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But How Do I *Do* Qualitative Research? Bridging the Gap between Qualitative Researchers and Methods Resources--PART 2

Mandy kicked off our 4-part blog series last week with an inaugural post that provided background and context for this project, which centers around a specific challenge faced by many qualitative researchers: lack of qualitative methods training.  This post offers some concrete ideas to data-support professionals on how to leverage library collections and other information sources that direct researchers to secondary and tertiary sources on qualitative methods to address this issue.

Possibly the most basic yet high-impact way to bridge the gap between researchers and qualitative methods is to create a LibGuide—or any other online research guide or pathfinder—dedicated to qualitative research resources.  It can be embedded within an existing resource, such as a library’s Data Services page or a course-specific guide, or it can exist as an independent guide unto itself.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: when faced with an instructional or research need, a librarian’s knee-jerk reaction is often, “Let’s make a LibGuide!”  While research guides aren’t necessarily appropriate for every topic or service we provide as information and data specialists (i.e., LibGuides aren’t a panacea, per se), they can be a useful didactic medium for culling and delivering information and resources specific to qualitative research methods.   

Online research guides, like LibGuides, allow researchers to benefit from the guidance and expertise of a data-support professional in an autonomous, self-paced manner.  This type of learning object is well-suited for researchers who fit the profile Mandy described in her introductory post for this series: those who aren’t getting formal qualitative methods training and need to get up to speed quickly on their own, and/or researchers with varying degrees of qualitative methods knowledge and experience who would like a set of materials, sources, and resources to which they can refer back periodically.  The portability of a LibGuide also makes it convenient for use by data-support professionals in mediated settings, such as consultations or instruction sessions.  And at institutions where demand for research methods and tools training outstrips an individual or staff’s capacity to provide one-on-one or even course-embedded support, a LibGuide can solve the scalability problem for a large and diverse set of needs (although, obviously, not all of them).  Lastly, LibGuides aren’t just for researchers; they also serve to assist colleagues and fellow information and data specialists in providing reference and research services at an institution (and beyond) and are an effective tool for cross-training.  This last point is relevant especially for fairly specialized, niche areas of expertise, like qualitative research methods.

 A number of qualitative research guides already exist and are worth checking out (e.g., Duke University Libraries’ guide on Qualitative Research by Linda Daniel, UCSF Library’s Qualitative Research Guide by Evans Whitaker).  Below are some suggestions for content to include—with a focus on resources related to learning about qualitative methods—if one were to consider creating anew or building on an existing qualitative research guide.

Select bibliography of relevant literature

A centralized bibliography, or simply citations/links dispersed throughout a guide, can be useful in directing users to relevant secondary and tertiary sources to learn more about qualitative research methods.  Citations to the following literature types may be appropriate to include:  

As a companion, it may be useful to link to relevant catalogs and social-sciences databases to search for additional literature and research.  However, not all catalogs and bibliographic databases index research methods, and even those that do often don’t index qualitative methods with appropriate granularity.  Thus, it may be necessary to provide tips on how best to search for studies that employ qualitative methods (e.g., NYU Libraries’ guide on Locating Qualitative Research by Susan Jacobs).  This way, a guide delivers select sources but also teaches users how to find additional methods-related sources themselves.

Links to subscription-based resources

There are a number of specialized library databases designed for quick reference and/or in-depth, self-guided learning, and these serve as rich fonts of information about qualitative methods.  Three possible resources that fit this bill are:   

  • Credo Reference
    While not specific to research methods, Credo is a multidisciplinary, searchable collection of digitized reference works (e.g., dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks) that provide helpful background information on a topic but also act as springboards to connect users to further readings and cross-references.  Credo can serve as a good starting point for researchers looking to learn more about qualitative methods in general or about a particular methodology.   
  • Sage Research Methods Online (SRM)
    SRM is an online multimedia collection devoted to research methods (qualitative and quantitative), with a special emphasis on research skills training.  It includes e-versions of SAGE’s Little Blue Books, an instructional series on qualitative research methods, as well as many other searchable, full-text interdisciplinary SAGE reference and journal sources that allow users to deep-dive into a particular method at each stage of the research lifecycle.  SRM also provides resources for teaching qualitative methods, including case studies, sample datasets, and instructional videos.

