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Conference Presentations 2007

  • IASSIST 2007-Building Global Knowledge Communities with Open Data, Montreal, Canada
    Host Institution: McGill University

C4: Data Services mash-ups: Maps, Research and Everything! (Wed, 2007-05-16)
Chair:Richard Boily, Université du Québec à Rimouski

  • Business Data and Challenges for Reference and Collection Development
    Eun-ha Hong (Wilfrid Laurier University)
    Linda Lowry (Brock University)


    With the demand for business data rising exponentially, business librarians face different issues and challenges than data librarians. While data librarians already face extraordinary issues and challenges, business librarians’ situations are even more so such that data librarians often shy away from dealing with business data-related issues. This paper assesses the current situation in selected Canadian libraries including trends in the demand for business data and what it means to librarians working with business schools as their programs gain popularity. It emphasizes the unique nature of business data used in traditional scholarly research as well as in professional fields which are unique from a data service point of view. It includes a brief demonstration of the most popular business data sources and their use. The paper explores the detachment between traditional data library services and business data services, examines the implications of this disconnect for reference and collection development, and discusses viable options for bridging the divide.

  • Maps that Mash: Daring, Dangerous, or Dumb?
    Rachael Barlow (Trinity College, Hartford)


    Google maps mash-ups are one of many Web 2.0 technologies that inspire a serious examination of how undergraduates and data could and should interact.  This paper discusses the theoretical, political, and practical implications of such maps.  It begins by briefly describing a set of student-generated Google mash-ups.  These emerged in a freshmen seminar at Trinity College (Hartford), a college with an explicit pedagogical commitment to engaging its students with the surrounding urban environment.  The students' charge was to create maps of use to the local community.  This talk poses a number of questions.  What did Google mash-ups allow the students to do that was different?  What did the students learn about data in creating their maps?  Did the gathering and dispersing of data in this case pose any ethical problems?  How effective is a Google map mash-ups as an interface connecting campus to community? 

  • Creating Historical Digital Census Boundary Maps for Canada - a Pilot Project
    Andrey Petrov (University of Toronto Libraries)
    Laine Ruus (University of Toronto Libraries)


    While vector-based boundary files are available from Statistics Canada for census boundaries for most levels of geography from the 1986 census through 2006, almost no comparable files are available prior to 1986.  Maturing GIS software, meanwhile, has made aggregate statistics in computer-readable form from 1961 and on more widely used for research than ever before. There is clearly demand for digital boundary files to allow the spatial display and analysis of pre-1986 census aggregate statistics. The objectives of this pilot project were to (1) Assemble the existing resources for creating digital enumeration: boundary files for 1976 and 1981 census geography (2) Devise and test methodologies of re-creating historical EA data based on currently available ancillary digital and analog spatial datasets and supportive Statistics Canada materials. The ultimate objective, to (3) Evaluate the feasibility of creating a national coverage of historic census maps.


D1: Access to Linked and Longitudinal files: Problems and Prospects (Thu, 2007-05-17)
Chair:Vince Gray, University of Western Ontario

  • Project to set up Service for Seccure Remote Access to Files from Data File Linkages
    Madeleine Filion (Institut de la statistique du Quebec)
    Line Belanger (Institut de la statistique du Quebec)


    With a view to promoting research while ensuring privacy, the Institut de la statistique du Québec, the Québec government's official statistics agency, has undertaken, in partnership with researchers and other government agencies, to set up a service that will provide researchers with secure remote access to microdata files resulting from the linkage of various administrative or survey data files already available. This new service features a number of advantages for researchers, privacy authorities and the agencies holding administrative data files:  easier and faster information searching using a web-accessible integrated data dictionary; a standardised procedure for authorising and obtaining data files that is recognised by all interested parties; linkage of administrative data files that do not have the same identification number using proven statistical methodologies; masking of data files from the linkage to prevent spontaneous recognition; remote access by researchers using a highly secure mechanism, which ensures confidentiality.

  • Opening up access to Birth Cohort Study Data
    Jack Kneeshaw (UK Data Archive)


    The UK Medical Research Council (MRC) policy on data sharing recognises the value of making scientific data (eg. population and clinical trials) more widely available across the research community. If not creating true open data resources, the MRC's policy involves opening up access to previously (relatively) inaccessible life-course data. To this end, the MRC is currently running a pilot project designed to test the feasibility of preparing and making data more widely available from the accomplished 1946 British Birth Cohort Study, and the National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD). Using Nesstar as the data sharing tool, the pilot aims to evaluate the costs and benefits of opening up access to the NSHD data and to document lessons learned that may inform similar activities in the bio-medical area undertaken in the future. Special attention is given to the particularities of opening up access to a long-running longitudinal study which, due to the age of the study, has traditionally been poorly-documented, and to balancing likely increased scientific outputs with risk of disclosure. Among the key scientific outputs that the project is interested in examining is the feasibility of researchers sharing new variables derived from the study.

