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June 2005

IASSIST Members Participate in Social Science Week

As part of the celebration of ESRC Social Science Week (June 20-24, 2005) in the UK, guest authors were invited to post articles on a blog dedicated to this event. Three IASSIST members (Alastair Allan, Robin Rice and Melanie Wright) contributed pieces about online access to data.

Report on Access to Scientific Research Data

The final report of the Canadian National Consultation on Access to Scientific Research Data has just been released containing eighteen recommendations to improve open access to research data in Canada. While some of these recommendations are unique to the Canadian context, others share a close relationship with the recommendations of the International Council for Science report, Scientific Data and Information.Supported by the National Research Council of Canada, a task force was established in June 2004 to provide advice about improving access to scientific research data. more...

Postmodern Values that Threaten National Data Archives

Following John Curtice's plenary address in Edinburgh about postmodernism and Session G3 on Transforming Data Archives, I wrote an essay outlining the threat that certain postmodern values pose for national data archives. This discussion summarizes this argument and proposes actions aligned with the IASSIST Strategic Plan to present a line of defense for data archives.

Discovering a Profession: the accidental data librarian

A session at the Edinburgh conference addressed a topic that arose earlier in the year on the IASSIST email discussion list about how people prepare and enter the profession of data librarianship. In general, is there a profession of data librarianship?An interesting question was presented on the IASSIST email discussion list earlier this year asking how one becomes a data librarian. Several people replied by relating personal accounts about their entry into this profession. Out of this discussion came the observation that many were 'accidental' data librarians, that is, they had not pursued a career as a data librarian but by happenstance discovered the profession.

This conversation was continued in a session at the Edinburgh conference: E4. Discovering a Profession: the accidental data librarian. Speaking in this session, Paul Bern (Syracuse University) questioned whether data librarianship qualifies as a real profession. He listed three attributes that W.M. Sullivan in Work and Integrity (2005) uses to characterize a profession:

  • a commitment to public service
  • public recognition of a degree of autonomy to regulate themselves
  • specialized training in a field of codified knowledge.

Paul noted that the first characteristic is one on which we clearly qualify as a profession. Data librarians are known for their dedication to public service. How data librarianship measures up to the next two characteristics, however, is debatable. This blog entry is dedicated to continuing this debate.

Ernie Boyko Begins First Term as Incoming President

Ernie Boyko began his first term as the incoming President of IASSIST in Edinburgh. A little less than a year since his retirement with Statistics Canada, Ernie Boyko took the reigns of IASSIST as their new President.  Having retired at the end of June 2004, Ernie has kept himself busy in the world of data as a VP with Nesstar Americas Inc. He has also remained active as an external adviser with the Data Liberation Initiative's (DLI) External Advisory Committee and as an instructor in the DLI training programme. Ernie's experiences as a data producer with a national statistical agency, a manager of Census operations and the director of Statistics Canada's Library and Information Centre provide him with a rich background in data services and first-hand knowledge of the major issues facing our profession. Ernie's first IASSIST conference was in Jerusalem in 1989 and since then, he has been active in the organization. Most recently, he was finishing a term as a member of the Administrative Committee for Canada when he was elected President.

Ernie is a "strategic thinker" and we look forward to the plans he has for the organization over the next two years. Good luck, Ernie. We're right behind you.

Ann Green Completes Her Presidency Still Smiling

With the completion of the Annual General Meeting in Edinburgh, Ann Green finished her second term as President of IASSIST.

A bonnie IASSIST in Edinburgh

Be slow in choosing a friend, but slower in changing him. Source: Scottish Proverb

Welcome to the IASSIST Communiqué

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The IASSIST Communiqué is a place for discussions and news about all aspects of research data and the professionals responsible for collecting, preserving and providing access to such data. As such, this site welcomes comments on issues that promote preservation and access to data as well as material about best practices in data archiving and data services. While the content of this site does not necessarily represent official positions of IASSIST, we hope that the ideas in these discussions will provoke further debate and will eventually lead to positive outcomes.

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