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Conference Presentations 2004

  • IASSIST 2004-Data Futures: Building on 30 Years of Advocacy, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
    Host Institution: Data and Program Library Service, University of Wisconsin-Madison

E2: Developing Statistical Literacy: Think Globally, Work Locally (Thu, 2004-05-27)
Chair:Robin Rice

  • Do It Yourselves: A Peer-to-peer Approach to Professional Training
    Wendy Watkins (Carleton University)


    Information flowing from government sources is so voluminous and is disseminated in such a variety of formats that information professionals are under constant pressure to keep pace. To complicate matters, access to these resources is increasingly being driven by changes in communication policies and computing technology. The information professional is often responsible for staying current with new formats and methods of access, thus necessitating new approaches to training and learning on the job.

    This paper examines the training strategy developed in response to the Data Liberation Initiative (DLI), which is a cooperative effort between Statistics Canada and post-secondary institutions in Canada. DLI provides access to a large volume of quantitative and spatial data through university libraries and is implemented and supported locally by academic librarians. We will discuss the use of peer instruction and the training principles employed to upgrade the skills of those called upon to provide these DLI-related services. The experience of Canada's Data Liberation Initiative illustrates the value of peer-to-peer training in building a national baseline level of service skills for a specific collection.

    This presentation is adapted from a paper presented to the 69th IFLA Conference, Berlin, August 2003. Original authors are Ernie Boyko, Statistics Canada, Elizabeth Hamilton, UNB, Chuck Humphrey, UofAlberta and Wendy Watkins, Carleton University.

  • Data Librarians/Archivists Should Teach Statistical Literacy as Part of Information Literacy
    Milo Schield (W. M. Keck Statistical Literacy Project, Augsburg College)


    Students need to be information literate. Yet if students are to evaluate information competently, they must be able to evaluate arguments using statistics as evidence; they must be statistically literate. Although statistical literacy is a popular idea, no discipline has taken responsibility for teaching such a course. This paper argues that data librarians and data archivists should take responsibility for teaching statistical literacy as a part of information literacy. Reasons are given to support this claim. This paper relates statistical literacy to information literacy, critical thinking, quantitative literacy, traditional statistics and information management. Using data professionals to teach statistical literacy is argued to be an efficient use of academic resources to achieve a mission-critical goal.

  • Understanding and Using Data: A Discussion of the Jargon and Trends in "Quantitative Literacy"
    Paula Lackie (Carleton College)


    This paper will provide an overview of the jargon used in the US related to quantitative literacy (i.e., numeracy, statistical literacy, spatial reasoning, etc.), as well as an overview of the various tracks institutions in the US have taken to address perceived deficits in "statistical literacy."

    I will also look to the audience to fill in the conversation from the perspective of our diverse membership. What can we do to facilitate communication across educational systems? What can we do to support programs already underway? Please bring your questions and/or examples from your home institutions or countries and let's work to fill in a matrix of what's happening in this important area of education.

    A blog on this topic has been started to facilitate continued communication during and after the conference. Please watch the IASSIST mailing list for the URL or write to


F1: Building an International Network of Asian Social Science Research Data (Fri, 2004-05-28)
Chair:Mary J. Lee

  • Building an International Data Network for China Studies
    Shuming Bao (China Data Center, University of Michigan)


    This presentation will demonstrate the China data network project at China Data Center of the University of Michigan. Issues will include the internationally collaborative data development, copyright and data licensing, data service models, a sustainable international data network for data deployment and support, and the integration of the data center functions with teaching and research.

  • Building an International Data Network for China Studies
    Shuming Bao (China Data Center, University of Michigan)


    This presentation will demonstrate the China data network project at China Data Center of the University of Michigan. Issues will include the internationally collaborative data development, copyright and data licensing, data service models, a sustainable international data network for data deployment and support, and the integration of the data center functions with teaching and research.

