at a Glance
    Nanna Floor Clausen (Dansk Data Arkiv)


    This paper will demonstrate and discuss how the Danish question bank is of great value for both the social science research community but also for the data archives. The question database holds information on every question from the questionnaires deposited in the archive. The database is searchable from the Web via a dedicated search interface on two levels: simple and advanced. The paper will present the new advantages and possibilities where the most important feature is no doubt the direct access to compare the question wordings at a glance and the immediate access to the original questionnaires. All relevant information regarding a question is presented for the user like e.g. response categories. Other advantages for the users are e.g.:

    1. an additional method for identifying more precisely relevant surveys
    2. links to all the surveys using the given question
    3. the possibility of making comparative research of the surveys using a given question
    4. support in the construction of new questions and questionnaires
    5. new research projects as the question wordings themselves reflect the time and circumstances in which they were designed
    6. more open access and insight in the surveys and the data via the question database.
  • Sources of Historical International U.S. Data
    Margaret Adams (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration)


    As a result of the DataPASS initiative in the U.S., and especially the partnership that it supported between the custodial electronic records program of the U.S. National Archives and the Roper Center for Public Opinion at the University of Connecticut, there is now greater awareness of and expanded opportunities for using the rich collection of international public opinion data collected from 1952-1999, by the United States Information Agency (USIA). The National Archives also preserves and makes available online the public portion of the electronic telegrams, 1973-1975, from the U.S. Department of State's Central Foreign Policy Files. This presentation will focus on the complementary nature of these two types of data for research on U.S. foreign relations, and the manner in which the public opinion data and the electronic telegrams offer unique perspectives on a selection of mid-1970s topics.

  • Unlocking Public Opinion Poll Data in Canada
    A. Michelle Edwards (University of Guelph)
    Jane Fry (Carleton University)
  • The Data Consultant as Archaeologist: Digging for Meaning in World War II Era U.S. Public Opinion Polls
    Dan Edelstein (University of Windsor)

B1: Forging Links: Context and Content in Cultural and Educational Data (Wed, 2009-05-27)
Chair:Bobray Bordelon (Princeton University)

  • Combining Statistics and Documents for a Contextual View of Irish History and Culture
    Fredric Gey (University of California, Berkeley)


    This paper will discuss quantitative aspects of an ongoing research project Context and Relationships: Ireland and Irish Studies. For biographies and other cultural materials, context and relationships are central to humanities scholarship -- Who were the people and institutions mentioned? How were they related? What else did they do? What other materials relate this topic? Where and when did this happen? What else was going on around that time and place? One important feature of context is the quantitative statistics gathered for the time and place. We relate a historical dataset of Irish census data from the 19th and early 20th century to approximately 1/2 million pages of newly digitized Irish scholarly materials (publications in history, culture, architecture, etc) by connections in time and place. The project is a partnership between the University of California at Berkeley and the Centre for Digitisation at the Queen's University, Belfast, which is creating A digital library of core e-resources on Ireland, including back files of 100 journals on Irish culture and history. Berkeley funding is from the USA National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services

  • National Digital Library of Finland: How to Enable Access to Digital Cultural Material to Users of Today and to Future Generations
    Minna Karvonen (Ministry of Education, Finland)


    Ministry of Education has started a project called "National Digital Library" (2008 - 2011), which encompasses digitization of prioritized cultural heritage material of museums, archives and libraries, and online accessibility and long term preservation of both digitized and born-digital cultural material. The aim of this project is to establish one national access point, through which the most essential cultural heritage collections are searchable on the item level. The service will allow access also to databases of immovable heritage and various services of museums, archives and both research and public libraries. In addition, the Finnish National Digital Library aims at creating the lasting mechanisms for long-term preservation of digital cultural material and scientific information (common architecture and guidelines, common information system, legal and contractual responsibilities, processes etc.). National Digital Library of Finland encompasses:

    • digitisation of cultural heritage collections of museums, libraries, archives, and audiovisual archives
    • access to digital cultural resources, and
    • long-term preservation of digital cultural heritage.

    The aims

    • to make the most essential Finnish collections both digitised and searchable through a common user interface (in operation 2011)
    • to create sustainable solution for long-term preservation of digital cultural material (finalised plan in 2010)
  • Research Data Center at the German Institute for Educational Progress (IQB)
    Michel Knigge (Institute for Educational Progress (IQB))


    After decades of abstinence Germany resumed to participate in international empirical educational large scale assessment studies like TIMSS, PISA and PIRLS in the 1990s. Because of the political explosiveness of the topic and lacking experience in data dissemination in Germany the generated data was regularly not accessible for researchers outside the national research groups. The recent development of research data centers (RDC) and the growing interest for educational research in Germany led 2007 to the foundation of the RDC at the Institute for Educational Progress in Berlin (German: IQB) to facilitate the data access to the available German educational assessment data. The aim of the presentation is to introduce the RDC at IQB. We provide cross-sectional and longitudinal educational assessment and survey data on students, schools and classes. Data on individual students include comprehensive information on actual competencies and personal and family background. School and class data is linkable to the student data. We offer different access methods which depend on the degree of data confidentiality: Anonymous made scientific use files are sent to the researcher. Confidential data can be analyzed via on-site use or remote execution. Access is free of charge and not restricted to German researchers.

  • 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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