Thursday, 28 November 2013

Webinar on Social Science Data Management and Curation

Date: January 13, 2014
Time: 2:00-3:30pm US Central (8.00-8.30pm GMT)

Jared Lyle, Director of Curation Services, Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR).

Jared Lyle directs the Curation Services Unit, which is responsible for Metadata, Bibliography of Data-Related Literature, and Digital Preservation. His work includes developing and maintaining a comprehensive approach to data management and digital preservation policy at ICPSR.

Amy Pienta, Director of Data Acquisitions, Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR).

Amy Mehraban Pienta is Acquisitions Director at ICPSR. She is also a research affiliate of the University of Michigan Center on the Demography of Aging and the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan. At ICPSR, she oversees new data acquisitions. Major responsibilities include identifying new data collections in the social sciences, negotiating with potential data depositors, strategic planning for new data acquisitions, and developing appraisal standards for data.


The speakers will discuss resources and tools for social science data management and curation, including data management planning, preparing data for sharing and preservation, and supporting access. They will highlight examples from ICPSR.


IMPORTANT: The webinar is free but in order to participate, please make sure that you register at

Monday, 28 October 2013

ONS International Migration Statistics User Guide

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has recently published an "International Migration Statistics First Time User Guide". The guide is designed as a short introduction to the key concepts which underpin migration statistics, and to provide information on the range of data sources/statistics related to international migration which are available. The guide is aimed at people who are new to using migration statistics.

The guide can be found on the ONS Migration theme page (in the 'Behind the Scenes' section) or can be accessed from the following link:

ONS would welcome any comments on the first time user guide, which should be sent to .

Learn how to set up and run a data service

There are still places available on the UK Data Archive's two-day event on How to Set up and Run a Data Service: The Challenges of Social Science Data.
Held on 28 and 29 November 2013 at the University of Essex (Colchester), this is a once-a-year opportunity to go behind the scenes and learn first-hand from specialists at the UK Data Archive. The Archive has over 40 years’ experience in selecting, ingesting, curating and providing access to data. UKDA are a designated Place of Deposit for The National Archives and are internationally acknowledged experts in this field.

Over the 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.
Both days will include optional specialist surgeries which will give participants the opportunity to engage with Archive experts about specific needs and interests.
The workshop is best suited for those who are actively working with storing and sharing data for use in social science research, or plan to in the near future. This course is unlikely to be suitable for undergraduate or postgraduate students unless working specifically in a data archiving environment.

The course fee is £250, which includes all workshop materials plus coffee, lunch, drinks reception and evening meal on Day 1.

For a full programme and booking information:

Learn to cost, plan, manage and share social science data effectively

There are still places available for Planning, Appraising, Ingesting and Documenting Social Science Data, a one-day workshop at the UK Data Archive (University of Essex, Colchester) on 27 November 2013.

When it comes to dealing with the ever increasing commitments of research data, the UK Data Service continues to see institutions struggle with the challenges of domain specificity, in particular, how to treat social science data.

How do we help our local researchers cost, plan and manage social science data effectively and following best practice? How do we then appraise, ingest, curate and make accessible that mixed bag of data that a social scientist might have created? How can we effectively demonstrate the impact of sharing?

In this workshop UKDS will showcase our collaborative support and training materials that are being used to support:
  • research support staff who face dealing with ensuring compliance with data management responsibilities set out in almost all research applications (as well as persuading them it's the right thing to do)
  • institutional repository managers now charged with appraising, ingesting, describing and managing social science research data created by local academics.
The day includes hands-on work getting your hands dirty with data!

The workshop is best suited for those who are actively working with storing and sharing data for use in social science research, or plan to in the near future. This course is unlikely to be suitable for undergraduate or postgraduate students unless working specifically in a data archiving environment.

Course fees include all workshop materials plus refreshments and lunch:
· £30 for UK students
· £60 for UK academic staff (including research centres), ESRC researchers, voluntary and public sectors staff
· £150 for commercial and international participants

For a full programme and booking information:

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Help shape the content of the LSYPE age 25 survey

Deadline for written submissions: 22 November 2013
Consultative conference: 6 December 2013

CLS is seeking advice on what should be covered in the age 25 survey of the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE), scheduled for 2015.

CLS has recently taken on management of the LSYPE. Their first tasks are to re-contact all participants and plan the Age 25 Survey. This is an important stage of life for the participants, and the survey will provide vital insights into the pathways to adulthood. Your expertise will help uthem produce a high-quality survey.

CLS is asking academics, policy makers and other stakeholders to put forward their specific suggestions for content and questions by Friday 22 November 2013 and to join them at the LSYPE age 25 consultative conference on Friday 6 December 2013.

How to contribute to the consultation

CLS have organised the survey content into five key themes (see below), with a theme leader responsible for reviewing and prioritising your proposals, and presenting a summary for debate at the consultative conference. Further information on the themes and theme leaders can be found below, and a copy of the consultation form (to be returned to the relevant theme leader by 22 November) can be found on the consultation website. Please visit website for more details.
Register for the conference

Date: Friday 6 December 2013
Time: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Location: Institute of Education, University of London
Email to book your place

The conference is free of charge. You do not need to have made a written submission to attend.

Themes and theme leaders

Employment and resources (Claire Crawford, Institute for Fiscal Studies,
This theme covers current economic activity; activity histories; jobs and training; income and benefits; assets and housing; and future plans.

Household formation and relationships (Dylan Kneale, Relate,
This theme covers relationship and partnership histories; relationship with parents and families; children and childcare; and neighbourhood context.

Education (Alissa Goodman, Institute of Education,
This theme covers academic and vocational qualifications gained; qualifications being studied for; experience of and attitudes towards education; and aspirations and expectations.

Health and wellbeing
This theme is divided into two sections:
Identity and participation (Ingrid Schoon, Institute of Education,
This theme covers self concept; locus of control; self efficacy; gender, class and ethnic identity; politics; religion; civic participation and engagement; and social cohesion.

Help pick a new study name!

CLS are planning to rebrand the LSYPE to better reflect the broader scope of the study and the life stage of the participants. As part of the age 25 consultation, they are seeking ideas for a new name for the study. Please add your suggestions to your submission form, or email Carole Sanchez

Please forward this information on to others you think would be interested in contributing to the consultation.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Statistical Disclosure Control – Balancing Data Confidentiality and Data Quality

Manchester University is hosting SDC expert Larry Cox from the US National Institute for Statistical Science from 1st-15th November.

He is running a course whilst he is in Manchester: Statistical Disclosure Control – Balancing Data Confidentiality and Data Quality

Date: 6-7 November 2013

Monday, 23 September 2013

Census consultation: Future provision of population statistics

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is launching a three month public consultation on the census and future provision of population statistics in England and Wales today.

After each census, ONS reviews the future needs for information about the population and housing in England and Wales, and how these needs might be met.

Improvements in technology and in government data sources offer opportunities to either modernise the existing census process, or to develop an alternative census method that reuses existing data already held within government.

The ONS' research has resulted in two approaches for taking the census in future:
  • a census once a decade, like that conducted in 2011, but primarily online
  • a census using existing government data and compulsory annual surveys.
ONS believe that both approaches would provide annual statistics about the size of the population, nationally and for local authorities. A census using existing data and surveys would provide more statistics about the characteristics of the population every year. An online census would provide more detailed statistics once a decade.
The consultation document describes these approaches, their strengths and weaknesses and the different types of information they could provide:
No decision has yet been made, and we welcome your views. Please respond using the online questionnaire:
Queries relating to tables or the census in general should be addressed to:
Queries relating to boundaries/geography should be addressed to:

Monday, 16 September 2013

Data Information Literacy sypmosium - live stream

Purdue University Libraries will be live streaming a symposium on Data Information Literacy (DIL) on Sept 23rd and 24th .
The DIL symposium will explore roles for practicing librarians in teaching competencies in data management and curation to graduate students. With support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, librarians from Purdue University, Cornell University, the University of Minnesota and the University of Oregon have investigated this topic through developing and implementing “data information literacy” (DIL) instruction programs for graduate students in a range of science and engineering disciplines. 
No registration for viewing the live stream is required. The DIL Symposium will be recorded and made available afterwards through e-pubs, Purdue University’s Institutional Repository.

The URL for the live stream is:

More information about the DIL Symposium can be found at:

The schedule for the symposium is available at:
The twitter hash tag for the symposium is #datainfolit.

Please note that, Purdue will make an effort to review the twitter feed during the symposium, but will be unable to respond to any questions or comments directly.

The organisers  have asked that attendees read two articles before coming to the DIL Symposium. They are:
· Carlson, J., Fosmire, M., Miller, C. & Sapp Nelson, M. (2011).Determining data information literacy needs: A study of students and research faculty. portal: Libraries and the Academy, 11(2). 629-657. Pre-print:
· Carlson, J., Johnston, L., Westra, B., & Nichols, M. (2013). Developing an approach for data management education: A report from the data information literacy project. International Journal of Digital Curation, 8(1). 204-217.


