ICPSR Council Minutes
June 22-23, 2006
Council members present: Darren Davis, Charles Franklin, Michael Haines, Kathleen Mullan Harris, Mark Hayward, Paula Lackie, Sam Myers, Jim Oberly, Ruth Peterson (Chair), Walter Piovesan
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, Nancy McGovern, Jim McNally, Mary Morris, Asmat Noori, JoAnne O'Rourke, Amy Pienta, Mary Vardigan, Cole Whiteman
Visitors: Roxane Silberman, French Observer; Iris Alfredsson, Swedish Observer
Approval of Minutes
The minutes from the March 2006 Council meeting were approved unanimously, pending the addition of the minutes from the Preservation and Access Committee.
Personnel, Budget, and Building News
Myron Gutmann reported that Nancy McGovern will start on September 1 as ICPSR's Digital Preservation Officer. Also, Peter Granda has agreed to serve as Interim Director of Collection Development, starting July 1. Gutmann thanked both and noted that he looks forward to working with each of them.
ICPSR hosted two Official Representative sabbaticals this summer: Lori Weber from California State University at Chico, and Rachael Barlow from Trinity College. Both are working on undergraduate teaching materials. Gutmann also introduced five summer interns who will be working on various projects at ICPSR: Leah Kasper from University of Minnesota - Duluth; Shannon Stagman from University of Michigan - Dearborn; Shova KC from Hope College; Amy Fuhrman from Western Washington University; and Linda Brown from Tennessee State University.
ICPSR has hosted meetings for several international visitors recently, including delegations from South Korea, Ethiopia, England, and France. Two more delegations from Taiwan and Jamaica are scheduled for later this summer.
It is predicted that the 2006 fiscal year will end with $185,000 revenue over expenses. However, the 2006 year-end results do not include a delayed U-M payment of $500,000 for ICPSR Summer Program 2005 tuition. The proposed 2007 fiscal year budget shows a $155,000 surplus, continuing ICPSR's commitment to building reserves.
The Survey Research Center staff moved into Perry II March 17-19. Gutmann noted that the move will provide possibilities for partnerships on several new grants and ideas.
Summer Program, Membership, and Marketing News
The Summer Program expects record enrollment for 2006 with more than 900 applicants. The new courses generated high enrollments, and the spring classes enrolled about 20 students.
Gutmann reported that there were 26 new members added during the 2006 fiscal year, with three drops. This is up from the 2004 and 2005 new members (8 and 18, respectively). There is a new member survey planned for later this summer to determine the reasons for joining. Two Hurricane Katrina-affected schools have requested that their 2006 or 2007 dues be waived, and ICPSR has agreed to forgive these dues.
The data utilization reports are being enhanced to better serve our ORs, and there are several new products that are being developed. Gutmann also announced a new initiative to award a prize to the best undergraduate research paper that uses ICPSR data.
Along with the School of Information and University Library, ICPSR co-hosted the IASSIST conference in May. Six staff made presentations at the conference, and several side meetings, including the DDI and Data-PASS committees, were held at ICPSR. ICPSR has sent staff to seven conferences since March, and has 13 more planned for the remainder of 2006.
Collection Development and Collection Delivery
Seventy-four studies were released between March 1 and May 31, and 40 collections were updated. New waves have been added to existing studies, Union Catalog entries have been enhanced, and several studies have been prepared for online analysis. Studies that have been added to the collection since the last Council meeting include: the monthly surveys of Consumer Attitudes and Behavior (from 1997); the Child Care and Development Fund Administrative Data (2001); and the Survey on Health, Well-Being, and Aging in Latin America and the Caribbean (2000). Collections that will be added soon include the Global Terrorism Database (1970-1997) and the Chitwan Valley Family Study restricted files.
The system that tracks user inquiries, ICPSR FootPrints, is tracking about 214 requests per month. Of these, 64 percent are from members, 23 percent are from non-members, and 13 percent are from unknown sources. The three largest categories of questions involve people looking for data (18 percent), people asking how to access data (17 percent), and people asking about study content (12 percent).
