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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

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

  • Integrated Online Analysis: Evaluating NESSTAR and SDA
    Marc Maynard (The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, University of Connecticut)


    Online analysis of survey data files has been of significant interest to the Roper Center for a number of years. Integrating a data analysis system with existing finding aids would be of tremendous value to a wide variety of researchers. Dedicating resources to such an effort requires an evaluation of appropriate alternatives. This paper will present an evaluation of two current data analysis systems: NESSTAR and Survey Data Analysis (SDA). While not exhaustive in scope, this evaluation will focus on criteria pertaining to the Center's desire to integrate an exploratory analysis system with the iPOLL public opinion question databank. Evaluation criteria will include preparation of system files, system maintenance, ease of integration, performance issues and presentation features, among others.

  • Responding to Digital Data Needs: The DEWI System
    Ron Nakao (Stanford University Libraries)
    Chris Bourg (Stanford University Libraries)


    Although data has long been an important element of social science research and instruction, the nature of social science data needs has changed dramatically in recent years. A major trend is the dramatic increase in demand for data by undergraduates for use in their own research. The number of courses that include data intensive assignments has also increased. In addition, researchers and librarians alike are recognizing the need to create electronic archives of available data.

    The Data Extraction Web Interface (DEWI) System is a suite of tools for the processing, preservation, and delivery of Stanford's social science numeric data collection that connects with the existing array of computing and software resources available at Stanford. DEWI provides an integrated point of service for data users, by allowing users to browse lists of variables, search for variables, and create custom subsets of data which can be downloaded to personal computers in a variety of formats compatible with popular statistical software. In this presentation, we will describe the development of DEWI, discuss how DEWI has been used within the Stanford community, and discuss some of the directions that we are exploring in the future development of DEWI.


G1: New Avenues for Data Dissemination (Fri, 2004-05-28)
Chair:Marc Maynard

  • The Dutch Social Science Question Bank
    Marion Wittenberg (NIWI / Steinmetz Archive)
    Helga van Gelder (NIWI / Steinmetz Archive)


    The Dutch Question Bank is a project in which NIWI / Steinmetz Archive wants to establish a databank with question wordings from major studies in the Netherlands. Since the beginning of the 1960s the Steinmetz Archive collects social science datasets, in order to make them available to social scientists. Making the research instruments available, by which these data are collected, was never seen as a core business. Unlike many other archives Steinmetz Archive did not make full-scale codebooks on a regular basis, in which these research instruments were incorporated. Nowadays the questionnaires are available through the Steinmetz Archive website in PDF-format, but they are not searchable. With the Question Bank project we want to research in which way such a service can be best developed without retyping the questionnaires. At the moment we are building a pilot website on which identical questionnaires are published via three different prototypes. We are planning to organize discussion groups with Dutch social scientists in which we will evaluate the different systems. In our presentation we want to sketch our first experiences with the development of the three different prototypes.

  • Grid Technologies for Social Science: The SAMD Project
    Celia Russell (MIMAS, Manchester Computing, University of Manchester)
    Keith Cole (MIMAS, Manchester Computing, University of Manchester)
    M.A.S. Jones (MIMAS, Manchester Computing, University of Manchester)
    S.M. Pickles (MIMAS, Manchester Computing, University of Manchester)
    M. Riding (MIMAS, Manchester Computing, University of Manchester)
    K. Roy (MIMAS, Manchester Computing, University of Manchester)


    The Seamless Access to Multiple Datasets (SAMD) project is designed to demonstrate the benefits of Grid (e-Science) technologies for dataset manipulation and analyses in a social science context. Grid technologies run over existing internet infrastructures and offer a faster alternative to the world wide web for the transfer and analysis of large datasets. Under the SAMD project, a web-delivered social science dataset was made available for large-scale data analysis through a Grid architecture. Using an exemplar problem drawn from the UK social science community, the project demonstrates how the integration of a single sign-on environment, Grid technologies and access to high performance computational resources can significantly speed up computationally intensive queries and streamline data gathering and analysis. The approach used can be generalised to virtually any kind of problem involving data retrieval and analysis, and the paper also discusses how this could allow social scientists to significantly scale up their quantitative research questions.

    Other contributors to this work are Keith Cole, M. A.S. Jones, S.M. Pickles, M. Riding, K. Roy, and M. Sensier.

