News

Seeking DDI Alliance funding requests for the upcoming fiscal year (July 2022-June 2023)

Dear DDI community,

Each year, the DDI Executive Board considers funding requests to support DDI activities.  Anyone may submit a funding request for the Executive Board to consider.  If you have a funding request for the upcoming fiscal year (FY2023, July 2022 through June 2023), please email the request to secretariat [at] ddialliance [dot] org by April 30, 2022.  

Requests should explain the purpose of the request, how it aligns with the Alliance's Strategic Plan, and include an itemized budget for the funding request.  If requests are related to scientific or technical activities, the DDI Scientific Board will evaluate the request from the perspective of the Alliance Scientific Work Plan and provide feedback to the Executive Board.  Incoming budget requests related to scientific or technical activities will be prioritized according to their level of importance, and a reasoning with pros and cons for each evaluation will be made available, for the purpose of clarity and transparency.  Full details about annual budget funding requests are here: https://ddialliance.org/alliance/funding-guidelines-and-request-form.  

The Alliance's membership dues are used to fund these requests.  The budget for the current 2022 fiscal year was finalized in June 2021 and is described in the Executive Board minutes: https://ddialliance.org/sites/default/files/20210609_Executive_Board_minutes.pdf.  The FY2021 financial report is part of the 2021 Annual Meeting materials (see page 62): https://ddialliance.org/sites/default/files/20210622_DDI_Alliance_Meeting_of_Members_Minutes.pdf.  

Feel free to contact me with questions.
 
Sincerely,
Jared
 
 

Jared Lyle
Executive Director, DDI Alliance
ICPSR, University of Michigan

EDDI 2021 Report

Jon Johnson, Co-Chair of EDDI21, the 13th Annual European DDI User Conference, provided the following summary of the virtual conference held 30 November-1 December 2021.

Planning started as ever in January, in the peak of the second coronavirus wave. The Program Committee made an early decision that a face-to-face conference was not possible. Any fears we may have had about attendance were put at rest with over 175 participants register, from 32 countries and nearly 90 different organisations.

Traditionally, Archives and Official Statistics agencies have dominated the attendance at EDDI, but this year for the first time, over 50 percent were researchers or from research organisations. In a ‘normal’ year, about 20% of presentations are from organisations or individuals newly presenting; this year that was a little down, but that was a reflection of a flurry of presentations from established organisations.

One might have thought that the pressure of delivering data to researchers during the pandemic might have stifled innovation, but the opposite seems to have been the case with the community rising to this challenge with new ways of using the standards and products of the Alliance.

The presentations fell neatly into four main categories: Discovery, Enhancing Metadata, Interoperability, Workflows and infrastructure, and a session on User Needs.

Discovery presentations reflected both finding new ways of managing and presenting data in DDI-Codebook and managing the complexity of DDI-Lifecycle in ways that are comprehensible to researchers brought up in the age of Google.

Sessions on enhancing metadata explored better ways of using existing resources such as Controlled Vocabularies and XKOS, transitioning from Codebook to Lifecycle, automation to uplift metadata through new technologies, and the use of synthetic data. The large reserves of DDI in Archives were the focus for sessions on interoperability, infrastructure and workflows, centring around supporting the CESSDA infrastructure.

The recently upgraded functionality of the DDI Registry was also spotlighted and it will be interesting to see how quickly the ability to resolve persistent identifiers at an item level is picked up by the community in forthcoming EDDIs.

DDI-CDI also got a showing with work on how it is being used to connect with the growing European NGSI-LD infrastructure. The DDI Training group also presented on what has been a highly successful collaboration since its reboot at the Train-the-Trainer event in 2018. The development of the new training library has been a huge effort and put training front and centre of the DDI Alliance’s activities.

Prior to the conference, DDI Alliance standards and work products and tools were showcased in a day-long training fair, co-sponsored by CODATA.

There is a huge amount of behind the scenes work that goes into organising EDDI. We are grateful to Sciences Po for organising the online support for the conference, and a special mention to Knut Wenzig for managing to get the presentations up onto Zenodo, sometimes within an hour.