The following proposals have been funded since March:
- Anonymizing Qualitative Data (University of Pennsylvania)
- Archiving the Long-Term Care Survey - Evaluations (NIA)
- Juvenile Justice Data Resources Project (OJJP)
- Northwest Area Foundation Surveys
The following new proposals have been submitted since March:
- Creating a Biomarker Registry (NIA)
- Integrated Family and Fertility Surveys (NICHD)
- Population and Environment in the U.S. Great Plains (NICHD)
Gutmann reported that on April 11, 200+ gallons of water leaked into the server room due to operator error by University maintenance. One disk array failed, but 100 percent of the data were recovered. The recovery and equipment were paid for by U-M. Gutmann congratulated CNS and the ISR Facilities staff on their quick response and excellent work on data recovery.
The automated release management system has eliminated 80 percent of the manual steps of the process and the replicated data entry of the previous system. Gutmann also reported that ICPSR has added nine terabytes of new storage space to the server.
The Research Connections website has launched several new technologies, including OracleText, JSP, Java, and Eclipse. In addition, a "dark archive" of ICPSR holdings and metadata has been created at the San Diego Supercomputer Center. Finally, ICPSR has created a system that fingerprints access holdings and reports inconsistencies.
James Jackson About ISR
James Jackson, Director of the Institute for Social Research, provided the Council with an update on the status of the Institute.
Jackson said that one of his major goals is to streamline the operations of the Institute, and to this end he has established a new Center, the Center for Institute Services, which will coordinate all central administrative functions. He is in the process of filling three Center Director vacancies and highlighted the recent reappointment of Myron Gutmann as ICPSR Director for five years. New synergies are expected with the opening of Wing II of the Perry Building in March, which will encourage cooperation between ICPSR and the Survey Research Operations Unit within the Survey Research Center. ISR staff are also studying ways that the main ISR building and Perry can be linked to facilitate interactions between units in both buildings. Discussion about adding new space to the main ISR building has also begun since the need for additional and larger conference space has become evident.
Several major Institute projects were recently refunded including PSID and the National Election Study. The latter will now be a joint project with Stanford University with RTI conducting the interviewing. A major announcement was recently made in Washington by John Dingell, a Congressman from Michigan, awarding $70 million dollars to the Institute to continue work on the Health and Retirement Study.
Jackson spoke at length about both the internal and external challenges and opportunities that the Institute faces. A new Provost has been appointed at the University of Michigan who will also have an appointment with the Population Studies Center. Discussions have also taken place with faculty from the Life Sciences Institute and the Humanities Institute to explore new collaborations.
The Institute also faces increased competition within the University of Michigan since all school and colleges now retain their own research funds and the research investigators can determine if their awarded funds (both direct and indirect) are spent in their home departments or at the Institute. Among other developments, the Institute has also recently lost University support for the Detroit Area Studies, a long-term graduate survey course and data collection project, and some funds to support instruction. It is also exploring its own tenure policies and how they relate to those supported by the University.
With regard to external challenges and opportunities, Jackson noted that grant proposals are up 30 percent from the previous year, proposals have been submitted to new agencies, and ISR is seeking a more diverse portfolio of support particularly in the area of corporate giving. The two summer training programs (ICPSR and SRC) continue to grow and the Institute is hopeful that a question relating to how much tuition revenue will be returned from the University to both programs will be resolved shortly.
Jackson emphasized the need for the Institute's primary research staff and Centers to work more collaboratively in the future. The Institute will focus on the need for cooperation at all levels, both to increase staff morale and to provide better opportunities to secure research funding.
Finally, Jackson discussed his views on the importance of ICPSR to the Institute as a whole. He stated that ICPSR provided ISR with a "window to the world" because of its broad and deep connections with social scientists all over the world. Secondly, ICPSR will continue to play a crucial role in ingesting the vast and growing amounts of data being produced and make important decisions regarding how these data will be archived, how we continue to maintain respondent confidentiality, and what strategies we need to employ to guarantee that these resources remain accessible to the research community. As part of the distribution infrastructure, the Institute hopes to acquire core support from the University of Michigan to maintain and expand the work of the three data enclaves now housed within the Institute: Michigan Census Research Data Center, Health and Retirement Survey, and ICPSR.
Partnerships for Data Acquisition and Preservation
Background and Status
Amy Pienta began the plenary by stating that the first part of the presentation was designed largely as a progress report on DataPASS. She reviewed the history of the project, beginning in December 2000, when the U.S. Congress legislated the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program with the Library of Congress, to the launch of the three-year project called "DataPASS" in September 2004. The project is a broad-based partnership, with ICPSR as the lead, and includes Roper, Odum, Murray, HMDC, and NARA. The website was released in March 2006 and it was noted that this experience has been good for ICPSR in terms of thinking about new tools and other areas in archiving.
Pienta reviewed the four project phases:
- Content Identification and Selection is largely what has been accomplished in the past year and will be the focus of much of the next. This phase also included the process of garnering agreement on key policies and strategies for identifying and acquiring data.
- Content Acquisition has begun.
- Partnership Building has begun to look outward to bringing in new partners, information that Myron would share in the latter part of the discussion.
- Content Retention and Transfer is another phase that has just begun and that Myron would discuss.
LEADS is a database of records containing information about thousands of scientific studies that may have produced social science data. The origin of LEADS actually originated from the Disclosure - Best Practices project and is a great example of cross-archive collaboration and one that will provide benefit across the organization.
Sources of the records in LEADS include NSF research grant awards downloaded from the NSF website, NIH research grant awards downloaded from CRISP, searches of topical areas/journals, and researcher nominations. Pienta then reviewed the process of identifying relevant social science data using the NSF Award Search Interface and the NIH CRISP. She noted that in terms of the Awards Search Interface:
- There were about 600-800 awards per year (1976-2005) that may be of interest for ICPSR to review. This resulted in about 17,194 awards made by NSF.
- Staff went through a process of screening to reduce the pool to the real social science studies and found that one-third of the 17,104 were in the social science arena and one-third of those consisted of a project in which primary data collection occurred.
- All findings from the process of locating and following up on the awards were collected and entered into a database - including any communications made during the investigation.
- Roughly 130 PIs have been contacted about datasets so far, and staff found that:
- 15-20 percent of awards followed up on are already archived.
- Most awards selected were indeed projects where data were produced, suggesting the screening criteria is working.
- Of those data that were not archived, reasons included: there were outdated data format and documentation problems; a significant amount of time had elapsed since collection and memory of the data was fading; there was no money for archiving; there was a belief that the data lacked significance for archiving; and the data already existed on a website, so were thought to be safe.
Pienta also reviewed the NIH process of getting leads, which resulted in 6,381 awards for review. She noted that an embargo covering several years prohibits us from contacting PIs until a later date. Overall challenges for making progress on LEADS include the large size and scope of the project, a need for PI cooperation, understanding the extent of our screening error, and addressing ambiguous records. In terms of next steps for LEADS, the project staff hope to involve ICPSR ORs who are willing to evaluate the records in the LEADS database that originate from their campus and do some research on the data status. Additionally, we are looking to CNS to assist in development of an online database that can automate a mail out to NSF PIs asking about data sharing and the status of their data.
Expanding the Partnership
Myron Gutmann then discussed the process of expanding the partnership. The current partners are committed to expanding the project, and after 18 months that included much travel, it is evident that doing so is desirable and achievable. In fact, after a meeting with potential partners, we were able to turn around documented interest in partnerships to send to the LOC in one day. Moreover, we have learned the following:
- In discussions with private research organizations, we find they are happy to cooperate, but need money/a contract to do the research on the data since they need to bill time/charge to an account. However, there is some willingness to cost-share. Thus, one goal is to find money to work with RTI, NORC, etc., to find and archive datasets. Gutmann also noted that these firms are interested, but in the midst of management changes.
- Partners are interested in sharing costs to develop a shared catalog and tools.
- Partner-to-partner protocol needs development to address what happens if a partner goes out of business, noting that the end of the chain is the LOC.
The partnership is a big culture change in terms of not competing, but rather cooperating. It will take some time to get comfortable pointing to partners versus having data here on site since the protocol will make it safer to archive at smaller, potentially more vulnerable partners. Gutmann noted that this effort may actually contribute to the development of very specialized archives, small but targeted.
Lastly, the concept of syndicated storage was presented. The idea is that multiple copies of archival data are better (safer) than one copy - the concept of LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe). However, this raises several challenges in terms of maintaining continuous updates of all copies, archival capacity differences, and what to do about confidential data. The current strategy to address these issues was a request to LOC for additional funds (likely to be successful) to prototype, implement and test some big and small syndicated storage systems (LOCKSS and the SDSC's Storage Resource Broker, using mature grid technology).
Issues for ICPSR
Gutmann finished by summarizing that the DataPASS project is a new way of thinking about the archiving world as a partnership, not a competition. This raises issues that ICPSR must contemplate, chiefly, that it may be harder to protect our preeminence as an archive and that we must think about how ICPSR will participate in the new structure as the partnership strives to provide easier access and better service to data users and data producers.
Budget and Policy Committee
Council: Michael Haines, Mark Hayward, Kathleen Mullan Harris, Sam Myers, Jim Oberly, Ruth Peterson (Chair), Walter Piovesan
Staff: Erik Austin, Rita Bantom, Myron Gutmann, Stacey Kubitz
Approval of the 2006-2007 Budget
ICPSR staff presented its FY2007 budget for formal approval to take place in the full Council committee report session. Staff has budgeted for a fiscal year gain totaling $157,275, supporting the goal to build reserves. The Committee reviewed the materials and noted the minor changes that took place between the March 2006 and June 2006 meetings. Staff reminded Council that this budget includes the priorities of technology developments, continued funding for the diversity initiatives, new product development and senior recruitment efforts.
The Committee recommended that the budget be approved by the full Council.
Projected Year-end results for FY2006
ICPSR staff reported that the FY2006 budget is projected to be a surplus of $185,000 and this figure does not include the delayed U-M payment of $500,000 for the 2005 Summer Program tuition.
Summer Program Budget Issues
ICPSR staff provided a brief report about an issue regarding the payment of summer program tuition for credit courses. The current agreement with the University of Michigan returns 90% of the tuition equivalent for students (U-M & CIC) who take courses for U-M credit during the summer program is in question due to the payment structure of an unequal exchange among the CIC institutions. This concern has resulted in a delay of payment for the 2005 summer program tuition in the amount of $500,000.
James Jackson, ISR Director, has had a number of meetings on behalf of ICPSR. Staff reported they are optimistic that there will be a positive resolution for 2005 and 2006. Staff recommended that Council be aware of a possible change in the agreement in the future that may result in receipt of less than the current 90 percent agreement, which may significantly negatively impact our revenue generation.
The Committee recommended that Council form a special adhoc committee to meet in September to review this situation and present a report at the October meeting as background information for the summer program tuition and fee setting discussion.
ICPSR staff provided a brief personnel report focusing on the reappointment of the ICPSR Director for another five years, (August 1, 2006 - July 31, 2011) and the status of senior leadership recruitment for the Associate Director and the Summer Program Director.
The Committee recommended that Council support the recruitment initiatives by providing nominations of candidates and suggestions on appropriate recruiting venues.
Filling Vacant Council Positions
ICPSR staff reviewed the Bylaws, which outline a process to fill the vacant council positions of Nancy McGovern and Rodolfo de le Garza. The Bylaws state, "Vacancies that occur on the Council or in the office of the Council Chairperson between elections will be filled through appointment by the Council."
The Committee recommended that Council discuss candidates in Executive Session and move forward with their nominations very quickly in order to have individuals appointed by the next Council meeting in October 2006.
ICPSR staff reported that the OR Sabbatical program is currently in session, hosting two individuals for the month of June, Rachael Barlow and Lori Weber. Ms. Barlow, Social Sciences Data Coordinator at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, will be creating a set of Web-based instructional materials designed to help students understand the links between datasets and the publications that report on analyses of datasets. Ms. Weber, Associate Professor of Political Science at California State University, Chico, will be developing an instructional module based on Robert Putnam's book Bowling Alone. Council recommended that ICPSR continue the OR Sabbatical program.
ICPSR staff provided a report on the 10 week summer internship program for undergraduates that occurs from June 12, 2006 to August 18, 2006. This program combines the learning of data processing skills using the statistical software packages and attendance of the summer program classes. The following students were selected:
Linda Brown, Sociology, Tennessee State University
Shova KC, Economics and Mathematics, Hope College
Amy Fuhrman, Sociology, Western Washington University
Leah Kasper, Economics, University of Minnesota -Duluth
Shannon Stagman, Political Science and Psychology, University of Michigan - Dearborn
Council recommended that ICPSR continue the Summer Internship program and consider options for supplemental funding.
ISR Situational Review
The committee discussed the Institute of Social Research policies for a "Situational Review" an event to review the status of a center and the performance of a center director that usually occurs at the end of a director's term, (which ICPSR completed in spring 2006). ISR has documented the process of reviews and the Council reviewed this document and determined that the ICPSR Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with ISR is the official document of record governing the process of ICPSR review.
Grant Applications Submitted Since March
The Committee briefly reviewed the grant applications submitted since the last Council meeting in March 2006.
