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robin's blog

Become rich and famous: publish in the IQ!

These days many IASSIST members have received acceptance for their papers to the upcoming conference IASSIST 2013 in Cologne. There will be many interesting presentations at the conference. The conference presentation is your chance to present a project you are involved in, to air your argumentation for special areas, and in general to add to the IASSIST knowledge bank.

Projects are typically focused on support of social science research but the IASSIST related support now takes many forms with the developments of technology and applications. With your presentation at the conference you will have discussions and improvements of your work. After the conference you can in addition to the presentation at the conference reach a greater audience by publishing a revised paper in a coming issue of the IQ. Articles for the IASSIST Quarterly are always very welcome. They can be papers from IASSIST conferences or other conferences and workshops, from local presentations or papers especially written for the IQ.

If you are chairing a conference session you have the opportunity to become guest editor and to aggregate and integrate papers on a common subject for a special issue of the IQ.

Authors are very welcome to take a look at the instructions and article template on the IASSIST website. Authors and guest editors can also contact the editor via e-mail:

Karsten Boye Rasmussen     -    March 2013

40 years of IASSIST Conferences: Toronto to host IASSIST 2014

IASSIST Members,

I'm pleased to announce that IASSIST's 40th anniversary conference in 2014 has been awarded to the city where it all started - Toronto, Canada!

Come join us to celebrate June 3-6, 2014, where local hosts from Ryerson University, the University of Toronto, and York University are looking forward to quoting Tourism Toronto's greeting of "Welcome to Toronto! We've been expecting you!"

Meanwhile, our friends at GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences are gearing up to host IASSIST 2013 in Cologne, Germany from May 28 –31.  The theme of this year's conference is "Data Innovation:  Increasing Accessibility, Visibility, and Sustainability."  Stay tuned for conference acceptances notices; they will be delivered by February 5.

Finally, I'm currently accepting proposals for IASSIST 2015 and beyond.  If your organization is interested in hosting a future IASSIST conference, please drop me a note; you will find more information about hosting at

Bis Köln,

Bill Block

IASSIST President

Data-related blog posts coming out of Open Repositories 2012 conference

I 'd been meaning to write an IASSIST blog post about OR 2012, hosted by the University of Edinburgh's Host Organising Committee led by Co-Chair and IASSISTer Stuart Macdonald in July, because it had such good DATA content.

Fortunately Simon Hodson, the UK's JISC Managing Research Data Programme Manager, has provided this introduction and has allowed me to post it here, with further links to his analytic blog posts, and even those contain further links to OTHER blog posts talking about OR2012 and data!

There are also more relevant pointers from the OR 2012 home page here:

I think there's enough here to easily keep people going until next year's conference in Prince Edward Island next July. Oh, and Peter Burnhill, Past President IASSIST, made a good plug for IASSIST in his closing keynote, pointing it out to repository professionals as a source of expertise and community for would-be data professionals.

Enjoy! - Robin Rice, University of Edinburgh


It has been widely remarked that OR 2012 saw the arrival of research data in the repository world.  Using a wordle of #or2012 tweets in his closing summary, Peter Burnhill noted that ‘Data is the big arrival. There is a sense in which data is now mainstream.’  (See Peter’s summary on the OR2012 You Tube Channel:

I have written a series of blog posts reflecting on the contributions made by *some* those working on research data repositories, and particularly the development of research data services

These posts may be of interest to subscribers to this list and are listed below.

Institutional Data Repositories and the Curation Hierarchy: reflections on the DCC-ICPSR workshop at OR2012 and the Royal Society’s Science as an Open Enterprise report

‘Data is now Mainstream’: Research Data Projects at OR2012 (Part 1…)

Pulling it all Together: Research Data Projects at OR2012 (Part 2…)

Making the most of institutional data assets: Research Data Projects at OR2012 (Part 3…)

Manage locally, discover (inter-)nationally: research data management lessons from Australia at OR2012

Simon Hodson [reposted with permission]

IQ Special Quadruple Issue: The Book of the Bremen Workshop

Welcome to this very special IASSIST Quarterly issue. We now present volume 34 (3 & 4) of 2010 and volume 35 (1 & 2) of 2011. Normally we have about three papers in a single issue. In this super-mega-special issue we have fourteen papers from the countries: Finland, Ireland, United Kingdom, Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Slovenia, Belarus, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Switzerland. This will be known in IASSIST as the “The book of the Bremen Workshop”.

