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IASSIST General Assembly May 14, 1993

MINUTES - Draft copy until approved

The meeting convened at 12:45 in the Carleton Highland Hotel, with approximately 90 persons present.

Chair: Chuck Humphrey, President

1. Agenda

Humphrey presented the agenda. There were no amendments.

2. Report of the Election Committee - Karsten Boye Rasmussen

Vote on the constitutional amendment to separate the offices of Secretary and Archivist - all votes in favour of the amendment, none against.

Vote on Administrative Committee members: newly elected for 4-year terms are:

  • Hilde Colenbrander (Canada)
  • Vigdis Kvalheim (Europe)
  • Carmen Campbell (US)
  • Jo Ann Dionne (US)
  • Jean Stratford (US)

These replace Ann Gerken Green, Laura Guy, Jim Jacobs, Bjorn Henrichsen, Laine Ruus

Vote for regional secretariats:

  • Australia : Roger Jones, Australian National University
  • Canada : Wendy Watkins, Statistics Canada & Carleton University
  • Europe : Peter Burnhill, University of Edinburgh
  • United States : Ann Lightfoot Cooper, University of Wisconsin

Vote for vice-president: Libbie Stephenson

Vote for president: Chuck Humphrey

Humphrey announced the appointment of Don Harrison to the position of archivist, and Laine Ruus to the position of secretary.

3. Reports of annual conferences

3.1 1993 conference - Peter Burnhill

Burnhill extended thanks to all participants; also thanks from the Local Arrangements Committee to local assistants, and to the LAC of the Madison conference (1992). He further proffered thanks to the IASSIST and IFDO Program Chairs.

Tokens of IASSIST's thanks were presented by the President to: Peter Burnhill, Alison Bayley, Heather Eawing, Donald Morse, Moraig ???, Jackie ???, and Margaret Tubby.

The IASSIST banner was formally passed on to Ilona Einowski.

3.2 1994 conference, San Francisco - Ilona Einowski.

The dates of the 1994 conference are May 3 through 6, 1994. On the Tuesday, workshops will be held at University of California, Berkeley. The remainder of the conference will be located at the Sheraton Hotel at Fisherman's Wharf. A meeting to plan the 1994 conference will be held June 18, 1993, at University of California, Los Angeles. All are welcome.

3.3 Future conferences:

  • 1995 Quebec City, Quebec
  • 1996 ?
  • 1997 Danish Data Archives, Odense, Denmark

4. Report of the Treasurer - Kay Worrell

Kay Worrell reported as outgoing Treasurer. The Treasury has now been turned over to Martin Pawlocki.

4.1 Treasurer's report as of January 1, 1993

Balance forward (1991) $16,217.48 1992 Revenues Dues paid during 1992 $ 9,005.00 Income from Edmonton conference 6,722.68 Income from Madison conference 8,000.00 Total revenues 1992 23,727.68 1992 Expenses Quarterly (production, UCLA) 2,809.12 Printing, stationery 71.66 Postage (subscription billing) 150.00 To C. Lew for IASSIST 92 expenses 5,000.00 Subscription, U. Illinois 50.00 (journal, W. Piovesan) Travel subsidy (airfare, W.P.) 210.00 Gifts, plaques 137.64 COPAFS membership 500.00 Advance for IASSIST 93 expenses 4,500.00 Bank charges (Canadian cheques) 11.18 Certified cheque charge, to P. Burnhill 9.50 Total expenses, 1992 13,449.10 Closing balance, December 31, 1992 $26,496.06 Last deposit 1/7/93 40.00 Cheque to Martin Pawlocki, balance 26,536.06 Balance as of 1/20/93 $ 0.00

Submitted by Kay Worrell, 5/11/93

4.2 Report to date from Martin Pawlocki May 12, 1993

Total revenues $ 32,475.04 Total expenses, 1993 3,057.12 Balance to date 29,418.92 Memberships: Paid individual members, 1993 131 Paid institutional subscriptions, 1993 32 Subtotal 163 Individual members paid '92 57 Institutional subscriptions paid '92 6 Total 226

5. Reports of the Regional Secretariats

5.1 Australia - Roger Jones

Roger Jones is the longest running IASSIST regional secretariat. Membership in Australia has increased by 50% in the past year, and 50% of the membership are present at this IASSIST conference.

A data archive, the New Zealand Social Research Data Archives (NZSDA) is being established at Massey University. Main problems are developing outreach to other parts of the region. With the creation of the Australian Association of Social Researchers created in the past year, Jones predicts more interest developing in associations such as IASSIST.