  • The Development of a Survey Data Archive in Taiwan
    Alfred Ko-wei Hu (Center for Survey Research, Academia Sinica)


    While survey research has a relatively long period of history in Taiwan since the late 1950s, the efforts in acquiring, maintaining and disseminating survey data in systematic ways are quite new to the social science community in Taiwan. The Center for Survey Research at Academia Sinica was established in 1994 as the most important, and the largest, national data provider for academic and quantitative research in Taiwan. In this paper, the discussion will be divided into three parts. The first part is to review the development of survey data archives in Taiwan with specific focus on the Center for Survey Research at Academia Sinica. The second part is to introduce the contents of data holdings and to describe how survey data are processed, preserved, and released to the general public in the Center for Survey Research in Taiwan. The last section in this paper will discuss the current status and future development in web applications.


F2: Helping Increase Statistical Literacy at Universities: Some Perspectives (Fri, 2004-05-28)
Chair:S. Vincent Gray

  • The Challenges of Integrating Data Literacy into the Curriculum in an Undergraduate Institution
    Karen Hunt (University of Winnipeg)


    The successful University of Winnipeg Information Literacy program operates on the premise that students develop information literacy skills and knowledge best when opportunities for learning are integrated into the subject curriculum. This paper will discuss the results of attempting to integrate data literacy into the subject curriculum in the same way. While attempting to discover what are the best practices for developing data literacy, what can be applied from the information literacy field? What is unique to learning how to discover, manipulate and interpret numeric data?

  • A Model for Providing Statistical Consulting Services in a University Library Setting
    Daniel Edelstein (Princeton University)
    Kristi Thompson (Princeton University)


    Princeton University's Data and Statistical Services consultants provide both computing and statistical consulting services to users of electronic data. This paper deals only with statistical consulting, and presents the model we have evolved to serve patrons at widely varying levels of statistical literacy. The service model is in many ways similar to that of traditional library reference service, but we have adapted it to meet the unique challenges of statistical consulting. Our service fills a major gap in the way academic statistics is taught-typically a highly mathematical and/or theoretical approach that leaves students ill-prepared to usefully analyze actual data. Our role is not to teach formal statistics-we don't help them derive proofs-but to give them just the statistical knowledge they need to use the data resources provided by the library. Much like in a traditional academic library reference interview, we are trying to help our patrons find the answer to a particular research question. Our service consists of helping our patrons answer the intermediate statistical questions that arise on the way to that goal.

    In addition to describing our service model, we will enliven the paper with numerous (often humorous) examples drawn from actual consulting sessions. We hope to stimulate discussion with other consultants about our and alternative approaches.

  • Filling the Gap: Doing Stats in the Library
    Susan Czarnocki (McGill University)


    The personal computer and the world-wide web have meant that, within a university setting, data and tools to manipulate it can be almost ubiquitous. Unfortunately the skills required for this manipulation are not. The establishment of the Electronic Data Resources Service (EDRS) at McGill University in 1997, meant that students and faculty were now contacting a service housed in the Library to obtain electronic numeric data. With such ease of accessibility, it was possible for professors of undergraduate courses to contemplate including the manipulation of data as part of their course work. But there is little provision for assisting the students in such courses who are not computer literate, in using the data and software both correctly and efficiently. When the Libraries were re-assigned to report, not to the Vice-Principal Academic, but to the Vice-Principal IT, the Director of Libraries began to accept an additional role for Library Services: that of a data specialist with experience in social research to be part of the EDRS.

F3: Facilitating Data Access and Analysis (Fri, 2004-05-28)
Chair:Bo Wandschneider

  • Delivering the World: The Establishment of an International Data Service
    Susan Noble (MIMAS, Manchester Computing, University of Manchester)


    In this paper we describe ESDS International, a new data service providing access to the major socio-economic databanks produced by international governmental organisations such as the World Bank and United Nations. Through the new service, these important databanks are delivered over the web, free at the point of access to the UK academic community. The paper discusses the principles behind the service, the data acquisition strategy and the establishment of licensing agreements with the data providers. The delivery software and the development of a user interface are described and we report on the challenges of converting large and complex datasets from a range of sources into a single user-friendly format. In addition to the data delivery, a pilot web-based data exploration and visualisation interface has been developed to encourage the use of the data in learning and teaching. Finally, the paper outlines the strategies and value added services employed to promote the use of these previously under-utilised databanks across a broad range of social science disciplines.

    Other contributors to this work are Keith Cole, Celia Russell, James Schumm, and Nick Syrotiuk.

  • 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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