Already a member?

Sign In

Conference Presentations 2005

  • IASSIST 2005-Evidence and Enlightenment, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
    Host Institution: EDINA National Data Cente and Edinburgh University Data Library

H3: Using National Data (Fri, 2005-05-27)
Chair:Cannon, San

  • Economic data and publications as snapshots in time
    Katrina Stierholz (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)


    The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has initiated the FRASER (Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research) project, and is also adding a new historical component to FRED, called ALFRED. FRASER is an image archive of historic economic data publications which allows for sophisticated retrieval of statistical tables over many years. ALFRED is an automated system that will allow researchers to retrieve historical real-time economic data series. ALFRED is slated to go live in mid-2005. Initially histories will be available for about 25 data series, with more to be added in the future.

    These two new tools will allow researchers to access economic data as it was presented at a moment in time, and with each correction and update. For many researchers, it important to analyze data as it was available—rather than the perfected data released much later. Important policy decisions are made with this imperfect data—and determining the problems of that data as well as its usefulness is key to developing good models. For the casual user, it can provide information about economic conditions at a specific place and time. A significant feature of the FRED archive retrieval system is the option to enter both a date range (earliest and latest desired material) and a calendar "as-of" date. The presentation will discuss these two tools, their development, and their use.

    The presentation will also discuss the problems/issues of the naïve user. They may copy tables that have been OCRed, but the OCR has not been verified. We have decided to impose a burden on our users—we require that they register and sign an agreement, stating that they recognize the limitations of the OCR process. In particular, uncorrected OCR tables make it difficult to spot errors. Correcting the OCR is expensive. We plan to evaluate the use of the material, and correct the OCR if the use warrants it.

  • Large-scale, cross-sectional government datasets; research published and recent developments
    Jo Wathan (Centre for Census and Survey Research, University of Manchester)
    Vanessa Higgins (Centre for Census and Survey Research, University of Manchester)


    The United Kingdom is fortunate in having a plethora of microdata datasets available for use by the academic community. Major cross-sectional datasets collected on behalf of central government and are routinely made available to secondary analysis via the UK Data Archive at the University of Essex, supported by the Government surveys group of the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS Government) led by the Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research at the University of Manchester.

    The data include a wide range of specialist surveys collected principally reasons of policy development and monitoring. The surveys are continuous, large-scale and cross-sectional. The portfolio includes surveys such as the General Household Survey, Labour Force Survey, British Crime Survey, Health Survey for England, Expediture and Food Survey, Family Resources Survey, British Social Attitudes Survey and national variants. Many of these have surveys have been running for decades providing considerable scope for assessing social change.

    This paper reviews the way in which these datasets are currently being used by the UK academic community and highlights the research potential offered by these important and highly flexible resources. The paper will also explain the way in which recent and future developments in dissemination and value added materials for users enable facilitate increased use of the data.

    Further information about surveys supported by ESDS Government can be found online at

  • 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
    • Facebook
    • Twitter

    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...