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Conference Presentations 2009

  • IASSIST 2009-Mobile Data and the Life Cycle, Tampere, Finland
    Host Institution: Finnish Social Science Data Archive and the University of Tampere

F3: Beyond and Behind the Numbers: Metadata, Codebooks and Publications (Fri, 2009-05-29)
Chair:Harrison Dekker (UC Berkeley Library)

  • Back to Basics with Dublin Core
    Linda Powell (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System)


    When the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System needed to create a new metadata system they decided to start with a time tested foundation; Dublin Core. The U.S. Central Bank consumes a variety of metadata including metadata that defines collections of data and metadata that describes variable level data. This paper discusses the challenges and advantages of using an international standard. It follows the processes used to create collection level metadata, variable level metadata, and retrofitting existing metadata to make it all usable by economists and financial analysts.

  • CoSSI - Codebook for Statistical Information or Something More?
    Heikki Rouhuvirta (Statistics Finland)


    The starting point of the presentation is to examine the character of statistical information, the way in which data and metadata are interconnected in statistical information and how the entity formed by them can be modelled. The focus of interest is statistical information itself - what we actually mean when we talk about statistical information. CoSSI (Common Structure of Statistical Information) is a model created for statistical information. Within its framework different parts of statistical information are combined conceptually as one complete entity. The CoSSI model defines the structures of statistical data (matrices and tables), statistical metadata, quality declarations and publications. XML DTDs have been selected as the technical means for implementing these structures. The CoSSI model also contain the language versioning necessary for statistics in international use. After the short introduction to the CoSSI model its usability is examined in the statistics production and dissemination of statistics, as well as in the scientific research use of statistical data. Finally the relation and compatibility of CoSSI and DDI are examined.


F4: Building on Data: Resources, Tools and Applications (Fri, 2009-05-29)
Chair:Jen Green (University of Michigan)

  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Playing a Data Custodian
    Chiu-Chuang (Lu) Chou (Data and Information Service, University of Wisconsin, Madison)


    The National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH) is a prominent longitudinal study on family life. NSFH was funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and National Institute on Aging (NIA). The total amount of federal grant for NSFH was 14.5 million dollars. Three waves of surveys were conducted in 1987-1988, 1992-1994 and 2001-2003. According to ICPSR Related Literature database, there are 1,053 publications based on NSFH data. Researchers continue to use NSFH to study family living arrangement, marriage, cohabitation, fertility, parenting relations, kin contact and economic and psychological well-being. The Center for Demography of Health and Aging (CDHA) took over user support for NSFH, after this project ended in summer of 2006. Without the expertise of the original NSFH project team, how does CDHA staff help NSFH researchers? In this paper I will share the challenges and rewards we have in providing user support for the complex NSFH studies. Our enhancement on disseminating NSFH data using an online analysis tool will be discussed. A plan of data repurposing for NSFH in the future will be presented also.

  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Creating County-Based Data with Public Use Mircrodata Areas
    Lisa Neidert (Population Studies Center, University of Michigan)


    Researchers are requesting geographically-referenced data, particularly at the sub-state level. There is a array of resources to fulfill these requests. This paper describes a 'hidden' source of county level data; presents a tool that allows users to extract user-defined characteristics; and illustrates a reverse use of this tool to create reliable characteristics for sparsely populated counties. The American Community Survey has generated county-based data since 2005. However, the only counties included in the data release are counties with populations of 65,000 or more. While this population cut-off includes over 80 percent of the US population, it only incorporates 783 of 3,141 counties. Data from the census has typically included all counties but access problems remain. Sometimes a researcher needs a measure not included in the summary files. In addition, there are some sparsely populated counties. Users would benefit from more reliable statistics for these counties. The lowest unit of geography in Census/ACS microdata is the public use microdata area (PUMA). Using the mapping between PUMAs and counties, we translate PUMA-based statistics into county-based statistics. Likewise, when counties are too small to generate reliable statistics, we combine data for these counties based on their PUMA boundaries to create pseudo county-based measures.

  • NEEO's Data Curation
    Paul Plaatsman (Erasmus University, Rotterdam)


    Nereus is a consortium of prestigious European libraries in the world of academic economics. At present the consortium concentrates its efforts on a EU funded project called NEEO (Network of European Economists Online) which will address the lack of integration of academic output by creating a powerful new research tool called Economists Online. With this tool it will give access to 50,000 journal articles, working papers, book chapters, conference proceedings and primary datasets of leading European Economists. One of the work packages of the project is entirely devoted to datasets. The three main objectives of this work packages are: To disclose and link the research data of publications of leading economists in Europe on the Internet To make these datasets openly accessible and freely available To make an inventory of the problems involved in the disclosure of primary research data To do so NEEO partners will store datasets in their Institutional Repositories, describe the datasets to the DDI standard and harvest the metadata for the Economists Online portal. The NEEO data workgroup will use the results of the enriched publications project "Together in Sharing" which was presented at last year IASSIST conference at Stanford.

