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 ( 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.



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:

Slides available on the DDI Scientific Board collaboration wiki:

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:  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:

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:

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New Training Working Group Co-Chairs

Congratulations to the two new Co-Chairs of the DDI Training Working Group: Alina Danciu (Sciences Po) and Hayley Mills (CLOSER).  And special thanks to outgoing Co-Chairs Jane Fry (Carleton University) and Anja Perry (GESIS), who recently completed their two year terms leading the working group!  

The mission of the Training Working 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

Anyone may join the group, which meets monthly.  Please contact the chairs about how to join!

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Liaison with the DDI Alliance

The DDI Alliance Scientific Board has approved the establishment of a "simple liaison" relationship with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to coordinate activities in the field of data description, especially around specification development. The goal of a simple liaison is for both parties to gain a better understanding of their respective activities and look for opportunities to work together. Most often, W3C establishes simple liaisons with peer organizations, other standards bodies, or any other non-profit entity that may wish to build consensus around an emerging Web technology. 

The W3C contact is Pierre-Antoine Champin, W3C fellow and coauthor of JSON-LD. The DDI Alliance contact is Joachim Wackerow, DDI Scientific Board member and collaborator with W3C experts in the context of the Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz Center for Informatics workshops on DDI and metadata. Since 2011, twelve experts involved in W3C activities (six of them are members of the W3C DXWG) have participated in Dagstuhl workshops on DDI and metadata. 

The main W3C activity affected by the liaison is the Dataset Exchange Working Group (DXWG), which created the Data Catalog Vocabulary (DCAT). Data description specifications are increasingly used in combination with other specifications, especially in the semantic web. An important example is the combination of DCAT with a specification that describes more granular elements (e.g. variables); DDI-Cross Domain Integration (DDI-CDI) is a candidate as a domain-independent specification. Other DDI-relevant W3C specifications include: RDF Data Cube Vocabulary, CSV on the WebData Catalog Vocabulary, and Provenance Ontology (PROV-O).

New Executive Board Chair and Vice Chair

In their November 2021 meeting, the Executive Board elected a new Chair (Bill Block, Cornell University) and Vice Chair (Barry Radler, University of Wisconsin-Madison).

The Chair and Vice Chair serve two year terms.  In addition to leading the Executive Board, which is the policymaking and oversight body of the DDI Alliance, the Chair and Vice Chair also lead the Annual Meeting of the DDI Membership Representatives.

Special thanks to Steve McEachern, Australia Data Archive (ADA), who served the previous three consecutive terms as Chair of the Executive Board.

New DDI Glossary Working Group

A new working group has been formed under the auspices of the Scientific Board to produce, maintain, and update the DDI Glossary of terms.  The DDI Glossary is a resource that users may consult for gaining a better understanding of DDI products. Other standards development efforts produce glossaries for their user communities - an example within the national statistical office community is the UNECE Statistical Metadata Glossary. SDMX maintains a glossary of their terms, too, at SDMX Glossary.

The Glossary Working Group is led by Dan Gillman.  The WG are looking for other participants to join them.  Please contact Dan ( to join.

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