Collection Development Committee
Council: Darren Davis (Chair), Charles Franklin, Paula Lackie
Staff: Peter Granda, Felicia LeClere, Chris Maxwell, Nancy McGovern, Amy Pienta, David Thomas
Visitors: Iris Alfredsson, Roxane Silberman
Revision of ICPSR's Collection Development Policy
ICPSR staff presented a revised collection development policy. The Committee considered the revised policy and recommended minor changes. Council approved the policy with the changes.
Council would like a report and demonstration of ICPSR's online data deposit form at the March 2007 Council meeting. They would also like staff to consider how a potential data submission governed by "Creative Commons" might be handled by ICPSR.
Status of Diversity Archive
ICPSR staff presented a report about the status and progress of the diversity archive. Council was pleased with the progress of the archive. They encouraged the development of activities that would identify and acquire new data in addition to the repurposing of ICPSR data as described in the report. Council also requested that a plan be presented in March 2007 for recruiting an external director for the archive and for identifying and securing external funding.
ICPSR presented a report about the Madiera project. Madiera (Multilingual Access to Data Infrastructures of the European Research Area) is in the final stages of creating a Web-based portal for data and resources that encompasses all its partners, which include archives in Norway, United Kingdom, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, Greece, and Germany. The portal will allow users to search for datasets from many archives, browse metadata, and with successful authentication analyze data online and/or download from the archive holding the "master" copy of the dataset.
ICPSR staff described the final receipt of pilot funding to explore the feasibility of creating a terrorism archive. A website for this project will be in place by September 2006.
Request for Data Redissemination
The Committee considered a request from a small business owner to redisseminate ICPSR's Census data files for 1790-2000 through a commercial software package. After discussion, Council voted to deny the request.
Membership and Marketing Committee
Council: Walter Piovesan (Chair), Sam Myers, Jim Oberly
Staff: Linda Detterman, Mary Morris
Membership Activity and Utilization Reports
The membership activity report listed 27 institutions as new members during the 2006 fiscal year. Additionally, two more schools joined in June and three more are in the process of becoming members. Linda Detterman plans a survey of new joins in the near future to find out how they heard about ICPSR and about their internal decision-making processes that ultimately led to Consortium membership.
A promotional marketing effort for federations will be undertaken in the fall of 2006. Council members provided some suggestions for marketing to certain groups including historical black colleges and community colleges.
Marketing and Membership Initiative Updates
Affiliation Agreement Updates. Detterman reported that all agreement forms have been updated. Updated federation forms were mailed to all federations in the spring and updated national membership forms will be mailed during the summer. The new form for single institutions is being used for new members; current members need not complete the revised form.
New Product Development Initiative. Detterman identified three product concepts that resulted from the work of the New Products Development group at ICPSR. Those concepts include ICPSR Web-based Instructional Modules, Health Care Archive with Outcome Measures, and Utilization of Data Services. The first concept was described in greater detail in the committee materials. Discussion during the committee meeting and the reporting-out centered on what instructional needs exist and the audience for this activity, i.e., should the focus be on creating higher level modules for faculty at member schools in their 200-300 level courses, or should the focus be on more basic modules for entry level courses that might be more attractive to faculty at smaller schools and/or in encouraging new memberships. Detterman will proceed with her outlined plan to answer these questions, keeping in mind that the qualitative exploration and quantitative research phases, and later phases might result in a decision not to proceed with this concept.
IASSIST. ICPSR co-hosted the annual IASSIST meeting. It was their largest meeting ever with 255 registrants. A substantial amount of work was involved in hosting the event and it resulted in a smoothly-run meeting.
Undergraduate Research Paper Awards. ICPSR plans to sponsor an annual award for research papers written by undergraduates using ICPSR datasets. Details of the project were discussed including the time table for submission, whether students need to be from ICPSR schools, advertising of the award, and OR involvement. During the reporting-out with full Council, it was decided that for the first year the original time table would be adhered to (deadline for submission of January 31, 2007, notification of awards in mid-March, and paper publication on the ICPSR website in April/May) but that other schedules more in line with existing student research awards be considered in the future. It was also decided that the competition should include students at member schools and students sponsored by ICPSR member institutions. This will allow non-member students attending summer programs at a member school to be eligible. It was suggested that the topical archives might want to consider a similar competition.
OR Utilization Reporting Upgrades. ICPSR staff is working to provide ORs with new tools for generating usage statistics and reports from the ICPSR website. These tools were the result of OR input during the 2005 OR meeting. The applications should be available on the OR site of the ICPSR website this summer.