  • Medical Research and Data Sharing - How Open Can We Be?
    Renate Gertz (AHRC Centre, School of Law, University of Edinburgh)


    Scotland intends to introduce an Electronic Health Record in the near future to provide an open data system throughout the health service to improve access to a current record and prevent the multiple-blood-test-syndrome due to lack of communication between health care providers. This vision, however, is accompanied by various legal and ethical problems. One such problem is the question of access. While the use of open data within the health service offers considerable advantages, issues such as confidentiality need to be taken into account. Many patients still expect the traditional model of care with doctor-patient confidentiality, however, this is hard to equate with the reality of extended health care teams where the need for data sharing and open access to patient data has grown considerably. This paper will provide an overview of the problems of how open the data sharing can, be using several scenarios to provide examples and highlight some of the options being considered.


D3: Data Access Questions: Open and Shut (Thu, 2007-05-17)
Chair:Maxine Tedesco, University of Lethbridge

  • Licensed to Distil - Data of Course
    Susan Cadogan (UK Data Archive)


    Archives have fought many battles establishing their presence in the research world; they are welcomed by academics and policy makers in their quest to ask new questions of existing data; yet tread on uncertain ground for data creators and government departments, where concerns of disclosure and anxiety associated with statistical comparisons can loom high.  The UK Data Archive (UKDA) celebrates its 40th Anniversary in 2007 four decades of acquiring and sharing key social and economic data. This paper will outline its position within the UK research arena discussing how, by establishing a tiered licensing model, the UKDA has ensured that the concerns of the depositors, data creators and the needs of its user communities are sated. Two major issues will be discussed: the need for establishing networks and relationships of trust and symbiosis; and building and nurturing expertise and support required to establish a workable legal framework under which data curation and sharing can operate.

  • When Data Aren't Open: Restricted-Use Data: Trials Tribulations and Triumphs
    Kiet Bang (Population Research Institute, Penn State)
    Jennifer Darragh (Virginia Commonwelath University)


    The Population Research Institute is well-known inside Penn State (and increasingly outside the university) as the place to go for access to restricted-use data and for help with developing applications for obtaining contractual data. The purpose of this paper is to share our experiences and perspectives in helping researchers obtain, house, and maintain access to restricted-use data.  We hope that sharing some of our trials, tribulations and triumphs will help inform those in the data community who are considering offering restricted-data support. In six years with PRI as Data Archivist, Jennifer Darragh helped the number of contracts grow from four in 2000, to sixteen by 2006. In just three short months, PRI's new Data Archivist, Kiet Bang, has had to learn how to manage these contracts (additions, removals, renewals, custodial transfers) and coordinate with other essential PRI staff to keep restricted data projects running smoothly.

  • Creative Commons and Data Dissemination at an Academic Data Center: Issues and Potential Benefits
    W. Christopher Lenhardt (CIESIN)
    Robert Chen (CIESIN)
    Robert Downs (CIESIN)


    With multiple objectives, the Creative Commons (CC) licensing movement is making inroads into the academic community. In parallel, efforts are under way to investigate the characteristics and potential for creating a science commons based on open access to data and advanced information technology. CIESIN, the Center for International Earth Science Information Network, through its NASA-funded Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC), is experimenting with incorporating creative commons licensing into its publicly-available data and information products. This paper will describe the issues CIESIN has encountered surrounding implementing CC licensing as part of a data center dissemination strategy. Particular focus will be on the challenges of using a creative commons approach within an academic context and on the potential benefits for end-users.

  • Accessing Eurostat Data
    Tanvi Desai (London School of Economics)


    The effect of the 1997 EU Council Regulation on access to data for scientific purposes is finally being felt as Eurostat release more and more microdata for research purposes. Though this is not open data, there is a high demand for comparative international microdata with defined access procedures, so these are very valuable resources for researchers. However accessing these data can be difficult and time consuming. This paper will look at the sources available, ELFS, ECHP/EUSILC, CIS, ESES; access methods including direct access to CD Roms, the Eurostat Data Laboratory, and the PiEP-LISSY remote access system; and provides tips and guidelines for successful data registration.

  • 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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