5.2 Canada - Wendy Watkins

Given tight budgets, 1992-93 has been a very creative year for Canadian IASSISTers! Several universities have banded together for group purchases, group subscriptions, sharing training resources and other co-operative ventures.

Thirteen western universities, the entire membership of the Council of prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL) voted unanimously to form a federated membership in ICPSR. Similar arrangements are being negotiated with OCUL and CREPUQ representing university libraries in Ontario and Quebec respectively.

In conjunction with the COPPUL-ICPSR federation proposal, the Universities of Alberta and British Columbia along with Simon Fraser University jointly offered a data library workshop in Calgary.

In the realm of distributed and network service, the University of Alberta is now supporting its own gopher server. At Simon Fraser, the Research Data Library is on the university's Campus-Wide Information Service (CWIS) and has set up a CANSIM server which is distributed to UBC and the University of Alberta, with Statistics Canada's hearty endorsement.

Further to the east, Statistics Canada's Quebec regional office offered two, one-day workshops to librarians using their CANSIM and Census cd data products. A workshop for 'upcoming data librarians' was held in Quebec in April.

The year has seen three established data archives change places of residence or responsibility. Both the University of British Columbia and the University of Alberta libraries have taken responsibility for the data libraries from the computing centres. In addition, Carleton's Social Science Data Archives has been moved from the Sociology Department and is now known as the Library Data Centre. Again, responsibility resides in the Library.

While some of the 'old' archives were on the move, new data libraries were established at the University of Calgary, the University of Saskatchewan and Universite Laval. In addition, the libraries at McGill, Guelph, and Waterloo are thinking about consolidating, coordinating and/or assuming responsibility for the existing data services.

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) organized two further group purchases of data, this time for the 1991 Census of population and the 1991 Census of agriculture. This brings the number of consortium bulk purchases to five. Previous acquisitions included two sets of GSS (General Social Survey) data and the data from the 1986 Census of population.

Statistics Canada's University Liaison Program is now in its third year. This year, a member of the Headquarters staff is in residence in the Faculty of Education at Queen's University. In addition, the Vancouver, Winnipeg and Montreal Regional Offices have collaborated with universities in their areas.

In December [1992], the Canadian Library Association and the federal Department of Communications held a National Information Summit, with 200 invited delegates. IASSIST was well-represented, under the guise of different institutions. For example, Laine Ruus attended as co-chair of the Canadian Global Change Data and Information Systems Panel, and Ernie Boyko attended as chair of the West Quebec School Board's Information Technology Committee. A report from the summit is expected any day now and can be made available to anyone who is interested.

Statistics Canada and the Depository Services Program launched a pilot project which saw a limited number of electronic products from the 1991 Census of population distributed to libraries. While reports are just now coming in, preliminary evaluations suggest that libraries are quite willing to receive these products, provided they contain more detailed material than can be found in printed products.

Last, but not least, two Freenets or community computing facilities were established over the past year. The first, in Victoria, was instituted in late 1992, and has more than 1,000 registered users, while the National Capital Freenet was launched in Ottawa in February of this year. It is now the second biggest in North America, with more than 4,000 registered users.

Not to be left behind, a group of committed people is currently planning the Toronto Free-Net. After several planning sessions, their held their first meeting in late April and had to turn people away at the door. And a Vancouver Freenet plans to be in operation by the end of the year. We'd all like to hear from the rest of you about community computing in your area. Perhaps we could make it into a session next year.

Thus the theme for the year is sharing our wealth of experience, forming alliances and stretching scarce resources in altogether new ways.

5.3 Europe - Peter Burnhill

Burnhill and Karsten Boye Rasmussen have been concentrating on growth of IASSIST in Europe, through efforts such as this conference, and a 3-day seminar held in September of 1992 in collaboration with the Library Association and Census. IASSIST members Diane Geraci, Carolyn Geda, and Karsten Boye Rasmussen participated in the September meeting.

Are proposing periodic IASSIST regional meetings in Europe, not to be held in May, so as not to conflict with the IASSIST annual conference. The next such regional meeting may be in September of 1994, at a location to be determined.

Rasmussen, Vigdis Kvalheim, and Burnhill will also be working to promote IASSIST membership among staff of IFDO institutions.

5.4 United States - Anne Gray

Reported on the current status of the Don Harrison resolution re the fate of archival materials relating to Vietnam war veterans, which has now been reviewed by Judith Rowe and AG. CD-ROM products of 1990 Census data are being disseminated through the US Depository Services Program. These products are massive - a new one is coming which will consist of 45 CD-ROMs.

IASSIST members have been very active in participating in a number of associations, teaching, and other outreach activities, such as the workshops on archiving of electronic records being conducted by Peggy Adams and Mark Conrad.

6. Reports of the Round Tables

6.1 Round table on the virtual data library - Judith Rowe

Participants were unable to agree on the meaning of 'virtual archive'. A number of concerns were discussed, including access versus ownership, the need for special expertise to make data available to users. In the U.S., there is considerable concern with federal government agencies assuming responsibility for archiving their own data. Further discussion ranged over centralized data catalogues, relationships with ICPSR, putting data on-line for wider access, and access to information about data.

6.2 Round table on documentation at the variable level (i.e. codebooks) - Karsten Rasmussen

Although the table was a square one, there was consensus, partly based on all the papers during the conference, on software and dreams, that we are approaching a 'standardized dream'. Rasmussen proposes that a working group be set up to identify features that should be available in social science codebooks...the keyword in the new codebook vision is flexibility.

6.3 Round table on 'liberating the data' - Ernie Boyko

The participants discussed whether or not data are as free as they might be. It was decided that the Norwegian policy towards data was the most liberated of those represented at the table : the Norwegian statistical office deposits data with the Norwegian Social Science Data Archive, which is mandated to support research. In the United Kingdom, the 1991 census of population represented an exception in that ESRC paid for the machine-readable products; otherwise, all data sets produced by the government are deposited in the ESRC Data Archive, which makes them available to researchers. In Canada, it has been necessary to resort to buying-consortia in order to gain access to expensive data files. In Australia too, there is a current effort to negotiate to buy census data. Participants were in agreement that charging for data impedes their use in the generation of knowledge.

The quote of the conference: "You have to love us for something other than money, because that is not our strength." - Peter Burnhill.

Denise Lievesley's 10 services that data libraries provide to data producers:

  • long-term preservation
  • augmented documentation
  • user support
  • a safety net re personally identifiable information
  • data access to data producers themselves
  • promote the use of data
  • educate users in the ethical use of data
  • act as an intermediary between data producers and data users
  • provide feedback to producers
  • train 'baby statisticians'.

Judith Rowe rejoindered that the report did not take the U.S. situation into account. The U.S. situation of having all federal government information in the public domain is a very important distinction. Boyko replied that no Americans had participated in the round table.

6.4 Round table on creating documentation guidelines for data producers - Bridget Winstanley

This round table had a very wide international representation, with the exception of Australia. It was felt that new guidelines are needed which are targeted at the data producers - n.b. these should be guidelines rather than standards...it is probably not possible to impose standards at this stage. The guidelines should be applicable to more than just social science files, i.e. also text files. They should also be as generic as possible, and contain references to further information. Discussion of how to persuade producers to follow the guidelines included such possibilities as funding sanctions, incentives such as citations, and making it easy to produce documentation, e.g. through the data capture system. Mention was made of the TEI initiative as a laudable example of promoting guidelines. Importance of having internationally accepted guidelines, especially with the increasing importance of cross-national research. Discussions also covered such facets as vocabulary, e.g. metadata, technical reports, user guides - definitions that can be internationally accepted.

6.5 The nameless round table - Peter Burnhill

This was a 'real' round table. Discussion concentrated on the Internet. From this round table comes a recommendation that there should be a 'flotsam & jetsam' round table with no assigned discussion topic for those who do not wish to participate in other round tables. Alternately, perhaps there should be a permanent IFDO round table.

7. Proposed working groups

The following proposals for working groups were presented:

7.1 Conference planning manual

Proposal to form a Working Group on a conference planning manual for IASSIST
Co-chairs: Gaetan Drolet and Laura Guy

Objectives: to write a conference planning manual for IASSIST to be made available through the IASSIST listserv. Also to plan and gather, and make available through an appropriate site, software to facilitate registration, etc. Also to make recommendations for future revision and updating of the manual.

Membership: interested members of IASSIST, especially previous conference local arrangements and program chairs, to be appointed by the co-chairs.

Time span: to report with a final draft of the manual to the 1994 meeting of the Administrative Committee.

7.2 Codebook Documentation of Social Science Data Working Group Chair - Karsten Boye Rasmussen

The last years there has been some confusion concerning who are making what changes to the OSIRIS-codebook. The OSIRIS codebook format has for more than twenty years been the de-facto standard for archives around the world. The most obvious reasons for this standard are that the OSIRIS codebooks can store full text, are input to retrieval systems, and that the codebooks are easily converted to other formats (SAS and SPSS). I propose that the task of this working group is to make clarification on this confusion by:

1) Identifying the tasks and areas that cannot be solved by the OSIRIS codebook in its present form. Two examples: A) Many archives are looking for a feature of presenting tabulations in the codebooks - not just frequencies. B) A less rigid print out of codebooks not limited by the original card image input format. It is important to note that the first is a problem of storing new information in the codebooks. The second concerns the utilisation of the codebook, and could be changed without changing the codebook format (by flowing the text, and using a different font).