Conference Update. Since March ICPSR has attended and staffed a booth at seven conferences and has plans to attend/staff a booth at 13 more through the end of the year. Council members provided suggestions on reaching certain constituents at some conferences.
2007 OR Meeting Dates
Results of a survey of Council members regarding the date of the October 2007 Council meeting were reviewed. Based on those results, the Council meeting will be held on Wednesday before the October 2007 OR Meeting. The OR Meeting will take place on Thursday and Friday (and possibly Saturday morning). In September, Detterman will release a "save the date" email to ORs to announce the 2007 OR Meeting dates. The email will emphasize the change in the schedule.
Preservation and Access Committee
Council: Paula Lackie (Chair), Darren Davis, Kathleen Mullan Harris
Staff: Bryan Beecher, Nancy McGovern, Mary Vardigan, Cole Whiteman
Visitors: Iris Alfredsson, Roxanne Silberman
Staff recounted the tale of the Great Machine Room Flood of April 2006, which was caused by U-M Facilities workers who were on the roof repairing an air conditioner. There were several good outcomes from this disaster:
- All data were (eventually) recovered.
- U-M paid for the site repair and data recovery.
- ICPSR is now running new servers with greater speed and capacity.
- ICPSR now has a data backup arrangement with the U-M College of Engineering.
Planning ahead, to prevent or mitigate the risk of a similar flood, ICPSR has asked U-M Facilities to add sealing and a tray above the server room. ICPSR will also look into moving the primary public-facing equipment (such as the public Web server) to a more industrial-strength facility. Staff will update Council at the October meeting.
Degrees of Backup
While discussing ideas for mirroring ICPSR's internal and Web-disseminated data on backup servers elsewhere, Staff and Council distinguished among three degrees of data backup.
- "Hot" backup means a replacement service that can be brought up so rapidly that the switch is invisible to users. This requires that the failover be automatic.
- "Warm" backup means a replacement service that can be brought up fairly quickly, as in 30-60 minutes. Users see a short outage. The failover requires some human intervention.
- "Cool" backup means another copy of the data that is stored elsewhere for safekeeping but not for general access. Users might see a significant outage while staff retrieves the data and puts it someplace accessible. This requires significant human intervention.
Staff presented draft language for an arrangement with potential partner organizations to provide a warm backup for the ICPSR Web server. Council voiced enthusiasm and requested several refinements. Staff intends by March 2007 to have a new website running on new hardware, and a warm website backup set up somewhere. Staff noted that if we already had a warm backup for the website, we would have used it twice in recent years -during the regional power outage of August 2003, and during the Perry building power outage the day prior to the Committee meeting. Council urged staff to proceed to arrange for warm backup.
Staff described a cool backup arrangement that ICPSR has recently set up with the San Diego Supercomputing Center: they are now storing a copy of all data (publicly accessible and member-accessible) on the ICPSR website. (Note that this is merely a replica of content; no SDSC-based delivery service is intended for now or later.) Council voiced appreciation and enthusiasm for this project.
Mirroring the Data Library
Staff described a three-phase plan for creating an online copy of ICPSR's preservation holdings: (1) pilot, (2) create a first copy, then (3) create a first remote copy.
Issues to be worked out include:
- Can we mirror our restricted data in a way that respects the restriction agreements?
- How many copies of the archive shall we plan on making, in total?
- After creating online copies, shall we continue to keep the archival tapes?
On the third issue, Council indicated that there is no reason to hang on to the archival tapes once the copies are made and verified. For the October meeting, staff will update Council, and present lessons learned from the pilot phase.
Disaster Recovery Planning
The Committee discussed the need for a comprehensive IT disaster recovery procedure document for technology equipment. The document will spell out agreements, service levels, and provider contacts. Staff asserts that within a year, ICPSR will have such a plan, coordinated by the Data Preservation Officer, which will address disaster recovery not only for IT but across the organization. At the October meeting, staff will present a plan for assembling this plan, and will report on current status of ICPSR disaster planning activities.
Authentication and Authorization
Shibboleth is a scheme whereby a user may access online resources from multiple institutions via a single authentication. It requires the institutions to join a federation, set up servers, and run software. Shibboleth is becoming widely implemented in Europe, and U.S. institutions are beginning to look at it. Its benefits include convenience for users, and more up-to-date user attribute data for the participating institutions. ICPSR plans to install a Shibboleth server by early Summer 2007, after the new website is set up. ICPSR also intends to:
- Find Shibboleth partners. (We expect Shibboleth to be part of our October conversation with Internet2.)
