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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

C4: Building Data Services for Confidential and Organizational Data (Wed, 2011-06-01)
Chair:Wendy Watkins, Carleton University

  • Dealing with Business and Organizational Data - Insights from the Data Service Centre for Business and Organizational Data, Bielefeld University
    Alexia Meyermann (Bielefeld University)


    Organizational research in Germany has up to now not developed a tradition of secondary analysis - most of the studies rely on primary data collection but are confronted with dramatically decreasing participation rates - most of the studies report response rates between 5 and 15 percent. This - and the fact that standards of documenting organizational data do not exist - increase the need for institutionalized data sharing. Thus, the Data Service Centre for Business and Organizational Data at Bielefeld University began in 2010 to collect, archive and distribute business and organizational data from the social sciences and several other disciplines. The goal is to bridge the gap between data producers and data users across different disciplines by providing an institutional and technical framework. Our presentation focuses on certain problems that specifically arise from dealing with business and organizational data in various aspects. We would like to discuss the specifics of documenting studies with organizations as the analysis unit compared to individual or household data. This will yield some insights into the complexities of organizational data (hierarchical structures). The requirements of metadata documentation will be discussed from a methodological and a substantial point of view and our solutions will be presented.

  • Advancing restricted access data computing at CISER: The technology, expertise, and tools of the Cornell Restricted Access Data Center (CRADC)
    Janet Heslop (Cornell Institute for Social and Economic Research (CISER))
    Jeremy Williams (Cornell Institute for Social and Economic Research (CISER))


    Building the infrastructure, expertise, and tools to meet the multifaceted needs of researchers using confidential data confronts challenges in cost, security and legality. To answer these challenges, the Cornell Institute for Social and Economic Research (CISER) staffs and hosts the Cornell Restricted Access Data Center (CRADC). Since its inception in 1999, the CRADC has provided secure access to confidential research data and has become the Cornell University custodian of restricted access data sets. The endeavor to balance a resource-rich and highly-usable collaborative computing environment that also meets security requirements demands technological leadership as well as expert service related to a great variety of data providers and software packages. This presentation will describe how CISER facilitates this balance, via a synthesis of technology, expert service and tools to empower sanctioned and secure scientific research on restricted access data at Cornell University.

  • Exploring New Methods for Protecting and Distributing Confidential Research Data
    Steve Burling (ICPSR)
    Bryan Beecher (ICPSR)


    ICPSR is building and testing a data storage and dissemination system for confidential data, which obviates the need for users to build and secure their own computing environments. Recent advances in public utility (or “cloud”) computing now makes it feasible to provision powerful, secure data analysis platforms on-demand. We will leverage these advances to build a system which collects “system configuration” information from analysts using a simple web interface, and then produces a custom computing environment for each confidential data contract holder. Each custom system will secure the data storage and usage environment in accordance with the confidentiality requirements of each data file. When the analysis has been completed, this custom system will be fed into a “virtual shredder” before final disposal. This prototype data dissemination system will be tested for (1) system functionality (i.e., does it remove the usual barriers to data access?); (2) storage and computing security (i.e., does it keep the data secure?); and (3) usability (i.e., is the entire system easier to use?).

Plenary II (Thu, 2011-06-02)
Chair:Chuck Humphrey, Data Library Coordinator, University of Alberta

  • Research Data Infrastructure: Are the Social Sciences on Main Street or a Side Road?
    Chuck Humphrey (University of Alberta)


    Chuck Humphrey is passionate about data and has been examining research data infrastructure with a global perspective. His talk will locate the social sciences in the broader E-science picture and give us a glimpse of the future.


D1: Recent Developments in the DDI Implementation Landscape III (Thu, 2011-06-02)
Chair:Arofan Gregory, Open Data Foundation

  • DDI + API: building services on top of your existing DDI holdings
    Ornulf Risnes ( Norwegian Social Science Data Services (NSD))


    A Nesstar Server is an example of a web-based container that can store and make available DDI metadata to consuming applications. Once a DDI-document is published to a Nesstar Server, the contents of the document is made available via a Java API. Developers of third party clients may use this API to connect to any such server, and programmatically navigate and harvest collections of DDI-documents held there, or just to extract information from specific DDI-fields relevant to the consuming application. For many years, most clients developed to interact with the Nesstar API was developed in-house, and integrated as part of the Nesstar Software Suite. Recently, however, third party clients have started to emerge, and they use the DDI-container and the API for very different purposes, including, but not limited to:

    • Variable “shopping carts” for simplified downloads of complex data sets
    • Automated harvesters for indexing in Solr-powered search systems, including searchable study- and question/variable databases
    • Harvester taking snapshots for persistent archiving in DataVerse (beta)
    • Search engine optimized rendering of DDI content for exposing DDI-holdings to generic search engines like Google

    The presentation will demonstrate the basic architecture of the DDI-driven API, and show examples of some of the current services built to interact with the API.

