We have selected five pilot studies to use as models for developing a guide to best practices in archiving social science data. These pilot studies represent unique and classic collections, and they will pose appraisal and preservation challenges that institutional repositories will encounter when archiving social science data. The pilot studies include:
- The Philadelphia Social History Project (PSHP). ICPSR has already begun working with the University of Pennsylvania to archive PSHP data, which was directed by Theodore Hershberg. The PSHP began as a comparative study of social mobility in a 19th-century city and grew into a broad example of "New Urban History." Studies of ethnic identities, family life, demography, and the use of urban space were based on a variety of sources, some of them unique.
- Orville Vernon Burton (University of Illinois) will deposit the data used in In My Father's House Are Many Mansions: Family and Community in Edgefield, South Carolina (1985). The database links information about people and farms from 1850 to 1880.
- J. Morgan Kousser (California Institute of Technology) has offered data on Southern counties from 1880 to 1910 that he used to study racial and class discrimination in the provision of education and the collection of taxes.
- Gloria L. Main (University of Colorado) has asked ICPSR to release data from two of her studies. One describes decedents and the contents of their estates in over 6000 probate records from colonial New England. The second study records the work performed by men, women, and children in a large sample of account books compiled between 1660 and 1770.
- Maris A. Vinovskis (University of Michigan) is eager to archive data on 13,000 individuals living in Newburyport, Massachusetts in 1860. The database includes records from schools, military service, savings banks, churches and other sources for his study of the effects of the Civil War on American society.