Tuesday, 31 May 2011

New Geospatial Resource Centre

The Geospatial Data Preservation Resource Center, is a website aiming to help those responsible for producing and managing geospatial data learn about the latest approaches and tools available to facilitate long-term geospatial data preservation and access: 


The Web site provides descriptions and links for a variety of relevant resources, including education and training modules, useful tools and software, information on policies and standards for preserving geospatial data, and examples of successful preservation and associated benefits.

This first release of the Web site, which CIESIN will be enhancing over the next year, was developed as an element of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) of the Library of Congress. CIESIN, the Center for International Earth Science Information Network, is a unit of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, based at the Lamont campus in Palisades, New York.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Looking after your research data: a workshop for trainers

Date: 22-23 September 2011 Location: UK Data Archive, University of Essex, Colchester

This workshop, hosted by the UK Data Archive, will showcase outputs from the Researcher Development Initiative (RDI) project Data Management and Sharing for Researchers Training.

The workshop is aimed at people who are tasked with training or teaching researchers - at all levels - in how to look after social research data, specifically UK-based lecturers, tutors, graduate teaching assistants and research support staff in universities, colleges and research organisations.

Over one and a half days, participants will work through a series of training modules covering the seven key areas of data management identified by the UK Data Archive.

The workshop is free as it is sponsored by the RDI project. We are also offering a limited number of travel and accommodation bursaries.

For further details, including programme and booking form, see


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Data Management Costing Tool

The UK Data Archive has recently developed an activity-based data management costing tool for the social sciences. The pilot version has been made available for testing, and your feedback would be appreciated.

The tool and background information on how it was developed are available at: http://www.data-archive.ac.uk/create-manage/planning-for-sharing/costing

The UKDA is interested to know how useful and practical this simple tool would be for researchers and data managers when preparing research applications and/or data management plans. We also want your view on the tool's approach to costing data management, and suggestions for improvements and additions.

Feedback and comments can be sent to datasharing@data-archive.ac.uk until 20 May 2011.

The tool's approach is to measure the additional costs – above standard research procedures and practices – that are needed to make research data shareable beyond the primary research team. The tool is based on identifying all applicable data management activities and steps required to make data shareable, based on a data management checklist, then costing each activity in terms of people’s time or physical resources needed such as hardware or software.

The tool was developed as part of the Data Management Planning for ESRC Research Data-rich Investments project (DMP-ESRC), in collaboration with various researchers.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Help! I’m an Accidental Government Information Librarian presents ... American FactFinder and Census 2010

The Government Resources Section of the North Carolina Library Association welcomes you to a series of webinars designed to help us all do better reference work by increasing our familiarity with government information resources, and by discovering the best strategies for navigating them.

In this third session we will be getting to know the new American FactFinder. The U.S. Census Bureau recently debuted a new interface for American FactFinder, its online database for distributing all data from its surveys. While the “legacy” interface is still available, it will be retired in September and the new interface will be the only option. Because the new interface is significantly different from the legacy one, users will want to begin familiarizing themselves with how it works. Enhancements will be made throughout the summer, so participants should expect a report on how it works right now and quirks to watch out for.

We will meet together for Session #3, online on Thursday, June 9, 2011 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. (EDT). Please RSVP for the Session by June 8 at 5:00 pm using this link: http://tinyurl.com/grs-session3

Technical requirements: We will be using collaborative software called Elluminate. It requires that you be able to download Java onto your computer, but you do not need any special software. After you RSVP, we will send you a link that you can use to test the software. If you have any questions, please contact Lynda Kellam (lmkellam@uncg.edu). You do not need a microphone as a chat system is available in the software, but you do need speakers or headphones.

The session will be recorded and made available after the live session, linked from the NCLA GRS web page.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Upcoming Book: Numeric Data Services and Sources for the General Reference Librarian

The proliferation of online access to social science statistical and numeric data sources, such as the U.S. Census Bureau’s American FactFinder, has lead to an increased interest in supporting these sources in academic libraries. Many large libraries have been able to devote staff to data services for years. Recently smaller academic libraries have recognized the need to provide numeric data services and support. This guidebook serves as a primer to developing and supporting social science statistical and numeric data sources in the academic library. It provides strategies for the establishment of data services and offers short descriptions of the essential sources of free and commercial social science statistical and numeric data. Finally, it discusses the future of numeric data services, including the integration of statistics and data into library instruction and the use of Web 2.0 tools to visualize data.

Readership: General reference librarians in small to medium-sized academic libraries, especially those working with Social Science, Government Information, or Business reference, as well as LIS graduate classes on Social Science, Data Services, or Government Documents Reference.

Authors: Lynda Kellam, Katharin Peter
Due out next month http://www.woodheadpublishing.com/en/book.aspx?bookID=2003&ChandosTitle=1

Please note this book is primarily aimed at US readers.

