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Conference Presentations 2014

  • IASSIST 2014-Aligning Data and Research Infrastructure, Toronto
    Host Institution: University of Toronto, Ryerson University, and York University

3I: Collaboration and Networked Infrastructure (Wed, 2014-06-04)
Chair:Tuomas J. Alatera

  • An introduction to the UK Administrative Data Research Network
    Tavi Desai (University of Essex)

    [abstract]

    The Administrative Data Research Network (ADRN) is a major new investment in UK data access infrastructure. Comprising an Administrative Data Research Centre in each country of the UK and a coordinating body – the Administrative Data Service – the ADRN aims to provide a secure integrated environment to allow the analysis of linked administrative data for research. The ADRN was funded in October 2013 as part of a major new step change in data access and analysis in the UK which will also include infrastructure and research funding for data from commercial providers, social networks and the third sector. This presentation will describe the aims and structure of the new Network, outline some of the challenges to be faced and report on the first few months of progress.

    Presentation:
  • Working with data across the humanitites and creative arts: the Humanities Networked Infrastructure (HuNi)
    Toby Burrows (University of Western Australia)

    [abstract]

    The Humanities Networked Infrastructure (HuNI) is one of the national “Virtual Laboratories” which have been developed as part of the Australian government’s National e-Research Collaboration Tools and Resources program. Their aim is to integrate existing capabilities (tools, data and resources), support data-centered workflows, and build virtual communities to address well-defined research problems. HuNI is being developed by a consortium of thirteen institutions, led by Deakin University. It aggregates heterogeneous data from thirty different datasets which have been developed by academic research groups and collecting institutions (libraries, archives, museums and galleries) across the full range of humanities disciplines. The datasets include Design and Art Australia Online, the Australian Dictionary of Biography, AustLit, AusStage, the Dictionary of Sydney, the PARADISEC linguistics archive, and the AUSTLang database. Incoming records are mapped to a common data model, but not merged, while their provenance and distinctive content are retained. HuNI also provides tools for working with the aggregated data. These include tools for data linkage, visualization, and annotation developed at the University of Queensland through the LORE project, and tools for creating and uploading new datasets for aggregation (using the Heurist package developed at the University of Sydney).

    Presentation:
  • Survey Data Netherlands
    Marion Wittenberg (Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS))
    Eric Balster (CentERdata)

    [abstract]

    Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) and CentERdata are working together within Survey Data Netherlands (SDN), a service for the dissemination and long-term preservation of survey data in the Netherlands. Both institutes complement each other in the field of data management for survey data. CentERdata has a lot of expertise in data collection, documentation and dissemination of survey data. DANS has extensive knowledge and experience in the field of sustainable long-term archiving. Survey Data Netherlands will have a three-layer architecture with a portal, which can be searched for survey questions and survey data. This portal will harvest a collection of dedicated survey repositories associated with various projects or institutes. In each repository the surveys of a project can be stored, documented and disseminated. For long-term preservation the content of the repositories will be archived at DANS. This presentation will deal with the various aspects involved in this collaboration, technical as well as organizational. Issues such as the semi-automatic exchange of data and metadata between the different survey repositories and the DANS Electronic Archiving System, the use of Persistent Identifiers, and the one-stop principle of Survey Data Netherlands for users of this infrastructure will be discussed.

  • Wagging the long tail: Current practices and ways forward
    Kathleen Shearer (Confederation of Open Access Repositories)

    [abstract]

    There are a growing number of institutional services aimed at collecting research data sets that fall outside the scope of large discipline-specific, or government data repositories. Such data sets represent a diversity of formats, may have documentation and curation weaknesses, and are often not easily found. In addition, there are significant variations in approaches in collecting and managing those data. A 2011 survey by Science found that, “even within a single institution there are no standards for storing data, so each lab, or often each fellow, uses ad hoc approaches.” The European Commission says, “Different institutions archive their research data in different ways – making access difficult from outside the institution.” This paper will present the results of an international survey of research data repositories that collect and manage heterogeneous data sets. The survey will be conducted in January/February 2013 under the auspices of the RDA Long Tail of Research Data Interest Group. The results will provide the broader community with a deeper understanding of the metadata and vocabularies that are currently in use within these contexts, with the aim of developing community-based recommendations to ensure lightweight interoperability and visibility of this type of research data across the globe.

    Presentation:
  • Building a national trusted digital repository for SSH data
    Aileen O'Carroll (Digital Repository of Ireland)

    [abstract]

    The Digital Repository of Ireland is an interactive national trusted digital repository for contemporary and historical, social and cultural data held by Irish institutions; providing a central internet access point and interactive multimedia tools, for use by the public, students and scholars. It is a four-year exchequer funded project, comprising six Irish academic partners, and is supported by the National Library of Ireland, the National Archives of Ireland (NAI) and the Irish national broadcaster RTÃ&137;. A key task is to link together and preserve the rich data held by Irish institutions, provide a central internet access point and interactive multimedia tools. Enabling access and reuse to research data is a central challenge. This paper outlines how the key challenges and lessons learned in the process of building this national repository. It argues that a process of qualitative interviews conducted by DRI allowed us to develop a complex understanding of the barriers which might limit the ability of data to be shared. An unexpected outcome of this process was it facilitated community engagement. This assisted in developing the relations of trust which are so key to overcoming barriers to access and data sharing.

