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June 2013

Ich bin ein IASSISTer

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From 28-31 May, GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences hosted the 39th Annual Conference of the International Association for Social Science Information Service and Technology, aka #iassist2013

IASSIST conferences provide an overview of what’s happening in information technology and data services and allow exchange of ideas between participants working in different backgrounds - from social science and humanities to information and computer science. The aim of this year's event was to help us move closer to the dream of technical and organizational measures that make research data discoverable and accessible.

Two-hundred and eighty five participants were welcomed to Cologne by GESIS President York Sure-Vetter ahead of a program of workshops, presentations, posters and discussions around this year’s topic of "Data Innovation: Increasing Accessibility, Visibility, and Sustainability".

The first day of the conference offered eight workshops, providing participants the opportunity to look at specific topics like licensing data, data visualization or DOI assignment. Sessions on a variety of tools and methods were also offered, specifically the OLAP analysis method, R open source software, and CharmStats - GESIS’s newly developed data harmonization software which was formally launched at IASSIST.

Over the following three days there were a total of three plenaries and 32 concurrent sessions organized in three tracks.

Presentations and discussions were concentrated in the track "Research Data Management" (RDM). This embraced a spectrum of topics related to all aspects of the data lifecycle. Emphasis was on policies, strategies and tools to support researchers in managing their research data. In addition presentations demonstrated various supporting collaborative infrastructures and virtual research environments at institutional, national or international level. Another focus was data citation and publications to enhance discoverability of data and professional credit for data sharing. Additional discussion offered answers to the question of how responsible use of complex or sensitive data can be facilitated. Finally sessions in the RDM track dedicated themselves to the subject of data curation and long-term preservation.

The track "Data Developers and Tools" presented a technical point of view with offerings from those working in application development – seasoning their work with a good dash of metadata. Questions were asked and solutions presented on the topics of interoperability, interconnection and integration, and preservation of data. A special role here is played by the DDI metadata standard to which many tools and applications have been introduced to simplify the creation and management of DDI metadata or provide value-added services on setting the standard up.

The track "Data Public Services/Librarianship" confronted aspects of access to research data. Here, development of data services from country-specific perspective (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia) was highlighted, but the track also managed to look at specific data types (non-digital, historical, confidential and sensitive data).

Slides of the presentations and video recordings of selected events will be published in the coming weeks on the IASSIST website providing you an opportunity to plunge into the world IASSIST 2013. Let’s do it all again in Toronto for IASSIST 2014!

Astrid Recker, Laurence Horton, Alexia Katsanidou
GESIS Archive and Data Management Training Center 

IASSIST 2013 by the numbers

  • 285 participants from 29 countries (a new IASSIST record!)
  • Nearly two-thirds from Europe (64%), one-third from North America
  • 2 Participants from Africa and 9 from the Asia-Pacific region

Top 5 countries represented

  • Germany: 88
  • United States: 66
  • UK: 32
  • Canada: 23
  • Netherlands: 10

Activity

  • 8 workshops with 103 participants
  • 32 parallel sessions featuring 126 presentations
  • 35 Posters
  • 11 Pecha Kuchas
  • 3 Plenary Sessions
  • 2 songs
  • 1 Banquet
  • Lots of white asparagus served
  • Many glasses of Kölsch drunk
  • ∞ Complaints about the venue Wi-Fi

IASSIST needs YOU to write a blog post about some aspect of the conference

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I could say this is needed because the videos and wifi weren't working, but in fact I'd be asking anyway.

Just think how helpful it is for members who could not be with us (and potential members) to get a snapshot of views about what happened. Serious, silly, short, verbose, objective, or ridiculously opinionated impressions of one session, the social events or overall are very welcome.

Turn your personal notes into a gift that keeps on giving.

If you have any trouble posting (as a member) simply contact iassistwebmaster@gmail.com and we'll sort you out.

Robin Rice

IASSIST Communications Chair & Website Editor

IASSIST 2013 conference song

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See video

Many thanks to Kate, Dan, and especially Melanie for this year's bit of silliness. Thanks once again to Lynda Kellam for the video.

(Sung to the tune of "Lili Marlene" If anyone wonders, the connection of the melody with Cologne is that the composer, Norbert Schultze, once studied in Cologne.)

It's 2013 IASSIST, and welcome to Cologne
GESIS has endeavored to make us feel at home
Data innovation was the theme
And wifi problems made the scene
We struggled to communicate
Some tweets might turn up late

Monday was for meetings, workshops the next day
Curation, access, OLAP, and R all made their play
At the reception we all met
The Kolsch we drank helped us to set
The tone for what next came
More walking in the rain

Wednesday was the day when it all really began
Attendance at the talks at Maternushaus to plan
The talks on RDM were cool
As well as Services and Tools
Kristin's duckie charmed the crew,
Sam's rabbit joined in too

Wifi issues carried on, tweets were very few
Posters and pecha kuchas were quite enough to do
Data parachutes were opened, then
We walked to Rheinterrassen
With Spargel on the menu -
'Asparagus' to you

Friday was the day when winding down began
Next year's LAC began to talk about the plan
This year's IASSIST was really great
For next year's 40th you'll wait
Toronto welcomes you
With wifi access too.

  • 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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    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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