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Articles and news of interest to IASSIST members

Editor's notes: The interest group on qualitative data sums up and continues

Welcome to the second issue of volume 43 of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ 43:2, 2019).

With joy and pride the many people behind each issue of the IQ are here presenting a special issue. IASSIST has several interest groups of members committed to selected important areas under the umbrella of IASSIST. Be aware that you could become a member of an interest group (see: https://iassistdata.org/about/committees.html#interest). If an interest area that you find important is not presently on this list, you are invited to start campaigning for the formation of a new interest group. The interest groups discuss and document their area and often arrange sessions at the IASSIST conferences. More formalization and continued documentation of the group’s work are presented in conference papers and papers published here in the IQ.

This issue of the IQ is dedicated to papers on qualitative data presented by members of the group named ‘Qualitative Social Science & Humanities Data Interest Group’ (QSSHDIG) and related practitioners. Lynda Kellam from the Cornell Institute for Social & Economic Research and Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh of George State University end their leadership of the group with this special issue. Lynda Kellam and Celia Emmelhainz (qualitative research librarian at the University of California Berkeley) are guest editors of this issue and their introduction to the issue is following this page. I want to express my great thanks from the IQ to Lynda and Celia for taking the job of compiling a special issue. Support for qualitative data is important and a growing area. I trust you as readers will find valuable information and excellent advice in the papers of the many authors that are committed to improving the use and value of qualitative data.    

Submissions of papers for the IASSIST Quarterly are always very welcome. We welcome input from IASSIST conferences or other conferences and workshops, from local presentations or papers especially written for the IQ. When you are preparing such a presentation, give a thought to turning your one-time presentation into a lasting contribution. Doing that after the event also gives you the opportunity of improving your work after feedback. We encourage you to login or create an author login to https://www.iassistquarterly.com (our Open Journal System application). We permit authors 'deep links' into the IQ as well as deposition of the paper in your local repository. Chairing a conference session with the purpose of aggregating and integrating papers for a special issue IQ is also much appreciated as the information reaches many more people than the limited number of session participants and will be readily available on the IASSIST Quarterly website at https://www.iassistquarterly.com.  Authors are very welcome to take a look at the instructions and layout:

https://www.iassistquarterly.com/index.php/iassist/about/submissions

Authors can also contact me directly via e-mail: kbr@sam.sdu.dk. Should you be interested in compiling a special issue for the IQ as guest editor(s) I will also be delighted to hear from you.

Karsten Boye Rasmussen - June 2019

IQ 43(1): Standardization and certification save us from the frustrations of the Greek drama

Welcome to the first issue of volume 43 of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ 43:1, 2019).

The IASSIST Quarterly presents in this issue three papers illustrated in the title above. Chronologically we start from an early beginning. No, not with Turing, we time travel further back and experience ancient Greece. In this submission the Greek drama delivers the form, while data librarians deliver the content on data sharing. And it makes you a proud IASSISTer to know that altruism is the rationale behind data sharing. The drama continues in the second submission when librarians get frustrated because they suddenly find themselves first as data librarians and second as frustrated data librarians because ends do not meet when the librarians have difficulties servicing the data needs of their users, in combination with the users having unrealistic expectations. Finally, the third article is about standardization and certification that makes the librarians more secure that they are on the right track when building a TDR (Trustworthy Digital Repository). Enjoy the reading.

The first article is different from most articles. There is a first for everything! Not often are we at IQ offered a Greek drama. And here is one on data sharing. The article needed the layout of a play so even the typeface of this contribution is different. The paper / play is called 'An epic journey in sharing: The story of a young researcher’s journey to share her data and the information professionals who tried to help’. The authors are Sebastian Karcher and Sophia Lafferty-Hess at Duke University Libraries. The reason for using Greek drama as a template is that form can help us think differently - 'out of the box’! The play demonstrates the positive intention of data sharing, and by sharing contributing to something larger. The article references other researchers showing that scholarly altruism is a driving force for data sharers. No matter the good intentions of the protagonist, she finds herself locked in a situation where she is not able to take identifiable data with her when leaving the institution. And leaving the university is what undergraduates do. Without the identification, it is impossible to obtain re-consent from participants. Yes, it does look murky but there is even a happy ending in the epilogue.  

The second article is about librarianship, and how that task is not always easy. 'Frustrations and roadblocks in data reference librarianship’ is by Alicia Kubas and Jenny McBurney who work at the University of Minnesota Libraries. Like many others, they have observed that many librarians find themselves as 'accidental data librarians'. That this brings frustration can be seen in the results of a survey they carried out. The methodology is explained, and descriptive statistics bring insight to what librarians do as well as to the frustrations and roadblocks they experience. Let us start with the good news: some librarians are never frustrated with data questions. The bad news is that only 3% fall into that category. On the other hand, 83% mention 'managing patron expectations’ among their biggest frustrations. It sounds as if matching of expectations should be a course at library school. Maybe it is already, and users with high expectations simply do not understand the complexity of the work involved. Fortunately, some frustrations can be lessened by experience, but there are others – called roadblocks, e.g. paywalls or lack of geographic coverage ­– that all librarians meet. Among the comments after the survey was that data persist as a difficult source type for librarians to support. The questionnaire developed and used by Kubas and McBurney is found in an appendix.

The last article in this issue raises sustainability as an important issue for long term data preservation, and the concept forms part of the title of the submission 'CoreTrustSeal: From academic collaboration to sustainable services'. The paper is from an international group of authors comprising Hervé L'Hours, Mari Kleemola, and Lisa de Leeuw from UK, Finland and the Netherlands. The seal is a certification for repositories curating data. The last sentence in the abstract sums up the content of the paper: 'As well as providing a historical narrative and current and future perspectives, the CoreTrustSeal experience offers lessons for those involved in developing standards and best practices or seeking to develop cooperative and community-driven efforts bridging data curation activities across academic disciplines, governmental and private sectors'. In order to attain CoreTrustSeal TDR certification and become a Trustworthy Digital Repository (TDR), the repository has to fulfil 16 requirements and the CoreTrustSeal foundation maintains these requirements and the audit procedures. The certification draws on preservation standards and models as found in Open Archival Information Systems and in the catalogues of ISO and DIN standards. The authors emphasize that the CoreTrustSeal is founded on and developed in a spirit of openness and community. The paper's sharing of the experience follows that spirit.  

