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Conference Presentations 2010

  • IASSIST 2010-Social Data and Social Networking: Connecting Social Science Communities across the Globe, Ithaca, NY
    Host Institution: Cornell Institute for Social and Economic Research (CISER) and Cornell University Library (CUL)

Plenary II (Thu, 2010-06-03)

  • The Afrobarometer at Ten: Building a Network of Survey Research in Africa
    Boniface Dulani (Michigan State University and University of Malawi)


    For ten years, the Afrobarometer has undertaken a comparative series of national public opinion surveys that measure public attitudes toward democracy, governance, the economy and market reform, leadership, identity and other issues in Africa. From its inception, the Afrobarometer project has worked with a network of partners, based in Africa and the United States, to generate scientifically reliable data on public opinion in Africa while at the same time aiming to strengthen institutional capacity for survey research in Africa. Additionally, the Afrobarometer has also sought to widely disseminate and apply its results to various stakeholders, including those based in Africa and outside of the continent. This presentation will offer an overview of the Afrobarometer project in the preceding ten years, identifying some of the key achievements made in realizing its objectives as well as some of the challenges encountered in carrying out survey research in Africa.

  • Repositories and Cloud Services for Data Cyberinfrastructure
    Sandy Payette (DuraSpace)


    An historical look at the emergence of infrastructure – electric grids, railways, and the Internet – reveals that a key developmental stage has been reached when formerly incompatible or stand-alone systems are interconnected via adapters and gateways. We see this in the digital repository domain, where the notion of a digital repository began as a predominantly institutional phenomenon, or in certain cases a disciplinary phenomenon, but is now evolving to a point where repositories are becoming integrated components of larger systems and distributed infrastructure. At the same time, we see the emergence of cloud technologies that offer large-scale storage and compute capabilities, but with open questions on how well the cloud will meet the requirements of digital preservation and data archiving. In this session, I will discuss how the DuraSpace not-for-profit organization is working to evolve open source repositories and cloud services to serve as core components within emerging data cyberinfrastructure. In collaboration with the Fedora and DSpace communities, we are positioning repositories and cloud services to become part of a distributed data curation and archiving fabric that encompasses both institutional systems and the Web. I will also provide highlights from the DuraSpace partnership with the Data Conservancy, an NSF-funded Datanet project

D1: Automated Curation Tools and Services for Metadata (Thu, 2010-06-03)
Chair:Ann Green, Yale University

  • Designing Flexible Workflow for Upstream Participation of the Scientific Data Community
    Robert Downs (Columbia University)
    Robert Chen (Columbia University)


    Providing sustainable access to scientific data and research-related information can spawn new opportunities for their use by current and future scientific, educational, and decision-making communities. Submitting scientific data for ingest into a digital data repository prior to the end of a research, data collection, or data creation project facilitates collaborative preparation of data and metadata while project resources are still available. Engaging data producers earlier in the scientific data lifecycle should improve preparation of scientific data and metadata for future use and dissemination. We describe here the design of a data submission and workflow system aimed at providing flexible capabilities for organizing the contributions of interdisciplinary producers of scientific data, reviewers, and archivists. The system provides a framework for iterative improvement in the range and quality of information obtained from data sources as data products are developed and finalized and for integration of this workflow with selection and appraisal processes by community reviewers and digital archivists, taking into account both discovery and preservation metadata needs.

  • A Data Curation Application Using DDI: The DAMES Data Curation Tool for Organising Specialist Social Science Data Resources
    Simon Jones (University of Stirling )
    Guy Warner (University of Stirling )
    Paul Lambert (University of Stirling )
    Jesse Blum (University of Stirling )


    This paper will present the public access metadata tools and services developed by the UK's 'Data Management through e-Social Science' research Node ( Requirements of the Node are to curate and distribute data resources linked with a number of specialist topics (data on occupations; educational qualifications; ethnicity and immigration; social care; and e-Health data). Heterogeneous data formats and structures can be identified. Most resources are generated through academic research, and are typically freely distributed, but lacking in firm standards of preparation. Services are required to collect, process, and subsequently distribute these data resources for the benefit of social science research. Metadata tools and services have been prepared to generate metadata on the relevant resources. This occurs principally in the form of an online 'data curation tool' which is intended to be accessible to non-specialists. Metadata collected through the tool is stored in DDI format (DDI 3), through which it can subsequently be exploited for further data analysis and organisational tasks, including facilitating the further distribution of the data. This paper will describe the currently available tools, and ongoing issues in designing and employng these metadata-oriented tools and services.

  • Building the Infrastructure for Enhanced Publications Using DDI 3
    Alerk Amin (CentERdata)
    Rob Grim (University of Tilburg)
    Maarten Hoogerwerf (DANS)


    There is a lot of discussion about the advantages of DDI 3, but many people wonder if it is worth all the complexity. Moving to DDI 3 involves complex structures, tools, workflows, infrastructure and expensive documentation efforts. The DatapluS project demonstrates the added value of these efforts by providing a concrete use case where publications are enriched with variable-level information about the research process. The project consists of two tools for researchers, the Enhanced Publications Editor (EPE) and the Subject portal, and the required infrastructure to integrate these tools with the data from the archives. The EPE enables authors to link their publications to datasets and variables in the archives and with additional metadata of how they did their research. The Subject Portal publishes the resulting information and uses it to provide an enhanced search interface for researchers. The strength of DatapluS is the collaboration between data archives, libraries, and research organizations. By aligning their existing responsibilities with those needed for the project, they can now serve the researchers using an efficient and sustainable infrastructure. These lessons learned show that strategic collaboration can efficiently provide advanced services and benefits for the researchers using DDI 3 infrastructure.