  • The Value of Public Sector Data and Information to Civil Society Organizations in South Africa: Evidence from the Fight to Alleviate Poverty
    Raed Sharif (School of Information Studies, Syracuse University)


    Public sector data and information (PSDI) are considered by many to be a strategic resource, potentially needed at all levels of society, by different communities. This presentation reports on the preliminary findings of an investigation of the ways in which these resources are utilized by the South African Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to increase their effectiveness and add value to their efforts to alleviate poverty. The study draws upon literature from organizational studies and information policy. The concepts of value of information (Parker & Houghton, 1994), management of external information (Sammons, 2005), absorptive capacity (Cohen & Levinthal, 1990), organizational learning (Argyris & Schön, 1978), and organizational innovation (March & Simons, 1958) are used to guide my inquiry to demonstrate the value of PSDI to South African CSOs through describing and explaining the processes to identify, acquire (including factors that facilitate or hinder access and acquisition), assimilate, and exploit this strategic resource. It is expected that the discussions and findings of this study will have theoretical and policy contributions, and will be of special importance to the government of South Africa (and hopefully governments in other developing countries), the CSOs fighting against poverty, and subsequently to the people of South Africa.


G1: DDI Across the Lifecycle (Fri, 2009-05-29)
Chair:Mary Vardigan (ICPSR)

  • DDI Across the Life Cycle: One Data Model, Many Products
    Mary Vardigan (ICPSR)
    Sue Ellen Hansen (Survey Research Operations, ISR, University of Michigan)
    Peter Granda (ICPSR)
    Sanda Ionescu (ICPSR)
    Felicia LeClere (ICPSR)

G2: Making Space: Issues in Linking Data and Geographies (Fri, 2009-05-29)
Chair:San Cannon (Federal Reserve Board)

  • GeoConvert: Creating that Spatial Relationship
    David Rawnsley (Mimas, University of Manchester)


    GeoConvert is a web based service allowing the matching and conversion of geocoded data to other geographic area types, including those from different years. Geography area types abound - Counties, Postcodes, Output Areas, NUTS areas... and on and on and is ever changing, so every few years the boundaries get redrawn or someone creates a new type of geographical area. What is the social science researcher to do, at what level does he collect his data or do his analysis? Most people know their Postcode, but very few know what Census Output Area they live in. GeoConvert enables the user to convert their data to numerous other geocoded datasets, no matter what geographic level it has been collected at. UK Census geographies can be connected to European Union Eurostat data at NUTS level or Postcodes can be matched to Primary Care Trust health data. GeoConvert opens up social science dataset usage to new users such as Widening Participation and Further Education by making it easy to link datasets to Postcodes, a common easy to use geographical identifier. By reducing the technical barriers to geocoded data and allowing the ability to connect to historical geographies the re-use of pre-existing datasets is encouraged.

  • Standards Based Services for Dissemination and Processing of Geospatial Data: An Example Using the UK Census
    James Reid (University of Edinburgh)


    This paper will report the findings of the Data Integration and Dissemination (DIaD) project , which is investigating the potential of using international open standards based techniques (Open Geospatial Consortia) to perform data linkage between two of the most heavily used UK academic census outputs - the aggregate statistical data and the output geographies. The primary objective of this work is to develop a data dissemination model which demonstrates a more generic capability - that of 'geo-linking'. This provides the ability to separate census statistical data (for example, but other geospatially-linked data are equally capable of utilising this approach) and the boundary (geometry) data to which it relates. Geo-linking allows for distributed, multi-source datasets to be seamlessly linked in a fashion that facilitates data separation for management and administration purposes. In essence, the approach proposed will provide an extensible infrastructure applicable not only to the immediate needs of the UK Census Programme but also more widely to a broader range of use cases. Additionally, using the same standards based approach, the project will aim to demonstrate how further value added processing can be invoked by transforming the geo-linked outputs through a series of ancillary web processing services.

  • Screening Data for Disclosure Risk and the Research Behind One Possible Took
    Kristine Witkowski (ICPSR)
  • 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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