- Figure out the most useful relationship between the Shibboleth mechanism and ICPSR's existing mechanisms for authentication (MyData) and authorization (IP address check).
- Figure out how to keep user attribute data beyond what Shibboleth collects--like the user's preferred stat package.
Staff also discussed a related proposal to change the way ICPSR authorizes users to access member-only files. Currently we check the user's IP address to see if it belongs to a member institution. Users who are working off-campus (as in, at home or traveling) login via an on-campus proxy server.
Some users consider this proxy server workaround to be a hassle. Staff have proposed an idea to address this: a requirement that periodically (say, annually) a user must authenticate to ICPSR from "on campus" - this registers the fact that the user was sufficiently privileged on that date. Then, at login, authorization is checked against the system's recollection of that registration, not against the real-time IP address.
For the October meeting, staff will clarify the possible login session scenarios from the user's point of view. There would appear to be several (but not more than 24 = 16) possibilities, based on four questions:
- Is ICPSR using Shibboleth for authentication?
- Is the user's home institution using Shibboleth for authentication?
- Is ICPSR determining authorization via IP address or Shibboleth attributes?
- If the answer to 3 is "IP address", then: At download request time, is ICPSR checking the user's IP address, or a credential that the user obtained earlier, with a separate on-campus login at their home institution?
Training and Instruction Committee
Council: Charles Franklin (Chair), Michael Haines, Mark Hayward, Ruth Peterson
Staff: Dieter Burrell, Hank Heitowit
Summer Program Update
The staff presented a brief overview of the 2006 Summer Program curriculum. New courses included: Race and Ethnicity; Historical Demographic Data; Aging and Health Among Latin Americans and Hispanics; Health Care Change in the U.S.; Understanding the Development of Young Children; and Providing Data Services. Two courses were dropped from the offerings due to low enrollments: Missing Data and NE Thailand.
It was reported that registrations for the 2006 Program were running well ahead of any previous summer, and that we were likely to set a new record enrollment, approaching 800-900 participants. Minority enrollments were also larger than in 2005. In addition the instructional staff was further diversified, featuring eight minority faculty and twelve female faculty.
Council asked that staff prepare a report for the October meeting on the new course on "Quantitative Research on Race and Ethnicity." In addition, Council requested updates on efforts to increase diversity in the Program.
Undergraduate Instructional Materials
Undergraduate instructional materials submissions to SIMI have stalled. The staff is looking into new ideas and venues to support undergraduate instruction. The staff will see how this evolves over the next year, and continue to monitor and update the situation. The Committee referenced an item in the membership portion of the Council briefing book, relating to the ICPSR staff activity "New Product Development Initiative." One possible outcome of this set of activities is the creation of Web-based instructional modules.
The Committee Council members reinforced the message (first made at the March Council meeting) that the Committee be kept informed of any activities and planning in the instructional development area, especially as they occur in the "new products" initiative.
Spring (Off-Cycle) Courses
For the first time the ICPSR offered two non-summer workshops, one in mid-April ( Network Analysis) and one in early May (Categorical Analysis with MLE). There were mixed results from this effort, both in terms of enrollments and pedagogy. A full report will be made to Council in October. Council looks forward to receiving the staff report and plans for future efforts in this area.
OR Sabbatical Projects
ICPSR hosted two ORs in June as part of the now annual Sabbatical Program: Lori Weber (Political Science, California State University at Chico) is developing a module on social capital and civic engagement, combining substantive concepts with data analysis training. Rachael Barlow (Trinity College) is creating Web-based materials to assist students to better understand the links between datasets and publications that report on analyses of datasets.
Report on U-M Discussions on Tuition Rebate to ICPSR
There followed an extended discussion on the topic of Summer Program tuition transfer payments from the University of Michigan. The University is seeking to impose a new formula that if enacted will net the ICPSR far less funds than had been the case in recent years. Negotiations between ISR and the Provost's office will likely continue through the summer and fall. Council and staff discussed the likely impact that a substantial reduction in tuition recovery would impose on the Program, including on ICPSR budgets, course offerings, support services, and participant fee rates.
In the event of the need for a quick response to the changing funding conditions, even before the next Council meeting in October, the Council Chair and the Director will create a special subcommittee of Council to monitor the situation.