We are sad to be losing Uwe Jensen who has been the powerhouse behind keeping the EDDI Program Committees and Local Organisation Committees on track for the majority of the 2010s. We wish him a happy retirement from GESIS and from EDDI. But he leaves behind the EDDI Manual to which we will be completely reliant upon for 2022 and beyond.

We are also losing Achim Wackerow (also retiring from GESIS), who was responsible for EDDI being established and who chaired the conferences from 2009-2018. EDDI is not just an annual conference, it has been a cornerstone of the DDI community in Europe, travelling around European cities evangelising good and forward-thinking data management one country at a time. It is barely conceivable that this would have happened had it not been for Achim’s vision and determination. So it was fitting that we were able to have a celebration of his achievement led by Mary Vardigan (formerly DDI Alliance’s Executive Director) and Peter Granda, also from ICPSR, at the close of the conference.

Presentations and posters are available from https://zenodo.org/communities/eddi21/. Recordings of the sessions are available on the DDI Alliance You Tube channel at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLii5T1O4gQHk6xDePurzc6uMgOv4gzNHX. Sciences Po have generously agreed to host EDDI (again) in 2022. We look forward to seeing you in Paris, dates to be confirmed!

“Introducing the DDI Metadata Standards in Support of Transparency in Federal Statistics” COPAFS Webinar: March 16th at 12pm EST

Dan Gillman will be presenting a Webinar on Wednesday, March 16th, 2022 at 12pm EST for the U.S. Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics (COPAFS).  The Webinar is entitled “Introducing the DDI Metadata Standards in Support of Transparency in Federal Statistics.”  Since 1980, COPAFS has provided an open dialog between those who use federal statistics in professional contexts and the Federal statistical agencies that produce those statistics for the public good. Supporting organizations include professional associations, businesses, research institutes, and others that help to produce and/or use federal statistics.

Dan is a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Panel on Transparency and Reproducibility in Federal Statistics that released the November 2021 report, Transparency in Statistical Information for the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics and All Federal Statistical Agencies.  The Report provides an opportunity for the DDI Alliance to position itself as the source of many of the metadata standards needed by the federal statistical agencies to achieve transparency.  Dan is also very active in several DDI activities, including most recently initiating and chairing the DDI Glossary Working Group.

To register for the COPAFS Webinar, see: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/introducing-the-ddi-metadata-standards-tick....

CODATA-Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) Training Webinars – 2022 series announced!

CODATA and the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) are delighted to announce topics for our upcoming 2022 season of training webinars!

This year’s series of webinars will begin in March and continue through the rest of 2022, covering a diverse range of topics to help users to understand and effectively deploy the DDI suite of tools and standards.

Whilst exact details and dates will be confirmed soon, topics covered in the 2022 series of training webinars will be as follows:

  • March 2022: DDI Working Together with Other Standards
  • April 2022: Metadata Uplift – PDF/Excel to Structured DDI Documentation
  • May 2022: Vive les Métadonnées! (Les bases de DDI en français / DDI basics in French)
  • June/July 2022: DDI Controlled Vocabularies, the CESSDA Workbench, SKOS and XKOS
  • Oct 2022: How to Document Variables w/ DDI Lifecycle and DDI Cross Domain Integration – the Variable Cascade
  • Nov 2022: Survey of Implementation Examples/Use Cases of DDI-Cross Domain Integration

All webinars in the series are free to register for and attend, and will be in English unless otherwise specified.  There will be plenty of time at each event for questions and answers.  Each webinar will be recorded and this recording will be made available online after the event.

Recordings of the 2021 series of training webinars are also still available online.  Please visit https://codata.org/initiatives/data-skills/ddi-training-webinars/ to access videos and presentations on the following topics:

1: Introduction to Metadata for Research Data Management: A Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) Perspective (April 2021)

2: Implementing FAIR: What DDI Can Do for You! (June 2021)

3: Data Integration: Using DDI-CDI with Other Standards. (September 2021)

4: Data Quality: Thinking about Quality and DDI Metadata. (November 2021)

5. DDI Training Fair at the 2021 European DDI Users’ Conference. (26 and 29 November 2021) (Includes ‘Discovering DDI’, a DDI Codebook tutorial, a DDI Lifecycle tutorial, a DDI Cross Domain Integration (DDI-CDI) tutorial, and an overview of DDI Tools and Services.)