2) Identifying the number of data sets at archives all over the world. The data sets should be grouped by the level of documentation: A) full text machine readable codebooks (what format?); B) abbreviated machine readable documentation (OSIRIS dictionary / SAS / SPSS ?); C) no machine readable documentation (paper / scanned information). Data sets that are originally stored at other archives (ICPSR etc.) are to be counted only at the original archive. Another question would be whether the archive is producing machine readable documentation at all.

The rationale behind the second identification is that archives that have produced and stored machine readable documentation (e.g. OSIRIS codebooks) will be able to convert these to the new format (missing the special features of the new format). There will not be invented a new codebook format, that automatically documents what has not been documented. The archives having documented in the same way will be able to use the same software for making the conversion to the new format.

Submitted by: Karsten Boye Rasmussen, Dansk Data Arkiv IASSIST '93 conference in Edinburgh. May 13, 1993.

7.3 Creating documentation guidelines for data producers Chairs - Sue Dodd, Bridget Winstanley

Objectives: The primary goal is to draft an IASSIST Manual for Documenting Social Science Data which would include a set of descriptive elements necessary to describe and use the data.

A secondary goal would be to inform appropriate social science funding agencies about the Manual and its contents. In addition to requiring that recipients of social science funding deposit their data in an archive of choice, the funding agencies would be persuaded to extend this requirement to include the generation of acceptable documentation as part of the data creation process -- using the Manual and subsequent elements as a guide. The funding agencies would make it clear that the initial and final responsibility for creating useable documentation would lie with the principal investigator(s). The manual would outline minimal and optimal elements -- giving the principal investigators a choice.

7.4 Bibliographic standards: Chair - Patricia Vanderberg

I propose that IASSIST establish a cataloguing working group to review cataloguing rules and documents that have relevance for cataloguing research data. Such a working group would produce a written document with recommendations for changes to the _Anglo-American cataloguing rules_, 2nd revised edition, that would reflect changes in both technological developments and access needs. This body would carry on the work of the former IASSIST Classification Action Group and would assist the IASSIST representative to the American Library Association, Committee on Cataloguing, Description and Access maintain our perspective and visibility in the international cataloguing arena. Current documents needing review are:

  1. Guidelines for description of Internet resources.
  2. CC:DA/MARBI/9 Proposal 93-4: Changes to the US MARC bibliographic format (computer files) to accommodate on-line information resources.
  3. Guidelines for bibliographic description of interactive media.
  4. Guidelines for bibliographic description of reproductions.
  5. as well as others yet to come.

I recommend that the timetable for this work be 2 years and I assume my commitment to chair such a body and bring its work to logical conclusion within this 2 year period.

Respectfully submitted:

Patricia S. Vanderberg 212 Library University of California Berkeley, CA 94720 USA e-mail: pvanderb@library.berkeley.edu telephone: (510) 642-2329 FAX: (510) 643-7891

Moved by Craig McKie, seconded by Roger Jones that these working groups be approved as presented. CARRIED.

8. Harold Naugler Memorial Fund - Margaret O. Adams and Tom Brown (in absentia)

The following was presented to the membership:

Harold Naugler served IASSIST in numerous capacities -- program coordinator for the 1984 Ottawa meeting, chair of the Constitutional Review Committee, and long-time member of the Administrative Committee. In his memory, a memorial fund has been established at the University of British Columbia. The fund was initiated by his widow Jane and some of his former colleagues in the Machine-Readable Archives Division of the National Archives of Canada. The purpose of the fund is to provide scholarships for students in the School of Libraries, Archives and Information Studies at the University of British Columbia. Beneficiaries will be students pursuing studies and careers in electronic records or in the use of computers to control archival materials. Donations to the fund may be made directly to:

The Harold Naugler Memorial Fund School of Libraries, Archives and Information Studies 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, BC V6T 1Y3 CANADA

As a charitable contribution for income tax purposes, US residents may send contributions to:

The Harold Naugler Memorial Fund c/o American Foundation for UBC 1718 M Street NW Washington DC 20036 USA

Please make checks [sic] payable to: "Harold Naugler Memorial Fund"

Margaret O. Adams moved, Diane Geraci seconded, a motion that IASSIST donate $200.00 to this memorial fund. CARRIED.

9. New business

No new business was brought forward.

The meeting adjourned at 13:45.

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