Council Minutes
June 16-18, 2000

Council Participants: Margo Anderson, Diane Geraci, Ann Green, John Korey, Scott Long, Paula McClain, Steven Ruggles, James Sweet, Bo Wandschneider

Absent Council Members: Charles Betsey, Stephen Fienberg, Huey Perry

ICPSR Staff Participants: Zack Allen, Erik Austin, Chris Dunn, Peter Granda, John Gray, Hank Heitowit, Michelle Humphres, Peter Joftis, Stacey Kubitz, James McNally, Mary Morris, Kathleen Thomson, Mary Vardigan, Hal Winsborough

Absent ICPSR Staff: JoAnne McFarland O'Rourke, Janet Vavra

Additional Participants: Ron Dekker, Dutch Member of CESSDA


Archival Development Committee

Present: Diane Geraci (Co-Chair), Ann Green (Co-Chair), Steven Ruggles, Peter Granda, Mary Vardigan

  1. ICPSR Acquisition and Collection Development Policy: A revised copy of the policy was circulated among members of the Archival Development Committee. Since three members of the Committee were attending their first Council meeting, they felt that they did not have sufficient information to recommend any to Council action at the present time. Some changes were suggested, particularly involving a recommendation that ICPSR should always be ready to acquire data collections that might be in danger of being lost. Such collections should be archived even if it is not possible to make them available to members immediately. Staff will make final substantive revisions and review the entire document to see if any practical problems would arise in the implementation of the policy. The Committee then will complete a final review so that the document can be included in the materials sent to the entire Council for review and possible implementation at the October Meeting.

  2. Census 2000 Advisory Committee: The first meeting of the 2000 Census Advisory Committee occurred in Minneapolis on May 18. Staff prepared a report about the meeting, which was distributed to the full Council. The Archival Development Committee approved the decisions reached to date, particularly that the Census Bureau is prepared to continue its association with ICPSR to permit the Consortium to archive all of the 2000 Census files in ASCII format and make them available to the membership. Members of the Committee wanted to know specifically how the association with the Bureau would work: would only members be allowed to access the data or, if outside funding were obtained, would distribution be open to the public? The Committee asked staff to consider how public distribution would affect membership and consult with them should such a decision appear feasible. If public distribution were to occur, the Committee recommended that staff consider restricting distribution to the membership for an initial period.

  3. "Shape of the River" Data: Erik Austin and Peter Granda met with Tom Nygren and Stacy Berg from the Mellon Foundation in Princeton, NJ, on April 13. The purpose of the trip was to determine if the many data files that constitute the "College and Beyond" database (used to produce the book with the above title) could be archived and distributed to the research community through ICPSR. While Mellon staffers need to create additional materials to document the database completely, they asked ICPSR to provide them with an initial set of recommendations to consider in making their data more readily available. Specifically, Mellon asked that ICPSR: develop a plan to produce a public-use file(s), propose guidelines for access to restricted files (including the possibility of a data enclave), and suggest "outreach" activities to increase awareness of the database.

  4. Redistribution Requests: The Committee reviewed and approved a request from the State University of New York at Buffalo to extract selected records and variables pertaining to Erie and Niagara counties in New York from ICPSR Study 8071: Census of Population and Housing, 1980 [United States]: Summary Tape File 3A and make the data available to users via a Web interface. A second request was received from a private company, Lexon Technologies of Downers Grove, IL. This organization is particularly interested in ICPSR Study 0003: Historical, Demographic, Economic, and Social Data: The United States, 1790-1970 and would like to include these data in a forthcoming electronic resource, the National Atlas of the United States. They do not propose to allow users to download raw data but only to examine the information in Study 0003 through their map displays. They are prepared to discuss cost and licensing arrangements with ICPSR. The Committee authorized ICPSR to explore this potential relationship in more detail and to obtain a specific cost and licensing proposal from Lexon before reporting back to the Committee.

  5. Topical Archive of Demographic Data: Steven Ruggles discussed the possibility of submitting a grant proposal to NICHD in the fall that would align ICPSR with a number of university Population Centers (e.g., those at the Universities of Michigan, Minnesota, Texas, and Wisconsin) to gather all demographic data in one archive where preservation would be the central consideration. In addition to all national census data, this new archive would hold and seek out international census data as well. Steve and Hal Winsborough will consult with the directors of the other Population Centers before exploring a possible ICPSR grant submission in the fall/winter.

  6. Economic/Financial Data: An information session on this topic for data librarians and other interested parties was held at the IASSIST meetings (June 7-10) with Diane Geraci and Peter Granda attending. Participants recommended that ICPSR attempt to augment its holdings in this area as much as possible, although the commercial databases of most interest are extremely expensive to purchase, with no rights of further dissemination. One speaker suggested that ICPSR approach the producers of the Global Financial Database in case they might want to consider some type of licensing agreement for some of their files that are software independent. Steve Ruggles suggested that ICPSR concentrate on archiving older collections that might be in danger of being lost and contact the National Bureau of Economic Research and the American Economic Association to see if we can preserve some their data. Staff will initiate communications with these organizations to see if there is interest.

Quantitative Research and Training Committee

Present: John Korey, Scott Long, Hank Heitowit

Heitowit presented the Committee with the latest update on the 2000 Summer Program.

This year two non-Ann Arbor based Summer Program workshops were held. The first on Latent Growth Curve Models was conducted at the University of North Carolina. The second was on Special Data Analysis and was located at the University of Illinois. Both were deemed successful experiments in locating courses in venues other than Ann Arbor.

There will be a series of educational and training activities conducted by ICPSR in conjunction with the 2000 Census, including three-to five-day workshops held in Ann Arbor on how to use and access Census data products. In addition, ICPSR may add a day of training to the traditional Census Bureau regional workshops. Finally, ICPSR will explore creating on-line tutorials for the use of 2000 Census data.

It was recommended that a special Council sub-committee on instructional materials be re-established, authorized by Council action, and be funded.

A group of faculty at the California State University system, led by Ed Nelson, is submitting a proposal to NSF seeking funding to support the creation of empirically-based undergraduate instructional materials. They are seeking collaboration with ICPSR in this project. The ICPSR would host workshops for faculty to learn how to create such products. In addition, once the teaching materials have been produced, ICPSR would be the archival and distribution center for them. This activity was enthusiastically endorsed by the Committee.

Finally, Heitowit asked the Committee to help coordinate and solicit input from the ICPSR Council for the agenda of an external committee to be created to review the Summer Program.

Later in the day the full Council followed up on the Committee recommendations:

  • The undergraduate instructional materials Council sub-committee was authorized.

  • The California State proposal was endorsed.

  • Council input to the Summer Program review will be channeled through Scott Long.

Policy and Planning Committee

Present: Margo Anderson (Chair), Jim Sweet, Bo Wandschneider, Ron Dekker, Erik Austin, John Gray, Hal Winsborough

  1. Space: Three items under this heading were reported on to the Committee by Interim Director Winsborough:

    • Developments on the Perry Building addition

    • Opportunity to move ICPSR operations out of the Borders Building in the Fall of 2000

    • Continuing problems with environmental quality in the Borders Building

    The "good news" concerned the current state of planning for ISR construction of a wing attached to the Perry Building (an historic former public school building owned by the University of Michigan and located two blocks from ISR on Packard Road). ISR accepted the Council's offer of a $750,000 contribution to construction costs of this wing, to be repaid to ICPSR over a period of time and with 5% interest. A proposal from Winsborough that ICPSR occupy a portion of this wing was accepted by ISR and proposed to the University of Michigan Provost, Nancy Cantor. She accepted and supports ISR's proposal to build the Perry Building addition as well as ISR's proposed use of the Perry addition space. The ISR plan for a Perry Building addition will be brought to the U-M Regents for approval in the early fall of this year. The current timetable for the Perry Building addition calls for construction on the wing to be completed in March of 2003. At that time, ICPSR's entire operation will move to the Perry addition, which it will share with the Survey Research Center's Survey Methods Program. (It should be noted that the main Perry Building is to be renovated at State of Michigan expense, commencing this fall, and then will be deeded by U-M to ISR. Space in the main Perry Building will be occupied by elements of the Survey Research Center, chiefly its Division of Surveys and Technology.)

    The facilities planning committee for the Perry addition has been established by ISR. Two ICPSR staff members were appointed to the committee: John Gray, to lead a design work group for the space ICPSR will occupy there, and Hank Heitowit, to participate in a design work group for the commons areas in the Perry addition. Those planning groups will commence work in July, with a deadline for completing the planning and programming of the space there by December of 2000. With reasonable luck, construction bids for the addition will be awarded in December of 2001; construction will commence in March of 2002; and the construction should be completed approximately a year after that. It is expected that ICPSR will occupy approximately the same amount of space in the Perry addition that it currently has in the Borders Building.

    Winsborough's report continued with some issues concerning the space ICPSR occupies in the Borders Building. The Consortium staff was moved to the Borders Building in October of 1998. The environment in that building was extremely unpleasant for the first year ICPSR staff was housed there. Reconstruction of the parking garage adjacent to and on top of the Borders Building subjected the staff to extreme levels of noise (jackhammers, construction vehicles) and dust from construction work. This was compounded by periodic invasion of the ICPSR workplace by diesel fumes, first from heavy trucks moving the Populations Studies Center furniture into Borders (in January of 1999) and episodically since, due to one of the main fresh air intakes being located in a covered alley way on the south side of the building. Two additional environment air problems (elevated radon readings in the lower level areas, and uncomfortably low humidity throughout the building) were addressed and ultimately solved. Air testing equipment monitored by the University's Occupational Safety and Environment Health unit has been periodically brought in to test air quality. Readings from that equipment have repeatedly registered low and legally-acceptable levels of possibly contaminating air-borne "agents" in the ICPSR space at the Borders Building. The air quality in the Borders Building, however, remains problematic for many ICPSR's employees, some of whom have experienced symptoms that those employees feel are caused by diesel fumes and other irritants in the air within the workplace.

    With this background of perceived environmental problems in the Borders Building, the interim director and unit managers seriously considered an opportunity that arose in May to move ICPSR staff to another building. The candidate building is located in an office park on the outskirts of Ann Arbor, on a street called Eisenhower Place. Elements of the Survey Research Center (SRC), in seeking additional space for its bursting-at-the-seams staff, had located this building after exhaustive search for rental property throughout Ann Arbor. Space in this building would have accommodated SRC's needs as well as all of the ICPSR staff, with availability in the fall of 2000. Advantages of the Eisenhower Place building as an interim location for ICPSR were numerous: quiet surroundings in a well-landscaped and sylvan setting; abundant free parking for employees (the University now charges approximately $400/year/employee for on-campus parking); adequate space that could be designed specifically for ICPSR occupancy; and a considerable number of windows for letting in natural light (the ICPSR space at Borders has no windows). Probably the most compelling reason for considering an interim move, however, was a "push" factor--the opportunity to move the ICPSR staff out of Borders and its legacy of poor air quality that had led to low employee morale. Winsborough and the Committee also discussed the disadvantages of a possible relocation to Eisenhower Place. They include the distant location, from ISR and the University campus; logistical difficulties for the frequent business and intellectual interactions with ISR staff; and the suspicion of some ICPSR staff that relocation to Eisenhower Place could imperil an ultimate move to the Perry Building. Timing of either move (to Perry or Eisenhower) was unclear to both staff and the Committee. A late-breaking development probably overshadowed other factors: the responsibility that ICPSR would have for all or a major portion of the remaining years on the lease at Borders (estimated at around $800,000). The Committee requested that staff examine the lease on Borders, and Committee chair Anderson volunteered to investigate who actually owns the Borders Building.

    The Committee discussed the consequences of both relocating staff out of the Borders building and of staying in that space. Financial, legal, and moral obligations to the staff, member institutions, and the Council itself were considered. In closing deliberations on the agenda item, Winsborough stated that this was an issue fully appropriate for the Council to decide.

  2. Director's Search: Winsborough reported that the Director Search Committee had met on June 16 in Ann Arbor (with Search Committee chair Gary King attending by phone). The Search Committee had reviewed applications that had been received, and concluded that the new candidate pool included several very plausible candidates. The committee agreed to proceed in seriatim fashion beginning with the candidate evaluated as the most promising. Winsborough was deputized by the Search Committee to check tenured appointment possibilities at the apposite University of Michigan department for the candidate. If that appeared promising, the candidate would be invited to Ann Arbor for a summer visit to meet with ICPSR and ISR staff, as well as any University department member present for the summer. A second early fall visit would also need to be scheduled, as well. Should difficulties develop with an appointment in a U-M department for this initial candidate, the Search Committee would immediately move on to investigating possibilities for the next most promising candidate from the pool. Winsborough stressed his and the Search Committee's need to move rapidly now and throughout the rest of the summer, so as to have a candidate as close to "offer" status by the time the Fall term starts.

  3. Providing Computing Services: The Committee discussed the advisability of providing compute services on ICPSR equipment to members and others outside the ICPSR staff. In recent years, the Consortium has introduced capabilities, mounted on ICPSR servers, that permit some elementary data analysis function on selected data collections. Intended as exploratory tools, these capabilities have proven very popular, particularly for students and clients of several of ICPSR's topical archives that are sponsored by U.S. Federal agencies. Very recently, suggestions and requests have been made that these data exploratory tools be made more robust, to permit more extensive data management and analysis operations. The Committee was asked to assess the wisdom of ICPSR's increasing these capabilities. Two aspects of this trend concerned the Committee: the duplication of effort with member institutions' local computing facilities, and the resource expenditure to develop and maintain more advanced capabilities that are already present in standard statistical packages (such as SAS, SPSS, and STATA). The committee acknowledged the prospect of a "creep" into more full blown statistical capabilities with each enhancement of the extant capabilities. Nevertheless, it declined to issue policy recommendation on the topic, preferring to await a more complete framing of the issue by the staff. The Committee asked to return to the issue at a future Council meeting.

  4. Secure Data Enclave: Council had discussed the establishment of an ICPSR secure data enclave at an earlier meeting. Winsborough commissioned a framing document on the topic, by Technical Director Janet Vavra. (This was distributed to the full Council later that day.) Winsborough noted the rise of such facilities elsewhere, with virtually all of them established and controlled by Federal statistical agencies. He noted the restrictions that were being mandated by the Federal agencies (approval required for the problems to be studied, the methods used, and the fit of the investigation's "product" with agency policy and doctrine). The nature and extent of those restrictions clash with the normal tenets of academic freedom and scientific investigation. Winsborough advocated the establishment of an ICPSR enclave of this sort to provide a choice of such facilities, and one that would operate more in keeping with academic principles. The Committee expressed support for this concept, and urged the staff to continue pursuit of such an enterprise. The Committee enthusiastically assented to a proposal to expend member dues to establish and maintain such a facility (estimated to be up to $100,000 a year).

Budget Committee

Present: Margo Anderson, Jim Sweet, Stacey Kubitz, Kathleen Thomson, Hal Winsborough

Budget highlights:

  • Fund balance addition of about $75,000 estimated for FY 2000.

  • Fund balance addition of about $6,000 estimated for FY 2001.

  • FY 2001 budget does not now include money for a 1/3 contribution to a spousal salary. When added, it should be put in the incentive retention line under salaries unless a check of other ISR units shows that it "belongs" elsewhere.

  • Jim Sweet moved to approve the FY2001 budget, seconded by Diane Geraci and unanimously approved by Council.

  1. Upcoming Grants and Proposals:

    • DDI A request for 10% additional dollars to finish up activities will go in, probably in July. A DDI 2 grant proposal would go in probably next winter.

    • SAMHDA a three-year extension of the old contract through NORC was mailed out just today. It is almost certain to be funded beginning October 1, 2000. Total budget of just under $2.2 million over the three years.

    • I2T/San Diego Supercomputer grant Will probably start August 1, 2000. Small dollars and activity. $140,000 over three years.

    • Census 2000 Erik and Hal will be writing proposals to the agencies that helped to fund the 1990 Census with requests similar to that work but updated dollars.

  2. Current Hiring: Most of the open positions have been filled, including one of the two librarian positions funded by the NSF Infrastructure grant. Only occasionally are salary levels not an issue for new hires. Some equity adjustments have had to be made for current employees.

  3. OR Meeting Expenses: ICPSR should watch expenses for the October 2001 meeting. The 1999 meeting was a big hit with ORs, but the food and flowers costs could be trimmed next time.

  4. Budget Timing Issues:

    The Summer Program's carry-forward tuition monies need to be spent so that they don't create a budget issue each year.

    General fund dollars fluctuate and put us at certain times of the year in the situation of showing expenses without the corresponding revenue.

    Our fund balance and our liquid cash reserves are not the same. The low point in our actual cash creates a problem for us in terms of the monies we need to pay to ISR for the Perry Building addition "mortgage."

  5. Membership Fees: The last few years we have been increasing the cost of all categories by 3% based on generally calculated inflation figures. ICPSR membership is inexpensive compared to other groups, but some schools incorrectly have this cost in a departmental budget (e.g., Political Science) where it stands out as expensive, rather than in a university-wide budget such as the library where this cost is small. In addition most universities have to pay the cost of the OR's salary also. We need to review the membership categories at the next meeting to see if larger adjustments should be made in some categories and little to no adjustments made in others. We need data on volume for each category.

    Margo Anderson moved to have the membership fee increased by 3%. The motion was seconded by John Korey, and the Council were all in favor.

  6. Needs for the October 2000 Meeting:

    • OR meeting reimbursement numbers

    • Review all charges and subsidies

    • Pricing structures:

      • Breakdown of percent membership by category;

      • Breakdown of Summer Program numbers

Membership Relations Committee

Present: Diane Geraci (Co-Chair), John Korey, Bo Wandschneider, Zack Allen, Hank Heitowit, Michelle Humphres, Mary Morris

  1. End User Survey: The University Consulting Group (UCG) was retained to assist ICPSR in understanding who the end consumers of ICPSR data are and how they use ICPSR data products. To locate end users, ORs from several campuses were asked to provide names of both faculty and graduate students who had used ICPSR data.

    ICPSR received 35 responses. The responses were split almost equally between faculty and students. The number of datasets obtained in the past year by these users ranged from two to more than 100 and averaged 10 datasets per end user. Word of mouth appeared to be the most common way that users learned of ICPSR, and the most common uses of the data were for journal articles and conference papers. Some of the respondents used the data to complete theses and dissertations and for instructional purposes.

    In general, end users found ICPSR data to be valuable, and 94% of the respondents found the data to be either valuable or very valuable to their research. Additionally, end users are generally satisfied with ICPSR.

    This fall, ICPSR plans to supplement these data by directly contacting end users. A free ICPSR CD-ROM of choice will be offered to respondents that participate.

    Council Committee members suggested that ORs might be the mechanism to assist in facilitating an end user survey. The OR could present the survey after providing services through an on-line form. Staff will pursue this suggestion as part of the survey process in the fall.

  2. Nonacademic Requests: ICPSR is in the process of negotiating a two-year contract with the Federal Reserve Banks. The membership includes 12 Federal Banks and the Federal Reserve Banks Board of Governors. The affiliation is priced at $3,450.00 per bank for a total membership fee of $44,850.00. The Reserve Banks are in the process of reviewing the agreement, and the membership is arranged to start on July 1, 2000.

    ICPSR has received requests for membership from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Council discussed these requests and recommended that the World Bank and IMF be offered Associate Memberships at $15,000 each. Council suggested that ICPSR inquire about the possibility of a collaboration between ICPSR and IMF that would allow for the sharing of ICPSR and IMF data.

  3. Membership Outreach Visits: In an effort to increase membership outreach, ICPSR outreach staff have made several site visits.

    Wake Forest University invited ICPSR to present a workshop that focused on "Data in the Classroom." Several area schools were invited to participate and learn about ICPSR. One guest school is considering joining ICPSR. The overall workshop was a success, and ICPSR staff members Zack Allen and Dieter Burrell were thanked for their impact and expertise at presenting the workshop.

    The Florida Consortium held its annual conference at the University of Miami. ICPSR presented an overview of ICPSR services. In addition, ICPSR presented information at the exhibit/poster demo session.

    IASSIST held their annual conference on the campus of Northwestern University. ICPSR attended the poster/demo session and presented ICPSR membership information and answered data questions.

    The Council previously authorized $25,000 for membership outreach activities, and Committee members cautioned staff to make every effort to stay within the budget. Council also commented that it would be difficult to turn down requests that might ensure the stability of a member institution. Committee members suggested involving Council members and ORs in the outreach effort, particularly if they are located close to a site visit. Staff will pursue this effort further in the fall.

  4. Individual Access Experiment: An announcement was sent to ORs at member campuses asking for volunteers to participate in an open access pilot permitting campuswide direct access to ICPSR data. ICPSR will choose 10-12 campuses to experiment with open access. Access will be determined by domain, and each participating campus will designate a technical contact on their campus. The Information Technology Committee is discussing this topic in more detail.

  5. Membership Activity Report: Membership has continued to grow. In fiscal year 2000 15 new members joined the Consortium, and 4 members re-instated their membership. Fiscal year 2001 has two new members established along with the Federal Reserve Banks.

  6. 2001 Official Representatives Meeting: The ICPSR OR meeting is schedule for October 24-28, 2001. The Membership Relations Committee will serve as the OR Program Committee. The Program Committee will start discussing the agenda at the October 2000 Council meeting.

  7. Annual Fee Increase: Staff presented Council with three fee increase models that were based on (1) the CPI total annual increase for 1999; (2) the CPI monthly average increase for 1999; and (3) an increase that realistically reflected the increase in organizational costs.

    The ICPSR Policy Committee was also scheduled to discuss the annual fee increase. The final discussion and fee increase approval were planned for the afternoon general session.

Information Technology Committee

Present: Ann Green (Co-Chair), Paula McClain (Co-Chair), Ron Dekker, Scott Long, Steven Ruggles, Peter Joftis, Zack Allen, and John Gray

Notes: Ann Green has joined this committee. Minutes from March were not included in the binder but copies were given to the Committee prior to the meeting.

  1. Progress/Status report on website revisions: John Gray presented a status report on the website revision. The Web Committee consists of approximately 10 staff members who are in the process of making revisions to Web pages. Mary Vardigan receives those revisions for review and implementation. No definite completion date has been set; other priorities may delay or interfere but the expectation is 6-8 weeks for completion.

    The example pages that were shown were originally developed by a graphic design company and later refined by UM's ITD services. The site will be beta tested in the fall (possibly sooner). There will be a new site for ORs.

    To maintain the new website, a position has been posted through Mary Vardigan, to do the content maintenance. John Gray is responsible for the technical maintenance (perl scripts, etc.) and software. He expressed his thoughts that maintenance should be viewed as a "publishing/editorial" issue. The look and content are that type of issue.

    Committee members thought the changes looked great and that they moved ICPSR's website into the areas expected and desired.

    The Committee had the following questions and comments/concerns:

    • Some concern was expressed as to the ability to hire a Web person (in this area) at the salary indicated. How much will the new person be involved in the development of the new "search" techniques on the site? This will depend on the person's talents and skills.

    • We should check STATA's page for a FAQ that is very organized and very effective.

    • We need to develop more online HELP resources, so that a person can make an adequate assessment of what they are doing. A "Help page" that is context sensitive is in development and a FAQ section is being developed by the web committee. They are also developing a Quick Data links page.

    • Does ICPSR have a database that can give current hit rate on pages? The information is available but no analysis of the log is being done. Some organizations use this information to determine where resources should be invested to clean up pages (most hits done vs. most hits desired, etc.). Once this task is completed, will this Web redesign have to be done again? Web design is a continual process. We haven't had changes in four years. Changes will be much more frequent from this point forward. The Web will become the main process for dissemination and education. Web content should be the concern. A separate unit may be needed for Web development.

    The project with the San Diego Supercomputing Center may provide some additional enhancements to our search capabilities. They are researching pattern matching with complex documents.

    Some difficulties are being experienced with the OSIRIS to DDI project. The main issue is that the definition of OSIRIS varies within organizations.

  2. Progress/Status Report on Test of Opening Access to all Users on Member Campuses. A message was sent to ORs asking for volunteers this project. Within 30 minutes five volunteers came back. More (12) responded overnight. There was a bit of concern from some as to the added work that would be involved (for them). ICPSR does not want to provide all the support; we want to be able to refer users to the appropriate person on their campus. The Committee discussed the issue of OR and DR support. It will need to be developed further in regard to federations.

    Once the technique is developed, an IP report to ORs would be a nice item to provide. ICPSR is hoping to find out how other campuses handle identifying IP addresses. A registration service may be needed. Internal tools are needed for this list of IP addresses, and the expectation is that it will not be a small project.

    In a week the list of volunteer institutions will be reviewed by senior staff for the pilot group to be selected.

    What do we do about federations? Would a local support person be needed at each school? If so, then the question of "Why a federation is needed?" may arise.

  3. ICPSR's Relationship with Various Data Archive Initiatives: Peter Joftis recent attended a NESSTAR meeting in Amsterdam. They are depending on the DDI to drive their system.

    Even though Micah Altman spoke at IASSIST, we have not yet seen anything from Harvard's Virtual Data Archive. Ann Green. and Steve Ruggles also attended IASSIST and sat on the panel that discussed this item.

    Do we want to compete with these multiple systems that present our data? If there are three or four of these, what are the costs to keep our system working with each? There was much discussion on this topic. We need a summary report of what is involved in association with these archives.

    Perhaps ICPSR should not be concerned with providing the front end, but just the data, metadata, and documentation. With this approach there is no favoring any one system. SDA, FERRET, and other systems are in some disagreement on how and which services should be provided. ICPSR has a lot of clout here, but everyone else has to go along with our decision on a common standard (a meeting is needed). It depends on cooperation of all the data archives.

    Should we spend resources to work with these groups? VDC has already asked for searching protocol, naming, and file access protocol. We need to define a standard that we can articulate outside. ICPSR and the European archives should send out a message on what this standard will be.

    How we communicate with these multiple databases is what's important. Being able to translate on the fly is the answer. But, will this scale to a membership as large as ICPSR (processing load on system)? The belief is that the demand for services will grow slower than the computer capabilities.

Open Session

  1. Reconstruction of the Instructional Materials Sub-committee: It was moved and seconded that such a sub-committee be established. It will consist of five members appointed by Margo, with John Korey serving as the chair. The sub-committee will meet twice a year to discuss social science undergraduate data in ICPSR, and report on acquisitions and grants as well as other activities.

  2. October's Council Meeting: In order to cut costs, the October Council meeting will be held in the ICPSR building.

  3. Proposed Dates for 2001 Council Meetings: March 23-25, June 15-17, and October 25-27 (coinciding with the OR meeting).

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