History of DDI

The Data Documentation Initiative has facilitated the description and documentation of data for over 20 years and will continue to evolve to meet the needs of the social science research community. This timeline lists key developments and events in the history of the DDI, beginning with foundational developments that set the stage for DDI and facilitated its creation. 

  • DDI Registry, a free service for DDI users to obtain permanent agency identifiers, updated.
  • DDI standards and metadata featured in a U.S. Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report, "Transparency in Statistical Information."
  • Thirteenth EDDI Conference held virtually. 
  • DDI Alliance established a "simple liaison" relationship with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to coordinate activities in the field of data description, especially around specification development.
  • Bill Block elected as the new Chair of the Executive Board, with Barry Radler elected as Vice Chair.
  • Strategic Plan finalized for 2021-2023, as well as Scientific Work Plan, 2021-2022.
  • First DDI-CODATA webinar held in a new series introducing the DDI metadata standard products from different perspectives.
  • New elected reorganized Scientific Board meets for the first time. Ingo Barkow selected as Chair and Hilde Orten selected as Vice-Chair. View the Board members and minutes.
  • "Simple liaison" relationship established between DDI Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to coordinate activities in the field of data description, especially around specification development.
  • Public release of DDI Lifecycle 3.3.  View the Specification.
  • Public review of DDI-Cross Domain Integration (DDI-CDI) -- an application of the model that emerged from DDI 4.
  • DDI Bylaws amended to improve the structure and organization of the Scientific Board.
  • Public release of Structured Data Transformation Language (SDTL), an independent language for representing data transformation commands in statistical analysis packages, such as SPSS, Stata, SAS, R, and Python. View the Specification.
  • Twelfth EDDI Conference held virtually. View the Program. View the Presentations. View the video recordings.
  • DDI signed a letter of collaboration with CODATA, the Committee on Data of the International Science Council.
  • Ingo Barkow elected as Vice-Chair of the Scientific Board.
  • XKOS published, a free and open specification that facilitates sharing and management of statistical classifications. View the Specification.
  • Seventh NADDI Conference held in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. View the Program.
  • DDI-CODATA workshop held at Dagstuhl on the subject of standards in cross-domain data use for science, health, and social science.  View the Report.
  • Eleventh EDDI Conference held in Tampere, Finland. View the Program. View the Presentations.
  • Sixth NADDI Conference held in Washington, D.C. View the Program.
  • DDI 4 model-based prototype release, 
  • Train-the-Trainer workshop held to increase DDI training capacity. View the Outcomes.
  • Tenth EDDI Conference held in Berlin, Germany. View the Program. View the Presentations.
  • Fourth NADDI Conference held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. View the Program.
  • Eighth EDDI Conference held in Cologne, Germany. View the Program. View the Presentations.
  • Achim Wackerow and Michelle Edwards elected as Chair and Vice-Chair of the Scientific Board.
  • Third NADDI Conference held in Madison, WI. View the Program.
  • First DDI Lifecycle (Model-Driven) products released.
  • Redesigned DDI Alliance website launched.
  • First Dagstuhl Workshop focused on interoperability between DDI and other metadata standards. View the Description.
  • Seventh EDDI Conference held in Copenhagen, Denmark. View the Program.
  • Steve McEachern selected as Chair of the Executive Board.
  • Mary Vardigan retires as DDI Executive Director, with Jared Lyle appointed as the new Executive Director.
  • DDI RDF Discovery and XKOS vocabularies released for public review. View the Description.
  • First NADDI Conference Held in Lawrence, KS. View the Program.
  • DDI Membership/Scientific Board Meets in Cologne, Germany. Transition to new governance structure discussed. View the Minutes.
  • First DDI Executive Board (successor to Steering Committee) meets with Gillian Nicoll, Australian Bureau of Statistics, as Chair. View members and minutes.
  • DDI “Sprints” launched to work on model-based DDI. More information.
  • Fifth EDDI Conference held in Paris, France. View the Program.
  • Chuck Humphrey, University of Alberta, becomes Chair; Mari Kleemola, FSD, Vice Chair
  • Second EDDI Conference held in Utrecht, Netherlands. View the Program.
  • DDI Developers Group meets for first time in Utrecht, Netherlands. View Minutes and Reports.
  • Expert Committee meets in Ithaca, NY. Rebranding DDI 2 and 3 as DDI Codebook and Lifecycle approved. View the Minutes.
