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Distributed archiving of social science research data: On the way to best-practice guidelines

Presenter 1
Reiner Mauer
GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences
Presenter 2
Oliver Watteler
GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences

Distributed archiving is a common topic for most institutions taking care of research data. Organizational and technical solutions are available. But intellectual input is still necessary to keep creation contexts coherent for third parties. Institutions with similar research interests may hold similar data. The Council of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA) is one example for an international collaboration. The German Data Forum takes care of a national data infrastructure. The connection of metadata is the key to access distributed data sources. Social science data archives commenced work on an XML standard for this purpose in the mid-1990s, the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI). Digital Object and other persistent identifiers (DOI, URN, etc.) facilitate the technical linkage of objects in various locations. But how do you connect qualitative and quantitative data from the same project which are archived in different locations? Where do you best document an international project context if data-sets are preserved in national archives? How does a scholar learn about the variations in data holdings when a full version is accessible through a Research Data Centre and a reduced version is publicly available? These are some of the intellectual challenges for planning distributed services. Answers to these challenges are necessary to assure the cohesion of creation contexts. Best practice guidelines are needed.

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