Tuesday, 27 August 2013

DANS video promoting data sharing

DANS, the Netherlands Data Archiving and Networked Services, has published a video to promote storing and sharing data within the research community. The video is available in Dutch and English, and shown on the DANS Youtube channel. The title of the English video is 'Sharing data: good for science, good for you':

"Scientific research produces data. The lifetime of these data varies greatly. Stored on a hard disk or USB stick they are likely to be lost in the near future together with the storage medium. Luckily, there is another, more sustainable option, which benefits science.'

In this video Dutch historian Martijn Kleppe (Erasmus University Rotterdam) explains why he opened up his big photo database for other researchers to use, and quantitative data analyst Manfred te Grotenhuis (Radboud University Nijmegen) speaks about the treasures in data archives that are waiting to be discovered by researchers.

Both scientists made use of the online archiving system EASY from DANS (Data Archiving and Networked Services) in the Netherlands. As an institute of KNAW and NWO, DANS promotes sustained access to digital research data."

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Census Research User Conference

Friday 27 September 2013
Birkbeck College, London

The first annual Census Research User Conference will be held at Birkbeck College, London, on 27 September from 9.30 – 5.30.

This one-day event will be an opportunity for data producers and research users of the census to gather and discuss data developments, research undertaken and work in progress. Presenters include the UK census offices and academic researchers.

Presentations will include:
· ONS Census Quality and Output plans
· ONS Census Analysis Work Programme
· Characteristics of and living arrangements amongst informal carers at the 2011 and 2001 censuses
· Using 2011 Census data to populate the Measurement Framework for equality and human rights
· Migration and population profiles of city-regions in England & Wales
· Assessing potential exposure and vulnerability to surface water flooding

Places are free but limited so booking is required. Tea and coffee will be provided in the morning and afternoon breaks, however lunch will not be provided.

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

A once-a-year opportunity for data archivists to go behind the scenes and learn first-hand from specialists at the UK Data Archive is happening on 28 and 29 November 2013.
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 fully funded scholarships to attend this workshop.
Applications to join this event are now being taken. Further details and booking can be found at:

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

NIH Call for Information on Methods for 'Big Data' in Biomedical Research

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has just issued a call for information on software tools and analysis methods as part of their Big Data to Knowledge Initiative. Specifically, the call solicits input on needs for software and analysis methods related to data compression/reduction, data visualization, data provenance, and data wrangling for biomedical research. The closing data for responses is September 6th 2013.
Biomedical research is becoming more data-intensive as researchers are generating and using increasingly large, complex, and diverse datasets. This era of 'Big Data' in biomedical research taxes the ability of many researchers to release, locate, analyze, and interact with these data and associated software due to the lack of tools, accessibility, and training. In response to these new challenges in biomedical research, and in response to the recommendations of the Data and Informatics Working Group (DIWG) of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (, NIH has launched the trans-NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Initiative (
The long-term goal of the NIH BD2K Initiative is to support advances in data science, other quantitative sciences, policy, and training that are needed for the effective use of Big Data in biomedical research. (The term "biomedical" is used here in the broadest sense to include biological, biomedical, behavioral, social, environmental, and clinical studies that relate to understanding health and disease).

BSA Presidential Event: The Challenge of Big Data

25 October 2013: 09:30-16:45
British Library Conference Centre, London, UK

BSA President, Professor John Holmwood has announced a one-day seminar/workshop on 'The Challenge of Big Data', organised in collaboration with Dr Emma Uprichard, Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, University of Warwick and Dr Abby Day, Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths.

Speakers include: Evelyn Ruppert (Goldsmiths), Ken Benoit (LSE), Emma Uprichard (University of Warwick), Alan Warde (University of Manchester), Abby Day (Goldsmiths), Emer Coleman (dsrptn), Peter Elias (University of Warwick), Paul Martin (University of Sheffield), Paul Taylor (UCL), Andrew Goffey (University of Nottingham).

The Government White Paper on Open Data and the Finch Report on Open Access to Research publications were both published in June 2012, inaugurating a discussion about the changing nature of social science research and its role in the evaluation of policy and practice. Administrative data and its linkage to other large data sets, data mining, and the increased proprietorial interest in large data all pose a fundamental challenge for the social sciences to confront big data with big questions. This joint event of the British Library and the British Sociological Association uses a workshop format to address these issues.

Places for this event are allocated on a first come, first served basis. Lunch and refreshments are included. BSA Members can attend this event for £10. Non-Members of the BSA may also attend this event for a registration fee of £30. 