  • Implementing DDI 3.0: a Case Study of the German Microcensus
    Andias Wira-Alam (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences )
    Oliver Hopt (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences )


    This paper shares our experience in developing an application software for the metadata of the German Microcensus on the variable level. First, we develop an editor acted in compliance with DDI 3.0 standard as the documentation software which improves and simpli es the process of the data documentation. Second, we develop a web information system in order to present various looks at the metadata to the end users. The scope of our work depicts the development cycle of an application software based on DDI 3.0 standard. More technical details are also presented in this paper.

D2: Stir it Up: Comparative Data (Thu, 2010-06-03)
Chair:Wendy Watkins, Carleton University

  • Future Directions for International Data
    Richard Wiseman (University of Manchester, Mimas )
    Susan Noble (University of Manchester)
    Celia Russell (University of Manchester)


    One of the key features of the global financial crisis was its unexpected nature. This was a paradox as extensive data is collected from around the world with the primary aim of maintaining global financial stability. This failing of our current socioeconomic data framework, combined with a more widespread dissatisfaction with the present state of statistical information on economies and societies, prompted French president Nicholas Sarkozy to set up a commission designed to identify the limits of GDP as an indicator of economic performance. In this talk, we discuss the outcomes and likely impact of the commission which reported in 2009. We also consider the production of more relevant indicators of social progress, assess the feasibility of alternative measurement tools and discuss the likelihood of their adoption. International data are also widely used by the research community, and we also present here the results of a preliminary analysis of the ESDS International web server logs showing the countries and indicators preferentially chosen by academics when looking for data to support their research. These results tell us about the kind of data researchers choose when looking for data to support their research and the future directions we should consider as providers and facilitators of cross-national data.

  • Using Administrative Data for Social Science Research: Promise and Peril
    Fredric Gey (University of California, Berkeley )


    Administrative records from ongoing social and tax programs can provide a rich source for specialized research in the social sciences. Welfare, employment, income tax, support programs for pregnant and parenting teens, scholarship applications, can, among many others be mined for insights into social and economic behavior of specialized sup-populations of the general population. This source of information comes at a price of diligence in understanding the statistical universe you are utilizing, dealing with dirty data (duplicate records, missing data, confusing data), protection of the privacy of individuals and understanding the peculiar structure and operations of particular data processing systems within operational social programs. This presentation will draw from the UC DATA’s experience of more than a decade of social science research using administrative data. It is hoped that our experience can enlighten and prepare others for the challenge and rewards of preparing and repurposing administrative records for research uses that they were not originally designed. Administrative data will be compared (in terms of utility, accuracy and completeness) with rigorously design social survey data.

  • "But it's not the same thing!" Using National Labour Data in Cross-National Comparative Studies on Precarious Employment
    Walter Giesbrecht (York University )


    Attempting to compare labour data from different countries or regions can be fraught with danger, since definitions of concepts can vary tremendously, and gaps exist in the data collected. Apparently similar concepts such as part-time work, or permanent vs. temporary employment, are often not strictly comparable using published aggregate data. Surveys designed to gather data for national policy reasons do not automatically generate data that are comparable for use in cross-national studies. Harmonizing these concepts and definitions involves considering their deployment in national contexts in order to assure that cross-national comparisons are truly comparing likes with likes. The Comparative Perspectives Database (still under development) is a project that is attempting to generate comparative multi-dimensional data tables on aspects of precarious employment, using the microdata from a total of seven surveys spanning thirty countries (Canada, United States, European Union (EU-27) and Australia). I will discuss in detail some of the problems we encountered in producing a codebook that would allow us to produce useful cross-national data tables, as well as describe other similar projects conducted elsewhere.

  • Wikiprogress (and Wikigender)
    Angela Hariche (OECD)


    Wikiprogress is a statistical wiki on progress. The beta was launched at the OECD World Forum in Busan Korea in October 2009. Wikiprogress is: is a global platform for sharing, measuring and evaluating societal, economical and environmental progress. the main area where initiatives are shared, which exist around the world on the measurement of progress, as well as their use for raising awareness amongst stakeholders, informing them on key economic, social and environmental trends and allowing them to discuss relevant issues based on solid evidence and statistics on an interesting and wide range of topics. the best place to find answers the following questions: who is developing initiatives on measuring progress (well-being, quality of life, freedom, etc.)? what type of Taxonomy does this initiative use? which indicators are being used to measure the different dimensions of progress? how are Countries (or regions/communities) achieving progress over time and in comparison to other similar territories? the focal point where both experts and practitioners share practices on indicators design, calculation and dissemination, as well as where stakeholders interested in developing initiatives in this field can find reference documents and assistance on how to establish measuring progress initiatives.

  • 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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