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Conference Presentations 2011

  • IASSIST 2011-Data Science Professionals: A Global Community of Sharing, Vancouver, BC
    Host Institution: Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia

F1: Data Management Plans: UK, US, Australia (Fri, 2011-06-03)
Chair:William Block, Cornell Institute for Social and Economic Research (CISER)

  • The Elements of the Data Management Plan: A Gap Analysis and Recommendations
    Amy Pienta (University of Michigan)
    Mary Vardigan (presenter) (University of Michigan)
    Linda Detterman (University of Michigan)
    Peter Granda (University of Michigan)


    Many federal funding agencies, including NIH and most recently NSF, are requiring that grant applications contain data management plans for projects involving data collection. To support researchers in meeting this requirement, ICPSR is providing guidance on creating such plans. ICPSR published a list of elements for creating a data management plan. To determine the list of elements, ICPSR conducted a gap analysis of existing recommendations for data management plans and other forms of guidance made available for researchers generating data. The result of the gap analysis was a comparison of existing forms of guidance around the world. Findings from the gap analysis will be discussed in this presentation.

  • Supporting Data Management Across Disciplines
    Kathleen Fear (School of Information, University of Michigan)


    This paper reports the results of a large-scale survey of researchers conducted in spring 2010 at the University of Michigan, aimed at understanding the variety of data management practices and concerns across disciplines. We found differences in how researchers go about managing and preserving their data and, importantly, differences in what different fields felt their most important needs for support were. For example, some groups felt a secure repository for data would be the ideal solution to their problems, while others were enthusiastic about the idea of consulting services that could help them create data management plans for particular projects. Understanding disciplinary differences in data management and the impact those differences have on the kind of support researchers need from the university is critical to implementing a successful data management program. This paper contributes to the literature on disciplinary difference in data practices and directly explores the problem of structuring services for different groups.


F2: Statistical Metadata Strategies and Benefits (Fri, 2011-06-03)
Chair:Michelle Edwards, University of Guelph

  • Experimenting with DDI3 at the UK Data Archive: Moving Forward While Accommodating Legacy
    John Shepherdson (UK Data Archive)


    This paper will present the UK Data Archive's work on building a new metadata infrastructure to accommodate new features of DDI3, while enabling legacy metadata to be seamlessly created and used in our everyday services. Pilot work has been concentrating on enhancing the Archive’s Question Bank using DDI3 and exposing the richer features of chosen longitudinal data series. Adopting new enriched metadata capabilities is a challenge for established Archives who are often bound by the way they have chosen to expose and publish metadata. Any new systems must either compliment or replace existing systems using older version of DDI, such as online catalogues and data browsing and display tools like Nesstar. The older the archive the greater the legacy! Ensuring that older systems and their workflows are richly documented is an important part of being able to move on.

  • Dual Development Lines of DDI
    Wendy Thomas (Minnesota Population Center)


    Since the publication of DDI 3 in 2008, a lot of attention has focused on the expanded features and tools being developed around this new structure. At the same time DDI 2 and earlier versions continue to support the work of data archives worldwide and, with the advent of the IHSN Microdata Toolkit, they also facilitate the collection and management of survey data in many developing and transitional countries. DDI 2 has a stable and growing community of users who will either continue to use this development line or will eventually work in an environment where both DDI development lines are used. In order to support this user base and its evolving needs, DDI 2.5 was developed. This new version adds coverage for features of simple surveys found in DDI 3 and better supports the translation of metadata between the two DDI development lines. DDI 2.5 is backwards-compatible with earlier versions while adding support for new elements and better communication with the DDI 3 structures. This presentation will highlight new features and explore some of the use cases in which DDI 2.5 can benefit the current user community.


  • Application of Technological Standards to Improve Documentation and Exchange of Statistical Information. A Perspective from Mexico
    Abel Alejandro Coronado Iruegas (INEGI)


    INEGI, the National Statistical Office of Mexico, is implementing two technological standards supported by several international organizations (UN, IMF, World Bank, Eurostat, ECB and BIS), DDI and SDMX. They will be part of the technological core of a National Information System, and will be used to improve the documentation and interchange of statistical information. Both standards are part of international efforts that will help national institutes of statistics and international organizations to improve understanding, quality, accessibility and comparability of the statistics. DDI is a standard developed to improve the quality of metadata documentation for the whole of a statistical project. SDMX has been created to integrate data and metadata when exchanging statistical information, mainly in the form of series of indicators. Even though DDI and SDMX have been designed for different purposes they complement each other and both have some commonalities that are being analyzed to establish an integral system that goes from beginning to end of the statistical lifecycle.