The workshop took place in April 2009 at the University of Bremen. The workshop was hosted by the Archive for Life Course Research at Bremen and funded by the Timescapes Initiative with support from CESSDA. The background and context of the workshop as well as short introductions to the many papers are found in the Editorial Introduction by the guest editors Bren Neale and Libby Bishop. The many papers are the result of the effort of numerous authors that were instrumental in the development and fulfillment of the many outcomes of the workshop. The introduction by the guest editors shows impressive lists of short-term activities, agreed goals, and also strategies for development. There are future initiatives and the future looks bright and interesting.The focus of the Bremen Workshop is on “qualitative (Q) and qualitative longitudinal (QL) research and resources across Europe”. I would have called that a qualitative workshop but you can see from the introduction and the papers that this subject is often referred to as “qualitative and QL data”. The “and QL” emphasizes that the longitudinal aspect is the special and important issue. In the beginning of IASSIST data was equivalent to quantitative data. However, digital archives found in the next wave that the qualitative data also with great value were made available for secondary research. The aspect of “longitudinal” further accentuates that value creation.

This is a growing subject area. During the processing one of the authors wanted to update her paper and asked for us to replace the sentence “80 archived qualitative datasets and yearly around 30-40 datasets are ordered for re-use” with “115 archived qualitative datasets and yearly around 50-60 datasets are ordered for re-use”. Yes, we do have a somewhat long processing time but this is still a very fast growth rate. I want to thank Libby Bishop for not being annoyed when I persistently reminded her of the IQ special issues. I’m sure the guest editors with similar persistency contacted the authors. It was worth it.

As in Sherlock Holmes we might look for what is not there as when curiosity is raised by the fact that “the dog did not bark”. IASSIST has had and continues to have a majority of its membership in North America so it is also remarkable that we here present the initiative on “qualitative (Q) and qualitative longitudinal (QL) research” with a European angle. Hopefully the rest of the world will enjoy these papers and there will probably be more papers both from Europe but also from the others regions covered by the IASSIST members.

Articles for the IQ are always very welcome. They can be papers from IASSIST conferences or other conferences and workshops, from local presentations or papers especially written for the IQ. If you don’t have anything to offer right now, then please prepare yourself for the next IASSIST conference and start planning for participation in a session there. Chairing a conference session with the purpose of aggregating and integrating papers for a special issue IQ is much appreciated as the information in the form of an IQ issue reaches many more people than the session participants and will be readily available on the IASSIST website at

Authors are very welcome to take a look at the description for layout and sending papers to the IQ:
Authors can also contact me via e-mail: Should you be interested in compiling a special issue for the IQ as guest editor (editors) I will also delighted to hear from you.

Karsten Boye Rasmussen
Editor August 2011

Image Credit: by mitko-denev on flickr

IASSIST Quarterly (IQ) volume 34-2 now on the web

The new issue of the IASSIST Quarterly is now available on the web. This is the volume 34 (number 2, 2010).

The layout has changed. We hope you’ll enjoy the new style presented. It seems to be a more modern format and more suited for the PDF presentation on the web. Walter Piovesan – our publication officer – had a biking accident. To show that nothing is so bad that it is not good for something Walter used his recovery time to redesign the IQ. Furthermore, Walter is the person in charge of the upcoming 2011 IASSIST conference, so he is a busy guy. And I’m happy to say that Walter should be fit for the conference.

This issue of the IQ features the following papers:

Rein Murakas and Andu Rämmer from the Estonian Social Science Data Archive (ESSDA) at the University of Tartu describe in their paper "Social Science Data Archiving and Needs of the Public Sector: the Case of Estonia" how the archive had a historical background in the empirical research of the Soviet Union.

From the historical background we move to web 2.0 in a paper  by Angela Hariche, Estelle Loiseau and Philippa Lysaght on "Wikiprogress and Wikigender: a way forward for online collaboration". The authors are working at the OECD and the paper's statement is that "collaborative platforms such as wikis along with advances in data visualisation are a way forward for the collection, analysis and dissemination of data across countries and societies”.

The third paper addresses an issue of central importance for most data archives. The question concerns balancing data confidentiality and the legitimate requirements of data users. This is a key problem of the Secure Data Service (SDS) at the UK Data Archive, University of Essex. The paper "Secure Data Service: an improved access to disclosive data" by Reza Afkhami, Melanie Wright, and Mus Ahmet shows how the SDS will allow researchers remote access to secure servers at the UK Data Archive.