  • Prototype of Open Source Metadata Editor for Individual Researchers in Japan
    Yuki Yonekura (Institute of Social Science, the University of Tokyo)
    Keiichi Sato (Institute of Social Science, the University of Tokyo)


    The Social Science Japan Data Archive (SSJDA) plays the role of a major data provider for those who seek to analyze the Japanese society using micro data. Deposited datasets to the SSJDA are described in various formats and we have many works to create metadata of the each survey. This situation is not good for managing our archive. We thought this situation can be changed through disseminating the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI). Due to its complexity of the specification of the DDI, the metadata are often created with certain software such as Nesstar, Colectica and so on. With these applications, researchers can easily create DDI documents, but these applications are relatively expensive for individual researchers. In addition, Japanese researchers have difficulty to use them because of language barrier. Thus we are developing free software to edit DDI documents. In this presentation, we will show a prototype of open source metadata editor and its process.

  • Arisddi, A Resource Instantiation System for DDI
    Ben Youngdahl (Minnesota Population Center)


    Arisddi is a DDI editor for the Macintosh, Windows, and Linux operating systems. Using a graphical user interface, users can build DDI codebooks using the full DDI 2.1 specification. No knowledge of XML is required. Support for DDI 2.5 and 3.1 is planned. Arisddi is open source software, built on the Eclipse platform.

D2: Power of Partnerships in Data Creation and Sharing (Thu, 2011-06-02)
Chair:Bo Wandschneider, University of Guelph

  • Partnership in Data Access --- Combining two Data delivery Services - Going Bilingual
    Vincent Gray (University of Western Ontario)
    Maryna Beaulieu ()
    Sébastien Nadeau ()
    Elizabeth Hill (University of Western Ontario)
    Gaston Quirion (Bibliotheque de l'Universite Laval)
    Heather Stevens ()


    Academic access to Statistics Canada Data Liberation Initiative (DLI) data at Quebec Universities (CREPUQ) and the University of Western Ontario was delivered via long-standing established data delivery systems, Sherlock and the Internet Data Library System (IDLS). In 2007, a partnership between CREPUQ and University of Western Ontario was established to replace IDLS and Sherlock with a new bilingual system which would draw on the strengths of the former systems and provide an improved interface. The Equinox Data Delivery System ( is the result of this partnership. Equinox was formally launched in Montreal on May 12, 2010. It provides access to DLI data and geospatial files to users at fifty Canadian academic institutions. The presentation will discuss: - the project structure; - timelines; - enhancements realized within the new system; and - the benefits and challenges of working with partners from multiple organizations, in different places.

  • OCUL's Geospatial Portal Project: From Vision to Reality
    Leanne Hindmarch (Ontario Council of University Libraries / Scholars Portal )
    Elizabeth Hill (University of Western Ontario)
    Jenny Marvin (University of Guelph)


    The Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) is a consortium of twenty-one university libraries in the province of Ontario that collaborates on resource sharing, access to resources and technologies. OCUL was represented at IASSIST 2010 with a pecha kucha session that explored and demonstrated our vision for an online geospatial portal, a project that is currently in development. Our vision includes the provision of tools for identifying, exploring, and downloading licensed geospatial data, as well as collaboration and teaching tools. The vision also involves the creation and open sharing of standards-based geospatial metadata. In Fall 2011, OCUL will be launching its first release of the geospatial portal. The spring 2011 IASSIST session will provide a preview of the portal, demonstrating the available tools. The session will also discuss the expected impact of the portal at Ontario universities, assessment plans, and future development goals.

  • Working Within and Across: the Data Difficulties (and Rewards) of the NECASL Project
    Rachael Barlow (Trinity College (Hartford))
    Heather Lindkvist (Trinity College (Hartford))


    The New England Consortium on Assessment and Student Learning (NECASL) involves qualitative and quantitative data creation and sharing within and across seven liberal-arts colleges in the northeast U.S. (see NECASL is composed of data professionals of varied ilk: Directors of Institutional Research and IRBs, faculty supervisors and analysts, and student interviewers. This group began following a panel of 36 students at each institution in Fall 2006, documenting their experiences through hour-long, open-ended, biannual interviews and annual surveys of the entire Class of 2010. Currently, NECASL is linking the transcriptions from the interviews to both the survey data and administrative data on demographics and academic performance, while preparing for a final “one year out” interview. We will describe NECASL’s data challenges, including: creating survey data across institutions embedded in different data consortiums (HEDS, COFHE, etc.), meshing qualitative data coming from institutions with different IRB procedures for de-identification, transferring large NVIVO (qualitative software) files from one campus to another, and altering data sharing agreements as project participants fall in and out of the project and as consortial ideas about data sharing change.

  • 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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