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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

Plenary II (Thu, 2009-05-28)
Chair:Chuck Humphrey (University of Alberta)

  • Data Archives in the 21st Century: Evolving, Adapting or Endangered?
    Deborah Mitchell (Australian Social Science Data Archive)
    Ben Evans (ANU Supercomputer Facility)

F1: Foundations First: Laying the Groundwork for Building Partnerships First (Fri, 2009-05-29)
Chair:Margaret Adams (NARA)

  • Cozying up to the CODATA Elephant: Some Ideas for IASSIST Outreach
    Ernie Boyko (Carelton University)


    One of the thrusts of the IASSIST strategic plan (2004-2009) was to encourage "collaborations and strategic alliances with related organizations". CODATA is one of the organizations with which IASSIST has started to collaborate. The mission of CODATA is to strengthen international science for the benefit of society by promoting improved scientific and technical data management and use. Sounds a lot like IASSIST! Thus far, collaboration has consisted mainly of having IASSIST members attend the annual CODATA conference and having CODATA members attend IASSIST conferences. The question is... what else can we do to strengthen this relationship? Wendy Watkins and Ernie Boyko from Canada have been officially invited to be observers on the Canadian National Committee for CODATA. This presentation will outline a possible strategy for IASSIST members to use in the context of their National and Regional CODATA committees. By working individually, IASSIST members may be able to strengthen IASSIST's overall connection with CODATA.

  • The Data Archive Technologies Alliance: Looking towards a Common Future
    Myron Gutmann (ICPSR, University of Michigan)


    For more than a decade social science data archives and other providers of social science data have used the new technologies of the World Wide Web and advanced programming systems to integrate their internal workflows and systems for delivering data and other content to their users. In this environment two trends emerged: individual, proprietary systems custom-developed for individual archives (such as that at ICPSR, the IPUMS project, and many others), and general-purpose systems that were designed to be installed and used in many archives (such as Nesstar and the DataVerse Network). The proliferation of such systems, and the increasing cost of developing and maintaining them, has led to proposals for increased open source and community development approaches that would allow archives to share a common architecture and common tools, while allowing extensive customization of workflows and data delivery systems. In October, 2008, a group met to discuss the creation of a Data Archive Technologies Alliance. This group will report on its activities at IASSIST, focusing on a survey of technology needs among data archives and a list of priority activities for the Alliance as it moves forward.

  • Scoping and Developing Institutional Data Services: The Data Libraries of 2020
    Luis Martinez-Uribe (University of Oxford, Oxford e-Research Centre)


    Research methods are experiencing a revolution due to the emergence of infrastructure and tools that empower scholars to conduct research in novel ways. This brings an increase production of digital research data that has triggered the alarms from research funders and academic institutions. Many research funders in the UK require data produced as part of the research process to be made available on request and expect data management plans to be included with funding applications. Although the UK is rich in domain specific national data services, many disciplines do not have the support and infrastructure required for data collection, access and preservation. Therefore, academic institutions need to help their researchers comply with funding requirements as well as to provide them with the means to allow them to participate in a new data centric research world. Data libraries are great examples of institutional data support and now their services need to evolve to serve the future needs of scholars. This presentation will explore these issues in addition to describe the work carried out in Oxford to scope the requirements for services to manage and curate research data as well as to develop some of these services.

  • Establishing Trust in Data Curation: OAIS and TRAC applied to a Data Staging Repository (DataStaR)
    Gail Steinhart (Albert R. Mann Library, Cornell University)


    DataStaR (, a Data Staging Repository developed and maintained by Cornell University's Mann Library, was designed as a platform and related services to support data sharing among collaborators, as well as the eventual publication of data to permanent, domain-specific repositories and institutional repositories. As a staging repository, providing temporary storage for data (whether preliminary or final), DataStaR assumes no long-term responsibility for preservation of content. However, because one of the goals of DataStaR is to facilitate the publication of data to permanent, external repositories, it is critical that DataStaR's operations are consistent with digital preservation best practices. Toward that end, we consider how DataStaR's design and function map to the OAIS reference model, and use the Trustworthy Repositories Audit & Certification (TRAC): Criteria and Checklist as a framework for specifying system, policy, and documentation requirements to ensure that DataStaR is a responsible partner in the entire chain of preservation activities. We present a description of this process and a summary of the types of elements that are most important in a staging environment.


