ICPSR Council Minutes
October 20, 2005

Council members present: Darren Davis, Ilona Einowski, Charles Franklin, John Handy, Mark Hayward, Paula Lackie, Nancy McGovern, Sam Myers, Jim Oberly, Ruth Peterson, Walter Piovesan, Ron Rindfuss

ICPSR staff present: Erik Austin, Rita Bantom, Bryan Beecher, Dieter Burrell, Linda Detterman, Peter Granda, Bree Gunter, Myron Gutmann, Hank Heitowit, Peter Joftis, Stacey Kubitz, Felicia LeClere, Chris Maxwell, Asmat Noori, JoAnne O'Rourke, Amy Pienta, Mary Vardigan

Visitors: James Jackson (ISR Director), Dominique Joye (CESSDA Representative), Kevin Schürer (European Observer)

Approval of Minutes

The June Council minutes were approved unanimously.

Director's Report

Meeting Highlights

Myron Gutmann noted that the Council would be discussing the structure of Council committees and the Situational Review of ICPSR with ISR Director James Jackson during the Council meeting. He also reminded the Council that there were several events scheduled during the OR meeting on Friday that would be of interest to Council, including the Welcome Session, the Business Meeting, the Symposium, and the Reception with Council.

Budget and Construction News

The 2005 fiscal year ended with a fund balance of $2.2 million and $156,000 in revenues over expenses. ICPSR is forecasting a $182,000 budget surplus for fiscal year 2006. Perry II is scheduled for completion in March 2006. The move-in will take place in February and March. The empty space in the lower level of Perry I will be filled by the ISR telephone unit.

Summer Program and Membership

This year's Summer Program was the biggest ever, with 719 participants from 217 institutions in 20 countries. The Summer Program Advisory Committee met on Monday, October 17, 2005, and a brief report of their recommendations will be given discussed in the QRT meeting. The first non-summer Summer Program course on Maximum Likelihood will be taught by Charles Franklin in April 2006. Finally, Gutmann reported that Carmine Scavo and Charles Prysby have completed their Web-based SETUPS instructional module on voting behavior for the 2004 election and encouraged Council to review it.

Gutmann reported that ICPSR has received good feedback from ORs on the new membership categories and fee structure and that the OR survey was very positive. He also reported that FY2006 has been an extremely good year for new members, with 18 so far.

Collection Development and Preservation

Gutmann reported that a total of 517 files were released between July 1 and September 30. Ninety-eight new collections were added to the archive, and 59 collections were updated. Gutmann noted that ICPSR has finished assimilating the Census 2000 files and that gigabytes of data disseminated have leveled off for 2005. New collections that have been added since June include: Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly; Japanese General Social Survey, 2001-2003; Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods; and Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, 1997.

ICPSR is now linking to full texts of articles on the ICPSR website. Also, more than 100 studies have been published in Nesstar.

The staff response to Nancy McGovern's report on digital preservation was included in the Information Technology Committee materials. Planning has also begun for establishing leadership for the preservation unit. Gutmann also reported that ICPSR will participate in the Center for Research Libraries' Certification Audit Test on January 30-February 2.

New Proposals

Gutmann reported that the following grant applications have been submitted since June:

  • Population and Environment in the U.S. Great Plains
  • Archiving the Retirement History Longitudinal Survey
  • Integrating U.S. Fertility Surveys
  • Web-Based Documentation for CPES
  • Juvenile Justice Data Resources Project

Other News

With regard to Hurricane Katrina relief, ICPSR is currently hosting two interns: Doctor Ashe from Xavier University and Walker Hines from Tulane University. Council asked whether ICPSR would also be open to hosting colleagues from schools affected by Hurricane Rita, and Gutmann responded that ICPSR would welcome faculty from any affected area.

In addition to the Council and OR meetings, Gutmann noted that there would also be planning during the week for the Summer Program and the DDI Committee, as well as a joint meeting of the IASSIST Program and Local Arrangements Committees.