3J: Developing Meaningful Data Support Roles and Services (Wed, 2014-06-04)
Chair:Kristi Thompson

  • What is a Canadian data dude?
    Jane Fry (Carleton University)

    [abstract]

    Using the results from the 2012 DLI (Data Liberation Initiative) Contacts Survey, I will paint a picture of someone who is a data dude, aka data librarian or data specialist, in a Canadian university or college. A background of the survey will be reviewed briefly, followed by a description of what the data profession in 2012 entailed, including: the amount of time spent offering data services; the frequency of data-related questions; the type of instruction-related activities; what other job duties are performed; the level of confidence in helping others with data; where do data dudes go to get help with data; and whether or not they receive regular professional development. Suggestions for a picture of a Canadian data dude in the future will be given.

    Presentation:
  • Shedding our skins? Reflections on a liasion librarian's attempt to learn how to scrape data from the web using Python
    Jeremy Darrington (Princeton University)

    [abstract]

    In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in the amount of data being created and exposed on the web. Many useful data sources–such as campaign finance and lobbying records, speeches, court rulings, legislative bills, news, geocoded event data, etc.–are of interest to social scientists and the librarians who assist them. These sources come in a variety of formats and often require considerable work to extract, organize, and clean up for analysis. As more of my clientele have expressed interest in using these kinds of sources, I decided to embark on a personal training effort to learn how to scrape and process text from the web using the Python programming language. This paper will present reflections on my experience, the utility of this kind of training for liaison librarians, and issues surrounding professional development and the acquisition of new skills by librarians.

    Presentation:
  • Chasing the research question with data: The development of a data assignment for undergraduates
    Katharin Peter (University of Southern California)

    [abstract]

    For many students, the Library’s contribution to the research process begins and ends with the literature review. In these cases, librarians might assist students with pre-defined research questions or broad research topics to locate existing literature, primary sources, and data. However, as studies have shown, students often struggle with the first step of research: developing a viable question. This presents a unique opportunity for librarians and, especially, data librarians to provide guidance while at the same time supporting campus-wide initiatives to improve critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, and information literacy skills. Specifically, a small, data-based assignment for undergraduates could be employed to help students identify a research question. This paper will present the results of a series of pilot projects in which undergraduate international relations students were tasked with developing research proposals based on exploratory analyses of statistical databases from international and non-governmental organizations. The paper will discuss the development, outcomes, and assessment of data assignments piloted over the past two years and including traditional lectures, hands-on data labs, and online modules.

    Presentation:
  • From data to the creation of meaning part I: unit of analysis as epistemological problem
    Justin Joque (University of Michigan)

    [abstract]

    Aligning data and research infrastructure is, as we are often reminded in our work, an incredibly difficult process. While we often focus on research lifecycles, incentives, storage and transmission technologies, metadata and data sharing we tend to overlook the epistemological incongruencies of diverse research and data practices. All data creation processes, even if unknowingly, make assumptions about the world and what exists as a unique unit that can be analyzed. In attempting to make data meaningful to different audiences, especially across disciplines, we must pay attention to these epistemological assumptions. Failure to do so will inevitably frustrate our attempts to develop meaningful infrastructure for research data and even potentially undermine effective research through misunderstandings of data. Looking at spatial data as an example, this presentation will explore the issues of resolution and unit of analysis as an example of such disciplinary epistemological assumptions. Based on experiences working with spatial data across disciplines, this presentation will explore some of the misunderstandings that arise and suggest ways in which they are indicative of larger issues surrounding data collections, management and interpretation.

    Presentation:
  • From data to the creation of meaning part II: data librarian as translator
    Kristin Partlo (Carleton College)

    [abstract]

    While institutions, methodology and geography all present barriers for communication and development of infrastructure, sometimes the greatest barriers may be in reaching not across the world but across the hallway. Engaging in the work of unified infrastructure requires finding language that bridges modes of inquiry and meaning, so that all participants see their place in the whole. This work of finding shared language involves translation at many levels. Data professionals know that not everyone means the same thing by ‘data’ and increasingly we seek language that spans the practices of social science, sciences, humanities, and performing arts. This paper aims to highlight some of the ways in which data professionals are already adept at translation. Drawing on examples from work as a subject librarian and data professional at an undergraduate institution, I will elaborate on ways in which translation permeates our daily work, from helping new researchers learn the language and methods of a field, to supporting faculty as they expand their teaching and research across disciplines. Additionally, our role as semi-outsiders within the institution situates us well to help drive conversations spanning disciplinary modes of thinking, in which faculty may also find themselves as semi-outsiders.

    Presentation:
  • 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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  • Resources

    Resources

    A space for IASSIST members to share professional resources useful to them in their daily work. Also the IASSIST Jobs Repository for an archive of data-related position descriptions. more...

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