  • Oxford Bibliographies Online (OBO)
    OBO offers access to online, peer-reviewed, annotated bibliographies that are organized by discipline and are written by experts in their fields.  One can find entire bibliographies or portions of a bibliography dedicated to qualitative methods in a given field of social science (e.g., sociology, political science) or to a particular qualitative methodology (e.g., anthropology, education).  This makes OBO a good source of information for discipline-specific qualitative research methods.  

In addition to researchers, these resources can be indispensible to data-support professionals who are asked to consult on research projects using qualitative methods outside their own specializations, or who are asked to consult with researchers who sit in (or between) disciplines with which they are less familiar or comfortable.

List of professional development and ongoing learning opportunities

Researchers who are new to a qualitative research method may want to learn more about it in an interactive manner beyond (or in lieu of) the classroom.  Opportunities to do so are plentiful and varied, and may take the following forms:

I hope you have enjoyed my suggestions in this post!  They are by no means exhaustive.  I would love to here what you think, what you would add, or what you’re already using on your guides to address the qualitative methods gap discussed in this series of blog posts.  

We welcome comments here, emails to the IASSIST listserv, the QSSHDIG google group, or directly to the authors, and/or comments in this “Blog Conversations” doc embedded in the QSSHDIG website. Also, there's a section at the bottom of the "Blog Conversations" doc for suggesting future QSSDHIG posts - please do!

Stayed tuned for Part 3 of our blog series next week when Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh will share ideas for developing and providing training resources in collaboration with faculty and academic departments that are mindful of the qualitative methods gap.

But How Do I *Do* Qualitative Research? Bridging the Gap between Qualitative Researchers and Methods Resources

The IASSIST Qualitative Social Science & Humanities Data Interest Group (QSSHDIG) was created in October 2016, its central purpose: to foster conversations regarding the needs of researchers who generate qualitative data, and what types of services librarians and other information professionals can develop to support these researchers in managing their data/source materials throughout the research lifecycle.

This four-post blog series engages in one particular conversation: challenges researchers face in terms of a lack of qualitative methods training, and strategies for how data-support professionals can address these challenges. The following QSSHDIG members are the series authors:

  • Jill Conte, Social Sciences Librarian at New York University
  • Liz Cooper, Social Sciences Librarian at the University of New Mexico
  • Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh, Social Sciences Librarian at Georgia State University

To foster conversation, we welcome comments here, emails to the IASSIST listserv, the QSSHDIG google group, or directly to the authors, and/or comments in this “Blog Conversations” doc embedded in the QSSHDIG website. Also, there's a section at the bottom of the "Blog Conversations" doc for suggesting future QSSDHIG posts - please do!

Why have this conversation?

Many social science researchers (students and faculty alike) are increasingly conducting qualitative research while lacking formal training in qualitative methods. This may be due to various factors, including but not limited to the following:

  • their particular discipline does not widely embrace qualitative research,
  • their discipline just recently began emphasizing mixed methods (using qualitative and quantitative methods) when previously it was predominantly quantitative-based,
  • they are in an interdisciplinary academic program without a strong research methods training component.

Those of us who offer training sessions on qualitative data analysis software (such as NVivo, Atlas.ti, Quirkos, or Dedoose) often experience researchers coming to these sessions without the methodological background to *do* qualitative research or understand what the software can/cannot do for them - sometimes hoping that the software will have the “magic button” to solve their lack of training. Similarly, as social science liaison librarians we often witness this qualitative methods gap during our research consultations. Although this dilemma of lack of methods training is not unique to qualitative research (i.e., researchers lacking quantitative research training are known to attend statistical software training sessions), when compared to their quantitative counterparts, qualitative researchers often have less resources for support and for building necessary skills.