Review of Council Committee Structure

Council asked staff to discuss new ways to structure the work of Council committees at its June 2005 session. The committee structure is often a frequent topic at the beginning of a Council cycle because of the need to appoint members to the various committees. Council felt that the current structure should be reviewed since it is 15 years old and ICPSR has changed dramatically during that period. Council also expressed a desire for a more flexible structure that would better fit the current needs of the organization. In response, staff proposed five permanent standing committees and a sixth special purpose committee that would only exist during a two-year Council cycle, only if a specific need for such a committee was clearly defined. The standing committees recommended are:

  1. Budget and Planning
  2. Collection Development
  3. Training and Instruction
  4. Membership and Marketing
  5. Preservation and Data Access

While there were several suggestions for the topic of the special purpose committee, the Director, in consultation with both the incoming and outgoing Council Chairs, will decide on its composition before the March Council meeting if the new structure is approved. Council also reviewed specific charges for each new standing Committee and recommended that similar charges be created for all ad-hoc Committees as well.

Budget Committee

Council: John Handy (Chair), Mark Hayward, Nancy McGovern, Walter Piovesan

Staff: Myron Gutmann, Stacey Kubitz

FY2005 Financial Results

ICPSR reported favorable 2005 year end results. Although the $460k loan to ISR for the Perry addition was unexpectedly recorded as a current year's expense, ICPSR ended the year with $156k revenues in excess of expenses. If the ISR loan is ignored for comparison purposes, ICPSR ended the year even more favorably than originally budgeted ($612k actual versus $500k budgeted). Staff also reported that as of June 30, ICPSR had a total fund balance in excess of $2.2 million

FY2006 Financial Forecast

Staff reported that they expect fiscal year 2006 to be more favorable than expected. Membership revenue is slightly up. The discussion quickly turned to the diversity issues and how to finance those projects outlined in the Director's report. Council approved the motion to spend 50 percent of FY06's anticipated surplus or $100k (whichever is less) on diversity initiatives. As the committee discussed future budget years, staff shared that efficiencies resulting from future automation of processes will allow ICPSR to invest more in priorities such as programming, diversity, and instruction. Staff also communicated that sponsored funding is expected to continue to increase as a result of recent recruitments of research scientists.

Quantitative Research and Training Committee

Council: Charles Franklin, Paula Lackie, Sam Myers, Jim Oberly (Chair)

Staff: Dieter Burrell, Linda Detterman, Hank Heitowit

Diversity Initiatives for the Summer Program

While diversity initiatives for the Summer Program were discussed in detail earlier at the morning Executive Session as part of an integrated approach across the organization, the committee noted that not only had three excellent instructors been recruited (Dr. Lee Walker, Dr. Howard Thompson, and Dr. Christopher Johnson), but also that Dr. Walker and Dr. Thompson will be teaching two of the most highly attended/popular courses in the program.

It was announced that Phil Bowman and Tyrone Foreman from the University of Illinois - Chicago have agreed to lead the new four-week course on "Methodological and Measurement Issues in the Study of Race and Ethnicity." Additionally, four new short courses on the following topics are likely to be added for 2006: Racial Disparities in Health Care; Use of the Black Election and Political Studies 1984-2004; Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods; and Aging and Health in Latin American and Latino Populations. Council encouraged staff to begin promoting the Summer Program, and specifically these courses and instructors, early.

Staff thanked Council for directing ICPSR to new lists of minority scholars to add to Summer Program instructor recruiting lists. Further discussion of use of these lists resulted in three recommendations for their use:

  1. Use list to recruit instructors for courses already offered in future programs.
  2. Inquire with scholars on list if there are new courses that they might like to teach as part of the Summer Program.
  3. Better establish working relationships with scholars by enabling them to talk with Summer Program students, for example, as a means of recruiting these students to these scholars' campuses.

Setting 2006 Program Fees

Staff recommended that Summer Program fees be increased by $50 for the four-week session ($100 for the eight-week session) and $50 for the short courses (3-5 day workshops). The Committee supported the recommendation and the resolution was approved unanimously by Council during the reporting out period.

SIMI Report

There was much discussion on the SIMI initiative in terms of its current status and role. In short, the committee agreed that in its current format, SIMI largely serves as a depository of teaching materials. Thus, its current design serves more functionally as an archive of teaching materials rather than an active teaching resource using current formats and technology (for example, Web-based formats and modules) for instruction. It was noted that to achieve the latter, a revamped Web environment and other requirements will need to be met.

The committee also discussed what role ICPSR should play in undergraduate training -- a role focusing on training undergraduate students directly or on training instructors of undergraduates. The committee agreed on the latter stating during the reporting out period that ICPSR has a role in improving undergraduate instruction via the training of undergraduate faculty/instructors.

The resulting recommendations for the purposes of planning future SIMI initiatives were offered and reported out:

  • Identify ways to ensure that when instructors are searching for instructional materials, SIMI and the materials it contains are easily found (both when using search engines and when one arrives on the ICPSR website).

  • Consider offering courses to instructors on how to work with data in undergraduate classes.

  • Consider developing teaching modules and/or finding existing modules elsewhere and directing instructors to those modules.

  • Develop a feedback loop to understand use of deposited materials and additional needs with regard to teaching materials.

  • Consider acquiring professional leadership to lead this initiative.

It was noted in committee that many of these recommendations are being considered within the new product development effort that has just launched.

Other Agenda Items

Committee members had no questions or comments on the Report on the 2005 Program, the Program Advisory Committee Recommendations for 2006, or the 2004 SETUPS teaching module.

Archival Development Committee

Council: Darren Davis, Ilona Einowski, Ruth Peterson, Ron Rindfuss (Chair)

Staff: Linda Detterman, Peter Granda, Chris Maxwell, Amy Pienta

Status of Collection Development Policy

ICPSR staff reviewed the status of the Collection Development Policy revision and noted the five thematic areas described: diversity data, complex data, mixed method data, interdisciplinary data, and international data. The committee was enthusiastic about these thematic areas so long as we retain the strengths of our current policy.

Data Archived Elsewhere

The committee considered ICPSR's role in preserving and disseminating data archived elsewhere (e.g., European archives). Our current policy is that we prefer to disseminate ourselves the most popular studies that are archived elsewhere, especially in Europe. However, the landscape has changed such that many archives will not allow ICPSR to archive a copy. The committee is considering whether we should continue to archive data sets archived elsewhere when we can.

There are both opportunities and risks to changing ICPSR standard practice. For example, the committee discussed the strengths of the ICPSR interface, access, and metadata. Thus, there is a good reason to be involved in both preservation and dissemination of these collections. On the other hand, it was suggested that we should continue building ties to other archives (e.g., CESSDA). In particular, working toward interoperability of finding aids is worth pursuing. Dominique Joye reported that the integrated EU catalog will be online and functioning by next year. Access to the datasets through the new integrated EU catalog will be based on a user authentication system.

Staff will provide more information on this general topic area at the next Council meeting. Specifically, staff will draft a document describing how the archiving world is changing, what is going on, who the players are, and how much can we rely on other archives.

Diversity Archive

The committee considered what kinds of materials should be included in the diversity archive. This archive should include data that are from and about diverse populations (diversity defined as including race/ethnicity). Data should be included that have been designed for across, and within, group analyses.

ICPSR should consider explicitly gathering information about the sample (e.g., race distribution) at time of deposit through the Data Deposit Form. Further, staff should consider presenting race proportions as part of the metadata. The committee also asked whether the diversity archive should focus on the U.S. only or international studies as well. This discussion was not resolved.