Submissions of papers for the IASSIST Quarterly are always very welcome. We welcome input from IASSIST conferences or other conferences and workshops, from local presentations or papers especially written for the IQ. When you are preparing such a presentation, give a thought to turning your one-time presentation into a lasting contribution. Doing that after the event also gives you the opportunity of improving your work after feedback. We encourage you to login or create an author login to https://www.iassistquarterly.com (our Open Journal System application). We permit authors 'deep links' into the IQ as well as deposition of the paper in your local repository. Chairing a conference session with the purpose of aggregating and integrating papers for a special issue IQ is also much appreciated as the information reaches many more people than the limited number of session participants and will be readily available on the IASSIST Quarterly website at https://www.iassistquarterly.com.  Authors are very welcome to take a look at the instructions and layout:

https://www.iassistquarterly.com/index.php/iassist/about/submissions

Authors can also contact me directly via e-mail: kbr@sam.sdu.dk. Should you be interested in compiling a special issue for the IQ as guest editor(s) I will also be delighted to hear from you.

Karsten Boye Rasmussen - May 2019

Failure as the Treatment for Transforming Complexity to Complicatedness

Welcome to the fourth issue of volume 42 of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ 42:4, 2018).

The IASSIST Quarterly presents in this issue three papers. When you know how, cycling is easy. However, data for cycling infrastructure appears to be a messiness of complications, stakeholders and data producers. The exemplary lesson is that whatever your research area there are often many views and types of data possible for your research. And the fuller view does not make your research easier, but it does make it better. The term geospatial data covers many different types of data, and as such presents problems for building access points or portals for these data. The second paper also brings experiences with complicated data, now with a focus on data management and curation. I would say that the third paper on software development in digital humanities is also about complicatedness, but this time the complicatedness was not overcome. Maybe here complexity is a better choice of word than complicatedness. In my book things are complex until we have solved how to deal with them; after that they are only complicated. The word failure is even among the keywords selected for this entry. Again: Read and learn. You might learn more from failure than from success. I find that Sir Winston Churchill is always at hand to keep up the good spirit: ‘Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm’.

From Canada comes the paper ‘Cycling Infrastructure in the Ottawa-Gatineau Area: A Complex Assemblage of Data’ that some readers might have seen in the form of a poster at the IASSIST 2018 conference in Montreal. The authors are Sylvie Lafortune, Social Sciences Librarian at Carleton University in Ottawa, and Joël Rivard, Geography and GIS Librarian at the University of Ottawa. The article is a commendable example of how to encompass and illuminate an area of research not only though data but also by including the data producers and stakeholders, and the relationships between them. The article is based upon a study conducted in 2017-2018 that explored the data story behind the cycling infrastructure in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city; or to be precise, the infrastructure of the cycling network of over 1,000 km which spans both sides of the Ontario and Quebec provincial boundary known as the Ottawa-Gatineau National Capital Region. The municipalities invest in cycling infrastructure including expanded and improved bike lanes and paths, traffic calming measures, parking facilities, bike-transit integration, bike sharing and training programs to promote cycling and increased cycling safety. The research included many types of data among which were data from telephone interviews concerning ‘who, where, why, when, and how’ in an Origin-Destination survey, data generated by mobile apps tracking fitness activities, collision data, and bike counters placed in the area. The study shows how a narrow subject topic such as cycling infrastructure is embedded in complicated data and many relationships.

Ningning Nicole Kong is the author of ‘One Store has All? –  the Backend Story of Managing Geospatial Information Toward an Easy Discovery’. Many libraries are handling geographical information and my shortened version of the abstract from the article promises: GeoBlacklight and OpenGeoportal are two open-source projects that initiated from academic institutions, which have been adopted by many universities and libraries for geospatial data discovery. The paper provides a summary of geospatial data management strategies by reviewing related projects, and focuses on best management practices when curating geospatial data. The paper starts with a historical introduction to geospatial datasets in academic libraries in the United States and also presents the complicatedness involved in geospatial data. The paper mentions geoportals and related projects in both the United States and Europe with a focus on OpenGeoportal. Nicole Kong is an assistant professor and GIS specialist at Purdue University Libraries.  

Sophie 1.0 was an attempt to create a multimedia editing, reading, and publishing platform. Based at the University of Southern California with national and international collaboration, Sophie 2.0 was a project to rewrite Sophie 1.0 in the Java programming language. The author Jasmine S. Kirby gives the rationale for the article ‘How NOT to Create a Digital Media Scholarship Platform: The History of the Sophie 2.0 Project’ in the sentence: ‘Understanding what went wrong with Sophie 2.0 can help us understand how to create better digital media scholarship tools’. For the first time we now have  failure among the keywords used for a paper in IQ. The Institute of the Future of the Book (IFB) was a central collaborator in the development of the Sophie versions. The IFB describes itself as a think-and-do tank and it is doing many projects. The Kirby paper gives us a brief insight into the future of reading, starting from basic e-books in the 1960s. When you read through the article you will note caveats like lack of focus on usability and changing of the underneath software language. The article ends with good questions for evaluating digital scholarship tools.