The three posts in the remainder of this blog series will offer concrete strategies for how data-support professionals can act as bridges between social science researchers and the resources they need to strengthen their qualitative research and methodologies skills:

  • Jill Conte’s post will offer suggestions for connecting researchers with secondary and tertiary sources for qualitative research training. [to be posted Monday, July 24] 
  • Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh’s post will share ideas for developing and providing training resources in collaboration with faculty and academic departments that are mindful of this methods gap. [to be posted Monday, July 31] 
  • Liz Cooper’s post will address how librarians and other data-support professionals can help build community at their institutions around qualitative research. [to be posted Monday, August 7] 

IASSIST Call for Event Sponsorship Proposals 2017 Round 2: “Mini Grants”

The IASSIST Liaison and Organizational Sponsorship Task Force is seeking proposals for sponsorships of regional or local events during calendar year 2017. In this second round of sponsorships we will be awarding up to four grants of $500 USD each, but requests for any amount up to $500 USD will be considered.

The goal of these sponsorships is to support local networks of data professionals and data-related activities across the globe in order to help support IASSISTers activities throughout the year and increase awareness of the value of IASSIST membership.

Events should be a gathering of data professionals from multiple institutions and may vary in size and scope from workshops, symposia, conferences, etc. These may be established events or new endeavors. We are particularly looking to sponsor regional or local level events that will attract data professionals who would benefit from IASSIST membership, but may not always be able to travel to attend IASSIST conferences. Preference will be given to events from geographic areas outside of traditional IASSIST conference locations (North America and Western Europe), and from underrepresented membership areas as such as Latin/South America, Africa, Asia/Pacific, and Eastern Europe.

Requests for sponsorships may be monetary, and may also include a request for mentorship assistance by matching the event planning committee with an experienced IASSIST member with relevant expertise (e.g., conference planning, subject/content, geographic familiarity).

Accepted events will be required to designate an active IASSIST member as the liaison. Generally, this would be an IASSIST member who will be attending the event and although not required, may be on the planning committee or otherwise contributing to the event. The liaison will be responsible for assistance with coordinating logistics related to the sponsorship, ensuring that the sponsorship is recognized at the event, and contributing a post to the IASSIST iBlog about the event.

Proposals should include:

  • Name of the event and event details (date, location, any other pertinent information)
  • Organizing or hosting institution
  • Description of event and how it relates to IASSIST goals and communities
  • Specific request for sponsorship: amount of money and/or mentorship assistance
  • Description of how the sponsorship will be used
  • Name and contact information of person submitting proposal and designated event liaison to IASSIST (if different)

Proposals are due on Friday, June 30 2017 via the Application Form. Notification of sponsorship awards will be by July 21 2017. The number and monetary extent of awarded sponsorships will depend on the number and quality of applications received within a total budgeted limit. Individual sponsorship requests may range from $0 USD (request for mentorship only) to $500 USD.

Please direct questions to Jen Doty, IASSIST Membership Chair (jennifer.doty@emory.edu).

2016-2017 report for the Qualitative Social Science and Humanities Data Interest Group (QSSHDIG)

The Qualitative Social Science and Humanities Data Interest Group (QSSHDIG) was formed in fall 2016. We decided to focus our efforts on the conference this year. We have some continuing projects planned for next year. We are meeting at the conference on Tuesday, May 22 at 4pm in the Oread Lobby.
IASSIST 2017 Conference activities:
Continuing Projects:
  • We are developing a blog post series on the challenges of balancing teaching/providing resources for qualitative *software* against teaching/providing resources for qualitative methods. Mandy is currently leading that effort.
  • We have been working on developing a LibGuide compiling qualitative and humanities data resources (e.g., finding data sources, analysis tools, etc.). We are gathering some resources now and will talk more about this at our group meeting tomorrow. Lynda is leading this effort.
  • We also have an email list for everyone interested in Qualitative Social Science or Humanities Data research.
  • We would love to have any  members help out with these efforts. If you are interested, please email Lynda or Mandy.

#IDCC17: Notes from the International Digital Curation Conference 2017

For the third time IASSIST sponsored the International Digital Curation Conference. This time allowing three students, one each from Switzerland, Korea, and Canada to attend the conference, which titled itself "Upstream, Downstream: embedding digital curation workflows for data science, scholarship and society".

Data science was a strong theme of the three keynote presentations, in particular how curation and data management are an active, integrated, ongoing parts of analysis rather than a passive epilogue in research.

Maria Wolters talked about how missing data can provide research insights analysing patterns of absence and, counter-intuitively, can improve the quality of datasets through the concept of managed forgetting –asking is it important to preserve and is it relevant at the moment – we can better manage and find data. Alice Daish showed her work as a data scientist at the British Museum, with the goal of enabling data informed decision-making. This involved identifying data "silos" and "wrangling" data in to exportable formats, along with zealous use and promotion of R, but also thinking about the way data is communicated to management. Chris Williams demonstrated how the Alan Turing Institute handles data mining. He reports that about 80 percent of work on data mining involves understanding and preparing data. This ranges from understanding formats and running descriptives to look for outliers and anomalies to cleaning untidy and inconsistent metadata and coding. The aim is to automate as much of this as possible with the Automatic Statistician project.

In a session on data policies, University of Toronto's Dylanne Dearborn and Leanne Trimble showed how libraries can use creative thinking to matching publication patterns against journal data policies in providing support. Fieke Schoots outlined the approach at Leiden which includes requirements from PhD's to state location of research data before their defence can take place and twenty year retention for Data Management Plans. Switching to journals, Ian Hrynaszkiewicz talked about the work Springer Nature has done to standardise journal data polices into one of four types allied with support for authors and editors on policy identification and implementation.

Ruth Geraghty dealt with ethical challenges in retro-fitting a data set for sharing. She introduced the Children’s Research Network for Ireland and Northern Ireland. This involved attempting to obtain consent from participants for sharing, but also work on anonymising the data to enable sharing. Although a problematic and resource intensive endeavour the result is not only a reusable data set but informed guidance for other projects on archiving and sharing. Niamh Moore has long experience of archiving her research and focused on another legacy archive – the Clayoquot Lives oral history project. Niamh is using Omeka as a sharing platform because it gives the researcher control of how the data can be presented for reuse. For example, Omeka has capacity for creating exhibits to showcase themes.

Community is important in both curation and management. Marta Teperek and Rosie Higman introduced work at Cambridge on collaborative communities and data champions. Finding a top-down compliance approach was not working, Cambridge moved to a bottom-up engagement style bringing researchers into decision-making on policies and support. Data champions are a new approach to seed advocates and trainers around the university as local contact points, based on a community of practice model. The rewards of this approach are potentially rich, but the cost of setting-up and managing it are high and the behaviour of the community is not always controllable. Two presentations on community/citizen science from Andrea Copeland and Peter Darch also hit on the theme of controlling groups in curating data. The Galaxy Zoo project found there were lessons to learn about the behaviour of volunteers, particularly the negative impact of a "league table" credit system in retaining contributors, and how volunteers expected to only contribute classifications were in some cases doing data science work in noticing unusual objects.

A topic of relevance to social science focused curation is sensitive data. Debra Hiom introduced University of Bristol's method of providing safe access to sensitive data. Once again, it's resource intensive - requiring a committee classification of data into levels of access and process reviews to ensure applications are genuine. However the result is that data that cannot be open can be shared responsibly. Sebastian Karcher from the Qualitative Data Archive spoke about managing sensitive data in the cloud, a task further complicated by the lack of a federal data protection law in the United States. Elizabeth Hull (Dryad) presented on developing an ethical framework for curating social media data. A common perception is social media posts are fair use, if made public. However, from an ethical perspective posters may not understand their "data" is being collected for research purposes and users need to know that use of @ or # on Twitter means they are inviting involvement and sharing in wider discussions. Hull offered a "STEP" approach as way to deal with social media data, balancing benefit of preservation and sharing against risk of harm and reasonable consent from research subjects.

IASSIST's Statement in Response to President’s Executive Order on Visas and Immigration


February 13, 2017

Statement of the International Association for Social Science Information Services and Technology (IASSIST at http://iassistdata.org) in response to President Trump's January 27 Executive Order on Visas and Immigration, titled "PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES".

The recent executive order on visas and immigration issued on January 27th by US President Trump is of grave concern to IASSIST as an organization. IASSIST, the International Association for Social Science Information Services and Technology, is an international organization of professionals working in and with information technology, libraries, data services and research & higher education to support open science, advocate for responsible data management and use, build a broader community surrounding research data, and encourage the development of data professionals. Our membership is international, and we greatly value the ability to travel and meet to share knowledge at locations around the world. Our international fellows program and other initiatives are specifically designed to encourage participation from underrepresented regions, including the Muslim-majority countries targeted by the executive order.