Help! I’m an Accidental Government Information Librarian presents ... Historical Economic Data Sources & Economic Time Travel

The Government Resources Section of the North Carolina Library Association is holding a series of webinars designed to increase familiarity with government information resources, and the best strategies for navigating them.
Session #29 on historical economic data sources  will take place online on August 21 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. (Eastern). Please RSVP for the Session by August 20 at 5:00 pm using this link:
In economics, historical data aren’t necessarily 200 years old; historical data could be two weeks old. That’s because economic data are revised, frequently. And those revisions mean that the historical data librarians find for patrons may not be the same values that an individual would have seen when the data were initially released. Economic data are made from estimates. Over time, more information becomes available and these estimates are revised. Policy-makers, businesses, and consumers make economic and financial decisions based on unrevised data available at a point in time. These unrevised are useful for studying historic decisions and economic policies. This webinar will describe sources available for uncovering historical economic data and methods for using those sources that provide a window into the past.  
Pamela Campbell is a Senior Librarian at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. She has been working with government documents for nearly four years, with a focus on economic history. Pamela is part of the team that provides FRASER <>, a digital library dedicated to preserving the nation’s economic history.
Technical requirements: The webinar will be via Blackboard Collaborate. The conneting PC must have JAVA. On RSVP, a link will be sent that can be used to test the software. No microphone is needed as a chat system is available in the software, but speakers or headphones will be necessary.
If you have any questions, please contact Lynda Kellam (   
The session will be recorded and made available after the live session, linked from the NCLA GRS web page (

Thursday, 25 July 2013

HMRC consultation on data sharing

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is seeking views on the department sharing non identifiable information for the creation of general, aggregate and anonymised datasets, and on proposed safeguards.

The consultation also covers the potential benefits, costs / risks and necessary safeguards for proposals to share VAT registration data, either publicly or under controlled conditions for specified purposes, for example, credit rating. Views are welcome on the principles underlying these proposals and on the suggested approaches to implementation.

The consultation will run until the 24th September 2013. You can find out more information and download the consultation documentation from


Apologies for my absence over the last few months, I have been changing jobs. I am now back and will hopefully be able to find time to blog issues of interest to data users and providers of data infrastructure on a regular basis again.


CODATA Data-at-Risk Inventory

Are you interested in saving scientific data?

CODATA is inviting contributions to to an inventory of descriptions of (1) scientific data at-risk of permanent loss, and (2) descriptions of data rescue projects.

What is the Data-at-Risk Inventory?

The Data-at-Risk Inventory (DARI) is an ongoing project of the Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA) Data at Risk Task Group (DARTG) to create a catalog of scientific data that are at risk of being lost. DARI is a descriptive inventory of endangered data that are held by others, and an inventory of data rescue projects; it is not a repository for data. DARI is an implementation of DARTG’s recognition that long-term observational scientific research depends on historical records.

What you can do to help:

DARI is looking for librarians, archivists, information custodians, data managers, scientists, researchers, and others who know of scientific data that could be at-risk, and are willing to contribute a description of that data to the inventory. We have also begun to document data rescue projects, and we are seeking descriptions of any known effort to preserve or rescue at-risk data.

How to contribute to the inventory:
  1. Click on this link:
  2. From the drop-down menu, select either "Data at Risk Inventory" or "Data Rescue Projects"
  3. A form will appear into which you may enter information about at-risk data or about a rescue effort
  4. Click on “Submit”

After the form is submitted, the DARI team will review it before it is made available to the web. 

Saturday, 16 February 2013

ONS Workshop: International Migration and the 2011 Census

A workshop hosted by the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford.

Date: Monday 25 February 2013
Time: 13:45-14.45

Place: Dahrendorf Seminar Room, St. Antony’s College Oxford

Emma Wright
Head of Population Analysis, UK Office for National Statistics

Peter Stokes
Census Statistical Design Manager, UK Office for National Statistics

For more information about the workshop please contact, 01865 284975.

All are welcome to attend but spaces are limited, so please RSVP to

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Dear colleagues [on behalf of Dave Martin and Paul Norman]

Understandably, only a few of us can invest much time in following the plans for future censuses and you may therefore be unaware of recent developments. If you are a user of small area census data, please read on and act if you can - there is a real risk of losing the small area census data that you currently take for granted.

ONS are currently undertaking research on potential replacements for the conventional census in 2021. Although that seems a very long way off, recommendations need to go before parliament next year and the preparatory work is already well advanced. Based on the series of roadshows run by ONS last autumn, they have not received convincing high-value use cases for small area population attributes. Arguments such as "they are used to target local services" are not sufficiently robust to stand up to the inevitable financial scrutiny. A leading option is to derive basic age/sex data from linked administrative records and to use social survey data to obtain the types of population attributes that would previously have been obtained from the census - (ethnicity, LLTI, tenure, car ownership, employment, etc.) This would clearly not deliver small area data of the current quality, if at all.