  • Steering Committee meets in Ithaca, NY. View the Minutes
  • Public Review of DDI 3 takes place
  • Expert Committee meets in Montreal Committee approves Candidate Draft of DDI 3. View the Minutes.
  • First DDI Training Workshop takes place at Schloss Dagstuhl. View the Course Description.
  • Expert Committee meets in Ann Arbor Committee approves the scope and timeline for Version 3. View the Minutes.
  • Hans Jorgen Marker, DDA, becomes Chair; Ron Nakao, Stanford, Vice Chair.
  • Expert Committee meets in Edinburgh Committee ratifies life cycle model and DDI 3 begins to take shape. View the Minutes.
  • Bjorn Henrichsen, NSD, becomes Chair of the DDI Committee
  • Committee meets in Storrs, CT, to draft DDI Alliance charter. View the Charter.
  • Formal DDI evaluation takes place, funded by NSF. Evaluators praise the effort. View the Evaluation Report.
  • Funding received from Health Canada during 2001-2002. Covers costs of meetings until Alliance established.
  • Working group on aggregate data meets in Voorburg. Group develops a proposal for DDI coverage of aggregate/tabular data.
  • First DDI Training held at IASSIST in Amsterdam. Bill Block and Wendy Thomas lead the workshop on "Creating DDI Compliant Codebooks" (ppt). Presentation archived at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3823051.
  • Betatest of DDI DTD takes place with testers' reports submitted.
  • Committee meets in New Haven, CT Prepares for betatesting. 
  • NSF funding received to enhance DDI and betatest it This award (SBR-9617813) funded DDI development and ICPSR codebook digitization. Final Report (pdf).
  • SGML DDI specification translated to XML This work was done by Jan Nielsen, Danish Data Archive.
  • First DTD prepared at University of Michigan Library. An SGML DTD was produced by David Barber and John Brandt (University of Michigan), Ann Green (Yale University), and the DDI Committee.
  • First Working Draft of XML (eXtensible Markup Language) published.
  • First SGML Codebook Committee, constituted by ICPSR Director Richard Rockwell, meets in Quebec City Members develop a draft list of codebook elements.
  • Dublin Core Metadata Initiative established. 
  • IASSIST forms Action Group for “Codebook Documentation of Social Science Data.”
  • CESSDA holds seminar on “Variable Level Documentation” in Gothenburg.
  • World Wide Web invented.
  • SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language), descended from IBM's Generalized Markup Language (GML) developed in the 1960s, becomes an ISO standard.
  • Sue Dodd and Ann M. Sandberg-Fox publish “Cataloging Microcomputer Files: A Manual of Interpretation for AACR 2.”
  • Fienberg et al. publish Sharing Research Data. Committee on National Statistics. Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. National Research Council. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 1985.
  • NSFNet, the precursor to the Internet, created.
  • Sue Dodd publishes “Cataloging Machine-Readable Data Files. An Interpretive Manual.” American Library Association, Chicago.
  • A Style Manual for Machine-readable Data Files and Their Documentation published by R.C. Roistacher with contributions from Sue Dodd, B.B. Noble, and Alice Robbin.
  • Sue Dodd publishes “Bibliographic References for Numeric Social Science Data Files: Suggested Guidelines.” Journal of the American Society for Information Science, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp. 77–82, March 1979. https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.4630300203
  • Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, Second Edition (AACR2) published with a new chapter for machine-readable data files.
  • Council of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA) established
  • International Association for Social Science Information Services and Technology (IASSIST) holds first meeting in Toronto.
  • Report issued on “Standardization of Study Description Schemes and Classification of Indicators,” a product of a meeting held in Copenhagen at the Danish Data Archives with nine archives in attendance.
  • Norwegian Social Science Data Service (NSD) established.
  • First version of SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) released.
  • United Kingdom Data Archive (UKDA) established.
  • OSIRIS (Organized Set of Integrated Routines for Investigations with Statistics) statistical software package developed at University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research.
  • MARC (Machine Readable Cataloging) standards developed at Library of Congress.
  • Steinmetz Archive established.
  • Inter-university Consortium for Political [and Social] Research (ICPSR) established.
  • Zentralarchiv established.
  • Roper Center established.

IASSIST Quarterly, Vol. 37, No. 1-4 (2014): Special Volume: Honoring the Work and Influence of a Pioneer Data Librarian published several articles detailing the history of DDI, including:

Page Last Revised: 16 February 2021