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Conference Presentations 2015

  • IASSIST 2015-Bridging the data divide: Data in the international context, Minneapolis
    Host Institution: University of Minnesota

E4: Enhancing search and discovery (Thu, 2015-06-04)
Chair:Michelle Edwards

  • Doing DDI: Operationalising DDI for longitudinal studies
    Gemma Seabrook (Institute of Education)


    Funders are rightly concerned that they get the maximum value for their investments. The UK longitudinal studies represent a unique data collection that continues to give value and it is important to ensure that this collection remains relevant. Providing the quality of documentation that modern researchers expect for studies that begin as early as 1946 provides a significant challenge. The CLOSER project brings together nine of these studies. It seeks to enhance the metadata available to provide complete questionnaire and variable metadata that can support ongoing data management and be used to populate a search platform, enabling discovery in general and cross-cohort research in particular. Bringing historic metadata up to the DDI standard being adopted presents a variety of challenges such as the condition of supporting documentation for the oldest parts of the studies, the wide variety of methods and formats, the sheer scale of the number of questionnaires and tools used and the priorities and capacity of the various stakeholders. This paper will detail how CLOSER has addressed these at an operational level (protocols, processes, planning, etc.) and how others might learn from these experiences and make use of the outputs CLOSER provides.

  • Big Metadata: Bringing researchers CLOSER to longitudinal data with an Advanced Discovery Platform
    Jeremy Iverson (Colectica)


    CLOSER (, funded by the ESRC and MRC, aims to maximise the use, value and impact of nine of the UK's longitudinal studies. A central component of CLOSER will be a metadata discovery platform that will enable the discovery of a range of data collection and variable metadata from each of the participating studies. The scale and detail of the metadata to be included will make it amongst the largest and most detailed of such repositories in the world. The discovery platform -  a customisation of the Colectica search portal  - will offer cutting-edge search technologies and innovative and user-friendly ways to discover, navigate and display the metadata. This presentation will describe how the metadata were created and harmonized, discuss how the search portal was built, and showcase the innovative search and discovery interfaces that are critical to allowing researchers to understand and leverage a massive data resource.


E5: Restricted-use data support in academic libraries (Thu, 2015-06-04)
Chair:Sarah Pickle

  • A review of the current data storage landscape
    Jamene Brooks-Kieffer (University of Kansas)
  • Rutgers secure data facility
    Ryan Womack (Rutgers University)

F1: Training data users II (Fri, 2015-06-05)
Chair:Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh

  • Training for de-identifying human subjects data for sharing: a viable library service
    David Fearon (Johns Hopkins University)
    Jennifer Darragh (Johns Hopkins University)


    Since 2011, Johns Hopkins Data Management Services (DMS) has provided consulting and training on managing, sharing and preserving research data, and operates the JHU Data Archive. Last year, DMS consultant Dave Fearon collaborated with Jen Darragh, JHU's Data Services and Sociology Librarian, providing training on removing identifiers from human subjects data for sharing and archiving. Both presenters attended ICPSR's 3-day summer program on Assessing and Mitigating Disclosure Risk, drawing upon course materials and additional resources to develop a one-hour session. The training emphasizes how researchers can make disclosure assessment, de-identification and sharing through repositories a viable option through techniques applied at each stage of the research cycle, in order to better meet expanding funder expectations and improving dataset impact. JHU's IRB offices vetted the content, and expressed appreciation for training on areas of disclosure assessment that they do not support extensively. A broad audience across JHU in social science, education, medicine and public health divisions spurred some customization of content and flexible blending of introductory and advanced material. We have been expanding online resources on de-identification software and exploring in-depth consulting on de-identification projects. We will discuss the training's topics and context within library and institutional research support services.

  • Have data skills will travel: one summer, 19 stories
    Jackie Carter (University of Manchester)


    Q-Step is the 5-year national UK programme supporting more social science and humanities students to use quantitative data in their undergraduate studies. Q-Step at The University of Manchester is working across politics, sociology, criminology and linguistics degree programmes to 'make numbers normal' in the classroom. In this session I will report on progress in the first 18months, presenting what happened with our 19 summer placement students when we placed them in think-tanks, polling organisations, research consultancies, city councils, the UK Data Service and market research organisations. Each student produced a poster demonstrating their experience; we celebrated these findings in an event entitled 'Stepping Out'. Moreover they produced briefing papers, blog posts, news articles, public presentations, a book chapter and in one case an evidence-based report for MPs. Some returned to their third year and chose to undertake a dissertation involving data analysis. They exceeded our, the employers, and their own expectations, setting the blueprint for 2015, when we will double the number of students, and increase the number of organisations we will place them with. This presentation tells our students', and employers' stories. from our 2014 pilot year, demonstrating how data skills acquired in the classroom travel into the workplace.