The last article has the title "A user-driven and flexible procedure for data linking". The authors are Cees van der Eijk and Eliyahu V. Sapir from the Methods and Data Institute at the University of Nottingham. The data linking relates to research combining several different datasets. The implementation is developed for the PIREDEU project in comparative electoral research. The authors are combining traditional survey data with data from party manifestos and state-level data.

Articles for the IQ are always very welcome. They can be papers from IASSIST or other conferences, from local presentations or papers directly  written for the IQ.

Notice that chairing a conference session with the purpose of aggregating and integrating papers for a special issue IQ is much appreciated as the information reaches many more people than the session participants and will be readily available on the IASSIST website.

Authors are very welcome to take a look at the description for layout and sending papers to the IQ:

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

Karsten Boye Rasmussen, editor

Roper Centre recognition

To iassist:

It isn't every day that an incoming university president envies data over basketball!
Congratulations to our colleagues at the Roper Center for this well deserved recognition.

Susan Herbst, incoming President at the University of Connecticut:
What about UConn drew you here? more...

IASSIST Election Results

[Posted on behalf of Ernie Boyko]

Dear IASSIST Members

I am pleased to announce the results of the 2011 IASSIST election.


The members of the IASSIST Administrative Committee and their terms are as follows:

President:                           Bill Block                 (2011-2013)

Vice- President:                  Tuomas J. Alaterä    (2011-2013)


Regional  Secretaries for the period 2011-2013

               Africa:                 Lynn Woolfrey     (2011-2013)

               Asia/Pacific         Samuel Spencer   (2011-2013)

               Canada               Marilyn Andrews   (2011-2013)

               Europe                Iris Alfredsson      (2011-2013)

               US                      San Cannon         (2011-2013)


Regional Committee Members for the period 2011-2015         

               Canada                  Walter Giesbrecht           

               Europe                   Jane Roberts                    

               Europe                   Oliver Watteler                      

               USA                       Jen Darragh                            

               USA                       Kate McNeill                           

               USA                       Eleanor Read                     


The Regional Committee members whose terms expire in 2013 (not part of this election)

               Canada                 Maxine Tedesco              

               Europe                  Helena Laaksonen                          

               USA                      Harrison Dekker               

               USA                      Gretchen Gano                 

               USA                      Joel Herndon


Melanie Wright now becomes the past president


The voter participation was 46.2% (121 out of 262 eligible members)

This slate of officials will come into office as of the general IASSIST assembly meeting which will take place  on June 2, 2011.  I understand that all members new, continuing and outgoing are invited to attend the admin committee meeting on May 30, 2011.

I would like to join the nominations and elections committee in congratulating the new and returning members and to wish them well in guiding us over the next few years.  Our thanks go out to all who participated and to those who will be leaving the committee.  Also thanks To Chuck Humphrey and his Vote Now colleagues for organizing the electronic ballots.

Thank you to all

The nominations and elections committee

Ann Green, Jane Weintrop, Libby Bishop, Mari Kleemola, Wendy Watkins, Jennifer Green, Chuck Humphrey, Ernie Boyko (chair)



Science Special: Dealing with Data

In the 11 February 2011 issue, Science joins with colleagues from Science Signaling, Science Translational Medicine, and Science Careers to provide a broad look at the issues surrounding the increasingly huge influx of research data. This collection of articles highlights both the challenges posed by the data deluge and the opportunities that can be realized if we can better organize and access the data.
Science is making access to this entire collection FREE (simple registration is required for non-subscribers).

Special Double Issue of IQ on Data Documentation Initiative

Guest Editors Notes - Mary Vardigan and Joachim Wackerow

Welcome to a special double issue of the IASSIST Quarterly featuring articles focused on the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI), a metadata standard for the social sciences. We are proud to present these six articles, which explore various projects related to DDI 3 and its enhanced features. more...

IASSIST letter to Canadian Government on loss of 2011 Census long form

Industry Canada
Office of the Honourable Tony Clement
Minister of Industry
C.D. Howe Building
235 Queen Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0H5                                25 July 2010

Dear Minister Clement more...

  • 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


  • 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...

  • community

    • LinkedIn
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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...