FSD Bulletin

Issue 29 (1/2010)

ISSN 1795-5262

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FSD Bulletin is the electronic newsletter of the Finnish Social Science Data Archive. The Bulletin provides information and news related to the data archive and social science research.


Finnish Social Science Data Archive
E-mail: fsd@tuni.fi

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FIN-CLARIN and FSD to Co-operate

Helena Laaksonen

Language and social sciences research infrastructures have several common questions to solve in order to make the existing resources efficiently available to a wide range of users. The FSD and FIN-CLARIN planned their co-operation in Tampere at the beginning of February.

FIN-CLARIN is the Finnish national part of an ESFRI project planning a pan-European language resource and technology infrastructure. CLARIN stands for Common Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure. The project is the humanities' counterpart for the CESSDA PPP project of the social science data archives. Both of the projects on the ESFRI roadmap are funded under the Seventh Framework Programme of the EU and prepare for creating an infrastructure. A great deal of FIN-CLARIN funding comes from Finnish sources, for example as strategic funding from the University of Helsinki.

The Finnish partners of the ESFRI projects, FIN-CLARIN and the FSD, are both forced to search for national solutions that are also compatible with the operations of emerging European infrastructures.

The task of FIN-CLARIN in the CLARIN project is to build a system compatible with the European infrastructure for the Finnish research community, and to provide the Finnish researchers an easy access to the pan-European resources of CLARIN, and conversely an equal access for the European researchers to the language resources in Finland. The role of the FSD in the CESSDA PPP project is very similar, although the European data archives have a much longer history of co-operation than just the PPP project.

Possibilities to Co-operate

The Finnish representatives in both projects have to solve for example questions related to user identification and granting access rights on the web. The access application process is very similar in both organisations. Both CLARIN and the FSD are planning to base the process on the HAKA system, and both would require additional information from users besides the HAKA user accounts. For instance, the terms of use may vary between different datasets. Therefore, it is not enough for users to have a user account of a university which has joined the HAKA federation, if the dataset can only be used for example for study purposes. CSC - IT Center for Science is compiling a usage example on the access granting process for FIN-CLARIN. It was noted in the co-operation meeting that planning and realising the access application process provides good possibilities to co-operate.

The qualitative data archived in the FSD and language data have especially much in common. The majority of qualitative data is text, as is the case with language data as well. The special questions related to the long-term preservation and data protection of qualitative AV data and language AV data are also largely convergent, and hence the solutions can be sought together. In addition, the users may partly be the same, because it is possible to examine the data from the perspectives of several scientific disciplines. The creation of data descriptions, guidelines and operations and agreement models were also seen to offer possibilities for co-operation.

Kokouksen osallistujia

Photo: Co-operation meeting participants at the FSD in February: (from the left) Kimmo Koskenniemi, Sami Borg (FSD), Krister Lindén (University of Helsinki), Jaana Kekäläinen (University of Tampere), Totti Mäkelä (CSC), and Arja Kuula (FSD).

Because of copyright issues, language data can often be used only in the place where they are stored. It is not permitted to take copies, at least not of the entire data. This sets data users in unequal positions. Using the resources efficiently is of course easier for those who live near them. This can pose a problem on a national level. In a pan-European infrastructure, the possibility for a secure remote access to data becomes even more obvious.

Copyright issues do not usually restrict the use of social science data collected for research purposes only. However, the use of confidential data and data containing direct identifiers is restricted by data protection. The re-use of AV data collected for research purposes has the same problem. Remote access systems are being planned by both Statistics Finland and the Finnish Information Centre for Register Research ReTki. The representatives of FIN-CLARIN and the FSD considered whether it would be possible to build a joint national remote access system where all the parties were involved.

At the Tampere meeting, FIN-CLARIN was represented by Kimmo Koskenniemi, person in charge of the project, and research co-ordinator Krister Lindén from the University of Helsinki, docent Jaana Kekäläinen from the University of Tampere, and development manager Totti Mäkelä from CSC.


More information and sources:
» ESFRI, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures