What's New

Seeking nominations for temporary working group to propose a restructuring of the DDI Scientific Board

The DDI Alliance would like to improve the structure and organization of the Scientific Board, which is the scientific and technical body of the Alliance.  At the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Scientific Board, a temporary working group was approved to propose a restructuring and to draft changes to the Alliance Bylaws.  This work is to be completed in advance of the May 2020 annual meeting, when the finalized proposal will be discussed and voted on.  Participation in the temporary working group will involve several conference calls and one in-person meeting.  The temporary working group will be chaired by Ingo Barkow, current Vice Chair of the Scientific Board.  

We are seeking 4-5 participants for the working group.  We are especially interested in a diverse representation, including individuals new to DDI.  All member institutions may nominate an individual to participate on the temporary working group.  To submit nominations, please email names to secretariat@ddialliance.org by 13 December.  The DDI Executive Board will make the final selection of working group members.

A Birds-of-a-Feather session at the December 3-4 European DDI (EDDI) conference will include discussion about the temporary working group.  Interested members attending EDDI are invited to participate in the session.

EDDI19 – 11th Annual European DDI User Conference

EDDI 2019, the 11th Annual European DDI User Conference will take place in Tampere, Finland on 3rd - 4th December, 2019.

EDDI19 is organized jointly by the Finnish Social Science Data ArchiveTampere UniversityStatistics FinlandGESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences and IDSC of IZA - International Data Service Center of the Institute for the Study of Labor.

The conference will bring together DDI users and professionals from all over Europe and the world. Anyone interested in developing, applying, or using DDI is invited to attend and present.

The conference will provide presentations on a wide range of topics relating to DDI:

  • Case studies
  • Mature implementations
  • Early implementations
  • Interplay of DDI with other standards or technologies
  • Projects in early phases in which DDI is under consideration
  • Critiques of DDI

More information: http://www.eddi-conferences.eu/ocs/index.php/eddi/eddi19

DDI Technical Committee Summary Report

The DDI Technical Committee met 21-25 October 2019 at the Minnesota Population Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A. for a face-to-face meeting. The purpose of the Technical Committee is to model, render, maintain, and update the DDI specifications to meet community needs and align with Alliance strategic goals.

Working topics during the face-to-face meeting included DDI 3.3 entry and review, the DDI Roadmap, the new Technical Committee Production Framework, the COGS development and production environment, documentation production, controlled vocabulary production, DDI resolution, high level documentation activities, and a review of outstanding Technical Committee issues.  Please see the Summary Report for the full details of the meeting.

DDI-CODATA Workshop Summary Report: “Interoperability of Metadata Standards in Cross-Domain Science, Health, and Social Science Applications II”

A week-long workshop was held on the subject of standards in cross-domain data use for science, health, and social science at Schloss Dagstuhl-the Leibniz Center for Informatics in Wadern, Germany, 6-11 October 2019. The meeting was sponsored by CODATA, the data-focused arm of the International Science Council, and the DDI Alliance, an international member-driven consortium which provides technical standards for research data in the social, behavioral, economic, and health sciences. CODATA is currently working towards a launch of a decadal programme on cross-disciplinary data for the ISC. The DDI Alliance is now developing an information model for integrating data across domain boundaries. The workshop was subsidized by Schloss Dagstuhl-the Leibniz Center for Informatics.

Please see the Summary Report for the full details of the workshop.

CESSDA Data Catalogue updated

The CESSDA Data Catalogue contains the metadata that describes the data in the holdings of CESSDA’s service providers. It is a one-stop-shop for search and discovery, enabling effective access to European social science research data. CESSDA encourages standardisation of data and metadata, and uses DDI-Lifecycle metadata as the foundation of their Core Metadata Model.  

Over the past few months, work has been undertaken to improve the User Experience and the range and quality of its contents. The updated version of the catalogue went live last month. 

Changes that can be seen by users:

  • Topic/Country/Publisher/Language of data files filters list entries A to Z, rather than listing them depending on whether they were most or least frequently occurring;  
  • language parsing problems have been fixed: the software was failing to recognise that some fields were available in multiple languages, so values were displayed incorrectly.
  • errors with diacritical marks have been fixed;
  • a wider range of date formats can now be read and displayed;
  • fewer clicks are needed to see all the information that makes up a study record;
  • readability of the language menu has been improved;
  • more languages have been added to the list of User Interface languages (now 9);
  • the branding has been refreshed;
  • details of over 30,000 data collections are listed. 
  • These are harvested from fifteen different CESSDA Service Providers.

Changes that affect the quality of the data or responsiveness of the system:

  • added automated Quality Assurance tests that check the source code of all the components that make up the CESSDA Data Catalogue and fixed the reported issues;
  • enabled harvesting of a subset of the records held by a Service Provider (so we can be more specific about the type of content we include);
  • updated some of the libraries and other components that the catalogue is built from, to improve performance and/or reduce the risk of security breaches;
  • extensive quality checks are performed automatically, whenever any changes are made to the code base.

Changes to the catalogue record content:

  • besides the changes to the Data Catalogue software, the study records are being improved. When a study record is seen to be incomplete or incorrect, we have a mechanism for reporting the issue to the Service Provider that curates the record. The process is overseen by the CESSDA Metadata Office.
  • Google structured data search is supported to make it easier for researchers to find CESSDA’s datasets via a Google search.