Feedback from Council on Current Council Meeting
Council Chair Ruth Peterson offered, on behalf of Council, plaudits to the staff for its preparations for the Council meeting just concluding. She singled out the report on the Data-PASS project for its thoroughness, and the plans for the minority data archive. On the latter, Council especially appreciated the detail included in the description of this ongoing project. Council praised the efforts at diversifying the Summer Training Program, particularly the addition of the four-week course on Measurement of Race and Ethnicity. Council was strongly supportive of the internship and OR sabbatical programs that will familiarize important groups of people with ICPSR and its activities. A strong endorsement was also given to the recently-announced award for an exemplary undergraduate research paper that used ICPSR data resources. In general, Council much appreciated the manner in which the supporting documents were written, and their use of Council-friendly lay terms for even highly technical subjects.
Items Arising from the Council's Executive Session
Five topics were discussed in some depth at the Council's Executive Session. Peterson emphasized Council's desire to have a committee formed to consider Summer Training Program fee levels for 2007, in light of the possible loss of revenue from University of Michigan student and CIC scholar tuition payments. That committee should be formed and consult in September of this year, when more is known about revenue recovery from the 2005 and 2006 programs, but still in time to formulate a recommendation for 2007 Program fee levels for discussion and approval at the October 2006 Council meeting. Individual Council members were asked to send to Myron their suggestions of individuals who should be considered for the Associate Director position, as well as their thoughts on the upcoming recruitment of a new Director of the Summer Training Program. Peterson also asked Council members to suggest to her the names of potential replacements for the two vacant Council slots, particularly individuals who can fill more than one representational need that has been identified by Council. Peterson will then communicate those suggestions to Myron.
Discussed at length in the Executive Session were the differences between the ISR procedures document on situational reviews of Centers and ICPSR's Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with ISR and its section on the situational review of ICPSR. Council emphasized its understanding that the MoA is the controlling document in this regard; Peterson will write a letter to ISR Director James Jackson stating Council's understanding on this matter.
Reactions of Observers Roxane Silberman and Iris Alfredsson to the Council Meeting
Silberman (from the French National membership) and Alfredsson (from the Swedish National membership) both expressed gratitude for their invitations to attend the Council meeting, and for the opportunity this gave them to learn more about how ICPSR and its governing Council operate. Both praised the cooperative style of interactions between Council and staff, observing that this style differed considerably from prevailing practice in most European archives. Silberman and Alfredsson identified several issues that warranted more discussion in future Council meetings, including the archiving of data containing direct identifiers and security concerns therewith and provision of remote access to such data. They then encouraged ICPSR to establish and maintain more relationships and partnerships with European archives and cross-archive organizations such as CESSDA.
Summary of Action Items
Peterson then gathered together the authoritative list of action items decided upon at this Council meeting. They included:
|ACTION ITEM||DUE DATE||RESPONSIBLE PERSON|
|Budget and Policy|
|Create Committee to consider Summer Program budget and/or fees and explain variance between actuals and budget for FY2006||October 2006||Myron Gutmann, Ruth Peterson, Hank Heitowit|
|Make sure June minutes reflect Council discussion and send letter to James Jackson about the ISR situational review procedures||October 2006||Myron Gutmann, Ruth Peterson|
|Prepare plenary on Strategic Plan and proposals for updating it||October 2006||Myron Gutmann|
|Review the data deposit form, with an emphasis on copyright||March 2007||Amy Pienta|
|Provide progress report on sensitive and restricted data||October 2006||Peter Granda|
|Make the website for the topical archive on minorities live||October 2006||Felicia LeClere|
|Report on progress in recruiting a Project Manager for MRDC; provide proposal on how to fund the topical archive||March 2007||Felicia LeClere, Myron Gutmann|
|Membership and Marketing|
|Notify ORs of 2007 OR meeting dates||October 2006||Linda Detterman, Myron Gutmann|
|Preservation and Access|
|Create a flowchart on the implications for users of Shibboleth authentication and of a new means of non-IP authorization||October 2006||Bryan Beecher|
|Get March 2006 minutes into final Council minutes||ASAP||Bryan Beecher|
|Provide Disaster Recovery Plan Update||October 2006||Nancy McGovern|
|Training and Instruction|
|Provide Report on the Race and Ethnicity course||October 2006||Hank Heitowit|
|Provide Report on the off-cycle courses||October 2006||Hank Heitowit|