Submissions of papers for the IASSIST Quarterly are always very welcome. We welcome input from IASSIST conferences or other conferences and workshops, from local presentations or papers especially written for the IQ. When you are preparing such a presentation, give a thought to turning your one-time presentation into a lasting contribution. Doing that after the event also gives you the opportunity of improving your work after feedback. We encourage you to login or create an author login to https://www.iassistquarterly.com (our Open Journal System application). We permit authors 'deep links' into the IQ as well as deposition of the paper in your local repository. Chairing a conference session with the purpose of aggregating and integrating papers for a special issue IQ is also much appreciated as the information reaches many more people than the limited number of session participants and will be readily available on the IASSIST Quarterly website at https://www.iassistquarterly.com.  Authors are very welcome to take a look at the instructions and layout:

https://www.iassistquarterly.com/index.php/iassist/about/submissions

Authors can also contact me directly via e-mail: kbr@sam.sdu.dk. Should you be interested in compiling a special issue for the IQ as guest editor(s) I will also be delighted to hear from you.

Karsten Boye Rasmussen - February 2019

IASSIST Quarterly Volume 42:3 now available!

Editor's notes:  Digital curation after digital extraction for data sharing

Welcome to the third issue of volume 42 of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ 42:3, 2018).

The IASSIST Quarterly presents in this issue three papers from geographically widespread countries. We call IASSIST ‘International’, so I am happy to present papers from three continents in this issue with papers from Zimbabwe, Italy and Canada.

The paper 'The State of Preparedness for Digital Curation and Preservation: A Case Study of a Developing Country Academic Library' is by Phillip Ndhlovu, who works as the institutional repository librarian and liaison librarian, and Thomas Matingwina, who is a lecturer at the Department of Library and Information Service at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Modern day libraries have vast amounts of digital content and the authors noted that because these collections require very different management than the traditional paper-based materials, the new materials’ longevity is endangered. Their study assessed the state of preparedness of the NUST Library for digital curation and preservation, including the assessment of awareness, competencies, technology infrastructure, digital disaster preparedness, and challenges to digital curation and preservation. They found a lack of policies, lack of expertise by library staff, and lack of funding.

You might conclude that investigating your own organization and reaching the very well known conclusion that 'we need more money!' is not so surprising. However, you have to take note that the Jeff Rothenberg statement from 1995 that 'Digital information lasts forever – or five years, whichever comes first' has not yet sunk in with politicians and administrators, who will immediately associate the term 'digital' with 'saving money'. This study shows them why this is not a valid connotation. It is a study of a single institution, and as the authors note it cannot be generalized even to other academic libraries in Zimbabwe. However, other libraries - also outside Zimbabwe - have here a good guide for making their own assessment of the digital preparedness of their institution. 

The second paper was - as was the paper above - presented at the IASSIST conference in 2018 and is also about the transition from media known for thousands of years to new media and digital forms. Peter Peller presented the paper 'From Paper Map to Geospatial Vector Layer: Demystifying the Process'. He is the Director of the Spatial and Numeric Data Services unit at Libraries and Cultural Resources at the University of Calgary in Canada. 

The conversion of raster images of maps to vector data is analogous to OCR technologies extracting words from scanned print documents. Thereby the map information becomes more accessible, and usable in geographic information systems (GIS). An illustrative example is that historical geospatial information can be overlaid in Google Earth. The description of the entire process incorporates examples of the various techniques, including different types of editing. Furthermore, descriptions of the software used in selected studies are listed in the appendix. It is mentioned that 'paper texture and ink spread' can be responsible for introducing noise and errors, so remember to keep the old maps. This is because what is considered noise in one context might become the subject for interesting future research. In addition the software for extracting information will most certainly improve.

For once both the author and we at IASSIST Quarterly have been quite fast. The data for the third paper was collected in late 2017 and the results are presented here only a year later. In October 2017 a message appeared on the IASSIST mail list with the start of the sentence 'I would share the data but...' It quickly generated many ways of completing that sentence. Flavio Bonifacio - who works at Metis Ricerche srl in Torino, Italy - quickly launched a questionnaire sent to members of the mail list and to others from similar communities of interested individuals. The questionnaire was an extension of an earlier one concerning scientists' reuse and sharing of data. The paper includes many tabulations and models showing the background as well as the data sharing attitudes found in the survey. A respondent typology is developed based upon the level of propensity for sharing data and the level of experiencing problems in data sharing into a 2-by-2 table consisting of 'irreducible reluctant', 'reducible reluctant', 'problematic follower', and 'premium follower'.    

In the Nordic countries we tend to have the impression that certain services are publicly available and for free. This impression is plainly superficial because we Nordic people also know very well that 'there is no such thing as a free lunch'! All services must be paid for in one way or another. If you have many services that carry no direct cost, it is probably because you - and others - paid for them beforehand through taxation. Because of cuts in the public economy one of the things Flavio Bonifacio wanted to investigate was the question 'Is there a market for selling data-sharing services?' The results imply that 'reducible reluctants' can be a target for services that reduce the problems of that group.

Submissions of papers for the IASSIST Quarterly are always very welcome. We welcome input from IASSIST conferences or other conferences and workshops, from local presentations or papers especially written for the IQ. When you are preparing such a presentation, give a thought to turning your one-time presentation into a lasting contribution. Doing that after the event also gives you the opportunity of improving your work after feedback. We encourage you to login or create an author login to https://www.iassistquarterly.com (our Open Journal System application). We permit authors 'deep links' into the IQ as well as deposition of the paper in your local repository. Chairing a conference session with the purpose of aggregating and integrating papers for a special issue IQ is also much appreciated as the information reaches many more people than the limited number of session participants and will be readily available on the IASSIST Quarterly website at https://www.iassistquarterly.com.  Authors are very welcome to take a look at the instructions and layout:

https://www.iassistquarterly.com/index.php/iassist/about/submissions

Authors can also contact me directly via e-mail: kbr@sam.sdu.dk. Should you be interested in compiling a special issue for the IQ as guest editor(s) I will also be delighted to hear from you.

Karsten Boye Rasmussen - November 2018

IASSIST Quarterly Volume 42:2 now available!

Editor's notes:  Metadata is key - the most important data after data

Welcome to the second issue of volume 42 of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ 42:2, 2018).

The IASSIST Quarterly has had several papers on many different aspects of the Data Documentation Initiative - for a long time better known by its acronym DDI, without any further explanation. DDI is a brand. The IASSIST Quarterly has also included special issues of collections of papers concerning DDI.

Among staff at data archives and data libraries, as well as the users of these facilities, I think we can agree that it is the data that comes first. However, fundamental to all uses of data is the documentation describing the data, without which the data are useless. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the IASSIST Quarterly is devoted partly to the presentation of papers related to documentation. The question of documentation or data resembles the question of the chicken or the egg. Don't mistake the keys for your car. The metadata and the data belong together and should not be separated.

DDI now is a standard, but as with other standards it continues to evolve. The argument about why standards are good comes to mind: 'The nice thing about standards is that you have so many to choose from!'. DDI is the de facto standard for most social science data at data archives and university data libraries.

The first paper demonstrates a way to tackle the heterogeneous character of the usage of the DDI. The approach is able to support collaborative questionnaire development as well as export in several formats including the metadata as DDI. The second paper shows how an institutionalized and more general metadata standard - in this case the Belgian Encoded Archival Description (EAD) - is supported by a developed crosswalk from DDI to EAD. However, IQ 42:2 is not a DDI special issue, and the third paper presents an open-source research data management platform called Dendro and a laboratory notebook called LabTablet without mentioning DDI. However, the paper certainly does mention metadata - it is the key to all data.

The winner of the paper competition of the IASSIST 2017 conference is presented in this issue. 'Flexible DDI Storage' is authored by Oliver Hopt, Claus-Peter Klas, Alexander Mühlbauer, all affiliated with GESIS - the Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences in Germany. The authors argue that the current usage of DDI is heterogeneous and that this results in complex database models for each developed application. The paper shows a new binding of DDI to applications that works independently of most version changes and interpretative differences, thus avoiding continuous reimplementation. The work is based upon their developed DDI-FlatDB approach, which they showed at the European DDI conferences in 2015 and 2016, and which is also described in the paper. Furthermore, a web-based questionnaire editor and application supports large DDI structures and collaborative questionnaire development as well as production of structured metadata for survey institutes and data archives. The paper describes the questionnaire workflow from the start to the export of questionnaire, DDI XML, and SPSS. The development is continuing and it will be published as open source. 

The second paper is also focused on DDI, now in relation to a new data archive. 'Elaborating a Crosswalk Between Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) and Encoded Archival Description (EAD) for an Emerging Data Archive Service Provider' is by Benjamin Peuch who is a researcher at the State Archives of Belgium. It is expected that the future Belgian data archive will be part of the State Archives, and because DDI is the most widespread metadata standard in the social sciences, the State Archives have developed a DDI-to-EAD crosswalk in order to re-use their EAD infrastructure. The paper shows the conceptual differences between DDI and EAD - both XML based - and how these can be reconciled or avoided for the purpose of a data archive for the social sciences. The author also foresees a fruitful collaboration between traditional archivists and social scientists.

The third paper is by a group of scholars connected to the Informatics Engineering Department of University of Porto and the INESC TEC in Portugal. Cristina Ribeiro, João Rocha da Silva, João Aguiar Castro, Ricardo Carvalho Amorim, João Correia Lopes, and Gabriel David are the authors of 'Research Data Management Tools and Workflows: Experimental Work at the University of Porto'. The authors start with the statement that 'Research datasets include all kinds of objects, from web pages to sensor data, and originate in every domain'. The task is to make these data visible, described, preserved, and searchable. The focus is on data preparation, dataset organization and metadata creation. Some groups were proposed a developed open-source research data management platform called Dendro and a laboratory notebook called LabTablet, while other groups that demanded a domain-specific approach had special developed models and applications. All development and metadata modelling have in sight the metadata dissemination.

Submissions of papers for the IASSIST Quarterly are always very welcome. We welcome input from IASSIST conferences or other conferences and workshops, from local presentations or papers especially written for the IQ. When you are preparing such a presentation, give a thought to turning your one-time presentation into a lasting contribution. Doing that after the event also gives you the opportunity of improving your work after feedback. We encourage you to login or create an author login to https://www.iassistquarterly.com (our Open Journal System application). We permit authors 'deep links' into the IQ as well as deposition of the paper in your local repository. Chairing a conference session with the purpose of aggregating and integrating papers for a special issue IQ is also much appreciated as the information reaches many more people than the limited number of session participants and will be readily available on the IASSIST Quarterly website at https://www.iassistquarterly.com.  Authors are very welcome to take a look at the instructions and layout:

https://www.iassistquarterly.com/index.php/iassist/about/submissions

Authors can also contact me directly via e-mail: kbr@sam.sdu.dk. Should you be interested in compiling a special issue for the IQ as guest editor(s) I will also be delighted to hear from you.

Karsten Boye Rasmussen - June, 2018

IASSIST Quarterly Volume 42:1 available

Editor's notes:  Rebuilding, Preserving and Reproducing

Welcome to the first issue of Volume 42 of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ 42:1, 2018).

The IASSIST Quarterly has a focus on curation, preservation and reproduction of research, and all three bases are covered in this issue. The reproduction of earlier results from archived data is a validation of the data and also of the earlier research. The mimicking reuse of data for reproduction of the original results is the normal first step before use of the data for new purposes. This IQ starts with a paper on reproduction. Before reproduction is possible, intensive work is required at the earliest stage to curate the data, and in the case of older data - as presented in this issue - a costly process of rebuilding the data from old formats and forms of storage. Between the establishment of the data as a resource and the subsequent reproduction, the preservation process secures the data for future use. The middle paper brings special attention to preservation of 3D digital data.

At the IASSIST 2017 conference the presentation 'Reproducing and Preserving Research with ReproZip' was given at the session 'E3: Tools for Reproducible Workflows Across the Research Lifecycle'. This is presented here as a paper with the title 'Using ReproZip for Reproducibility and Library Services' by Vicky Steeves, Rémi Rampin, and Fernando Chirigati. The authors work at New York University as Librarian for Research Data Management and Reproducibility, Research Engineer, and PhD candidate. They present ReproZip, an open source tool designed to help overcome the technical difficulties involved in preserving and replicating research, ranging from digital humanities to machine learning as well as library services. The paper addresses the concept of computational reproducibility leading to capture and preservation of digital environments, and the creation of a file that encapsulates metadata about the computational environment - including the operating system, hardware architecture, and software library dependencies - in order to achieve reproducibility. The authors state that ReproZip can be used to reproduce and preserve research holistically.

