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Conference Presentations 2006

  • IASSIST 2006-Data in a World of Networked Knowledge, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
    Host Institution: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), University of Michigan School of Information Science, and the University of Michigan Library

B3: Compare and Contrast: Using Cross-National Data (Wed, 2006-05-24)
Chair:Jane Weintrop, Columbia University

  • Let's Qualify What is Quantified: The Language of Change - Teachers and Their Expressions of Change in Six Countries
    Nora Arato (University of Michigan School of Nursing)


    The research results explore teachers' language(s) about change that has impacted their work lives in six countries (Australia, Hungary, Israel, Netherlands, South Africa, USA). This study succeeds and is built on a large-scale cross-cultural and comparative study of teachers' perceptions of educational change (New Realities of Secondary Teachers' Work Lives, eds. Poppleton, P. & Williamson, J, 2004, Oxford, UK: Symposium Books). We further analyze and compare the responses teachers gave to a semi-structured interview including an open-ended questionnaire about political, economic, administrative, and curricular changes in their work-lives. Guidelines developed by cognitive linguists are utilized in order to compare (1) how teachers describe educational change in six of the nine countries, (2) what teachers' language teaches us about the meaning of educational change in different countries, (3) what similarities and differences are used for concrete concepts describing teachers' work-lives, and (4) how the qualitative data complement and underscore the quantitative data.

  • Association of Religion Data Archives
    Brian J. Grim (Pennsylvania State University Survey Research Center and the ARDA (Association of Religion Data Archives))


    Religion's prominence in national and international affairs makes the availability of empirical measures on religion a pressing concern for researchers, policymakers, and data archivists. Unfortunately, good international religious data are scarce. This paper describes the expanded mission of the Association of Religion Data Archives ( to archive and develop data on religion worldwide. The ARDA archives data on 238 different countries and territories including ARDA-coded measures from the US State Department's annual International Religious Freedom Reports. The data also include social scientific surveys such as the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP). Country-specific data will also be archived, e.g., ABC poll data from Afghanistan. Finally, this paper describes the way the ARDA "democratizes" accesses to these freely downloadable data by making them available with online analysis options. (The ARDA was formerly the American Religion Data Archive and continues to support an extensive American collection with numerous mapping and report features.)


C1: Data Issues in the Sciences: An Environmental Scan (Wed, 2006-05-24)
Chair:Gretchen Gano, Yale University

  • Data Access and Preservation across the Sciences: New Ideas and Initiatives
    Bob Chen (Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN))


    Recent editorials in Science and Nature (Iwata and Chen, 2005; Nature, 2005) have called for expanded efforts to make scientific data and information more accessible, especially across the so-called "digital divide". Open access can not only benefit scientific research, but also facilitate the application of scientific results to pressing problems of environment and development and support the evolution of an equitable and open information society. CODATA, the Committee on Data for Science and Technology of the International Council for Science, launched a Global Information Commons for Science initiative at the November 2005 World Summit on the Information Society. The objective of the initiative is to coordinate and promote a range of national and international open access efforts, and in particular to provide leadership on key international data policy issues. This paper will highlight a range of open access activities and also address other pressing science data management issues facing the scientific community such as long-term preservation.

  • The Science Commons Data Project
    John Wilbanks (Science Commons)


    Science Commons, a project of the non-profit corporation, Creative Commons, has recently launched an initiative to explore ways to assure broad access to scientific data. There is a distinct set of problems emerging around the issues posed by scientific data online. First, current expansions in intellectual property law could generate an entirely new set of obstacles to sharing data among scientists or with the public. Second, the congruence of Web-enabled database access with the widespread availability of rapid, low-cost gene sequencing and abstract, engineerable biological parts has had an unforeseen effect: there is growing uncertainty of how to store, distribute, license, and provide functional information to specify genetic function under the law. Third, there is a wasteful data economy evolving in which raw data are not made accessible; scientists are either leery of the risks of losing control over their data or subject to institutional requirements that mandate a closed approach.