While recognizing the authority of the United States over its borders, there are several aspects of this order that are troubling, viz.:

  1. Its sudden and chaotic implementation has led to severe uncertainty over whether rules and practices for entering the United States will be subject to rapid and arbitrary change.
  2. It has led to the detention of lawful permanent residents of the United States, the revocation of visas previously granted under proper vetting procedures, the perception of potential discrimination on the basis of religion, and the humanitarian crisis caused by ceasing to accept refugees.
  3. Its introduction of several restrictive elements into the domain of visas and immigration, such as the statement that those entering the US, including temporary visitors, must "support the Constitution".

For these reasons, the order generates a hostile climate for the open, collaborative scientific work of our organization, both for non-US persons seeking to work and collaborate with Americans, and for Americans traveling and working outside of the US to collaborate who may face retributive actions from other states. Our membership has legitimate concerns about whether travel to the US is possible under such conditions. The order also may have long-term repercussions that damage the reputation of the US as a location that is open to visitors and immigrants, supporting the open exchange of ideas, and protected under the rule of law from arbitrary changes impacting human freedom. In response, IASSIST will continue to speak out in favor of our organization's goals, and against such threats to international collaboration in research and data sharing.

Our May 2017 annual conference will be held in Lawrence, Kansas. Arrangements were begun long before the Executive Order on Visas and Immigration, and it is impossible to change the venue at this date. IASSIST stands in solidarity with its members and encourages them to attend the conference and participate in the international exchange of ideas that is the purpose of our association. We hope that no member will be denied entry into the US due to the administration's recent actions. IASSIST will assist its membership with visa issues and other concerns emanating from this order. We also reaffirm that we are committed to an environment free from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, at the annual conference and all IASSIST activities.

 Tuomas J. Alaterä, President
 Jen Green, Vice-President
 Ryan Womack, Secretary
 Thomas Lindsay, Treasurer

International Association for Social Science Information Service and Technology (IASSIST)

IASSIST Call for Event Sponsorship Proposals

The IASSIST Liaison and Organizational Sponsorship Task Force is seeking proposals for sponsorships of regional or local events during calendar year 2017. The goal of these sponsorships is to support local networks of data professionals and data-related activities across the globe in order to help support IASSISTers activities throughout the year and increase awareness of the value of IASSIST membership.

Events should be a gathering of data professionals from multiple institutions and may vary in size and scope from workshops, symposia, conferences, etc. These may be established events or new endeavors. We are particularly looking to sponsor regional or local level events that will attract data professionals who would benefit from IASSIST membership, but may not always be able to travel to attend IASSIST conferences. Preference will be given to events from geographic areas outside of traditional IASSIST conference locations (North America and Western Europe), and from underrepresented membership areas as such as Latin/South America, Africa, Asia/Pacific, and Eastern Europe.

Requests for sponsorships may be monetary, and may also include a request for mentorship assistance by matching the event planning committee with an experienced IASSIST member with relevant expertise (e.g., conference planning, subject/content, geographic familiarity).

Accepted events will be required to designate an active IASSIST member as the liaison. Generally, this would be an IASSIST member who will be attending the event and although not required, may be on the planning committee or otherwise contributing to the event. The liaison will be responsible for assistance with coordinating logistics related to the sponsorship, ensuring that the sponsorship is recognized at the event, and contributing a post to the IASSIST iBlog about the event.

Proposals should include:

  • Name of the event and event details (date, location, any other pertinent information)
  • Organizing or hosting institution
  • Description of event and how it relates to IASSIST goals and communities
  • Specific request for sponsorship: amount of money and/or mentorship assistance
  • Description of how the sponsorship will be used
  • Name and contact information of person submitting proposal and designated event liaison to IASSIST (if different)

Proposals are due on Friday, January 13 2017 via the Application Form. Notification of sponsorship awards will be by Friday, Feb 3 2017. The number and monetary extent of awarded sponsorships will depend on the number and quality of applications received. Individual sponsorship requests may range from $0 USD (request for mentorship only) to $2,000 USD.

Please direct questions to Hailey Mooney, IASSIST Membership Chair (haileym@umich.edu).