At the same conference in the session 'E1: Preservation Matters' Jennifer Moore of Washington University Libraries in St. Louis and Hannah Scates Kettler of University of Iowa Libraries presented their paper 'Who cares about 3D data preservation?'. Well, the IQ does! 3D digital data preservation is necessary when for example an anthropologist produces digital 3D data as a preservation and presentation mechanism for an artefact. The 3D digital data has - like other data - to be treated for preservation. The artefact could be a building, and the paper holds much technical information and literature that refers to various interesting 3D projects; for example the Augmented Asbury Park app that projects lost - and now virtual - buildings and attractions upon their earlier physical space using augmented reality.

The last paper in this issue is 'Retirement in the 1950s: Rebuilding a Longitudinal Research Database' by Amy M. Pienta and Jared Lyle, respectively Associate Research Scientist and Director of Curation at ICPSR at the University of Michigan. This tells the story of the successful recovery of the important data from Gordon Streib’s Cornell Study of Occupational Retirement (CSOR). The paper includes the caveat that the work involved in rescuing these old data was many times more expensive than curating newer data would be. The CSOR followed a large (over 4,000 person) national cohort of retirement-age men and women in the period 1952 to 1958. The study is of great value for research in such areas as the relationships between health and gender and retirement. The data was deemed unrecoverable, as the punched cards did not directly match the documentation. Further work and additional materials were required to make it possible. The data is enriched by collections of several types of health records and examinations; some remaining in paper form that can be consulted for closer investigation on-site at ICPSR.                                            

Submissions of papers for the IASSIST Quarterly are always very welcome. We encourage you to login or create an author login to https://www.iassistquarterly.com .  We welcome input from IASSIST conferences or other conferences and workshops, from local presentations or papers especially written for the IQ. When you are preparing a presentation, give a thought to turning your one-time presentation into a lasting contribution. We permit authors 'deep links' into the IQ as well as deposition of the paper in your local repository. Chairing a conference session with the purpose of aggregating and integrating papers for a special issue IQ is also much appreciated as the information reaches many more people than the session participants, and will be readily available on the IASSIST Quarterly website at http://www.iassistquarterly.com. 

Authors are very welcome to take a look at the instructions and layout:

https://www.iassistquarterly.com/index.php/iassist/about/submissions

Authors can also contact me directly via e-mail: kbr@sam.sdu.dk. Should you be interested in compiling a special issue for the IQ as guest editor(s) I will also be delighted to hear from you.

Karsten Boye Rasmussen - April, 2018

IASSIST Quarterly Volume 41 available--on a new web site!

Welcome to the first issue of Volume 41 of the IASSIST Quarterly. It has taken extra time for this issue to appear. The cause of this is not that we have been extra lazy.  The paradoxical cause is that a great many people have been extra busy. Thanks to the team of people in the editorial group of the IASSIST Quarterly and - not least - the great help from Sonya Betz working as Digital Initiatives Projects Librarian at the University of Alberta Libraries in Canada, the IASSIST Quarterly has now moved to the Open Journal System (OJS) at the University of Alberta. We believe this shift is going to benefit all stakeholders of the IQ. It is mostly the inner workings of the production that has changed. As a potential author you are still very welcome to mail the editor.

The first issue of Volume 41 (2017) at the same time becomes the last issue of that volume. In order to get close to the real time we are catching up by jumping three issues. Therefore, this issue is labelled as Vol. 41 1-4 of 2017. Next issue will be 42 1 of 2018. 

The new issue of IASSIST Quarterly is placed as the 'Current' issue in the Open Journal System on the web at:

https://www.iassistquarterly.com

We hope you will enjoy the new open journal system. We also encourage you to 'Register' as an author on the website. See more about submitting a paper for the IQ under 'For Authors' and 'Submissions'. 

The archives of the IQ issues are transferred to the new IQ website. As the website is new there might be things concerning the IASSIST Quarterly that might not have been updated both on iassistquarterly.com and iassistdata.org. The website for the IASSIST organization continues, it is only the IQ that is moving to its own website. Please report errors and confusions, thanks.

The Vol. 40 (2017) is labeled 'The data is out there - just like the truth!' 

The first article concerns data for published articles in journals. The paper ‘Journals in Economic Sciences: Paying Lip Service to Reproducible Research?’ is by Sven Vlaeminck and Felix Podkrajac. Sven Vlaeminck works in research data management for ZBW – German National Library for Economics / Leibniz Information Centre for Economics in Hamburg, Germany. Felix Podkrajac is an academic subject librarian at the Library and Information System of the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg. Some economic journals have a 'data availability policy', and Vlaeminck and Podkrajac are presenting a study of the compliance of actual research to such policies.

The second paper in this IQ issue is titled 'Designing the Cyberinfrastructure for Spatial Data Curation, Visualization, and Sharing' by the authors Yue Li, Nicole Kong, and Stanislav Pejša. All three authors are working at Purdue University Libraries as respectively GIS analyst, assistant professor, and data curator. They argue that spatial data is an important component in many studies and has promoted interdisciplinary research development. In their development project at Purdue they have streamlined spatial data curation, visualization and sharing by connecting the institutional research data repository with the library’s GIS server set and spatial data portal.

The last paper is also addressing data management. The paper 'Research Data Management: A proposed framework to boost research in Higher Educational Institutes' is a collaboration between Bhojaraju Gunjal at Central Library of the National Institute of Technology, Rourkela, Odisha, India, and Panorea Gaitanou of the Department of Archives, Library Science and Museum Studies, Ionian University, Corfu, Greece. They begin with an abstract of Research Data Management (RDM) issues where they promise 'a detailed literature review regarding the RDM aspects adopted in libraries globally'.

