Council Minutes
June 4-6, 1999


Council participants: Margo Anderson, Charles Betsey, Kenneth Bollen, Diane Geraci, Kent Jennings, Gary King, Paula McClain, Edward Nelson, Huey Perry, Elizabeth Stephenson, Wendy Watkins, Halliman Winsborough.

Staff participants: Zack Allen, Erik Austin, Chris Dunn, Peter Granda, John Gray, Peter Joftis, Hank Heitowit, Michelle Humphres, Peter Joftis, Stacey Kubtiz, JoAnne McFarland, James McNally, Mary Morris, Richard Rockwell, Kathleen Thomson, Mary Vardigan, Janet Vavra (Friday only).

Additional participant: Thomas Archdeacon, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Approval of March 1998 Minutes

Huey Perry asked that his name be removed from the October 1998 minutes since he was not in attendance. Wendy Watkins made a motion to approve the October 1998 Council minutes with that change, and Huey Perry seconded the motion. The minutes were approved.

Introduction and Announcements

Halliman Winsborough introduced Thomas Archdeacon, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Professor Archdeacon is a member of the ICPSR Nominations Committee, and joined the Council to discuss the Nominations Committee report.

Report on the Term Review of the Executive Director

The Council considered the Review Committee's recommendation and was in agreement to proceed with establishing a Director Search Committee. The Committee will include two ICPSR Council members, two members of the ISR, and one member of the ICPSR Senior Staff.

Nominations Committee Report

The ICPSR Nominations Committee met on Friday morning (June 4th) to select six nominees (or half of the Council) for the next Council election, to be held in October 1999. These six Council positions will take effect in February 2000. The Nominations Committee is made up of all outgoing members of Council plus two non-Council members appointed by the Chair.

The Council members on the committee are: Ken Bollen (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Gary King (Harvard University), Edward Nelson (California State University at Fresno), Elizabeth Stephenson (University of California at Los Angeles), Wendy Watkins (Carleton University), and Hal Winsborough (Chair, University of Wisconsin at Madison). The two non-Council members, appointed by the ICPSR council Chair, are Thomas Archdeacon (University of Wisconsin at Madison) and David Lam (University of Michigan). All committee members attended the meeting.

ICPSR staff to the committee are Richard Rockwell, Henry Heitowit, and Janet Vavra.

In addition to identifying candidates for the six open Council positions, the committee recommended candidates for the next Council Chair. The new Chair is chosen from the remaining Council members who will serve into the next term. The remaining six Council members are Margo Anderson (University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee), Huey Perry (Southern University at Baton Rouge), Diane Geraci (State University of New York at Binghamton), and Paula McClain (University of Virginia).

The Nominations Committee reported back to the full Council with a recommendation for the next Council Chair and a slate of candidates and alternates for Council members. Among the professional fields for which candidates and alternates were presented were history, political science, economics, and data and information management.

The Council approved the candidates and alternates. It was noted that the individuals nominated would now be contacted to see if they would be willing to run for Council. In the meantime, all attending the meeting were asked not to reveal the names of the nominees until all the potential candidates had been contacted and had agreed to run for election.

It was suggested that for the 2002 elections, the Nominations Committee consider persons with expertise in the areas of intellectual property rights, confidentiality and privacy issues, and legal issues in general.

Infrastructure Grant

Rockwell described the competition for the 1999 round of NSF Infrastructure Awards in the Social and Behavioral Sciences as being fierce: 150 institutions applied for this award. In addition to submitting its own proposal, ICPSR sent letters to several other applying institutions, agreeing to cooperate with their activities, should they be funded. Rockwell outlined the four activities that ICPSR proposed in its bid for support, and noted that they are all activities that we are currently engaged in. The areas are:

  1. Improved metadata in terms of structure and search ability

  2. Expanded bibliographic database of publications emanating from and using archived data collections

  3. Additional training for ORs on complex data collections

  4. Integration of ICPSR metadata with that from other repositories

Rockwell noted that Item I builds upon the DDI standard now in beta test mode, and described it as the adding of "logic" to social science metadata, replacing the OSIRIS standard that ICPSR formerly utilized. Rockwell closed by asking Council for priorities among the four items, to be employed whether ICPSR wins an Infrastructure Award or not.

It was suggested that the lowest priority be given to Item II (bibliographic database). It was also noted that the Harvard digital library project will assign a standard name to each dataset, and scholars will be encouraged to use that name in citations. This proposed standard is envisioned as facilitating the assembly of citations in the future. It was further recommended that this management of complex data be an additional focus of Item III. It was also suggested that ICPSR explore a JSTOR linkage with ICPSR data collections, and that ICPSR look at an "Info-mine" facility developed at UC-Riverside, which in some ways is similar to what ICPSR proposed in its Infrastructure proposal.

The Council pronounced these activities a "good idea," and encouraged the Consortium to pursue them, whether funded or not.

Archival Development Committee

The Committee discussed the following items on Saturday morning, June 5, and reported a summary of its discussion and decisions to the full Council on Saturday afternoon:

  1. Acquisitions Policy: The Committee discussed a revised version of its draft policy statement which included a new appendix, prepared by Ed Nelson, on data quality and processing issues. The Committee suggested that the final report should include a fuller description of security issues involved in the acquisition of new data collections and more attention to the general subject of costs involved in any recommendations that might ensue from the policy. Specifically, Committee members felt that additional information about the costs of processing, the costs of buying data, and the cost of data distribution be included in an appendix to the final policy statement. The Committee also recommended that the final policy statement encourage the Official Representative community to play an active role in acquisition activities by providing ICPSR with materials produced on their own campuses which would benefit the entire research community. For example, ORs often produce both SAS and SPSS data definition statements and, increasingly, documentation in PDF format would could be sent to ICPSR for inclusion in the archive. The Committee will produce a revised version of the policy statement with the intention of having a general discussion and obtaining feedback at the OR meeting in October.

    The full Council emphasized that public-use data is still the most popular and useful method of distributing data to the research community. It was noted that the focus of funding was moving in the direction of supporting data collection efforts that will have a broad research potential rather than on efforts that concentrate on a single purpose study. Steve Fienberg saw the work of the Committee as producing two policy documents: one, focused on the long term, which would describe what ICPSR would really do if it had all of the resources it needed, and a second, focused on the short term, which would describe how ICPSR will function as we look to this broader set of goals and aspirations.

  2. Instructional Datasets (Subcommittee on Instructional Materials and Information (SIMI): Ed Nelson, chair of the subcommittee, reported the recent inclusion of a 'Teaching Resource Depository' section of the ICPSR website. the Depository reports on the workings of the subcommittee and encourages users to deposit instructional datasets into the ICPSR archive. Submission criteria are described on the site and links to existing resource sites are provided.

  3. Year 2000 Census: There was a brief review of the 1990 Advisory Committee's role and discussion of the need to appoint a similar Committee to plan ICPSR's role in the acquisition and distribution of 2000 Census data. The full Council approved the appointment of such a Committee.

  4. Conference on Archiving: The Committee developed the following resolution and presented it to the full Council.

Sage/SSRC Conference Plans

The following statement was submitted by the Archival Development Committee:

"The Archival Development reviewed the admittedly tentative plan for the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) Conference on archiving social science data. We recognize that the conference is tackling a number of broad issues, including the new technical issues of archival access generated by new computer technology. We would like to provide some advice for our participants.

The Archival Development Committee is acutely aware that accessible archived social science data is critical for the future of the social sciences. We therefore hope the SSRC Conference produces and emphatic statement of the need to identify how and where social science data is to be preserved.

We further encourage participation in the conference to call for the activities focusing on archival policy.

Budget Committee

The Budget Committee discussed the pros and cons of the proposed new ICPSR budget format. They also discussed the air quality and sound problems in the new ICPSR facility as well as the difficulties across the university this year with the new UM reengineered financial system. The committee decided that further changes were needed for the budget, and a new one should be completed for the November Council meeting.

Information Technology Committee

Minutes not available

Member Relations Committee

The Member Relations Committee met on June 5, 1999, with Diane Geraci, Hank Heitowit, Mary Morris, Ed Nelson, Mary Vardigan, and Wendy Watkins in attendance.

The committee's agenda consisted of the following:

1999 Meeting of Official Representatives. The agenda for the October OR Meeting was reviewed. For the most part, all presenters have been contacted and have committed. Watkins offered to send a list of technical presenters that might want to be part of the Technical Demonstrations. Also, the video celebrating ISR's 50th anniversary will be set up in the Technical Demonstration room. Committee members questioned when Council as a group would meet during the OR meeting.

Discounts for Services from Other Agencies. This topic had already been discussed earlier in the Council meeting, but the committee reiterated the findings from the 1997 OR survey that members are interested in ICPSR acquiring more international data and more economic data. Any plans for cooperative agreements should focus on these two areas.

Development Activities. Heitowit reported on the status of the ICPSR Development Activities Team. One of the missions of the team is to recruit new members and shore up current members. He suggested that ICPSR have a response team that visits schools considering ICPSR membership to generate interest and promote the membership. Similarly, the team could visit schools that may be under utilizing ICPSR data to make presentations to faculty and administrators so as to increase ICPSR data usage. Geraci suggested that ORs could be a valuable part of these response teams since it's likely that an OR has dealt with many issues that might be of concern locally. Geraci also suggested that ORs be considered to staff ICPSR booths at conferences close to their universities.

Also on the agenda of this team was the end-users survey. The team contracted with the UM Business School to design a Web-based survey. The team developed the survey and plans to contact a limited number of ORs this fall to ask for the names and email address of five to ten end-users. Those individuals would then be contacted and asked to participate.

The issue of cost implications for these activities was raised. It was suggested that the committee ask for a $20,000 marketing line item in the budget so marketing activities would begin to have specific associated costs.

Membership Drops and Adds. The list of schools that were added (17) and dropped (21) was reviewed. In general, schools that dropped indicated that too few data sets were being ordered to justify the annual membership fee. Perry noted that many smaller schools are now giving increased emphasis to faculty research and publication. That might lead to more interest in ICPSR by small schools.

Future Role of the Committee. The initial charge to this committee by then Council Chair Carol Shammas in 1996 has been accomplished. However, protection of the membership is always an issue, and the committee will likely continue to be responsible for planning the OR meetings. Geraci stressed the importance of communicating with the membership and recommended that committee charges and membership be included on the ICPSR Website.

Additional items were discussed during the report of the Member Relations Committee to Council on June 5, 1999.

Nelson reported on the OR Meeting agenda and raised the issue of Council sessions during the meeting. Further discussion ensued regarding the number of Council meetings per year, the responsibility and obligations of Council, the fall Council meeting agenda, and the amount of time needed to deal responsibly with Council business. Three or four time slots during the OR Meeting were identified for Council sessions, but Michelle Humphres was asked to query members further regarding their fall schedules. Council did vote to hold a meeting March 2000.

Planning and Policy

The Planning Committee discussed issues related to recent grant proposals submitted, including the NSF infrastructure grant, and the Federal Express problems encountered with the submission of the new SAMDHA grant.

The committee also discussed numerous details surrounding the difficulties ICPSR has had in the new leased space they moved into in the fall of 1998. These problems included carbon monoxide from vehicle exhaust fumes, chemical fumes from the conference room renovation, radon testing showing levels that needed to be lowered, extremely low humidity levels, and various problems associated with the city renovation of the parking structure across the street. The parking structure problems centered on the high noise levels due to the many jackhammers (at one time up to 20) removing concrete from the areas over head as well as over the street outside the building, but also included swirling dust in the air and some chemical smells. The health-related issues, especially the radon levels, are being monitored by the UM Department of Occupational Safety and Environmental Health and fixes are being discussed with them and with the landlord Borders. The construction-related issues will last through the summer but end at some point in the fall. The vehicle fumes and humidity issues remain a problem. Several possible solutions were discussed, and the committee agreed that ICPSR should proceed with buying a humidifier (estimated cost $50,000) and continue to explore other options with UM, and Borders -- such as changing the air intake to a new location and having an "air curtain" at the front door.

Quantitative Research and Training

The Committee discussed the Summer Program instructors and the need to ensure that each possessed the appropriate background in both social science methodology and the theory and methods of the discipline of statistics.

Next, the Committee took up the topic of the progress of the staff in securing appropriate space and facilities for the Summer Program at the University of Michigan. Some frustration was expressed as to the pace of these negotiations. Adequate space was found for the 1999 Program, but further work is needed to find a long-term solution.

The staff and the Summer Program Advisory Committee will continue to pursue implementing a series of advanced topic and cutting-edge seminars/conferences. Various topics and formats were discussed. The Committee also endorsed that the full Council authorize a line item, initially set at $20,000, to fund these activities.

Memorandum of Agreement

There was a brief discussion of the Memorandum of Agreement. Official Representatives should be notified that they need to review the new MoA, which is on the ICPSR Web site; we should provide time for a short discussion of the new MoA at the OR Meeting.

Warren Miller and Bill Flanigan Awards

The Miller Award is for a significant contribution to the infrastructure of the social sciences. The first recipients were Murray Aborne, Sue Dodd, and James Dowdy. The second year, the recipient was James Davis.

Discussion of this year's nominees for the Miller Award was:

Heinz Eulau, Stanford University, who was among the founders of the Consortium. Heinz realized the benefit of systematic surveys of voters; and conducted one of the first workshops on the topic in Ann Arbor in 1954. He was president of the America Political Science Association and also served on Council twice, once as Chair.

The Flanigan Award is for meritorious service as an OR, and is usually given to ORs with long service, and to those who have been helpful providing services to their individual campuses. This was most recently awarded to Judith Rowe and JoAnn Dionne.

Nominees this year are Kathy Isaacson (Lawrence University), Ann Janda (Northwestern University), and Siegfried Vogt (Washington State University).

It was moved by Elizabeth Stephenson and seconded by Margo Anderson to approve the three nominees for the Flanigan Award. This motion was unanimously approved.

Future Council meetings

There was a decision among Council to meet in November or August rather than meet during the OR meeting in October. It was decided that the meeting could not be in August because the budget would not be complete. The second and fourth weekends in November were discussed as possibilities, but the fourth weekend was ruled out due to Thanksgiving being that week. Michelle will check on available times and circulate the alternatives to Council.

Future Council meetings are:

November 19-21, 1999 Holiday Day Inn North Campus
March 17-19, 2000 Campus Inn Hotel
June 16-18, 2000 Campus Inn Hotel
October 6-8, 2000 Campus Inn Hotel

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