Planning and Policy Committee

Council: Charles Franklin, Mark Hayward (Chair), Jim Oberly, Ron Rindfuss

Staff: Erik Austin, Rita Bantom, Myron Gutmann

Brief Updates

The committee's discussion focused on personnel and the University of Michigan's position classification project. (The other two "Brief Updates" - Perry Building construction and IASSIST 2006 - were given to the entire Council in the Director's Report.) Myron Gutmann briefed the committee on plans for filling a senior position in the Preservation area, following a noon-time discussion of the prospects with interested Council members and staff. The position that will be posted through the University of Michigan's employment facility will be called Digital Preservation Officer and will be a full-time ICPSR position (not a position shared with other units at ISR or the University). The search may be a difficult one, as the qualifications required for the position are not commonly held by many in this field. Gutmann noted that it may be necessary to select a candidate with some but not all of the qualifications being advertised with the position.

Work continues on the U-M position classification project. ISR requested and obtained some modifications of position title for a number of its employees, including ICPSR staff. Discussions are continuing with the University's central HR department about the Research Technician/Research Assistant and the Research Area Specialist/Research Associate families of positions. (ICPSR and ISR prefer titles of Research Assistant and Research Associate, respectively, over Research Technician and Research Area Specialist.) Restoring Research Assistant titles now looks more likely than restoration of the Research Associate position title.

At the March 2006 Council meeting, several other personnel items will be on the agenda for the Planning and Policy Committee. They include an additional senior position recruitment, and a report on staff career paths in the Research area (including those with faculty titles), for Archivists, and for management positions that are not necessarily scientifically oriented.

Council Committee Charges

A proposed set of revisions to the Council committee structure was circulated before the meeting by Council Chair Mark Hayward, Director Myron Gutmann, and Council member Nancy McGovern. Five standing committees were proposed: Budget and Policy; Membership and Marketing; Collection Development; Preservation and Access; and Training and Instruction. The committee noted that "information technology" was so pervasive across all committee subject areas that its placement in a single committee (e.g., Preservation and Access) hardly seemed appropriate. The committee endorsed the new committee structure, and moved that the entire Council accept the revised committee structure. (In plenary session, the Council unanimously voted to adopt the new committee structure.)

A proposed set of revisions to the Council committee structure was circulated before the meeting by Council Chair Mark Hayward, Director Myron Gutmann, and Council member Nancy McGovern. Five standing committees were proposed: Budget and Policy; Membership and Marketing; Collection Development; Preservation and Access; and Training and Instruction. The committee noted that "information technology" was so pervasive across all committee subject areas that its placement in a single committee (e.g., Preservation and Access) hardly seemed appropriate. The committee endorsed the new committee structure, and moved that the entire Council accept the revised committee structure. (In plenary session, the Council unanimously voted to adopt the new committee structure.)

Documenting the Situational Review Process

Gutmann described the procedures followed in the just-completed Situational Review of ICPSR and its future leadership needs. He observed that the conduct of this review was only cursorily outlined in ICPSR's Memorandum of Agreement with ISR, resulting in confusion about key aspects of the review, including who is represented on the Review Committee, and who is entitled to see the written review report (specifically if the final report is to be shared with the ICPSR Director). In a conversation with Gutmann on this topic, ISR Director James Jackson volunteered to draft a general ISR Situational Review procedures document, and to share the draft with the Council and its Planning and Policy committee. The committee proposed this as an action item, with the expectation that Council would return to Jackson with some additional language covering idiosyncracies that arise from ICPSR's unique structure and governance arrangement. Hayward noted that when such an ISR document is completed, it may be necessary to amend ICPSR's Memorandum of Agreement with ISR to incorporate content related to ICPSR's Situational Review process.

Update on Staff Outreach Activities and Grant Applications Submitted Since June

These two committee agenda items were not discussed in the meeting, as committee members had no questions about supporting material on the items that was provided in the Council briefing book.

Membership Relations Committee

Council: John Handy, Sam Myers, Ruth Peterson (Chair), Walter Piovesan

Staff: Linda Detterman

Visitor: Kevin Schürer

Membership Activity and Utilization Report

The general sense was that ICPSR is doing very well, having already brought in 18 new members since July 1 without having any organizations terminate membership. These new members include several institutions focused on undergraduate education and several international members.