Taking good care of data is worth writing articles about and is also worth writing books about. In this issue we present two book reviews: 'Databrarianship: The Academic Data Librarian in Theory and Practice' by Lynda Kellam and Kristi Thompson is reviewed by Chubing Tripepi of Columbia University, while 'The Data Librarian’s Handbook' by Robin Rice and John Southall is reviewed by Ann Glusker of The National Network of Libraries of Medicine.

Submissions of papers for the IASSIST Quarterly are always very welcome. We welcome input from IASSIST conferences or other conferences and workshops, and from local presentations or papers especially written for the IQ. When you are preparing a presentation, give a thought to turning your one-time presentation into a lasting contribution. We permit authors 'deep links' into the IQ as well as deposition of the paper in your local repository. Chairing a conference session with the purpose of aggregating and integrating papers for a special issue IQ is also much appreciated as the information reaches many more people than the session participants, and will be readily available on the IASSIST website at http://www.iassistdata.org.  

Authors are very welcome to take a look at the instructions and layout:  http://iassistdata.org/iq/instructions-authors

Authors can also contact me via e-mail: kbr@sam.sdu.dk. Should you be interested in compiling a special issue for the IQ as guest editor(s) I will also be delighted to hear from you.  

Karsten Boye Rasmussen, November 2017

Data Workshop at the National Library of Australia, sponsored by IASSIST

 Posted on behalf of Jade Koekoe

In February I won sponsorship money from IASSIST for a Data Workshop I had in mind. On the 18 November this year I saw my idea come to life. This Data Workshop was aimed at Library student and newgrads and was held in the Ferguson Room of the National Library of Australia. 26 people attended and there were five speakers from industries adjacent to librarianship.

  1. Sam Spencer from Data61, CSIRO
  2. Steven McEachern from the Australian Data Archive
  3. Karen Visser from the Australian National Data Service
  4. Ingrid Mason from the Australian Academic and Research Network
  5. Riley Post a PhD Candidate from University of Canberra

My goal for this workshop was to get students, newgrads and those new to data to start thinking about the fundamentals when it comes to managing data. Those fundamentals are things like:

  • Where are you storing your data, do you know where your servers a located, have you checked your backups lately?
  • What are the types of data librarians manage today?
  • Getting an idea of the big collaborations in place, the ways people are using data and organisations/platforms that manage data for users.

 Sam and Ingrid presented attendees with a sample of the vast amount of standards for managing topic and profession specific data. Attendees engaged quite well with these speakers and asked technical questions and wanted to know their expectations from librarians in their current role.

Steven highlighted the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy program, and its National Research Infrastructure roadmap. I could see attendees were interested in how organisations like the Australian Data Archive fit into such programs. Steven said that a lot of work is still going on at the digitisation stage and I saw many of the library students realise that digitisation skill is worth developing.  

Karen demonstrated how easy (within three minutes) it is for people to find their own research data. She then enforced that our job as current or aspiring data librarians is to add value. We should be data connectors and be ready and poised to share that knowledge with people, for example, “Oh you are looking for biodiversity data? Do you know about Atlas of Living Australia or the Biodiversity Heritage Library?”

Many commented they enjoyed having Riley speak last as his presentation was a great visual representation of what can be done with data. He is working in the field of “generous interfaces” and he demonstrated what people like him can do with data if it is created well. I was particularly thankful that he linked his presentation back to “I wouldn’t have been able to create this, if the data wasn’t created to this standard”. After Sam’s presentation where he laid out most of the standards it helped people to realise how far well created data can actually go.

Check out the hashtag #ALIADW2017 on twitter to see what people were tweeting on the day.

The International Workshop on Social Science Data Archives, held in Taiwan, sponsored by IASSIST

The International Workshop on Social Science Data Archives, sponsored by IASSIST, was held on September 15 in Conference Room II, Research Center for Humanities and Social Science (RCHSS), Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan. The invited speakers included Prof. Dr. Christof Wolf from GESIS – Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences, Dr. Yukio Maeda and Dr. Kaoru Sato from Social Science Japan Data Archive (SSJDA), University of Tokyo, and Dr. Won-ho Park, Dr. Seokho Kim from Korea Social Science Data Archive (KOSSDA), Seoul National University.

The finalized workshop agenda is listed in the following. We also had Dr. Ruoh-rong Yu introduce the Survey Research Data Archive of Taiwan. The topics of the presentations covered data curation, preservation, and dissemination services provided by each data archive. 

09:00~09:30

Registration

09:30~09:40

Opening Remarks

Dr. Ching-Ching Chang
Chair Professor
Department of Advertising
National Cheng-Chi University, Taiwan

Morning Session

Session Chair: Dr. Ching-ching Chang

09:40~10:20

Curating, Preserving, and Disseminating Social Science Micro Data at Social Science Japan Data Archive

Dr. Yukio Maeda
Professor
Institute of Social Science
University of Tokyo, JAPAN

10:20~11:00

Introduction to Korea Social Science Data Archive

Dr. Won-ho Park
Associate Professor
Department of Political Science and International Relations
Seoul National University, KOREA

Dr. Seokho Kim
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
Seoul National University, KOREA

Dr. In Chol Shin
Senior Researcher
Korea Social Science Data Archive
Seoul National University Asia Center, KOREA

11:00~11:20

Tea Break

 

11:20~12:00

Introduction to Survey Research Data Archive of Taiwan

Dr. Ruoh-Rong Yu
Research Fellow and Executive Director
Center for Survey Research
Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, Academia Sinica, TAIWAN

12:00~14:00

Lunch

 

Afternoon Session

Session Chair: Dr. Chyi-In Wu. (Research Fellow, Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica)

14:00~15:00

Services for Survey Data: The GESIS Perspective

Dr. Christof Wolf
President
GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, GERMANY

15:00~15:20

Closing Remarks

 

The registration of the workshop started May 1, 2017. The registration fee was NT$200, which included conference printed materials, lunch and light refreshments.  69 researchers attended the workshop. Most of the attendants were local scholars, while others were from Thailand, Turkey or other countries.