F2: Protecting Privacy While Preserving Access: Restricted Use Data and Disclosure Considerations (Fri, 2009-05-29)
Chair:Kristine Witkowski (ICPSR)

  • Strengthening the Production of Public Use Microdata Files: Better Tools for Anonymizing Census and Survey Data
    Olivier Dupriez (World Bank - IHSN)
    Geoffrey Greenwell (PARIS21 Secretariat, OECD)


    Public use microdata files (PUMFs, PUFs or many other acronyms) are the bread and butter of many data centres and are essential tools for research and teaching. To date, the production of such files has been a challenging and time-consuming task for data producers. This makes it an expensive step which is often not undertaken by data producers. Intuitively, the anonymization of data files should lend itself to the use of computer based tools to facilitate this process. The International Household Survey Network (IHSN) has established a task force which is investigating the development of a series of tools to aid data producers in measuring the disclosure risk associated with a file, identifying ways of reducing this risk and assessing the information loss as a result of implementing the disclosure limitation procedures. Rather than an integrated software tool, the task force is working towards a modular, coherent set of tools to achieve the above goals. By building on work by others, they may even be able to develop an "intelligent" system. This presentation provides an overview the work of this task force.

  • An Integrated System for Handling Restricted Use Data
    Felicia LeClere (ICPSR)


    The volume of restricted use data files distributed by data archives and data producers has increased dramatically in the last 10 years. As data files become more complicated with the addition of georeferencing, biomarkers, and linked administrative records, and other information, disclosure risk has increased dramatically. The most popular solution for distributing highly confidential data is to issue legal restricted use contracts to users. The handling of confidential data and the distribution of restricted use contracts, however, have not kept pace with other developments in data distribution. In this paper, we will explore several linked initiatives at ICPSR designed to streamline the handling, processing, and distribution of restricted use data. This paper will report on our progress in redesigning the entire system of handling, processing, and distributing confidential data. Our internal data processing steps will include segregating and streamlining data handling for confidential data through a CITRIX system. We are also creating an automated contracting system to handle the distribution of all of our restricted use files through a secured download system.

  • Strengthening Data Security
    Sharon Bolton (UK Data Archive)
    Matthew Woollard (UK Data Archive)


    In the light of heightened concern around data security, this paper will highlight some of the measures that can be used to develop and strengthen security in data archiving. We will discuss the different approaches which can be taken towards the construction of firm and resilient data and information security policies within the social science data archiving communities. While international standards can provide theoretical guidelines for the construction of such a policy, procedures need to be informed by more practical considerations. We will draw attention to the necessity of following a holistic approach to data security, which includes the education of data creators in the reduction of disclosure risk, the integration of robust and appropriate data processing, handling and management procedures, the value of emerging technological solutions, the training of data users in data security, the importance of management control as well as being informed by emerging government security and digital preservation standards.


F3: Beyond and Behind the Numbers: Metadata, Codebooks and Publications (Fri, 2009-05-29)
Chair:Harrison Dekker (UC Berkeley Library)

  • Uncovering the Pitfalls of Enhanced Publications
    Maarten Hoogerwerf (Data Archiving and Networked Services, DANS)


    Researchers are discovering the enormous potential of the Internet and want to use it to enhance their publications with additional resources such as research data or visualizations. There are currently many ways to construct such 'enhanced publications', but there remain many difficulties that need to be solved before these enhanced publications can be safely implemented on a large scale. DANS, in cooperation with partners from the SURFshare programme, has built a demonstrator of enhanced publications. The demonstrator gives examples of enhanced publications from different scientific disciplines and shows how OAI-ORE can aggregate the different resources of an enhanced publication and how these aggregations can be transformed into user friendly web pages that allow researchers to view- and navigate between them. The goal of this demonstrator is twofold: triggering the researcher to think about their actual needs by showing them what is possible and making repository managers aware of the difficulties that have to be dealt with before enhanced publications can become a common way of publishing. This paper will give an overview of these difficulties.

  • Adding to the Toolbox: Creating and Maintaining a Searchable Database of Events
    Timothy Mullen (Federal Reserve Board)


    Economists at the Federal Reserve Board are tasked every day with explaining the underlying causes of shifts in data, yet they do not have at their disposal all the tools necessary to efficiently perform these tasks. A glaring omission in their stable of available resources is a system which allows for researching events in a fast, organized, and succinct manner. We plan to solve that problem by creating a database of events categorized by date, type (financial, political, economic, etc), sector (labor, energy, prices, etc) and sub-sector (unemployment, crude oil, CPI, etc). Using established guidelines for event inclusion while also having strong metadata requirements we can open up a wealth of information for, and greatly reduce the search costs paid by, the user. An open-source application is being developed which will allow for the visualization of a timeline of events which can then be plotted against the time-series data in question. This paper will describe the efforts currently under way at the Federal Reserve Board to create and maintain a searchable database of events aimed primarily at assisting the work of research and forecast economists.

  • 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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