The new activity and utilization trends reports were reviewed. The committee had no major changes to the format of these reports at this time, and these reports will become standard to include in future Council binders. In the future, we may be able to compare this kind of information with other archives like the UK Data Archive.

It was noted that the utilization trends report is still being refined as reporting categories and utilizations decision rules are refined. Thus, this report is a work in process and may see some minor change. Special thanks to CNS for their hard work in putting together programming that enabled membership staff to extract the information was noted.

Marketing & Membership Initiative Updates

This is a report designed to provide the committee with an update on the various initiatives moving forward in the marketing and membership areas. It will also be standard inclusion in the Council binder. The committee briefly reviewed the direct marketing initiative timeline that includes the minority membership drive discussed in the morning Executive Session. Brief updates were given on the SETUPS launch, the Miller Scholars' Fund campaign and the New Product Development initiative.

Linda Detterman is taking a strategic approach to planning a package of products and services that will appeal to new members, particularly those at minority institutions. It is important to plan carefully so that we know we are offering a package that will align with their needs. The Committee expressed a desire for ICPSR to contact these institutions soon, even before the full package has been finalized, so that ICPSR begins to develop relationships with these schools. We already offer much that will be desirable to them and have a good message and well-developed resources, including data of interest to undergraduates, comparative datasets, and open access policies.

ICPSR attended the Association of Black Sociologists meeting in August and touched base with that community, which was useful. We should continue this type of outreach and also make the primary contacts at the targeted minority institutions.

The committee reviewed the conferences list. Since the 2006 ICPSR conference schedule has not yet been finalized (deadline is early November), committee members suggested that the following association conferences be reviewed as possibilities: the Allied Social Science Association, NEA (including the NEA of Black Economists), and the National Ethnic Studies Association.

Report on Non-Carnegie Institutions

The following items were discussed and agreed upon:

  • National memberships vary widely and need an update to their contract language since many of these contracts were written prior to current-day technology. The first step in the national membership review will be to update contract language. National memberships will continue to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis since issues tend to be unique, including currency issues, by country. A review, including equity issues, will be undertaken after contract updates are completed.
  • Three categories of Associate/Subscription memberships have been established. The number of these memberships is minimal and thus, ICPSR experience in understanding the needs of these members is also somewhat minimal. Therefore, as membership inquiries from these types of institutions come in, ICPSR is progressively learning more about these institutions and their outlook on membership. It is likely that the three categories will need some flexibility due to the uniqueness of many of these institutions. Staff will share more information with the committee as it becomes available.
  • It was noted that ICPSR should discuss membership ideas (national and associate/subscription) with the UK Data Archive, which has faced similar issues with respect to membership fees.
  • Due to time constraints, the process of establishing one-time purchase rates and the issue of individual memberships will be reviewed in March 2006.

MyData Follow-up Analysis and OR Research Report

These reports were not discussed. Any questions on the findings should be directed to Linda Detterman. Detterman noted that an abbreviated version of the OR Research Report will be posted on the ICPSR website soon.

Information Technology Committee

Council: Darren Davis, Ilona Einowski (Chair), Paula Lackie, Nancy McGovern

Staff: Bryan Beecher, Mary Vardigan, Cole Whiteman

Visitor: Dominique Joye

IT Highlights

Software development projects:

  • SETUPS. ICPSR and the American Political Science Association (APSA) have jointly developed a website to distribute Supplementary Empirical Teaching Units in Political Science (SETUPS), beginning with Voting Behavior: The 2004 Election.
  • Bibliographic Full Text Links. ICPSR is updating its online Bibliography to enable members with link resolvers to transparently access the full text of citations. (A link resolver is a piece of software that runs on the member's institutional Web server and translates a citation search URL into an actual target URL at a full-text document retrieval service.)