In the opening remarks, Dr. Chang stressed the importance of data archives, and gave a brief introduction to the speakers of the morning sessions.

The speaker of first session, Dr. Maeda, introduced the development and current practice of SSJDA. In addition, he also introduced some other data centers in Japan, including Leviathan Data Bank, Rikkyo University Data Archive, and Research Centre for Information and Statistics of Social Science at Hitotsubashi University.

SSJDA was started in 1998, with deposits amounting to 2,018 datasets. Its main collections include the Japanese General Social Surveys, Japanese Life Course Panel Surveys, Japanese Election Studies, National Family Research of Japan, Working Persons Survey, and Elementary School Students Survey. Researchers affiliated with academic institutions and graduate students can get access to SSJDA datasets for academic purposes. Applicants should sign an agreement (pledge) and get permission from PI in advance. Under the supervision of professors, undergraduate students are allowed to access certain data for paper writing. Such usage is classified as educational use, instead of research use. Some datasets are for research use only, and are not available for educational use.

SSJDA also offers several seminars on data usage and a one-week seminar on quantitative analysis every year. SSJDA built a desktop application for managing metadata based on the DDI lifecycle named Easy DDI Organizer (EDO). EDO can be used to edit metadata, import metadata and variable information from statistical software, and export documents. It is a useful tool for researchers, data users, and data archives. However, this system only has a Japanese version.

The second speaker was Dr. Park from KOSSDA. KOSSDA is Korea’s leading data archive, with expertise in the collection, dissemination, and promotion of research materials through various academic events and methodology education programs. Started in 1983 as a non-profit social science library, KOSSDA began to collect survey data in 2003, and moved to Seoul National University Asia Center in 2015.

KOSSDA collects survey data, statistical tables, qualitative interviews and narrative history data, documents, observation records, and other kinds of data produced by research institutes and individuals. KOSSDA also establishes digital databases, and provides access to the data. Its main collections include the Korean General Social Survey, ISSP Annual Topical Module Survey, Gallup Omnibus Survey, etc. KOSSDA has translated 250 survey datasets to English, including their questionnaires and codebooks.

KOSSDA is now rebuilding its website to enhance its data searching function and to improve web design. KOSSDA offers methodology training programs, data fairs, and a research paper competition every year.

After a 20-minute tea break, the presentation on SRDA kicked off. The speaker, Dr. Yu, is the Executive Director of the Center for Survey Research at Academia Sinica. SRDA was established in 1994. There are now eleven full-time workers in SRDA, including two IT staff members. The data archived by SRDA include survey data, census data, and in-house value-added data.

SRDA curates academic survey data such as the Taiwan Social Change Survey, Panel Study of Family Dynamic, Taiwan Social Image Survey, Taiwan Youth Project, Taiwan Education Panel Survey, and Taiwan’s Election and Democratization Study. In addition, SRDA also curates government survey data including the Manpower Survey, Manpower Utilization Survey, Woman’s Marriage, Fertility and Employment Survey, Survey of Family Income and Expenditure, Digital Opportunity Survey for Individuals and Households, Survey on Workers’ Living and Employment Conditions, etc. The number of datasets dissimilated by SRDA exceeds 2,800, in which 315 datasets have English versions.

A membership scheme is adopted by SRDA. Academia Sinica members are researchers at Academia Sinica. Regular members are faculty, researchers, students, or research assistants at colleges or research institutes. There are now about 2,302 members. A member can get access to most of the archived data by direct downloading from the SRDA website.

SRDA members can also apply for data with restricted access. The restricted datasets can be used via on-site access or remote access. All services provided by SRDA are now free of charge.

SRDA offers workshops, webinars, and on-campus lectures to promote data usage. In addition, SRDA maintains some social media websites such as a Facebook fan page, Youtube Channel, and SRDA blog.

SRDA has been constructing a data-based bibliography for years. Since 2016, SRDA has begun to register DOI via da|ra. One task in progress is to construct a data integration platform for Taiwan Social Change Survey data of various years. Other main tasks include enlarging data storage, broadening membership, remodeling the website, developing data management plans, and constructing an evaluation scheme for data disclosure risk.

In the afternoon session, Dr. Chi-in Wu was the chair. The presenter, Dr. Wolf, introduced the development and current progress of GESIS. Relative to data archives of Asia countries, the budget and personnel of GESIS are very large. GESIS was founded in 1960, and the data archive for social science is one of the five research departments of GESIS. There are about 70 staff members in the data archive for social science, belonging to seven teams.

GESIS currently has about 6,000 datasets, which mainly focus on migration, election, values and attitudes, and social behavior. ISSP, CSES, EVS, and ALLBUS are some well-known social science survey programs. It is easy for PIs to upload datasets through the Datorium system, which is a self-deposit service for sharing data.

Dr. Wolf stressed the importance of DOI (Digital Object Identifiers), and introduced the DOI registration service built by GESIS  da|ra. Da|ra has 576,297 registered DOI names and 88 data providers worldwide, including ICPSR, SRDA, etc. In addition to hosting da|ra, GESIS is devoted to developing international standards for data documentation and data archiving, and providing training and consulting services to researchers.

In the presentation, Dr. Wolf also talked about the secure data center of GESIS. The secure data center enables researchers to access sensitive, and weakly anonymized data. It is a locked room without internet. Users have to sign contracts in advance. Any inputs and outputs are required to be checked for disclosure risk. In the future, the secure data center will establish a remote access system, which can provide secure access to the data curated in CESSDA.

A business meeting was kicked off on the next day (September 16). Besides the guests from GESIS, KOSSDA and SSJDA, participants of the meeting included researchers at the Center for Survey Research, and all the staff of SRDA. The agenda was as below.