These materials are made available under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license 4.0.  We hope you enjoy the recordings from 2021, and we look forward to seeing you at our 2022 series of free events!

Learn more about DDI at https://ddialliance.org/

Learn more about CODATA webinars at https://codata.org/events/webinars

Seeking Nominations for a DDI Scientific Board Vacancy

Joachim (Achim) Wackerow, current member of the DDI Scientific Board, is retiring from GESIS at the end of February and will no longer be able to serve as an official member on the Scientific Board.  Achim's term runs through June 2023.  According to the DDI Bylaws, "Any member vacancy will be filled by election as soon as possible and that member will begin serving when elected for the remainder of the vacating member's term."  

The Scientific Board is seeking nominations to fill Achim's vacancy.  Representatives from Members and Associate Members of the Alliance are eligible to serve as elected members of the Scientific Board.  If you are interested in serving, or know of someone else who would make a good candidate, please email me (lyle@umich.edu) by 28 February 2022.  We will hold an election in March to fill the vacancy. 

The Scientific Board is the scientific and technical body of the Alliance and represents the Scientific Community.  The purposes of the Scientific Board are to:

  • Provide direction and coordination in the development of the substantive content of the DDI standards and other work products of the Alliance by its sub-committees and working groups within the context of the Alliance Strategic Plan.
  • Implement the scientific work plan agreed at the Annual Meeting of the Scientific Community.
  • Oversee the substantive content of DDI standards and other work products.
  • Undertake research and testing concerning proposals for DDI standards and other work products.
  • Develop and promulgate best practices for use of DDI standards and work products.
  • Assess progress and barriers to progress.
  • Provide a report on progress of the scientific work plan over the previous year, and proposals for the future scientific direction and related activities to the Annual Meeting of the Scientific Community.

Feel free to reach out to Ingo Barkow and Hilde Orten, Scientific Board Chair and Vice Chair, or me with questions.

Sincerely,
Jared

 

Jared Lyle
Executive Director, DDI Alliance
ICPSR, University of Michigan

DDI Scientific Community Meeting: Recording and Slides Available

The recording and slides from the January 27, 2022 DDI Scientific Community meeting are now available:

Video recording on the DDI Alliance YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjaFghtHIpA

Slides available on the DDI Scientific Board collaboration wiki: https://ddi-alliance.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/DDI4/pages/2791768071/Mee...

It was great to see so many community members at the meeting!

DDI Standards and Metadata Featured in U.S. National Academies Report, "Transparency in Statistical Information"

The Committee on National Statistics under the U.S. Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a report on November 18, 2021 from the Panel on Transparency and Reproducibility in Federal Statistics called Transparency in Statistical Information for the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics and All Federal Statistical Agencies (Report). You can download a copy for free by following the link. The panel included several people familiar to the DDI community.

The focus of the report is on transparency of federal statistics, where transparency is defined in the report as follows:

Transparency is the provision of sufficiently detailed documentation of all the processes of producing official estimates. The goal of transparency is to enable consumers of federal statistics to accurately understand and evaluate how estimates are generated.

The emphasis on documentation, understanding, and evaluation should be familiar to all who use the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) metadata standards. This emphasis is about metadata.

The Report is divided into 7 chapters and 2 substantive appendices, with Chapter 5 devoted to metadata, systems, and standards. Several of the standards described are DDI-Codebook, DDI-Lifecycle, and the soon to be released DDI-CDI (Cross Domain Integration). SDTL, XKOS, and Controlled Vocabularies are briefly described, too. Descriptions of other standards, such as SDMX, DCAT, PROV, GSIM, and GSBPM are included and divided between Chapter 5 and Appendix A. In Appendix B, the case for how transparency can be achieved through the use of and conformance to standards is presented.

Every chapter deals with a particular aspect of transparency, and for many in the DDI community, Chapters 2 and 3 will be interesting, as archiving is discussed. Each Chapter includes a short set of recommendations for the federal statistical agencies, and the ones listed here include text about the need among the agencies to adopt standards and manage metadata. Excerpts from each follow:

3.1 "The metadata that accompany such data should also be preserved using broadly accepted metadata standards appropriate to the data at hand."

