Info Resources Technical Spec

Posted to IASSIST on: 2021-10-30

Employer: University of Michigan, ICPSR

Employer URL:


Working Title: Info Resources Technical Spec
Work Location, Ann Arbor Campus, Ann Arbor, MI
FLSA Status: Nonexempt
Organizational Group: Inst Soc Research
Department: ICPSR - Metadata and Preservat
Begin/End Date: 10/28/2021 – 11/11/2021
Career Interest: Libraries & Museums

The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is part of the Institute for Social Research (ISR) at the University of Michigan. The consortium maintains the world’s largest archive of social scientific data, with 15,000+ studies relating to education, aging, criminal justice, substance abuse, terrorism, and more. A global leader in data science, ICPSR also supports continuing education in research design, statistics, and data analysis. ICPSR employs 20 research faculty, 130 professional staff, and has an annual operating revenue of more than $15 million.

ICPSR’s Metadata and Preservation unit is seeking an Information Resources Technical Specialist to create, enhance, or update data documentation, including variable descriptions and conceptual comparison modules, using Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) specifications.

DDI is an international metadata standard for describing data produced by surveys and other observational methods in the social, behavioral, economic, and health sciences.

The position combines both the technical and the intellectual aspects of creating state-of-the art metadata to facilitate data discovery and reuse. The ideal candidate presents an inquisitive mind and a creative approach to solving problems. An understanding of quantitative data management and statistical formats and procedures, basic XML knowledge, as well as text processing and Excel skills are desirable. Training will be provided. Responsibilities*

Resource Evaluation and Project Planning

  • Examine social science datasets to establish whether they are comparable at the variable level with respect to the research area (such as cognition and health indicators) or the concepts being investigated.
  • Review data documentation provided in a variety of physical formats (data files, Excel tables, PDF or Word documents, etc.) and determine the best methods and tools for converting the materials to structured, DDI-compliant metadata.
  • Assist in creating a plan that outlines the most effective approach to DDI conversion for a defined set of social science datasets.

DDI Study and Variable Descriptions

  • Acquire an in-depth knowledge of XML as a metadata encoding language, and of the different development lines of the DDI standard and their recommended usage.
  • Creatively combine the use of XML or DDI dedicated tools, text processing techniques, and Excel functions to apply the DDI metadata standard to pre-existing, unstructured or semi-structured documentation.
  • Produce structured data documentation compliant with the DDI metadata standard.

DDI Variable Comparison Metadata

  • Review individual variables within data and documentation files for conceptual matching across datasets.
  • Include comparable items in cross-study or cross-series concordances.
  • Assist in assigning concepts to each set of comparable variables and suggest degree of comparability. The variable crosswalks are typically drafted in Excel and then converted to DDI using metadata transformation tools.

Required Qualifications*

  • Bachelor’s degree in the social sciences, information/library science, or the humanities
  • At least two years of related experience
  • Intermediate Excel skills
  • Power-text editing using macros and regular expressions
  • A good grasp of numeric data and accompanying metadata: understand what a dataset is, how the variables are documented and why
  • Experience performing accurate data entry
  • Creativity and initiative in problem solving
  • Highly focused, organized, and detail-oriented approach to repeated tasks
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Conscientious and responsible
  • Works well in a team and independently

Desired Qualifications*

  • Master’s Degree in the social sciences, information/library science or relevant field
  • Basic understanding of statistical procedures
  • Familiarity with XML or DDI

Additional Information

The Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitment to serve the diverse people of Michigan, to maintain the excellence of the university, and to ground our research in varied disciplines, perspectives, and ways of knowing and learning.


In addition to a career filled with purpose and opportunity, U-M offers a comprehensive benefits package to help you stay well, protect yourself and your family, and plan for a secure future. Benefits include generous time off; retirement plan with two-for-one matching contributions after the first year; many choices for comprehensive health insurance; life insurance; long-term disability coverage; and flexible spending accounts for healthcare and dependent care expenses. A hybrid work schedule, allowing for part-time remote work, may be available. Learn more about U-M benefits. Application Deadline

Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days. The review and selection process may begin as early as the eighth day after posting. This opening may be removed from posting boards and filled anytime after the minimum posting period has ended.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

U-M COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

COVID-19 vaccinations are now required for all University of Michigan students, faculty and staff across all three campuses, including Michigan Medicine. This includes those working or learning remotely. More information on this policy is available on the Campus Blueprint website or the U-M Dearborn and U-M Flint websites.

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Archived on: 2021-12-28