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Number 3 November 2000

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CES2000 - Data archive experts' meeting in Tampere

By Maria Forsman

The first weekend last September about 30 data-archive experts convened in Tampere. The participants came from different parts of Europe representing their own country's data archive. In addition, the seminar was participated by Finnish archive and library experts whose work is connected with documentation of research datasets.

The event was an annually organised expert seminar of CESSDA (Council of European Social Science Data Archives), an umbrella organisation of data archives. This year, the main theme was a new documentation format DDI (Data Documentation Initiative). In addition, a work group discussed technical data security.

In the era of the information age documentation of data is increasingly important. Joint databases of data archives on the Internet make it possible for researchers to retrieve and access information on research data stored at the data archives. In view of finding information it is important that research data is correctly documented and that uniform documentation principles are adhered to.

At the meeting, the data archives presented their description practises and told about their relationship to the DDI. At the same time questions that have been discussed in the archives came up. All of them have not used search terms in describing the data. Instead, there can be found, for example, questionnaires in pdf form on the net.

Along with the archives' joint database, the importance of keywords has become quite pronounced. An eventual solution is prepared within LIMBER, a co-operation project of several European data archives. LIMBER is developing, among other things, a common multilingual thesaurus, i.e. a controlled vocabulary. Description of contents and vocabularies were discussed as possible topics of the next years' seminar.

Representatives at the seminar decided to propose to the meeting of Cessda directors that a joint decision on questions and principles related to the use of DDI should be made and that an international workshop should be set up to prepare these matters for further action. The programme and some of the papers presented at the seminar can be found at the address https://www.fsd.tuni.fi/ajankohtaista/tapahtumat/CES2000/.


From left to right: Peter Granda (ICPSR), Reto Hadorn (SIDOS), Peter Joftis (ICPSR) and Jostein Ryssevik (NSD).


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