  • The Scientific Data Commons and Non-conventional Sources
    Harlan Onsrud (University of Maine)


    Most scientific data efforts focus on collection and maintenance of data "by scientists for scientists." Yet across the globe individuals and organizations are gathering detailed local-level data that could be of immense value to social, physical, and biological scientists that is for all practical purposes hidden from their view. These locally collected detailed data are typically unobservable through remote sensors and are being accumulated through on-the-ground direct observations or interpretation. This presentation focuses on incentives for sharing and on technological and legal mechanisms to support incentives for sharing. It outlines a conceptual model and the accompanying research challenges for providing easy legal and technological mechanisms by which any creator might affirmatively and permanently mark and make accessible a location-referenced dataset such that the world knows where the dataset came from and that the data are available for use without the law assuming that the user must first acquire permission.

C2: Effective Design for Data-Rich Web Sites (Wed, 2006-05-24)
Chair:Mary Vardigan, ICPSR, University of Michigan

  • Evaluation of Web Sites: What Works and What Doesn't
    Sue Ellen Hansen (Survey Research Operations, University of Michigan)
    Matthew Richardson (ICPSR, University of Michigan)


    This presentation will focus on an assessment of Web sites that disseminate social science data, noting common organizational schemes and characteristics that most user-friendly sites share. The presentation will also delve into specific usability and accessibility issues that arise when developing interfaces for the purpose of data dissemination.

  • Building Data-Rich Web Sites: The Integration Projects of the Minnesota Population Center
    Bill Block (University of Minnesota Population Studies Center)


    The Minnesota Population Center (MPC) is a leading developer and disseminator of demographic data over the Internet. This presentation will showcase two flagship MPC projects, IPUMS-USA and IPUMS-International, that together generate thousands of data extracts per month for researchers around the world. While successful, these and other MPC Web sites are constantly being asked to present ever-growing amounts of increasingly complex data, yet maintain the simplicity and ease-of-use for which MPC sites are known. The second part of this presentation will describe the challenges created by our ever-growing mountain of data, as well as ways in which we are working to offer large amounts of complex data easily over the Web.

  • Best Practices for Designing and Building Highly Interactive and Data-Aware Web Sites
    Mark Gregor (Velir Studios)


    This presentation will provide demonstrations of four Web sites that present complex data in visually compelling ways. Presentation methods for creating on-the-fly line graphs, bar charts, tables, and GIS-based maps will be discussed. This presentation will also address ways to provide a high level of user control over data without sacrificing usability and simplicity.


C3: Effective Strategies for Metadata Management (Wed, 2006-05-24)
Chair:San Cannon, Federal Reserve Board

  • International Household Survey Network: Microdata Management Toolkit
    Pascal Heus (International Household Survey Network)


    The International Household Survey Network (, with the support of the World Bank, has completed the development of the Microdata Management Toolkit, a set of DDI and Dublin Core based tools to facilitate the archiving and dissemination of survey data and metadata. The use of the Toolkit by developing countries and international organizations will greatly support the global adoption of metadata standards and facilitate the creation of national digital survey repositories. More than 50 countries are targeted for training and deployment in 2006. This presentation reports on the status and progress of the project.

  • Implementing a National Data Archive in Ethiopia: Challenges and Experience
    Yakob Mudesir Seid (Ethiopia Central Statistical Agency)


    The priority for the Central Statistical Agency (CSA) of Ethiopia is to aggressively improve its data collection, management, and dissemination framework through an effective use of Information Communication Technology (ICT). In July 2004, CSA created a new Information Communication Technology Development Department (ICT Department) to support and make such vision a reality. The action plan aims at the improvement of the ICT capacity to support the development of a Central Databank, the establishment of a socioeconomic database, and the implementation of a user-friendly dissemination system. To ensure compliance with international practices, we have adopted the World Bank Microdata Management Toolkit as a standard tool and therefore use the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) specification as the basis for the compilation of the metadata and micro-level data. This presentation outlines the status and progress of the project and shares our experience in meeting the challenges of implementing a national data archive in Ethiopia.

  • 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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