Users can report any issues with either the working of the CESSDA Data Catalogue or its contents by clicking on the ‘Report a problem’ tab in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. 

The CESSDA Main Office technical staff will be alerted to the report and will investigate it and either deal with it themselves of pass it to the CESSDA Metadata Office (if it relates to the content of the catalogue).

More information:

CESSDA Data Catalogue

contact person: John Shepherdson

CESSDA Vocabulary Service tool now available

 

The CESSDA Vocabulary Service is a unique tool which enables developers to search, browse, and download controlled vocabularies in a variety of languages. The tool is also useful for researchers, for administrators and translators of controlled vocabularies, and for data repositories providing metadata. 

Researchers can use the tool to study the terms used in the data descriptions which in turn enables them to do more precise searches in the CESSDA Data Catalogue. For translators and data repositories, the CVS facilitates easy and robust vocabulary management. 

Strong collaboration between CESSDA and the DDI Alliance means that internationally-recognised and widely-used DDI controlled vocabularies are hosted within the CESSDA Vocabulary Service alongside CESSDA’s own Topic Classifications. 

A publication pipeline will be created from the tool so that DDI Alliance can publish the vocabularies on its own website as well.

How it works

English source versions of the controlled vocabularies have been translated by CESSDA members and other organisations, to provide unique multilingual functionality and usability.  Authorized users of the CVS can create, manage, version and translate controlled vocabularies via an easy-to-use, well-supported interface: 

“The intuitive and user-friendly editor interface makes both user access and vocabulary management quick and easy. The system also facilitates version control by guiding users towards consistent documentation of changes made between published versions.” (Henri Ala-Lahti, CVS content editor).

Other handy features include a version comparison table, automatically generated citation for the vocabularies; and automated cloning of the previous source and translated vocabulary versions as a basis for creating new versions. 

The CVS also provides a browsing platform for all users. Data repositories using the vocabularies in their metadata, for example, can download the vocabularies in various formats suitable for upload into technical systems, reference documents and web services, enhancing their flexibility and usability. Detailed version history details changes between vocabulary versions, so they can update their legacy metadata and systems.

The CVS is a useful and timely resource that promotes international standardisation by providing a source of controlled vocabularies to suit varied metadata systems. 

More information:

CESSDA Vocabulary Service

Contact person: Claus-Peter Klas

News on Finnish translations: New CESSDA vocabulary service has been launched

News on Swedish translations: SND news item: Swedish Translations Now Available in CESSDA Vocabulary Service

DDI Training Group welcomes two new co-chairs: Jane Fry and Anja Perry

The DDI Training Group welcomes two new co-chairs: Jane Fry (Carleton University) and Anja Perry (GESIS Data Archive for the Social Sciences). They replace Amber Leahey (Scholars Portal), who served as chair for four years. The DDI Alliance is very grateful for the time and effort Amber put into training activities.

The mission of the Training group is to:

  • Introduce people to DDI and improve people's competence in working with DDI
  • Gear training to specific audiences
  • Develop expertise within the community for training purposes
  • Maintain a training library with updated training material for reuse

To fulfill this mission, the group is taking the following steps in the next year:

  1. Complete sets of training material based on the output of a Train-the-Trainer Workshop at Dagstuhl in 2018 and add them to the Training Library for reuse.
  2. Recruit new members for the group and additional instructors to be able to teach DDI to a wider audience.
  3. Identify conferences and further outlets where DDI teaching can take place and set up a yearly teaching schedule.
  4. Use GO FAIR to further promote DDI through training events.

The Training group is looking for more members! Interested in joining? Please contact Jane (jane.fry@carleton.ca) or Anja (Anja.Perry@gesis.org).

DDI Alliance Executive Board election results

The August 2019 DDI Alliance Executive Board election resulted in Bill Block (13 votes from 16 recorded responses) and Joachim Wackerow (12 votes) being reelected to the Board.  Special thanks to Bill and Achim for their continued service on the Board.  And thanks to all Alliance designated member representatives who voted in this election.

The Executive Board is the policymaking and oversight body of the Alliance. In addition to Bill and Achim, continuing members of the Executive Board include:

Steve McEachern, Australian Data Archive (ADA) – 2017-2021
Catherine Fitch, Minnesota Population Center, 2017-2021
Dana Müller, Research Data Centre (FDZ) of the Federal Employment Agency, Institute for Employment Research (IAB), 2017-2021
Barry Radler, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2017-2021
Margaret Levenstein, Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), representing the Host Institution, 2016-present
Jared Lyle, ICPSR, DDI Alliance Executive Director, ex officio non-voting member, 2015-present

Elected members of the Executive Board serve for a term of four years.  For more information about the Executive Board, please see: https://ddialliance.org/executive-board.

Next Annual Meeting of Member Representatives: 18 May 2020 in Gothenburg, Sweden

The next DDI Alliance Annual Meeting of Member Representatives will be held 18 May 2020 in Gothenburg, Sweden, the Monday of IASSIST

The Annual Meeting of Member Representatives provides a forum for member discussion and feedback. Please save the date. We look forward to seeing many member representatives at the meeting.

June 2019 DDI Alliance Annual Meeting Minutes Available

The minutes of the DDI Alliance June 1, 2019 annual meeting are now available, including from the morning Annual Meeting of Members and the afternoon Scientific Board meeting.