Sharing data with the community

Article dated: 30 November 2007

Beck Pitt, Sharon Jack and Kevin Schürer of the UKDA joined over 110 Official Representatives (ORs) in Ann Arbor, Michigan in October 2007 for a productive and informative conference with the theme 'ICPSR and the Social Science Commons: Sharing Data with the Community'. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) acquires, preserves, enhances and distributes original social science research data for research and instruction in the United States. Each member of the consortium is represented by an OR. picture of Michigan Union

The three-day meeting, held mainly at the Michigan Union, comprised roundtable discussions, presentations, poster sessions and a special symposium, 'The Present and Future of Federal Funding for Social Science Research', featuring David Lightfoot (National Science Foundation), David McMillen, (National Archives and Records Administration), and Howard Silver, (Consortium of Social Science Associations).

Recent ICPSR retirees, Erik Austin and Hank Heitowit, reflected on their experiences at ICPSR, covering four decades of the historical, technological, and demographical changes of the organisation.

pictures of meeting The meeting was an opportunity to discuss issues related to the rapidly changing social science research community and to share knowledge and ideas about best practice relating to information provision, both online and offline.

During one of the closing sessions of the meeting, the UKDA Director reported on CESSDA's recent success in gaining EU funding for a two-year project to upgrade the CESSDA infrastructure. Outlining the case for a pan-national approach to data archiving, he described how planned improvements to the CESSDA Portal's multilingual thesaurus would allow common access and tools for all CESSDA member organisations, regardless of their own national situation. Fellow panelists Yukio Maeda and Andrew Kaniki also described archiving developments in Japan and South Africa, respectively.