  • MADIERA: A European Infrastructure for Web-based Data Dissemination: An Overview
    Atle Alvheim (Norwegian Social Science Data Services)


    MADIERA (Multilingual Access to Data Infrastructures of the European Research Area) is a EU-funded project. The consortium consisting of eight European partners aims at establishing a web portal for social science data, based on the DDI and extensions to the existing Nesstar technology. New features include tools for multilingual support, logic for identifying comparable datasets, a system for geo-referencing of datasets, options for users to add their comments to datasets, links to scientific reports, etc. Within November 2005 the project will establish a web portal where datasets from all the European Social Science Data Archives will be present. Furthermore, the aim is to extend the portal beyond this group of data providers. This presentation will provide a general introduction to the project, focusing in particular on practical problems of integrating data across several national archives, limits of the DDI, politics of data access, harmonising categories, etc. For more information see

G2: Three Studies with Numeric and Geospatial Data in Asia - the Case of China, Vietnam and Korea (Fri, 2004-05-28)
Chair:Lu Chou

  • Historical Geodata for Pre-Modern China - A Case Study of the CHGIS Project
    Merrick Lex Berman (China Historical Geographic Information System, Harvard Yenching Institute)


    The China Historical GIS (CHGIS) has been developing a base GIS framework of all the recorded administrative divisions for dynastic China, from the unification of the first Chinese Empire (222 BCE) to the fall of the last Dynasty (1911 CE). The CHGIS project is not producing or incorporating historical statistics for these administrative units, but is specifically focused on the more fundamental matter of compiling all administrative units into a single geospatial database. Each unique historical unit is defined with: a date range, a place name, a feature type, a source citation, a relationship to its parent jurisdiction, and an associated spatial object in GIS.

    The CHGIS project developed a relational data model for keeping track of historical places and documented sources as they changed over time. Many technical hurdles and system integration issues had to be dealt with, including: developing a search engine for the Web with guide maps, defining spatial objects for ancient places, system integration of multilingual datasets, and testing semantic interoperability between feature type thesauri.

    We hope that our experiences and the CHGIS datasets themselves will be of interest to everyone dealing with digital sources of historical geographic information. We also welcome collaboration in the development of application methods that can be used together with our base GIS framework.

  • Report on the Recent Stay as a Fulbright Scholar in Vietnam
    Daniel Tsang (University of California-Irvine)


    As Vietnam seeks membership in the World Trade Organization, many studies have been conducted of its economy and society. I will report on my recent stay in the country as a Fulbright scholar researching social science data collections and their availability, and national efforts to improve its statistical infrastructure.

  • Quantitative and Geospatial Social Science Data in Korea
    Mary J. Lee (Laboratory for Social Research, University of Notre Dame)


    This presentation will examine the infrastructure and feasibility of the Korean quantitative and geospatial data.


G3: Enhancing the Research Experience for Data Users (Fri, 2004-05-28)
Chair:Ann Gray

  • Pointers for Secondary Analysis of Public Opinion Data
    Lois Timms-Ferrara (The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, University of Connecticut)


    Polling data are everywhere. During a presidential election in the United States polls take on a life of their own. For a full 10 months each daily newspaper cites at least one new survey. How do you tell good polls from bad? What are some of the analytical tools that need to be considered of when examining the mountains of available data? How does one design a research question? These questions can confuse anyone. How can we as social science information professionals help?

    This paper explores some "suggestions" for doing sound secondary opinion research. From the basic questions of sampling, error, and reading tables, to the more sophisticated concerns of question and data interpretation and statistical tests, this presentation will provide helpful pointers to assist the novice and seasoned researcher. The paper will call attention to various sources of assistance for data exploration, locating relevant information, assessing its value, and presenting the information in a clear and concise manner.

    Using Roper Center data and metadata, this presentation will offer illustrated examples of how to best utilize Center resources and other sources for the secondary analysis of polls.

  • Reconceptualizing Statistical Abstracts in the 21st Century: An Empirical Study of the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics
    Carol Hert (Syracuse University)
    Lydia Harris (University of Washington)


    Statistical abstracts have always formed a core source of statistical information for a wide variety of users. The increasing technological capabilities of online media has led to an interest in understanding how statistical abstracts might be adapted or transformed in the age of the Web.

    This paper reports on a study in which the Delphi technique was used to develop a consensus among a set of experts on the future of one particular abstract: Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics. Participant input was used to generate a mission statement for the Sourcebook and a prioritized list of requirements for accomplishing the mission.

    The findings indicate a continuing role for the statistical abstract but one that can better utilize technologies to create more personalized statistical displays as well as enhanced access to additional sources.

    Acknowledgements: This study was funded by the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics.

  • 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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