ICPSR Council Minutes
17-18 October 2002
Council members present: Margo Anderson (Past Chair), Sandy Darity, Ilona Einowski, Elisabeth Gerber, Ann Green (Chair), John Handy, Mark Hayward, John Korey, Scott Long, Steve Ruggles, Bo Wandschneider
ICPSR staff present: Erik Austin, Rita Bantom, Bryan Beecher, Steve Burling, Edward Czilli, Dieter Burrell, Chris Dunn, Peter Granda, Sheila Grindatti, Bree Gunter, Myron Gutmann (Director), Hank Heitowit, Laurie Howland, Cynthia Hoxey, Michelle Humphres, Stacey Kubitz, Jim McNally, Mary Morris, JoAnne McFarland O'Rourke, Mary Vardigan, Janet Vavra
Visitors: Kevin Schürer, UK Data Archive; David Featherman, ISR Director; Matthew Shapiro, ISR Staff
Presentation by Matthew Shapiro
The Michigan Census Research Data Center (MCRDC) is a joint project of the U.S. Census Bureau and the University of Michigan to enable qualified researchers to access confidential, unpublished census data. In order to use these data, researchers must submit a proposal that explains the scientific justification for their request and ensure that confidentiality procedures are followed. All research must take place in the RDC facility and must be approved by a Census Bureau employee before it can be removed and published.
The RDC has currently been in use for a month, and Matthew Shapiro stressed the importance of submitting proposals early in order to avoid backlog. He suggested applying for funding and access to the data simultaneously, in order to ensure timely processing. He also indicated that several proposals have already been approved and that several more are under review.
Shapiro proposed that ICPSR purchase a seat in the RDC, a funding process that would last three to four years, and pay for the salary of the census employee as well as the Census Bureau fees. Myron Gutmann asked the Council to think about what level of support ICPSR should provide in this venture, suggesting that IPCSR could assist researchers in writing proposals and getting approval.
Gutmann gave a PowerPoint presentation that outlined ICPSR's progress in the following key areas:
Summer Program: There were 692 participants in the 2002 Summer Program, indicating a 53% increase in registrants. The new courses were well attended, and the off-site courses were successful.
CNS: Bryan Beecher has been hired as the new Director of Computing and Network Services. The Summer Program effort was very successful this year with more computers being provided to participants. The new server upgrade is complete, and staff is currently testing the administrative database.
ICPSR Direct: There are currently 240 member institutions participating in ICPSR Direct, and staff predict that the number of downloads will double over the next year. There has been an increase in orders for removable media, an occurrence that staff attributes to the newly released NACDA studies. Gutmann also reported that the retrofit scanning project should be complete in three to four weeks.
Web Activities: The new ICPSR Intranet is online, and the new Internet should go live in February 2003. Gutmann reported improved handling of series studies, and indicated that ICPSR webmasters have taken over the maintenance of the new ISR website.
Instructional Support: The SIMI website continues to develop and has added information on APSA SETUPS and Data for 2000. A proposal involving the Alice Jones data has been submitted to NEH, a project that was begun by Jim Oberly during his OR sabbatical earlier this year.
Perry Building: Bids are complete, and most of the furniture has been ordered. The customization process started three weeks ago, and the move has been scheduled for December 12. The task force will begin meeting to determine the best use for the unallocated space in the building, and will have a report complete in January 2003.
External Funding: The IPUMS redesign, IAED and NACDA renewals have been approved, and the following ICPSR proposals are pending: Robert Wood Johnson, NIJ, Self-Management of Diabetes, Transforming Historical Data. The following research proposals are also pending: Grammars of Death, Immigrant Elders, Grassland Settlement, and Philippine Ecomigration.
Census 2000: SF3 has been downloaded and is available on FastTrack, and the first subsets of SF1 are now available. The 1% IPUMS is due in December. To date, there have been 289,000 files downloaded.
Other News: ICPSR has created a Performance Management Team to improve the employee evaluation process. The search for a Research Investigator has begun, and interviews will begin to be scheduled this fall. The FY 2002 budget ended unfavorably by $722,000 due to slow sponsored project spending, lower direct and indirect cost revenue, and market conditions which reduced investment income. Gutmann also reported that $237,000 of 2002 membership dues was recognized in 2001.
Gutmann concluded that his priorities for 2003 will be to install better financial controls and management, to continue instructional support development and the development of the tracking database, to encourage additional research projects, enhanced user support, and web-based infrastructure.
Kevin Schürer reported that CESSDA has two new members, Luxembourg and Romania. He also gave on update on the new Centre Quetelet in France, an organization joining CIDSP, LASMAS, and INED.
The UK Data Archive has secured five years of funding with a possibility of extending to eight years. Their new program, called UK Data Access, will be operated from Essex, which will continue to be the contact point for ICPSR, CESSDA, and the UK Data Archive. One new upcoming project is MADIERA, a project established to develop an integrated resource discovery gateway in order to identify and locate relevant resources. The project will also allow for the subset and download of extensive amounts of metadata as well as provide links from the metadata to relevant reports and publications. A second new project is METADATER, which focuses primarily on the enhancement and enrichment of metadata as well as integrating survey data.