  • Introducing metadata standards to a National Statistical Organisation
    Adam Brown (Statistics New Zealand)


    After years of development, the advent of good quality and comprehensive standards for describing statistical data has led us to the next challenge; introducing these standards across our diverse and varied organisations. This paper will examine the experiences of introducing improved statistical metadata management at Statistics New Zealand, including the initial introduction of the DDI and SDMX standards. Organisations widely support the idea of data reuse and sharing. However the value of data reuse will only be maximised with widespread acceptance of the importance of high quality and comprehensive metadata. The development of high quality metadata can be facilitated through the application of metadata standards but it is vital to overcome the barriers, build understanding and demonstrate value to ensure these standards can fit into an organisation with mature processes and an entrenched culture. Differences in terminology must be overcome, attitudes must be changed and the complex must be reduced to the explainable. This paper will be a practically focussed case study on the challenges faced and opportunities gained through this process at Statistics New Zealand.

F3: Government Data Dissemination (Fri, 2011-06-03)
Chair:Lynda Kellam, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

  • Keeping the User out of the Ditch: The Importance of Front-End Alignment
    Daniel Coyle (ProQuest)


    Web-based, stand-alone datasets offer novice data users a dizzying array of choices before they find the data they're looking for. This presentation will describe the evolution of ProQuest Statistical DataSets, which employs a single interface to access over 630 datasets. Beginning with the three-part screen commonly used in executive information systems, ProQuest and Conquest Systems have altered that interface design to meet the research needs of undergraduates, an effort guided in large part by videotaped sessions with students as they use the product for the first time. The presentation will include screen shots of government dataset sites as well as Statistical DataSets.

  • Data Feed Collaboration between Academia and Government to Improve Dissemination of the UK 2011 Census
    Dave Rawnsley (Mimas, The University of Manchester)


    The Census Dissemination Unit (CDU) at Mimas provides access to the Census aggregate datasets for the UK academic community and champions the needs of that community in discussions with the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the UK statistics authority. This paper will describe how the CDU engaged with the ONS to develop a new way that aggregate census statistics are stored, delivered and used, working in collaboration with them to revolutionise the data delivery mechanism for the 2011 Census. The ONS is now committed to using these ideas to create a ‘data feed’ approach to delivering the 2011 Census. What has developed is a synergistic relationship that allows the transfer of knowledge from the academic community and utilises the skills of both parties to develop ideas and products that will enhance the way that the 2011 Census is used not only by the academic community, but by business, government and third party census application developers. The ONS is currently co-funding a project at the CDU to create test datasets for use in developing an Application Programming Interface that the CDU and other developers can utilise to develop applications for delivering census data to their respective communities.

  • A New Initiative: Access to the Statistics Canada's Public Use Microdata Files Collection
    Michel Séguin (Statistics Canada)
    Jennifer Pagnotta (Statistics Canada)


    For many years, users were indicating the difficulties in accessing the Public Use Microdata Files from Canada in order to conduct international comparisons or to conduct studies on the Canadian society.  In order to respond to that particular need to access the full Statistics Canada's Public Use Microdata collection, a subscription fee service has been put in place. This service aims at national and international organisations that are not members of the Canadian Data Liberation Initiative who would like to use and share statistics Canada's Public Use Microdata Files within their organisations for non-commercial purposes. This service offers access as well as support through a listserv.  We hope that through this service which offers a one stop shop, users will be able to add the Canadian perspective to their studies.

  • Feel the Feed: Dimensionalisation, Dissemination and Definitional Comparison of Aggregate Statistical Datasets
    Richard Wiseman (Mimas, The University of Manchester)
    Rob Dymond-Green (Mimas, The University of Manchester)


    InFuse is a radical new interface to the aggregate datasets from UK censuses. It has been developed to exploit the potentials of the ‘data feeds’ created by the Census Dissemination Unit, which combine restructured, multi-dimensional versions of the original census aggregate datasets with open standards descriptions and publication via web services. InFuse demonstrates some of the end user benefits of a data feed approach to dissemination, such as simple, meaning-based search across entire datasets, and the integration of data and metadata for use in interface design and supply to users. It also provides initial solutions to some generic challenges, including management of the sparsity of multi-dimensional datasets through guided queries, and complex operations upon hierarchical structures. An important challenge to be addressed in developing the information environment is to make it easier to use information from multiple, disparate aggregate datasets in combination.  Further research aims to develop new measures of similarity between the various definitional elements of the multi-dimensional census aggregate datasets. New structures will also be required within the data feed to store and disseminate this information to make it available and useful. The aim of this research is to enable cross searching of multiple datasets to return equivalent aggregate counts, together with information about the nature and strength of their comparability.

  • 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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