Notes from the second Jisc Research Data Network event

Jisc held their second Research Data Network event in Cambridge. I went along to take notes.

Danny Kingsley gave an overview of why data sharing is important, which was useful as introduction for those new to this, and a refresher of first principles to the more experienced.

The day then moved into parallel sessions on aspects of the network's activity.

The Research Data Shared Service is an initiative to help intuitions with RDM infrastructure. Jisc research suggests the priority for universities is addressing the digital preservation gap. Consequently, Jisc are looking at providing data repository and long-term preservation services as well as considering how a service could integrate with existing CRIS systems and repositories. This will take place in a "University of Jisc" that allows a testing environment using research data.

Jisc are developing templates and guidance for publishers on creating a research data policy which can then adapt to their journals. They are working with Springer Nature who are trying to fit their 3000 journals to into one of four types of data policy, ranging from encouraged to mandatory sharing and availability criteria.

Cambridge's Research Data support service provided insight into engaging researchers in research data management. Their initial compliance message was not working, so they switched to a positive benefits message. This is underpinned by "adequate provisions": online information, consultancies, reviewing data management plan, and training sessions. They also invest resources in advocacy and outreach including a "democratic" approach involving researchers in shaping the service and policies.

Jisc are developing a "core" metadata profile for research data. The profile is based on focus group testing, and integration with existing standards. The aim is to encourage better quality metadata submissions from researchers, with "gold, silver, and bronze" thresholds.

The final session introduced Jisc's template business case for RDM support. This is intended to allow institutions to adapt a structured case for supporting RDM services that can be presented to university management. The case covers the economic benefits of data sharing and preservation, along with institutional and researcher benefits, with a focus on numbers. My particular favourite: UK universities hold an estimated 450 petabytes of research data. The case will be available this autumn.

Should you have further interest in their activities, Jisc have a Research Data Network website and presentations from the day are also available.

IQ 40:1 Now Available!

Our World and all the Local Worlds
Welcome to the first issue of Volume 40 of the IASSIST
Quarterly (IQ 40:1, 2016). We present four papers in this issue.
The first paper presents data from our very own world,
extracted from papers published in the IQ through four
decades. What is published in the IQ is often limited in
geographical scope and in this issue the other three papers
present investigations and project research carried out at
New York University, Purdue University, and the Federal
Reserve System. However, the subject scope of the papers
and the methods employed bring great diversity. And
although the papers are local in origin they all have a strong
focus for generalization in order to spread the information
and experience.


We proudly present the paper that received the 'best
paper award' at the IASSIST conference 2015. Great thanks
are expressed to all the reviewers who took part in the
evaluation! In the paper 'Social Science Data Archives: A
Historical Social Network Analysis' the authors Kristin R.
Eschenfelder (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Morgaine
Gilchrist Scott, Kalpana Shankar, and Greg Downey
are reporting on inter-organizational influence and
collaboration among social science data archives through
data of articles published in IASSIST Quarterly in 1976
to 2014. The paper demonstrates social network analysis
(SNA) using a web of 'nodes' (people/authors/institutions)
and 'links' (relationships between nodes). Several types
of relationships are identified: influencing, collaborating,
funding, and international. The dynamics are shown in
detail by employing five year sections. I noticed that from
a reluctant start the amount of relationships has grown
significantly and archives have continuously grown better
at bringing in 'influence' from other 'nodes'. The paper
contributes to the history of social science data archives and
the shaping of a research discipline.


The paper 'Understanding Academic Patrons’ Data Needs
through Virtual Reference Transcripts: Preliminary Findings
from New York University Libraries' is authored by Margaret
Smith and Jill Conte who are both librarians at New York
University, and Samantha Guss, a librarian at University
of Richmond who worked at New York University from
2009-14. The goal of their paper is 'to contribute to the
growing body of knowledge about how information
needs are conceptualized and articulated, and how this
knowledge can be used to improve data reference in an
academic library setting'. This is carried out by analysis of
chat transcripts of requests for census data at NYU. There is
a high demand for the virtual services of the NYU Libraries
and there are as many as 15,000 annual chat transactions.
There has not been much qualitative research of users'
data needs, but here the authors exemplify the iterative
nature of grounded theory with data collection and analysis
processes inextricably entwined and also using a range of
software tools like FileLocator Pro, TextCrawler, and Dedoose.
Three years of chat reference transcripts were filtered down
to 147 transcripts related to United States and international
census data. The unique data provides several insights,
shown in the paper. However, the authors are also aware of
the limitations in the method as it did not include whether
the patron or librarian considered the interaction successful.
The conclusion is that there is a need for additional librarian
training and improved research guides.