New hardware and software systems:

  • CCEERC Server. ICPSR inherited a server a couple of years ago for our Child Care archive. Now, we have replaced it with new equipment that has a maintenance contract.
  • Disk Storage. ICPSR has ordered a new disk ranch. The capacity is 3,300 gigabytes for starters, and expandable; the cost was $50,000. CNS is currently awaiting delivery, which in turn awaits the paving of the driveway to our loading dock. Service should be running by end of calendar year.
  • SDA Software. Developers at UC Berkeley have added new features requested by ICPSR to their SDA (Survey Documentation and Analysis) software, including character variables and expansion of allowable significant digits.

IT retirement activities:

  • OSIRIS Documentation. Because virtually no one can read OSIRIS documents anymore, ICPSR will no longer distribute them. ICPSR is creating statistical package setup files for the three dozen studies for which there is only OSIRIS documentation.
  • Oracle. We are migrating from Oracle 7 to Oracle 10.
  • Metadata. We are planning to move our study metadata from flat files to Oracle tables.

Pipeline automation:

  • Study Tracking System. CNS is expanding this to enable ICPSR to retire a set of Excel spreadsheets used by our Collection Delivery unit.
  • Turnover. We are further automating the procedure by which a processor turns over a study for Web release and archival preservation. This should greatly reduce the number of steps and the degree of manual effort, and hence the time involved.

Response to Nancy McGovern's Preservation Review

Staff presented a written response to Nancy McGovern's review of the ICPSR preservation service. Council received it positively, appreciated the integration into a set of themes, and suggested publicizing it (and updates on ICPSR preservation development to come) on the ICPSR website and at next year's IASSIST conference. McGovern noted that no preservation commitment is necessary for derivative files.

Committee Structure Transition

Council has agreed to change its committee structure. Council is retiring the IT Committee, with the idea that it has served its purpose, and that IT now pervades most other topics. Council would like to ensure that a couple of important items on the IT Committee agenda do not disappear:

  • Field trips, such as to Internet2
  • Bryan Beecher's technology plan, to be presented to Myron Gutmann in December 2005
  • Co-location for the archive, to provide warm backup
  • Planned transition from two big servers to a dozen or so smaller servers
  • Transition from authentication by IP address to Shibboleth

Access Control

A forward-looking IT issue for ICPSR is the potential for interoperability among archives. Staff reported on the development by the computer networking community of cooperative access control mechanisms, notably Athens (a centralized European authentication service) and Shibboleth (a federated authenticated service from Internet2). Today this would be of no value to our members but in two or three years we may find ourselves wanting to establish new trust relationships with our member institutions for this purpose. Council opined that ICPSR should lead the social science community on this; for now, Council would like a list of issues surrounding user authentication.

Open Session

Council thanked staff for their work on the briefing book, noting that they were especially impressed with the work on diversity initiatives for the Summer Program and the staff response to Nancy McGovern's report on preservation. Council requested that the evaluation and response be extended into an article for the ICPSR Bulletin.

Council also unanimously endorsed the ISR Situational Review as well as the evaluation of ICPSR's Director. Council noted that Gutmann has made excellent progress in moving ICPSR forward over the past four years.

Council also recapped the following list of action items:

Archival Development    
Report on quality of data in archive (from June 2005) March 2006 Amy Pienta
Report on how the archive world is changing March 2006 Peter Granda
Quantitative Research and Training    
Develop list of new project development with SIMI March 2006 Hank Heitowit
Information Technology    
Develop security audit checklist (from June 2005) March 2006 Bryan Beecher
Report on user authentication March 2006 Bryan Beecher
Create forum on international archival technology standards March 2006 Myron Gutmann, Kevin Schürer
Planning and Policy    
Report on ICPSR best practices (from June 2005) March 2006 Rita Bantom
Perform case study on ICPSR diversity and professionalism (from June 2005) March 2006  
Query Council on 6th committee topic Early 2006 Mark Hayward
Ask James Jackson for document on the situational review policy November 2005 Mark Hayward

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