5.1 "The Interagency Council on Statistical Policy (ICSP) should develop and implement a multi-agency pilot project to explore and evaluate employing existing metadata standards and tools to accomplish data sharing, data access, and data reuse."

5.2 "The ICSP should: (1) prioritize and emphasize the importance and benefits of federal statistical agency staff engaging in international metadata standards and tool development, and (2) organize a discussion among statistical agencies that leads to an effective, coordinated, and accountable approach for staff in agencies that produce federal statistics to contribute to international metadata standards and tool development."

The Report provides an opportunity for the DDI Alliance to position itself as the source of many of the metadata standards needed by the federal statistical agencies to achieve transparency. The expertise that many representatives of member organizations in the Alliance can bring to discussions is vital to furthering the adoption of DDI. Communication among the Alliance, the ICSP, and the agencies should begin soon.

Agenda for the January 27, 2022 Scientific Community meeting

The DDI Scientific Board is organizing a virtual meeting of the DDI Scientific Community January 27, 2022 from 14:00-16:00 UTC.   Anyone interested in the scientific activities of the DDI Alliance is welcome to join.  The Scientific Community comprises the scientific representatives, technical contacts, and other representatives within the Alliance -- those identified as fulfilling the scientific and technical roles.  
 
Please register in advance for this meeting: https://umich.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJclc-2vpz0oHdfSylYbKcELaVt2mYsOBdEf.  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
 
The Scientific Board recently set the meeting agenda, which includes:  
 
Scientific Community Meeting Agenda
 
1) Intro - Ingo Barkow
  • Welcome and purpose of the meeting.  
  • Introduction to the Scientific Board and the Working Groups and their work in relation to the Scientific Plan  

2) Topics for introduction and discussion

  • DDI URN resolution and the work of the URN Resolution Temporary Working Group
    • Ignition talk - Carsten Thiel
    • Discussion
  • Mapping between specifications
    • Mapping between DDI specifications
      • Ignition talk - Arofan Gregory
      • Discussion
    • Cross-specification mappings and implementation guidelines  
      • Ignition talk - Arofan Gregory
      • Discussion

3) Outro - Hilde Orten

  • Feedback from participants on this type of community meeting. frequency of meetings.
  • Ideas for topics for forthcoming meetings from participants
  • Any other business
 
We look forward to seeing many of you at the Scientific Community meeting!

Updated Hosting of DDI Mailing Lists

The DDI Alliance hosts several mailing lists using Mailman software, including the ddi-users mailing list we use to communicate with the entire DDI community.  

We are now planning to transfer mailing list hosting from Mailman to Google Groups.  We expect this transfer to improve stability and usability.  The transfer is scheduled for the week of 1 February 2022.

After the transfer, users should not notice a large difference in messages sent on the lists.  Existing mailing list subscribers will remain as list subscribers and will continue to be able to send and receive messages.  The primary difference will be that starting February, messages sent to DDI mailing lists will be stored in a Google Group rather than on a Mailman archive.  Mailman archives will be retained in their current format for the time being.

For mailing lists with no activity since 2019, we will shut down the list but retain the Mailman archives.  Any users on those retired lists not already subscribed to ddi-users will be subscribed.  

Please feel free to contact the Secretariat with any questions.  We will be emailing each list as we progress through the transfer to Google Groups.

DDI Scientific Community Virtual Meeting: January 27, 2022

The DDI Scientific Board is organizing a virtual meeting of the DDI Scientific Community on January 27, 2022 from 14:00-16:00 UTC.   The Scientific Community comprises the scientific representatives, technical contacts, and other representatives within the Alliance -- those identified as fulfilling the scientific and technical roles.  Anyone interested in the scientific activities of the DDI Alliance is welcome to join.

Please register in advance for this meeting: https://umich.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJclc-2vpz0oHdfSylYbKcELaVt2mYsOBdEf

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

This meeting of the Scientific Community is an opportunity to discuss the DDI Alliance Scientific Work Plan, 2021-2022 and the activities of the Scientific Board and its working groups and committees

Update: The Scientific Board has provided a meeting agenda: https://ddialliance.org/announcement/agenda-for-the-january-27-2022-scie....