  • Teaching users to work with research data: case studies in architecture, history and social work
    Jennifer Moore (Washington University in St. Louis)
    Aaron Addison (Washington University in St. Louis)


    A tailored approach is ideal for teaching users to work with research data, which varies by project and discipline depending on methodology, data sources and intended outcomes. In this presentation and paper three case studies will be put forth, each with different approaches to research data: primary collection, digital data reuse and mined textual data. In each example, researchers are not only working to implement a functional methodology, but also to engage students in practices that equip them with tools and skills to advance their own research trajectory. Further, these examples are from researchers in distinctly different disciplines: an architect working on climate change in Midwest river basins, a historian reconstructing the creation of our government and a professor of social work collecting wood fuel data for villages in India. The Data and GIS Services team at Washington University has partnered with each project presented to support analyses, visualization, management, preservation and sharing of research data. Methods, challenges and opportunities will be discussed.


F2: Challenges of data linking (Fri, 2015-06-05)
Chair:Sarah Young

  • SowiDataNet - Bringing social and economic research data together
    Monika Linne (GESIS: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences)


    Flexible data distribution and the reuse of research data are becoming increasingly relevant in the social sciences. Therefore, GESIS in collaboration with the Social Science Centre Berlin, the German Institute for Economic Research, and the German National Library of Economics started the development of SowiDataNet. The overarching - and so far in Germany unique - objective is the construction of an infrastructure for decentralized research data from the social and economic sciences in Germany. At present, the holding of research data in Germany is heavily fragmented, which precludes a user-friendly, centralized and therefore quick data retrieval. Due to this major hurdle, data reuse by other scholars underlies extremely high levels of complexity and effort, or in the worst - but not very uncommon - case is simply impossible. This dissatisfying situation is aimed to be resolved by SowiDataNet, which will integrate decentralized research data together within one repository-network. The core of this network will be a web-based, independent infrastructure that allows for low-threshold self-archiving, standardized documentation and distribution of research data. SowiDataNet is community driven. It focusses on the specific needs of social and economic scientists, in order to prosper the ideal of data sharing and long-term data archiving.

  • The challenges of reducing the public's data trust deficit: The experience of communications and public engagement across the Administrative Data Research Network
    Trazar Astley-Reid (Administrative Data Research Network)
    Ilse Verwulgen (Administrative Data Research Network)
    Judith Knight (Administrative Data Research Network)
    Chris Coates (Administrative Data Research Network)


    Securing an understanding of public attitudes to the use and linking of administrative data has been the cornerstone to setting up the new Administrative Data Research Network. The Network is a UK-wide partnership between universities, government bodies, national statistics authorities and the wider research community . Accessing and linking administrative data can bring benefits to society but people worry that data sharing is a risk to their privacy and security. Central to our work is the need to communicate with a broad church e.g. the general public, government bodies, academia, the third sector and our own Network. This is borne out of a need to be transparent, inclusive and trusted. One of our challenges to reduce the public's data trust deficit is to balance the communications messages so as not to increase fear by increasing awareness. This is an exercise in risk management, as without widespread communications targeted at all levels of society the benefits may not be realised. The Network's role is to both secure the public's trust and provide a service to researchers that is secure, lawful and ethical, run by experts in the field who ensure privacy is protected.

  • Improving efficiency and accuracy of administrative data linkage: can methods from other disciplines help?
    Kakia Chatsiou (Administrative Data Research Network)


    One of the great challenges of enabling access to linked de-identified administrative data is the accuracy and quick delivery of pre-processing and linkage of such large datasets. While quite a lot of work needs to be done in cleaning these datasets and getting them ready to be linked with other datasets, only some of the records are successfully linked using automated methods (by i.e. using deterministic or probabilistic methods) while most are linked by indexing professionals. Clerical data linkage while more accurate is more resource intensive and time consuming and adds to the preparation time needed for the researchers to access the data they need for their research. This paper will provide an overview of current methods for preparing and linking administrative records as used by the Administrative Data Research Network, a UK-wide partnership between universities, government departments and agencies, national statistics authorities, funders and the wider research community. We will present information on quality, accuracy and performance and discuss how methods from other disciplines such as Natural Language Processing, have been dealing with similar challenges when working with similar goals in mind, such as when trying to disambiguate named entities in large corpora/datasets.

  • 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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