Extending survey measures to children: Experience from the British Crime Survey

10 May 2011, 5.00pm, at the Royal Statistical Society (Tea from 4.30pm)

The British Crime Survey is a sample survey of the population resident in households in England and Wales. It has been running for 30 years but until recently has been restricted to adults. Since January 2009 its coverage has been significantly extended to include children aged 10-15 years.

Development of survey measures – Katherine Grant, TNS-BMRB

Prior to extending the survey to children, TNS-BMRB carried out an extensive period of developing and testing. This included qualitative workshops with children to explore their experience and understanding of crime; cognitive testing and piloting of questions and an extended split-sample field trial. Lessons learned from this work will be shared and their implications discussed.

Estimating the levels of crime experienced by children – John Flatley

Applying existing legal definitions of offences to those incidents reported by children can result in minor incidents that are normal within the context of childhood behaviour and development being categorised as criminal. Conversely, too narrow a classification could omit incidents which while not being viewed as serious by some may inflict significant harm on victims. These issues are discussed together with options for presenting statistics which have been subject to a public consultation.

Attendance is free but pre-registration is recommended. You can register by email: meetings@rss.org.uk or by phone (020) 7638 8998. For a map and directions see www.rss.org.uk/findus . For further information contact John Flatley via john.flatley@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk .

How to set up and run a data service: the challenges of social science data

13th-14th October
UK Data Archive, Essex University

A once-a-year opportunity for data archivists to go behind the scenes and learn first hand from specialists at the UK Data Archive. Over two days participants will learn about the strategies and practices used in the Archive's daily work, with a focus on storing and sharing social science data, including microdata, aggregate, qualitative and historical data.

The Archive has over 40 years experience in selecting, ingesting, curating and providing access to data. We are a designated Place of Deposit for The National Archives and are internationally acknowledged experts in this field.

The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) will be supporting three fully funded scholarships to attend this workshop.

Further details including programme and booking: http://www.data-archive.ac.uk/news-events/events.aspx?id=2864

Thursday, 5 May 2011

New Additions to RLAB data Library

The British Household Panel Survey waves 1-18 has been added to the library.
The data for Understanding Society, Wave 1, Year 1, 2009 are now available in the library.

To access these data RLAB members should set up an 'end user license' with ESDS and contact the RLAB data manager for access.

For researchers who are not members of RLAB, these data are available for free for non-commercial research following registration with the Economic and Social Data Service.

ESDS     http://www.esds.ac.uk/
BHPS     http://www.esds.ac.uk/longitudinal/access/bhps/L33196.asp
USOC    http://www.esds.ac.uk/longitudinal/access/usoc/L33423.asp

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Two-day course on questionnaire design and measurement

This is a two-day course on questionnaire design and measurement, taught by Professor Jon A. Krosnick (Stanford University), running 5th and 6th of May at the LSE. The course is organized by the LSE’s Methodology Institute, Ipsos-MORI and the Department of Sociology at the University of Essex.

Further details can be found at: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/methodologyInstitute/newsEvents/Krosnick.aspx

The two-day course is free for LSE students and staff, £100 for non-LSE students, £200 for the public sector (including non-LSE University staff) and £400 for the private-sector.

Applications can be made at: https://eshop.lse.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=2&prodid=71&deptid=212&catid=40

Surveys and questionnaires are a common way of gathering data in the social sciences. The structuring, wording and ordering of questions has traditionally been viewed as an art, not a science, best guided by intuition. But in recent years, it has become clear that this is an antiquated and even dangerous view that does not reflect the accumulation of knowledge throughout the social sciences about effective question-asking. Intuition often leads us astray in the questionnaire design field, as becomes clear when putting intuitions to the test via scientific evaluation. A large body of relevant scientific studies has now accumulated, and when taken together, the findings point to a series of formal rules for how best to design questions. Yet the vast majority of contemporary questionnaire design fails to follow these rules, because they are not yet widely understood. During the past 25 years, Jon Krosnick has been gathering up the huge body of evidence on optimal questionnaire design for this forthcoming book, The Handbook of Questionnaire Design. In this course, Dr. Krosnick will review the contents of the first half of the book.

The two-day course educates participants about the optimal techniques for questionnaire design, for guarding against measurement artifacts, and for analyzing data in order to overcome the biasing impact of such artifacts. The course will teach participants a new way of thinking about questionnaire design, rooted in psychology. By gaining insight into how respondents approach their tasks of interpreting questions, searching their memories for information, integrating that information into judgments, and expressing those judgments in words, workshop participants will begin to develop skills that will help them to mange design issues for which there are not yet formal rules. In addition to helping participants to design better questionnaires, the two-day course will also equip analysts of questionnaire data to look from a new perspective as they evaluate the meaning of their findings, knowing how measurement artifacts can lead them astray.