Development of Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA)

Christof Wolf (GESIS)

Connections among SSJDA, KOSSDA and SRDA in Recent Years

Ruoh-rong Yu (SRDA)

Possible Future Collaboration among Data Archives

All Participants

There have been frequent connections among KOSSDA, SSJDA and SRDA in recent years. Conferences and/or workshops were hosted in rotation in 2008, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.

In 2016, KOSSDA organized an international conference with invited guests from SSJDA at the University of Tokyo (Japan), CNSDA at Renmin University (China), and SRDA at Academia Sinica (Taiwan). In this conference, a consensus was reached to develop a regional association of data archives in Asian countries, namely the Networks of Asian Social Science Data Archive (NASSDA).

The main purpose of the business meeting this year was to discuss possible future collaboration among data archives in Asia countries. The brief conclusions are listed in the following:

  1. To build a joint data catalogue for the archives involved.
  2. To construct web linkages and brief introduction among archives.
  3. To have a contact person for each data archive for future cooperation.

NASSDA members will hold annual workshop or conferences on a rotating basis. Further collaboration will be discussed in the near future. 

Winter 2016 IASSIST Quarterly Posted

Editor’s Notes
When things get digital and huge. Doing the things right and doing the right things.


Welcome to the fourth issue of Volume 40 of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ 40:4, 2016).


There is a lot of management involved in the data management carried out at data archives and with data collections. The phrase 'Doing the things right and doing the right things' belongs to fathers of modern management and is used to distinguish management vs. leadership, efficiency vs. effectiveness, and tactics vs. strategy. The winning authors of the 2016 lASSIST paper competition used the article 'More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Archival Processing' (Mark A. Greene and Dennis Meissner, 2005) as their starting point for investigating the 'More Product, Less Process' (MPLP) approach for digital data. The winning paper 'More Data, Less Process? The Applicability of MPLP to Research Data' is written by Sophia Lafferty-Hess and Thu-Mai Christian. The authors work at the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as Research Data Manager and Assistant Director of Archives. The paper was presented in the session 'Data Management Archiving/Curation Platforms' at the IASSIST 2016 conference in Bergen.


In their paper Lafferty-Hess and Christian set out to apply the principles and concepts formulated in MPLP to the archiving of digital research data. They discuss data quality, usability, preservation and access, leading to the question: What is the ‘golden minimum’ for archiving digital data? In terms of data archiving, spending too much effort on doing the things right may bring the trade-off problem that the resources are not sufficient to do all the things. Users in the digital world retrieve and consume lots of information by themselves, but digital data comes in forms that are seldom directly consumable without additional processing. When the authors also relate the phrase 'golden minimum' to the phrase 'good enough', management is again brought into the discussion. In my view, the short formulation of Herbert Simon's ‘satisficing’ concept in his theory of bounded rationality is 'good enough is best'. Lafferty-Hess and Christian are aware that shifting responsibility for certain data curation tasks from the data archive to the data producer and to the data user can present problems. Their best advice and hope for the future is that additional 'future research will help us build better understanding of the connection between user needs and data curation processes'.


The following paper 'MMRepo - Storing qualitative and quantitative data into one big data repository' is authored by Ingo Barkow, Catharina Wasner and Fabian Odoni, working at University of Applied Sciences Eastern Switzerland HTW Chur where Barkow is Associate Professor and Wasner and Odoni are research associates. They describe a prototype of their MMRepo project that addresses the problem of storing qualitative large binary objects with regular quantitative data in order to achieve the advantage of storing mixed mode data in the same infrastructure, whereby only one system needs to be provided and maintained. Linking to the first paper they are looking into the efficiency problem of doing the things right. When you are efficient you can do more things right. The project is trying to achieve this by combining CERN’s Invenio portal with a Hadoop 2.0 cluster and DDI 3.3. The prototype was successful and the project continues. The paper was presented at the IASSIST 2016 conference in the session ‘Technical Data Infrastructure Frameworks’.


Aidan Condron works with the Big Data Network Support team at the UK Data Service. At the IASSIST 2016 conference he presented ‘Data Science: The Future of Social Science?’ at the session ‘Big Data, Big Science', and has submitted this presentation as the paper 'Servicing New and Novel Forms of Data: Opportunities for Social Science'. These ‘new and novel’ forms are, for example, social media data that present potential resources for researchers but also pose challenges for access provision and analysis. The paper introduces Data Service as a Platform (DSaaP), which is a project to establish technological infrastructure support. As with the MMRepo project, the DSaaP project will include both familiar and new and novel forms of data. The novel forms of data are often huge, and 'Hadoop' solutions are also at play here using a data lake built through use of open source software. The article also gives several demonstrations through graphs of energy consumption based on 3.7 billion datapoints. After the presentation and the paper, the Big Data Network Support team will standardise and generalise the procedures developed from their DSaaP project.


Submissions of papers for the IASSIST Quarterly are always very welcome. We welcome input from IASSIST conferences or other conferences and workshops, from local presentations or papers especially written for the IQ. When you are preparing a presentation, give a thought to turning your one-time presentation into a lasting contribution. We permit authors 'deep links' into the IQ as well as deposition of the paper in your local repository. Chairing a conference session with the purpose of aggregating and integrating papers for a special issue IQ is also much appreciated as the information reaches many more people than the session participants, and will be readily available on the IASSIST website at http://www.iassistdata.org.


Authors are very welcome to take a look at the instructions and layout:
http://iassistdata.org/iq/instructions-authors


Authors can also contact me via e-mail: kbr@sam.sdu.dk. Should you be interested in compiling a special issue for the IQ as guest editor(s) I will also be delighted to hear from you.


Karsten Boye Rasmussen

July 2017

Editor

  • 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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    Resources

    A space for IASSIST members to share professional resources useful to them in their daily work. Also the IASSIST Jobs Repository for an archive of data-related position descriptions. more...

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    Find out what IASSISTers are doing in the field and explore other avenues of presentation, communication and discussion via social networking and related online social spaces. more...