Waived IASSIST workshop fee for DDI Alliance members

Dear Alliance members,

Hilde Orten and Benjamin Beuster will give a DDI workshop at IASSIST 2020 in Gothenburg and we are happy to let you know that participants from DDI Alliance member organizations can participate in this workshop for free. To do so, please use the following discount code when registering for IASSIST and the workshop: DDIA

If you are a DDI Alliance Member and use this code, the workshop fee (500SEK, around $52 USD) will automatically be waived.

Please send this information to your colleagues who may be interested in this workshop.

Best wishes,
Anja Perry and Jane Fry
(DDI Training Group Co-Heads)

Members selected for temporary working group to propose a restructuring of the Scientific Board

Dear DDI community,

I am pleased to announce the members of the temporary working group to propose a restructuring of the Scientific Board.  Members include:

  • Jane Fry (Carleton University and DDI Training Working Group co-chair)
  • Dan Gillman (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Jon Johnson (CLOSER and DDI Technical Committee vice-chair)
  • Ron Nakao (Stanford)
  • Hilde Orton (NSD)
  • Nicolas Sauger (Sciences Po)
  • Wendy Thomas (Minnesota Population Center and DDI Technical Committee chair)
The goal is to restructure the Scientific Board so it is active and engaged throughout the year -- beyond the annual meeting -- and optimally functioning as the scientific and technical body of the Alliance.  Ingo Barkow, current vice chair of the Scientific Board, will chair the working group; Achim Wackerow, chair of the Scientific Board, and I will also participate.
Participants will engage in several conference calls and one in-person meeting.  Work will be completed in advance of the May 2020 annual meeting, when the finalized proposal will be discussed and voted on.  Thanks to all participants for their service.

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

Follow the DDI Alliance on Twitter


North American DDI conference Call for Proposals now open!

We are happy to announce the Call for Proposals for the 8th Annual North American Data Documentation Initiative Conference (NADDI).  The Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) is an international standard for describing the data produced by surveys and other observational methods in the social, behavioral, economic, and health sciences.

NADDI 2020 Theme

The conference theme is “Making Data FAIR by using Metadata Standards.”

The main conference sponsor is IPUMS at the University of Minnesota Institute for Social Research and Data Innovation.  

Aimed at individuals working in and around research data and metadata, NADDI 2020 seeks submissions of presentations and posters that highlight the use of DDI and other metadata standards within research projects, official statistics, survey operations, academic libraries, and data archives.

Proposals can include:

·  Presentations

·  Panels

·  Posters

·  Workshops or Tutorials

Important Information

·  March 6: Deadline for conference proposals

·  March 31: Notification of acceptance

·  May 31: Early rate registration deadline

·  Conference Dates: June 17-19, 2020

·  Conference Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

How to Submit

Submissions may be made through the conference web site.  The proposal deadline is March 6, 2020.

Sent on behalf of the NADDI 2020 Organizing Committee

DDI Lifecycle 3.3 specification available for final public review and comment

In the summer of 2018, DDI Lifecycle version 3.3 was made available for public review. Several important issues were identified as a result of that review. Those issues were thoroughly reviewed and addressed, and are now ready for final review at:

This page includes a link to the package containing the schemas and field level documentation. In addition, there are links to related content: Model documentation, High Level documentation, Implementation Guide, Examples, and a complete 3.2 to 3.3 change log with notes on requirements for transforming from version 3.2 to 3.3.

A brief review period for this revised DDI Lifecycle version 3.3 will take place Friday, January 25 through Friday, February 21, after which the Alliance will vote on the new specification.

Version 3.3 contains additional new coverage for the following:

  • Classification management (based on GSIM/Neuchatel)
  • Non-survey data collection (Measurements)
  • Sampling
  • Weighting
  • Questionnaire Design
  • Support for DDI as a Property Graph (properties on items and references)
  • Quality Statement improvements (useful for Eurostat reporting)

DDI Lifecycle version 3.3 also includes improvements in the types and organization of documentation for the specification. These changes allow for the publication of updates and additions as they occur rather than requiring the reissue of the specification itself. We welcome comments on the coverage and format of this documentation.


EDDI Conference Held in Tampere, Finland

EDDI 2019 was held at Tampere University and was jointly hosted by Statistics Finland and the Finnish Social Science Data Archive, who were celebrating their 20th anniversary.

With 89 participants, it was the largest EDDI since 2014, and also the largest ever turn out from the host country. Over half of the participants were from Scandinavia!  

Tutorials included: an introduction to DDI (utilizing material from the DDI Train-the-Trainers initiative), using paradata with DDI, going beyond a DDI codebook, and how a syntax representation of the DDI 4 UML model can be generated in any language.

There were two keynotes. Marja Rantala from Statistics Finland gave an interesting and insightful talk on challenges in interoperability drawing on her extensive experience in aligning Nordic geography. The second keynote was from Damien Lecarpentier speaking about the challenges of building the European Open Science Cloud, which is bringing together a coherent infrastructure which it is hoped will foster cross disciplinary data sharing.

One theme of the program was how DDI is now embedded in many key infrastructures in Europe -- beyond data archives. Examples included the adoption of DDI controlled vocabularies in CESSDA and how they are key in solving the challenges of multilingualism,  as well as the maturing of DDI-Lifecycle to support questionnaire development and longitudinal data management. Other presentations highlighted adoption of DDI in National Statistical offices as GSIM progresses from modelling into implementation.

The poster session is always a highlight of EDDI, and this year was no exception. Software and tools both in development and in maturity were demonstrated focusing on questionnaires and grappling with legacy data. Poster presentations showcased international developments, including three from Japanese participants!  More information on presentations and posters are available from

The next EDDI conference will be in Paris, hosted by SciencePo, on the 1st & 2nd of December 2020.

Trotz einiger Herausforderungen wird erwartet, dass ihre Rolle in der Zukunft weiter wachsen mehr hier wird, wobei die Technologie das Gesundheitssystem weiterhin transformiert und verbessert.

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 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:

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