Schürer suggested that ICPSR provide a member to the review committees on each of these new projects in order to continue to interact with and provide feedback to the CESSDA community.
The Plenary Session focused on three topics: 1) the new ICPSR website, presented by ICPSR webmaster Matthew Richardson; 2) User Support Initiatives, presented by Janet Vavra, Director of Technical Services; and 3) Improving communications with ORs, presented by Council member Ilona Einowski.
ICPSR Web Site
The plenary session opened with a demonstration of ICPSR's website prototype. It is widely felt that the current website needs revisions, especially in light of several new developments, such as ICPSR Direct. There is also a need for improved navigation and labeling within the current website. As a result of these issues, the ICPSR website is being redesigned for availability in Spring 2003.
Richardson presented a prototype of the new ICPSR website, which may undergo additional revisions. The proposed new website will have three modes of navigation, including topical areas, search, and a site map. The proposed home page will have five static links representing major categories. The ICPSR Direct pages will allow the user to add multiple items for download, utilizing a facility similar to a "shopping cart." The user will also be able to browse and download items most frequently used. Data and documentation files will be displayed as hierarchical folders, which can be expanded and collapsed. If there are fewer than 25 files, they will initially display in expanded view. If there are more than 25 files, they will be displayed in collapsed view to decrease the download time. The website will be designed using XHTML 1.0. Final terminology and icons will be decided later. Richardson indicated that ORs will be solicited for feedback and graduate students will function as a test audience. Council suggested that ORs and non-ORs be involved in user testing. Another suggestion was made to set up a test version of the proposed website in another location.
User Support Initiatives
User Support initiatives include expanding services for ORs, ICPSR Direct users, and other partners by using different methods to increase communication. Two levels of communication were identified: communication provided by ICPSR, and collaborative communication between ORs. Suggested communication methods include on-line forums, regional seminars, e-mail notification when data are added or updated, and distance learning, especially to orient new users. Other initiatives include creating other archives, preparing proposals, developing partnerships for greater access, obtain funding for collaboration such as the Visiting OR program, and exploring new ways to use the existing but fledging enclave services. Concern was expressed about inundating ORs with emails from a listserv or on-line forum. To avoid this, ICPSR could post discussion threads from which users could select relevant topics. Staff expressed the need for more feedback and continued discussion of this topic.
Improving Communication with ORs
Ilona Einowski presented the results of phone interviews conducted with ORs at eight member institutions in California. The ORs were interviewed regarding their thoughts on six topics including ICPSR Direct, communication with IRBs, membership fees, bibliography, and OR Meeting 2003 topics. The ORs were also asked to respond to the question: "If ICPSR could provide more support, what services would you like to see?" A summary of the results is presented below.
ICPSR Direct: Overall, the ORs valued this service. They asked to receive more information from ICPSR about ICPSR Direct data usage on their campuses.
ICPSR Communication with IRBs on Member Campuses: This was a non-issue to some of the ORs but of some interest to others. Several of the ORs requested advance notification of ICPSR communications with campus IRBs.
Membership Fees: Several ORs were concerned about the cost of membership dues, and reported that their institution sometimes struggled to pay them. Nevertheless, none of the ORs surveyed were thinking about dropping out. Many members pay their ICPSR dues out of the library budget, but this has become a bit problematic. Because the ICPSR membership appears to function like one of many subscription services that libraries pay for, it occasionally becomes a target to be cut. For this reason, some institutions have moved the ICPSR membership to an administrative area.
Bibliography: Some ORs were not aware of the Bibliography or found it difficult to find on the website. Many of the ORs thought that the Bibliography was a good idea but they were unsure of what to do with it. There was a suggestion to present a session at the OR meeting about how to use it.
OR Meeting 2003 Topics: Some ORs suggested an in-depth tour of the website and extensive discussion of IRB issues.
"If ICPSR could provide more support what services would you like to see?" Several ORs mentioned that they would like more direct contact with ICPSR. Several also wanted more instructions and training, including technical and local assistance.
Council discussion of the issues surrounding ICPSR's communication with ORs and users focused on the following points:
OR Contact: There was some discussion about who is the appropriate contact person for the OR. Sometimes, the appointed OR is not directly involved and the real contact person is someone else who works closer with the users. Also, ORs often encounter difficulties in finding staff telephone numbers and e-mail addresses. It was agreed that improvements in tracking changes in contact names is needed.
ICPSR contact with ORs and Users: There are continuing questions about the role of ORs and communication from ICPSR. Gutmann suggested that more than just follow-up calls are necessary. Currently, a packet is sent to new members welcoming them and informing them about ICPSR services. To facilitate communication, ICPSR could create a web page directing users and ORs to ask questions. ICPSR could experiment with chat rooms and it could aggressively register users online.
Mentoring between ORs: In describing future services, it was suggested that ICPSR staff stay in contact with and encourage interaction between experienced and new ORs. There was mention of the need to create a checklist for contacting the OR with specific questions. There is also an issue of timing when ICPSR calls the OR or the contact person. Perhaps it would be better to allow the OR or contact person to communicate with ICPSR with any questions.
OR Meeting Program: Surveys should be sent out requesting feedback from the ORs about the program.
Relationship between ICPSR, ORs and Users: ICPSR is still considering how best to define its relations with ORs. Three areas were identified as the role of ICPSR: 1) to retain current members; 2) Support users of the data; and 3) Support ORs in doing their jobs. The question was raised about whether ICPSR should concentrate on its relationships with ORs or go beyond to the users.
Gutmann requested that Council advise staff of priorities in the areas that were discussed. It was agreed that a more systematic approach to communicating with ORs is needed. Gutmann suggested that staff develop a strategy for improved OR relations, to be discussed at the March council meeting.
Planning and Policy Committee
Council: Ann Green (Chair), Sandy Darity, Mark Hayward
Staff: Myron Gutmann, Rita Bantom
Staff reported that the renovations of the Perry Building should be complete by December 1. Several move committees have been established and a move plan will be in place very soon. ICPSR is expected to move beginning on December 12 through December 15. Staff anticipates that the website will be down for approximately 48 hours over the weekend during the move. Staff reported that the furniture bid process has been completed and that ICPSR will benefit from an increased discount structure due to the competition for our business. The committee reviewed and discussed the budgetary aspect of the furniture; a full report will be given in the Budget Committee. The committee urged staff to continue to be frugal with the move expenses, continue to plan for the move, and provide communication to the external community concerning the move as soon as possible.
Myron Gutmann reported that he has constituted a Perry Building task force that will be responsible for analyzing and developing a plan for the unallocated space in the Perry Building. This committee will explore innovative and creative options for the utilization of space. Staff offered possible options, such as using the space for the Summer Program or perhaps a partnership on a computer lab.
40th Anniversary Celebration - March & October
The committee discussed the timetable for recognizing ICPSR's 40th anniversary and agreed that beginning the events in March 2003 and culminating in October 2003 at the OR Meeting would be ideal. Staff reported that a planning committee has been formed with support from ISR's Development Officer, Patrick Shields. The committee noted that this is an opportunity to include the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Perry Building and should be planned during the March Council meeting and incorporated into the Council agenda. The committee discussed various ideas for celebrating this event and agreed a symposium would be appropriate. The committee urged staff to continue the planning and involve Council as deemed necessary.
Visiting OR Program
The committee reviewed the past OR Sabbatical Program and determined that this is a beneficial activity that should be continued for another year for one Official Representative or Designated Representative. The committee recommended that the next OR sabbatical have a specific project orientation that would directly benefit ICPSR members, perhaps with a focus on user services. The committee recommended that Council approve $7,500 for funding this activity for four to eight weeks.
New Staffing Initiatives
Gutmann reported that ICPSR qualifies for the Research Scientist track, particularly Track I. He explained that the components of tenure would be based on ISR funds, not ICPSR funds. The committee discussed the Research Investigator search and looks forward to filling this position by January 2003. The committee urged staff to continue to review the particulars of staffing Research Scientists and to continue to have this item as an agenda item.
Gutmann also reported that ICPSR has Dr. James Lee on staff as a visiting faculty associate for a one-year joint appointment with the History Department. Currently, this appointment has a very minor impact on the budget, resulting in ICPSR providing office space, office supplies, and minimal technology support. Staff reported that this appointment brings the total to three current faculty associates at ICPSR. The committee discussed developing a process and budget to address this growing opportunity. The committee developed the following questions that staff should begin to think about: How to choose? How to announce/advertise? What are the benefits to ICPSR? What are the costs? What is ICPSR's capacity? The committee requested that staff begin to develop Visiting Scholar Guidelines with the above questions as a basis.
Report on Intellectual Property at ICPSR
Staff reported on continued discussions with University of Michigan administrators about the ownership of intellectual property created at ICPSR, and about options for the future. The committee reviewed suggested language to address this issue provided by the University of Michigan and offered feedback. The committee encouraged Gutmann to continue these discussions with David Featherman and the University of Michigan.
ICPSR Initiatives for the Winter-Spring Period
Instructional Activities: Staff reported that the pending NEH proposal due in June 2003 is a possibility. The committee discussed the options of a single disciplinary focus or several focuses. The committee encouraged staff to continue to investigate this option and to develop the best approach.
Summer Program: The committee discussed the importance of ICPSR's Summer Program and encouraged staff to continue to review the program for additional opportunities for continued success.
Disclosure Risk Analysis Project: Staff reported that the partnership with ISR on this project is productive and moving forward. The committee discussed the current issue of test bed studies and encouraged staff to continue to develop this project.
DDI Alliance: Gutmann reported that there are ongoing discussions to finalize the DDI alliance. ICPSR's involvement will require a Memorandum of Agreement. The committee recommended that Gutmann continue to negotiate for an alliance and begin to draft a Memorandum of Agreement. Due to the short time frame involved, the committee requested that Gutmann send the draft of the Agreement to the committee in order to move the process forward.
Membership Relations Committee
Council: Margo Anderson, John Handy, John Korey (Chair), Bo Wandschneider
Staff: Bree Gunter, Hank Heitowit, Michelle Humphres, Mary Morris
Membership Activity Report
The committee reviewed the membership activity since July. Four new members have joined, one school has rejoined, and two schools recently gave the required one-year notice of their intention to drop membership.