We are urgently appealing to the research community to have your say: if no case is made, it seems entirely likely that ONS will not be able to include generation of costly small area data as part of the recommended option. If you can demonstrate high-value research (and ideally high-valued impacts!) based on small area 2001 census data, please mail David Martin and Paul Norman (,  - we need to marshall further evidence by the end of February.

Ideally, we are seeking identifiable research with an estimate of value and impact and/or an indication of why it could not be done without high quality small area data. If you can supply a paper or URL where further details could be pursued, better still. NB This is about England and Wales, although Scotland and Northern Ireland will be reviewing the same issues in due course.

If you want to find out more about Beyond 2011, see Although there is not a formal consultation currently open, you can also mail them at

With many thanks,
David Martin, University of Southampton Email:
Paul Norman, University of Leeds Email:

Training resources: Sharing, Preservation and Licensing of Data

The Research Data MANTRA project has announced publication of their final learning unit - Sharing, Preservation and Licensing:
(It may be necessary for you to refresh your browser to view it.)

Topics covered, through the usual combination of text, illustrations, videos and quizzes include:

About the unit
Story of a thwarted data user (case study from Clinical Psychology)
Why share data?
Sharing your research data
Data sharing: Benefits
Data sharing: Barriers
Data fabrication and fraudulent practices
Long-term data preservation: the risk of loss
Preservation and trusted repositories
Open data licensing
Open Data Commons
ODC Guide

Feedback on 2011 Census data

This is your opportunity to feed back your views on the 2011 Census data

The ONS has developed a user satisfaction survey about the 2011 Census data that will take around 15 minutes to complete.

Your views on the presentation and associated commentary, datasets and supporting information will provide valuable feed back for future planning.

The survey will remain open until Friday 8th March. This should enable you to view/use the data before responding.

If you have any further comments on this survey which fall outside of the questions, please email

click here to enter 2011 Census user satisfaction survey: ->


Queries relating to tables or the census in general should be addressed to:

Queries relating to boundaries/geography should be addressed to:

2011 Census homepage :

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Beyond 2011 programme - National Records of Scotland public engagement events

The Beyond 2011 programme was initiated by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) to propose viable alternative options to the traditional census in Scotland. The census has long been the benchmark for capturing a comprehensive, consolidated and accurate snapshot of the population.  However, various sources indicate that the current system of providing population and key socio-demographic statistics is no longer meeting all user needs.  

The Beyond 2011 programme will produce an options paper for Scottish Government ministers, describing the work that has been completed in the research phase and detailing the options for the next phases. 

As part of this research phase, NRS need to determine what the user requirements are for producing small area population and socio-demographic statistics and would like to invite your views.  A series of public engagement events in the morning and afternoon (times to be confirmed) of the 19th and 21st February 2013 will be held at the Dome, New Register House, Edinburgh ( 

If you would like to attend or for more information please contact by the 21st January 2013 and state your preferred date and session. 

The Beyond 2011 programme also has a group on the Knowledge Hub which can be accessed from  Registration is required.

North American Data Documentation Initiative Conference 2013

The call for papers for the North American Data Documentation Initiative 2013 Conference has been extended through January 31.

Conference registration is also now open  .

The North American Data Documentation Initiative Conference (NADDI) is an opportunity for those using DDI and those interested in learning more about it to come together and learn from each other. Patterned after the successful European DDI conference (EDDI), NADDI 2013 will be a two day conference with invited and contributed presentations. This conference should be of interest to both researchers and data professionals in the social sciences and other disciplines. Training sessions will follow the conference.

For more information about DDI see

2011 Census User Guide and Key Statistics interface

The 2011 Census User Guide brings together the information you need in order to understand and use statistics from the 2011 Census in England and Wales -

Newly available: information about variables and classifications, a comprehensive glossary, and a report about comparability over time. The guide also contains information about quality assurance, quality measures, comparability with other data sources, statistical disclosure control methods, coverage assessment and adjustment methods, and frequently asked questions.

The guide will expand over time as the releases become more detailed. In the meantime, let ONS know what you think.

The Key Statistics interface has now been updated (v2.5) and is available at the following link:

This tool enables comparisons between 2001 and 2011 Census population estimates of selected tables and is available in both Office 2003 and 2007 versions.

ONS recommends that you replace any earlier versions you may have received or downloaded and now use this updated version.
Queries relating to tables or the census in general should be addressed to:

Queries relating to boundaries/geography should be addressed to:

2011 Census homepage :

2011 Census News and Events: