Technical Officer

Posted to IASSIST on: 2006-10-25

Employer: The UK Data Archive

Employer URL:


The UK Data Archive (UKDA: see is a world-leading archive of electronic social science and historical information, and is in the forefront of the development of metadata and technological solutions for data management and distribution internationally. The UKDA has over 35 years of experience in acquiring, adding value to, preserving, disseminating, and supporting the use of social research data. UKDA provides the overall management and coordination for the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS), as well as a number of its component services in partnership with the University of Manchester (see for further information).

The UKDA has recently been successful in attracting a Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) award under the Repositories and Preservation Programme, for the Data Exchange Tools and Conversion Utilities (DExT) project. DExT aims to explore the feasibility of developing data exchange models and data conversion tools for primary research data collected in the course of empirical research. It will develop, refine and test models for data exchange for both survey data and qualitative research data based on eXtensible Markup Language schema and will explore the development of tools for data import and export from some of the most popular social research software packages, for example, SPSS, Stata, XML, Atlas-ti, MaxQDA and Nvivo. A standard format for representing richly encoded qualitative data is necessary because: it ensures consistency across datasets; it supports the development of common web-based publishing and search tools; and it facilitates data interchange and comparison among datasets. Importantly, it could also enable data and linked products to be imported and exported directly into and out of CAQDAS packages, avoiding the reliance on just a single product, and offering the opportunity to share analytic workings outside the confines of any particular software.

The test data selected for the DExT project are from the social sciences, but these formats are typically found across all domains of primary research. The opportunity to pursue this work adds to Essex’s strength in the international scene for the systematic preservation and sharing of data. A longer-term aim of this work beyond the project is to build a fully functional and scalable service where data formats can be submitted and seamlessly returned in a chosen, desired format. The work in this proposal aims to lay the foundations upon which such a sustainable service could be built.

The project runs from 1 November 2006 until 30 October 2007.

Purpose of the job

To develop and test a model and schema a model for a data exchange format for qualitative data and a limited set of import/export tools for other major CAQDAS packages (NVIVO, Atlas ti, MaxQDA, Qualrus, QDAMiner etc). This work builds on R&D undertaken by ESDS Qualidata, for example, ESDS Qualidata Online ( and the SQUAD project (see

Duties of the postholder

  1. define and test XML schema for wide range of audio-visual data;
  2. lead end-user prototyping and requirements gathering;
  3. design, develop, and implement applications;
  4. create and execute test plans;
  5. document schema, software/system design and functionality;
  6. work closely with TEI and Australian group.

These duties are a guide to the work that the post holder will initially be required to undertake. They may be changed from time to time to meet changing circumstances, and do not form part of the contract of employment.

Essential experience, skills and attributes:

  • design and implementation experience with XML, XML Schema, RDF and RDF Schema;
  • post graduate degree or equivalent in IT field;
  • significant experience in Java (J2EE) software development;
  • experience with Java XML and RDF libraries such as HP’s Jena;
  • experience in collaborative software development within an open source framework;
  • experience of working with several of the following: WSDL, DOM, CSS, SAX, XSLT/XPath, SQL (SQL Server, MySQL and Access);
  • excellent time management and prioritisation skills and able to meet deadlines with minimal supervision;
  • good interpersonal skills;
  • good written and oral communications skills;
  • excellent troubleshooting skills ;
  • experienced with documenting software/system design.

Desirable experience, skills and attributes

  • experience of XML applications and schema development for text or audiovisual data;
  • exposure to Web Services;
  • exposure to XUL/JavaScript based browser plugin development and customisation;
  • experience with TEI;
  • experience of text analysis software (eg NVIVO, Atlas ti, MaxQDA, Qualrus, QDAMiner);
  • able to work on own initiative as well as part of a team and willing to take on tasks as required;
  • experience of using archives or knowledge of archiving procedures;
  • experience of data management;

Archived on: 2006-11-08