Council asked whether the current economic climate is affecting membership. Staff reported that membership invoice payments are actually ahead of schedule when compared to last year and that there are no indications, other than the two mentioned above, of schools considering dropping membership. It is possible that the placement of the ICPSR membership in libraries is advantageous in economic downturns because the membership is treated as an electronic service rather than as a subscription and therefore is not susceptible when libraries are directed to cut their subscriptions.
Promotion of ICPSR Direct
Staff reported that 232 schools are participating in ICPSR Direct as of 9/20/02. Discussion then turned to promotional activities, both in terms of schools not currently participating, and in advertising ICPSR Direct on campuses that have the service. Suggestions included placing ads in profession publications/journals to alert faculty to the service, asking professional associations to put an ad or some information on their website about ICPSR Direct, and possibly having an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. With respect to informing users of the availability of ICPSR Direct, suggestions included sending all ORs a short statement or ad regarding ICPSR Direct that they could then mail to their users, and offering other avenues ORs could pursue for advertising ICPSR Direct locally, such as holding workshops, posting flyers, etc. Staff will develop a set of promotional activities.
ICPSR Communications with ORs
Ilona Einowski's report regarding ICPSR Communications with ORs was discussed at the plenary session and was not further discussed by the committee.
2003 OR Meeting
The committee would like to see a greater percentage of members represented at the biennial meeting and suggested that a letter from Myron Gutmann encouraging participation be part of our communication with ORs. The committee also suggested that the letter encourage members to send their designated recipient (DR) if the OR cannot attend.
The 2001 OR meeting agenda items were reviewed and discussion revolved around which topics are still relevant and might therefore be retained in some manner for the 2003 meeting. Other topics mentioned included the Research Data Center, non-traditional data, and local promotion of ICPSR Direct. ICPSR will solicit ideas for the meeting from ORs prior to the March Council meeting since the committee will need to firm up the agenda at that time.
Update on ICPSR Communications with UM Business School
Staff reported that a draft proposal seeking assistance in developing an ICPSR marketing plan has been submitted to the U-M Business School. ICPSR expects feedback within the next week or so from the Business School faculty. The submission deadline is later in the year.
Outreach to Non-Member Institutions
Outreach activities to non-members were previously put on hold pending the outcome of the Ad-hoc membership committee. However, staff reported that a three day trip in November to the Dallas area is planned for the purpose of reinforcing ICPSR membership and as an out-reach activity to at least one non-member school. A similar trip is tentatively planned to the Atlanta region next spring.
Acknowledging that the Ad-hoc membership committee still has a substantial amount of work to do, the committee would like the moratorium on out-reach activities to non-members lifted. Taking into account budget considerations, the committee recommends active recruitment of new members. The committee discussed ideas about how to organize and staff these membership drives.
Ad-hoc Membership Committee
Margo Anderson reported on the activities of the Ad-hoc membership committee, which had met electronically. Michelle Humphres recently completed an extensive database containing all the information requested by the committee. Anderson indicated that committee would now start to analyze those data.
Anderson also indicated that the committee has discussed the idea of offering a subscription service for ICPSR data. This would differ from a membership in that a subscription would involve setting a fixed dollar amount that would entitle the user to a fixed amount of data. A subscription service might be a way to get non-members to use ICPSR data, which in turn might lead to ICPSR membership. There would have to be some disincentives though, so that current members would not drop their membership for the less expensive but limited subscription service.
The Ad-hoc committee will continue their work and report back at the March Council meeting.
Archival Development Committee
Council: Steve Ruggles (Chair), Ilona Einowski, Scott Long
Staff: Erik Austin, Peter Granda, Mary Vardigan
Retrofit codebook project: The codebook project to convert the remainder of ICPSR paper documentation to electronic form is 93% complete, with two-thirds of the remaining documentation in the form of microfiche, which is more complicated to deal with. ICPSR outsourced the imaging of the fiche, and we have now received the converted tif images. The final task is to process the images to PDF and this should be finished this fall.
We will run an article in the Winter 2003 Bulletin about the retrofit project, along with a picture of the EDC staff. To further acknowledge and commemorate the successful completion of the project, we will prepare a bound codebook and hold a "ceremony" for the EDC staff in March 2003.
Latinobarometros: The sense of the Council at the June meeting was that we needed to get a message to the producers and funders of the Latinobarometros (LBs) to encourage them to release the data to the academic research community at a reasonable price. Soon after the meeting, Richard Rockwell contacted the data collector, Marta Lagos of Chile, to ask if the Roper Center could archive the LBs and distribute them to Roper Center members. As far as we can determine, this overture was not successful. In the interim, Mike Martinez, former OR from the University of Florida, has contacted us formally to request that ICPSR attempt to obtain distribution rights to the LB data for the membership.
The committee recommended that ICPSR write a letter to Lagos, to be cosigned by CESSDA if they agree, opening a dialogue about ways that we can cooperate to make these data available to the larger research community. In the meantime, we will attempt to obtain the CD with LB data from the mid-1990s to explore the data further.
Letters to IRBs on member campuses: After sending letters to IRBs in the spring to alert them about the new information on the ICPSR website concerning disclosure risk, ICPSR heard from some ORs that they wanted copies of the letters for themselves. Erik Austin followed up on this, and heard from about three dozen ORs, to whom he had sent copies of letters that went to their IRB heads.
Submission of SPSS/SAS data definition statements: The committee reviewed an online form, prepared by an ICPSR programmer, for the submission of data definition statements to ICPSR. The Committee approved the form but asked that we add some introductory information to it about the benefits of sharing such files and the kinds of checks that ICPSR staff will perform on the files. The form can be put up on the OR site now but should get more publicity when the new site goes up early next year.
National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) project: The NSFG project is a new venture for ICPSR in that we are involved in production of the data and documentation for this NCHS-sponsored study from the outset of the project. Right now we are in the process of writing several hundred recode statements that will be integrated into the final data file. We will also be producing fully Web-based documentation. Preliminary files for disclosure review are due in fall 2003.
Child Care Archive: ICPSR was approached last spring by the Child Care Bureau (CCB) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to establish a topical archive on child care policy. Funding was to be provided through a subcontract with BRI Consulting in Washington, DC. While staff continues to communicate with the CCB in the hopes of negotiating the subcontract, the BRI contract with the CCB runs out in March 2003, and there may be insufficient time to accomplish the tasks that were planned.
Census 2000 activities: All states for Summary File 3 are now available from ICPSR via FastTrack, and the files will soon be made available through the normal distribution channels. Subsets for SF1 have also been created.
The staff ran a very successful Census 2000 workshop last summer. The Summer 2003 workshop will include an entire day on GIS-based research and applications.
It was suggested that the ICPSR Census 2000 Subcommittee meet at ICPSR in conjunction with the next Council meeting in March 2003, either before or after the Council meeting.
With respect to Census 2000 technical documentation, ICPSR has marked up Summary File 1 using the DDI aggregate data extension. The same kind of markup is being done at Minnesota and in the Counting California project, so it was decided that these three groups should meet in the next few months to trade experiences and tips. Ilona Einowski will organize this meeting.
Michigan Census Research Data Center: ICPSR has already had a request for use of the new center, and potential applicant is awaiting further instructions from ICPSR on what to do next. The ICPSR staff needs to find out more about how the center will operate and what our role will be in terms of assisting researchers in securing a seat.
We should begin to advertise now that the Center is opening because there is a January deadline for proposals for work to be done in the summer of 2003. We need to send a message to OR-Announce and post prominent website and Bulletin announcements as well.
Renewal of Health and Medical Care Archive (HMCA) Project
The committee reviewed the list of projects, in addition to the HMCA project, that are pending or have been funded since the last Council meeting.
NSF Infrastructure Project Activities -- Union Catalog
Karen Sullivan, ICPSR Associate Librarian, attended the meeting to discuss this item since she will be overseeing the activity, which involves adding metadata records to the ICPSR catalog for important social science resources not held by ICPSR. She discussed the need for boundaries to the project and asked for the Committee's advice on cataloging at the dataset vs. the website level. It was decided that both types of resources should be included. The externally held resources will be cataloged at a more general level than other ICPSR studies.
The committee recommended that Council members assist staff in the areas of their domain expertise to identify datasets that are not part of the ICPSR collection. Staff will be contacting Council for their assistance soon.
Standards for Persistent Dataset Identifiers and Joint Project with Sociometrics, Inc. and the Murray Research Center.
As time was running short, the committee decided to revisit these items during the March meeting.
Council: Ann Green, John Handy
Staff: Stacey Kubitz, Myron Gutmann
FY 2002 Financial Results
Gutmann and Kubitz reported that ICPSR ended fiscal year 2002 in an unfavorable position by approximately $722,000 due to lower than expected revenue. Three factors contributed to the lower than expected revenue: slower than anticipated sponsored project spending, resulting in lower direct and indirect cost income; roughly $237,000 of 2002 membership dues revenue was recognized in 2001; less favorable market conditions yielded less investment income.
Last year's decrease in revenue does not reflect a decline in sponsored funding, but rather a long history of delayed spending of sponsored funds.
Although ICPSR realized less sponsored direct and indirect revenue in 2002, it is not a sign that the organization is in poor fiscal health. ICPSR fund balance as of 6/30/2002 was roughly $1,924,000. Gutmann and Kubitz will implement a plan to accumulate more discretionary funds to rebuild the fund balance.
General discussions focused on why sponsored spending is slower than expected. The four main factors are:
- Slow project startups
- We tend to extend project periods through no-cost time extensions
- Difficulty recruiting staff or replacing staff in a timely manner
- Lack of staff charging budgeted time to sponsored projects
Miscellaneous discussions included the idea that ICPSR should make an extra effort to reinforce to members that dues do not pay for space rental and ISR centralized expenses. In essence, the message should be that for each $1 of membership dues an institution pays, the institution receives $1 worth of membership services.
FY 2003 Financial Projections (Including possibility of offering OR Sabbatical opportunities in summer 2003)
The Council approved Gutmann's proposal to offer one OR opportunity for summer 2003 for a maximum of $7,500.
Discussion of Reformatting the Financial Reports
Kubitz distributed a memo to Council proposing to reformat the ICPSR Financial Reports.
The new format will enable ICPSR Administration and others with fiscal responsibility to project year-end positions, to measure our performance against the approved budget throughout the year, and to make strategic adjustments as need.
The proposal was treated as a formal action item that was approved. The FY 2003 budget that Council approved in June 2002 will be restated in the new format and presented at the March 2003 meeting along with a draft budget for FY 2004.
The 2003 Annual Report will disclose the change in format.
Report on Perry Furniture Estimates
Perry furniture expenses are expected to be well below earlier estimates reported in June 2002.
Quantitative Research and Training Committee
Council: Scott Long (Chair), John Korey, Sandy Darity, Margo Anderson, John Handy
Staff: Hank Heitowit, Dieter Burrell, Ed Czilli
Report on the 2002 Summer Program
The first item of business was the approval of a $50 across the board increase in fee rates for the 2003 Summer Program. As a follow-up to this item, Council asked staff to review the general Summer Program fee structure and to present a report at the June meeting.
Next the Committee reviewed the staff report on the recently completed 2002 Summer Program. The report noted a very successful program and the highest attendance in the forty-year history of the organization. 692 individuals from 193 universities in 19 countries participated in the Program.
Proposed Policies for Hosting Summer Program Courses Outside Ann Arbor
The staff presented a set of policies and guidelines for non-University of Michigan institutions to host ICPSR Summer Program courses. This covered such areas as subject matter, staffing, support facilities, hosting responsibilities, and cost reimbursements.
Implications of the Recent Growth in Enrollments and Courses
At the June meeting, Council had asked the staff to assess the "Impact of Growth in Enrollments on the ICPSR Summer Program." The staff's report in response covered: space (adequate for the short term); infrastructure, including computing, servers, library, duplication, and printing (all fine for the foreseeable future); administrative support (additional staff to be added in the next several months); and instructional staff and courses (a more complex problem with an evolving strategy).
Report from the Ad Hoc Committee on Underrepresented Groups
John Handy gave an update from the Ad hoc Committee on Quantitative Methods for Under-represented Groups (QMUG). A short pre-proposal was being circulated to funding agencies to gauge their receptiveness for further activity by ICPSR. Target groups might include first year graduate students, faculty who teach large numbers of minority students, advanced graduate students, junior faculty, and undergraduates. In support of this, Council asked staff to compile (to the extent possible) the current racial/ethnic and gender composition of recent summer program cohorts.
Report from the IMIS Committee
The final item discussed was a report by the IMIS Committee. John Korey reported on the SIMI teleconference call on September 10, 2002. The committee recommended including new teaching modules in the sub-archive on the website in the discipline of History. The Committee agreed that the links on the SIMI website to other "teaching resources" should be edited and annotated for better use. A listserv for use by faculty who teach research methods was being developed and activated. The Committee noted the need for strong involvement on the part of ICPSR staff devoted to support instruction activities. The Committee agreed to produce a working plan for the development of support for instructional materials and activities sponsored and developed by ICPSR. The Committee also agreed that Jim Oberly's OR sabbatical at ICPSR was extremely successful and recommended using it as a future model.
In addition to the above SIMI items, the staff reported on a draft proposal for an instructional module, "Turning Data into Knowledge: A Proposal to Create a Web-Based Instructional Toolkit for Students of American Colonial History." The proposal is a collaboration between ICPSR staff and Jim Oberly (University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire) and will be submitted to NEH in the next funding cycle.
Information Technology Committee
Council: Bo Wandschneider (Chair), Ilona Einowski, Mark Hayward, Steve Ruggles
Staff: Bryan Beecher, Steve Burling, Peter Joftis, Janet Vavra
Visitor: Kevin Schürer
ICPSR Direct Progress
Staff provided the committee with an update to the ICPSR Direct activity report in the briefing book by noting that there now are 240 institutions participating in the service. Staff has been contacting Official Representatives at institutions that have not signed up for the service. The response at each institution has been positive, with the OR noting that s/he plans on signing up, but either has not gotten around to finishing the ICPSR Direct paperwork or has not completed local arrangements. In one instance, the OR is waiting until a local campus relocation is completed before signing up. As noted in the plenary session, staff will look for other ways to continue publicizing and urging signup for the service. Council urged staff to continue publicizing the service.
Preservation Tape Migration Activities
Staff reported that the migration of data from 3480 tapes to DLTs is moving along uneventfully. Council inquired whether the level of problem files has increased, and staff noted that currently the number of files with problems (i.e., cannot translate to ASCII without problems) has remained low. Staff anticipate that the number will rise somewhat as we work through all the tapes/files in the inventory. Council asked whether staff anticipated being able to complete the project by the end of the fiscal year. Staff noted that the project was on track to read all of the tapes, but the problem files would be dealt with after all 3480 tapes have been read, copied, and all files involved have been evaluated for problems. The handling of the problem files almost certainly will not be finished this fiscal year. However, all files will be transferred to DLT tapes, with the files with translation problems initially remaining in EBCDIC format.
Staff will continue to keep Council informed on the project's progress.
Paper Documentation Scanning Backlog
The retrofit scanning of hard copy documentation is nearing completion. The regular codebook files are done and staff is now working with the unique and special residual materials that remain. Staff noted that the service bureau working with the microfiche materials has provided the microfiche pages in tif format and staff is now evaluating this work. This portion of the project has moved slower than originally hoped, mainly because of issues relating to the workload of the service bureau and the logistics resulting from the work being done outside of ICPSR and the University of Michigan.
Staff is also completing work on the legacy SETUPS manuals, which have been out of print and no longer available from the American Political Science Association (APSA). With approval from APSA, ICPSR has scanned these copyrighted documents and will make them available for users who want to work with the older SEUPS teaching modules.
Status Of External Initiatives
Harvard VDC Project: Staff reported that there has been a significant amount of contact between Harvard and ICPSR regarding metadata conversion and work has gone forward here. However, there has been no contact with respect to the VDC system itself.
I2T San Diego Supercomputer Project: Staff reported that the I2T San Diego supercomputer project group will be giving a demo to staff at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) next week. They will be using firearms-related homicide data by county, which was provided by ICPSR as part of the effort. The purpose of the demo is to show seamless delivery of information to policy makers irrespective of the source and format of the original information that is pulled together to answer a query.
It is unclear to staff where or how far this project will go.
General Social Survey Enhancement: The proposal submitted by NORC to NSF to fund the General Social Survey Data and Information Retrieval System II has not been funded. This would have updated, enhanced and continued the GSS site that ICPSR has been operating. ICPSR is continuing to maintain the site that we have here, but users who inquire about more recent data are sent to the University of California at Berkeley where the current GSS data are running in SDA.
Myron Gutmann has been invited to visit NORC the first part of November. ICPSR staff will meet next week to discuss possible options that he might take to that meeting.
Collaboration with University of Minnesota: ICPSR has two collaborations underway with the University of Minnesota--NHGIS and IPUMS. Common markup of documentation by ICPSR and the Minnesota staff is underway. ICPSR will eventually archive the website that will be developed at the University of Minnesota.
Collaboration with CSAT: There will be no further word on the outcome of the proposed collaboration with the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration until later this fall. Staff will report to Council when the outcome is known.
Further SDA Collaboration: Staff noted that further SDA collaboration with the developers at the University of California at Berkeley continues primarily with the SAMHSDA archive staff here at ICPSR. A quick reports enhancement to the SDA system has been funded by SAMHDA and ICPSR. Additionally, display graphics and user interface improvements are also planned.
Child Care Topical Archive: Staff reported that negotiations to develop a Child Care topical archive have been difficult. Last May, ICPSR staff anticipated that by August 2002, there would be a contract to proceed with this activity. However, at this time, there is no contract and even if there would be a contract shortly, the need to have deliverables soon would be a problem. The first deliverable would be expected in January 2003 so time is becoming an issue.
Potential Westat Collaboration: The SAMHSDA archive proposal to contract with Westat, Inc. to prepare public release files from the National Treatment Outcomes Monitoring System (NTOMS) was not funded. Staff will be making inquiries to determine why the funding was not awarded.
ICPSR Web Site Redesign Update
Nothing more was added to the information provided in the briefing book on this topic. Additionally, there was a report and demonstration of the proposed redesigned website yesterday in the Plenary Session.
Tracking Database Update
Staff noted that there was a short report on this activity in the briefing book. Staff will take the three forms that are currently hard copy and will automate them--currently there is a great deal of duplication of information and this will eliminate that. Staff will put together a database of information that is now in paper form and then will retrofit information from the legacy tables. Council inquired whether the legacy data would need to be recoded to fit into the new system. Staff responded that what is considered legacy format is really the current format so there will not be any need to recode.
Staff noted that Gutmann wants to create an inventory control system, by tracking the workflow in the organization regarding how long it takes for a collection to move from acquisition to release, what it costs, etc.
This effort will have two time frames. The first phase is doing the database tables and forms, which will be quick, and is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2003. The second phase will be integrating current systems with the new database, a process scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2003. Council asked how the work was going to proceed since the computer staff thinks differently about problems than researchers. Staff assured Council that the design team for the database system has taken that into account and includes Tom Zelenock, who is on the processing staff and has been giving guidance to the effort from the consumer standpoint.
Staff also noted that NARA is creating a tracking database and they will send us their flowcharts. Schürer agreed to give ICPSR his flowcharts.
Administrative Database Update
The Administrative Database is an ICPSR customer database. Currently, two features are being added into the database, and staff is doing an alpha test. One staff member in particular will be the heaviest user of this database and its features, and it would be helpful if that individual's time could be freed up to do more extensive testing. The programmer is adding features that include a mailing label-making system and the ability to handle features unique to federations. This system is currently scheduled for completion by the end of this year.
Strategic Five-Year Plan For Computing And Network Services
Staff reported that the deployment to staff of the 25 Dell GX240s that were purchased for the 2002 Summer Program is underway. Staff machines are being upgraded from Windows 98 to Windows 2000. This work is taking place in cooperation with the heads of each department to assure that each department has the additional software that they require for their needs.
As a result of a successful proposal to Sun under the Sun Academic Equipment Grant program, in September 2002, ICPSR took possession of a SunFire 280R server, two 900 MHz SPARC-III processors, 2 Gb of memory, two 36Gb 10k RPM disk drives, and a 100 Mb/s Ethernet interface. The CNS staff is currently preparing this system and will use it to test new software before deploying it on the production systems.
CNS is currently gathering pricing information for a UPS unit that will be appropriate for ICPSR's production server systems. CNS will not install the unit at the Borders Building, but instead will wait until ICPSR has moved to the Perry location before installing the unit.
Staff asked Council if there was anything specific they were looking for in the way of a strategic plan and what did they see as issues? Did they want to see information about servers and workstations, disaster recovery, down time, etc.? Council responded that they are expecting information from the staff regarding what staff needs to carry out the work of the organization: namely, preserving and delivering data and materials. Among the things that would be included is how CNS is responding to the demands that exist in the organization. This plan should be reviewed each year and updated, and it should include input from all the different units within ICPSR and not be done in isolation by the CNS group. The future of the organization must also be considered. For example, there have been predictions that ICPSR will go to 140 employees. What demands will that place on the organization, what needs will this create, and what planning has been done for that possibility?
Council asked staff to prepare a three-year strategic plan for the March 2003 meeting rather than the five-year plan requested earlier. Staff should determine the minimum needs and should continue adjusting as time goes on. Staff needs to look at what will happen if there is growth (what if data in different formats arrives, what if funding decreases, etc.). This requires understanding organizational demands, watching what is going on, and having a plan and monitoring it. ICPSR needs to set itself up so that it is not surprised when something happens. This also helps drive the budget.
ICPSR needs to move away from being reactive. Council feels that the organization has been basically reactive rather than anticipating and planning for future demands that may arise and this worries them. For example, ICPSR Direct was reactive and when it was implemented, it was not well thought out.
Another example given as a potential planning item was that ICPSR now has 50 studies in SDA; what happens if they want to put 500 studies into SDA? Council and staff agreed that the strategic plan should contain three elements: desktop computing, servers and services, and planning for "what if?" or "blue sky" issues, such as the SDA example given above.
ICPSR Disaster Recovery Plan Report
Staff prepared a draft of a disaster and emergency situation-planning document, which was in the briefing book. The document essentially outlined the problem, identified resources at ICPSR, described the threats to the system, outlined the current practices, and suggested procedures that could be considered. Staff noted that the document is not a final plan but rather a background document.
Staff noted that a disaster recovery plan needs to be related to an overall service delivery objective. Staff gave the example of how the plan might call for one set of actions if service was only to be delivered during normal business hours versus 24/7 365-day delivery. Therefore, as an aid in drafting the plan, staff asked Council for their advice and opinions on what level of service ICPSR should strive to deliver. Council responded that staff should prepare a number of options and note their ramifications, including costs, and that Council would react to those ideas. Council noted that the current document is vague, unstructured, and does not have a goal. The document needs to be fleshed out and provide specifics, such as, for example if you are online 24/7 what does that require in the way of resources? Staff noted that the ICPSR website already contains a statement that lays out the level of service that ICPSR is committed to maintaining, which was prepared in response to concerns raised by funding agencies a number of years ago. Council noted that this information might be featured more prominently and be used as a selling point with ORs and in recruiting new members.
Council observed that while uptime may be an issue, it is more important for ICPSR to not lose data as the result of a disaster that has not been planned for. ICPSR should also think about having their data backed up at some location that is several thousand miles away from Ann Arbor.
Staff was asked to prepare an acceptable service level document for the next Council meeting. Kevin Schürer will provide the ICPSR staff with a copy of the level of service agreement that has been developed at Essex to give them some guidance for developing such a plan.
Perry Building Update
Staff noted that the Perry Building move is currently scheduled for the weekend of December 13th. Staff anticipates having the servers down for only 24 hours. The servers and equipment will move the evening of December 13th and service will be available the following Monday morning. Staff indicated that they will not only be moving the machines, they will also be moving networks. Council asked that staff give adequate warning to users about the downtime and an explanation as to why it is happening.
Council reviewed the list of action items with staff. The list is attached as an appendix to these minutes.
Action Items - ICPSR Council Meeting - October 2002
Plan recognition for EDC staff
Erik Austin/Cynthia Hoxey
Send letter re: Latinobarometros
Request assistance from Council members for identifying data for union list of social science data
Post message in bulletin and OR-announce regarding opening of RDC
Draft plan to inform users about ICPSR Direct
Mary Morris/Hank Heitowit
Draft plan to inform users about IPCSR bibliography
Send letter and post on OR listserv: encourage attendance at 2003 OR meeting, encourage DR attendance, ask for nominations for Council, and ask for topics for OR meeting
Develop approaches to non-members. One strategy: group non-member institutions geographically and ask ORs to make presentations at these campuses
Hank Heitowit/Michelle Humphres
Planning and Policy
Draft visiting scholar guidelines
Continue intellectual property discussions
Continue negotiations for DDI alliance
Myron Gutmann/Mary Vardigan
Quantitative Research and Training
2004 fee review
Plan a compilation of demographic information about summer program attendees
Announce move-related outages
Draft future planning document
Draft statement on service levels
Proceed with budget reform
Process 2003 OR sabbatical
Mary Vardigan/Rita Bantom