The third paper is also from a university. Amy Barton, Paul
J. Bracke, Ann Marie Clark, all from Purdue University,
collaborated on the paper 'Digitization, Data Curation,
and Human Rights Documents: Case Study of a Library
Researcher-Practitioner Collaboration'. The project
concerns the digitization of Urgent Action Bulletins of
Amnesty International from 1974 to 2007. The political
science research centered on changes of transnational
human rights advocacy and legal instrumentation, while
the Libraries’ research related to data management,
metadata, data lifecycle, etcetera. The specific research
collaboration model developed was also generalized for
future practitioner-librarian collaboration projects. The
project is part of a recent tendency where academic
libraries will improve engagement and combine activities
between libraries and users and institutions. The project
attempts to integrate two different lifecycle models thus
serving both research and curatorial goals where the
central question is: 'can digitization processes be designed
in a manner that feeds directly into analytical workflows
of social science researchers, while still meeting the
needs of the archive or library concerned with long-term
stewardship of the digitized content?'. The project builds
on data of Urgent Action Bulletins produced by Amnesty
International for indication of how human rights concerns
changed over time, and the threats in different countries
at different periods, as well as combining library standards
for digitization and digital collections with researcher-driven
metadata and coding strategies. The data creation
started with the scanning and creation of the optical
character recognized (OCR) version of full text PDFs for text
recognition and modeling in NVivo software. The project
did succeed in developing shared standards. However, a
fundamental challenge was experienced in the grant-driven
timelines for both library and researcher. It seems to me that
the expectation of parallel work was the challenge to the
project. Things take time.


In the fourth paper we enter the case of the Federal Reserve
System. San Cannon and Deng Pan, working at the Federal
Reserve Bank in Kansas City and Chicago, created a pilot
for an infrastructure and workflow support for making the
publication of research data a regular part of the research
lifecycle. This is reported in the paper 'First Forays into
Research Data Dissemination: A Tale from the Kansas City
Fed'. More than 750 researchers across the system produce
yearly about 1,000 journal articles, working papers, etcetera.
The need for data to support the research has been
recognized, and the institution is setting up a repository
and defining a workflow to support data preservation
and future dissemination. In early 2015 the internal Center
for the Advancement of Research and Data in Economics
(CADRE) was established with a mission to support, enhance,
and advance data or computationally intensive research,
and preservation and dissemination were identified as
important support functions for CADRE. The paper presents
details and questions in the design such as types of
collections, kind and size of data files, and demonstrates
influence of testers and curators. The pilot also had to
decide on the metadata fields to be used when data is
submitted to the system. The complete setup including
incorporated fields was enhanced through pilot testing and
user feedback. The pilot is now being expanded to other
Federal Reserve Banks.


Papers for the IASSIST Quarterly are always very welcome.
We welcome input from IASSIST conferences or other
conferences and workshops, from local presentations or
papers especially written for the IQ. When you are preparing
a presentation, give a thought to turning your one-time
presentation into a lasting contribution. We permit authors
'deep links' into the IQ as well as deposition of the paper in
your local repository. Chairing a conference session with
the purpose of aggregating and integrating papers for a
special issue IQ is also much appreciated as the information
reaches many more people than the session participants,
and will be readily available on the IASSIST website at
http://www.iassistdata.org.


Authors are very welcome to take a look at the instructions
and layout: http://iassistdata.org/iq/instructions-authors.

Authors can also contact me via e-mail: kbr@sam.sdu.dk.
Should you be interested in compiling a special issue for
the IQ as guest editor(s) I will also be delighted to hear
from you.


Karsten Boye Rasmussen
June 2016
Editor

IASSIST 2016 Program At-A-Glance, Part 2: Data infrastructure, data processing and research data management

 

Here's another list of highlights from IASSIST2016 which is focusing on the data revolution. For previous highlights, see here.

Infrastructure

  • For those of you with an interest in technical infrastructure, the University of Applied Sciences HTW Chur will showcase an early protype MMRepo (1 June, 3F), whose function is to store qualitative and quantitative data into one big data repository.
  • The UK Data Service will present the following panel "The CESSDA Technical Framework - what is it and why is it needed?", which elaborates how the CESSDA Research Infrastructure should have modern data curation techniques rooted in sophisticated IT capabilities at its core, in order to better serve its community.

  • If you have been wondering about the various operational components and the associated technology counterparts involved with running a data science repository, then the presentation by ICPSR is for you. Participants in that panel will leave with an understanding of how the Archonnex Architecture at ICPSR is strengthening the data services offered to new researchers and much more.

Data processing

Be sure to check out the aforementioned infrastructure offerings if you’re interested in data processing, but also check out a half-day workshop on 31 May, “Text Processing with Regular Expressions,” presented by Harrison Dekker, UC Berkeley, that will help you learn regular expression syntax and how to use it in R, Python, and on the command line. The workshop will be example-driven.

Data visualisation

If you are comfortable working with quantitative data and are familiar with the R tool for statistical computing and want to learn how to create a variety of visualisations, then the workshop by the University of Minnesota on 31 May is for you. It will introduce the logic behind ggplot2 and give participants hands-on experience creating data visualizations with this package. This session will also introduce participants to related tools for creating interactive graphics from this syntax.

Programming

  • If you’re interesting in programming there’s a full-day Intro to Python for Data Wrangling workshop on 31 May, led by Tim Dennis, UC San Diego,  that will provide tools to use scientific notebooks in the cloud, write basic Python programs, integrate disparate csv files and more.

  • Also, the aforementioned Regular Expressions workshop also on 31 May will offer  in-workshop opportunities  to working with real data and perform representative data cleaning and validation operations in multiple languages.

Research data management

  • Get a behind-the-scenes look at data management and see how an organization such as the Odum Institute manages its archiving workflows, head to “Automating Archive Policy Enforcement using Dataverse and iRODS” on 31 May with presenters from the UNC Odom Institute, UNC Chapel Hill. ’Participants will see machine actionable rules in practice and be introduced to an environment where written policies can be expressed in ways an archive can automate their enforcement.

  • Another good half-day workshop, targeted to for people tasked with teaching good research data management practices to researchers is  “Teaching Research Data Management Skills Using Resources and Scenarios Based on Real Data,” 31 May, with presenters from ICPSR, the UK Data Archive and FORS. The organisers of this workshop will showcase recent examples of how they have developed teaching resources for hands-on-training, and will talk about successes and failures in this regard.

Tools

If you’re just looking to add more resources to your data revolution toolbox, whether it’s metadata, teaching, data management, open and restricted access, or documentation, here’s a quick list of highlights:

  • At Creating GeoBlacklight Metadata: Leveraging Open Source Tools to Facilitate Metadata Genesis (31 May), presenters from New York University will provide hands-on experience in creating GeoBlacklight geospatial metadata, including demos on how to capture, export, and store GeoBlacklight metadata.

  • DDI Tools Demo (1 June). The Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) is an international standard for describing statistical and social science data.

  • DDI tools: No Tools, No Standard (3 June), where participants will be introduced to the work of the DDI Developers Community and get an overview of tools available from the community.

Open-access

As mandates for better accessibility of data affects more researchers, dive into the Conversation with these IASSIST offerings:

Metadata

Don’s miss IASSIST 2016’s offerings on metadata, which is the data about the data that makes finding and working with data easier to do. There are many offerings, with a quick list of highlights below:

  • Creating GeoBlacklight Metadata: Leveraging Open Source Tools to Facilitate Metadata Genesis (Half-day workshop, 31 May), with presenters from New York University

  • At Posters and Snacks on 2 June, Building A Metadata Portfolio For Cessda, with presenters from the Finnish Social Science Data Archive; GESIS – Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences; and UK Data Service

Spread the word on Twitter using #IASSIST16. 


A story by Dory Knight-Ingram (
ICPSR)

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