Council Minutes
June 21-22, 2007

Council present: Charles Franklin, Michael Haines, Kathleen Mullan Harris, Aletha Huston, Paula Lackie, Sam Myers, Jim Oberly, Ruth Peterson (Chair), Walter Piovesan

ICPSR staff present: George Alter, Rita Bantom, Bryan Beecher, Dieter Burrell, Peter Granda, Bree Gunter, Myron Gutmann, Hank Heitowit, Bill Jacoby, Peter Joftis, Stacey Kubitz, Chris Maxwell, Nancy McGovern, James McNally, Mary Morris, Asmat Noori, JoAnne O'Rourke, Amy Pienta, Mary Vardigan, Cole Whiteman

Visitors present: Peter Doorn, DANS (Netherlands); Elaine Kuttner, Cambridge Concord Associates; Pat Mahon, Cambridge Concord Associates

The minutes from the March 2007 Council meeting were approved unanimously.

Director's and Budget Report

Personnel and Budget

Director Myron Gutmann began his report with an update on staffing. George Alter has been hired as ICPSR's Associate Director, with a July 1 start date; William Jacoby has been hired as ICPSR's Summer Program Director, with a September 1 start date. Gutmann thanked Peter Granda for serving as Interim Director of Collection Development and indicated that Granda would remain in that role until the end of July. In other staffing news, Gutmann also introduced ICPSR's five summer interns: Samuel Whittemore, Megan Bosak, Kelsey Larsen, Lucie Kalasouva, Aisha Spencer, and Enver Holder-Hayes.

The FY2008 budget predicts a surplus of $16K, and the end of year results for FY2007 show a surplus of about $150K.

Summer Program News

The 2007 Summer Program will have between 750-800 students. ICPSR has moved the entire Program to the Perry Building this summer, but staff anticipate a smooth transition.

U-M will honor the CIC agreement for FY2007, but has not yet agreed for FY2008. There will be a report in October about the impact of the situation on next year's budget. Gutmann noted that ICPSR's reserves are adequate to cover the potential revenue loss, and that staff are currently working on a plan for summer 2008, including higher program fees and new marketing initiatives.

Membership News

The undergraduate paper prize saw sixteen submissions, and all students have been contacted to ask them to submit a poster presentation for the OR Meeting this fall. OR Meeting planning is well underway, with 47 people already registered for the conference.

There were 55 new members added during the 2007 fiscal year, bringing ICPSR's total membership to 606. ICPSR will present at 30 conferences in the 2007 calendar year (staff attended 21 in 2006), and 34 presentations have been made at various academic and professional conferences so far this year.

The OR data utilization tools now enable SDA usage reports and reports for all schools within Federations. The new OR media kit was launched in May, and the OR blog is under development, with a potential release date in October. There is currently a draft website for the Online Learning Center, and MyClass version 1.0 is being released on July 1. The project goal is to release 50-75 data-driven learning guides in various disciplines by August.

Computing and Collection Delivery

The new website went live in the spring and offers an updated online content deposit system, new search technology for the Child Care Archive website, and RSS feeds. Staff are also almost finished copying offline archive materials from tape to disk. The search engine is the biggest post-launch project. ICPSR tried the Google Search Appliance (GSA) as a replacement for the current search engine, but it did not meet all of our needs for Web and field-based searches. ICPSR has two options: buy or build a search engine. There will be an update on the status of the search engine at the October meeting.

Footprints, the Collection Delivery tracking system for user support requests, continues to track about 163 requests per month. The ICPSR Bibliography received almost two million hits and over a million searches during the 2007 fiscal year. Over 2,000 citations have been added.

Gutmann also reported that the Guide to Social Science Data Preparation and Archiving was recently released in Japanese.

Collection Development News

The number of studies added to the archive almost doubled (from 289 to 533) in fiscal year 2007 from fiscal year 2006, mostly due to the addition of the Chicago Neighborhoods studies.

Staff have begun work on the Integrated Fertility Survey Series, and a new SAMHDA-funded cross-tab and codebook tutorial are ready for release. There is a new website for the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys (CPES), which offers an interactive DDI-XML codebook and data suite. The Chicago Neighborhoods project also released a new website.

Some of the studies that have been added to the collection since March include:

  • General Social Surveys, 1972-2006 (GA 4697)
  • Global Terrorism Database, 1970-1997 (NACJD 4586)
  • Annual Survey of Jails, 2003 (NACJD 4635)
  • Midlife Development in the U.S., 2004-2006 (NACDA 4652)

The following proposals have been funded since March:

  • Foundation for Child Development PK-3
  • National Long-term Care Survey distribution
  • Welfare, Children, and Families: A Three-City Study

The following proposals are currently under review:

  • NACDA Competing Continuation
  • Liaoning Multi-Generational Panel Dataset
  • Biomarker Repository Exploratory
  • Biomarker Best Practices Publication
  • RWJ Five-Year proposal
  • Quantitative Social Science Digital Library Pathway
  • Neighborhood Processes and Risk for Suicide in Rural Areas

Preservation News

The Digital Preservation Policy Framework is included in the Council meeting materials. There is a draft Memorandum of Understanding with Cornell University for the Digital Preservation Tutorial Web Site and Workshop, and a draft website describing ICPSR's digital preservation policies, which should be ready by October. There has been progress on the policies for preservation of video, geospatial, and Web content and on disaster planning.

Staff are doing a detailed review of the process steps and searching for ways to simplify and clarify processes across the data pipeline. The plan for automation will be completed by June 30, 2008.

Budget and Policy Committee

Council: Michael Haines, Kathleen Mullan Harris, Jim Oberly, Ruth Peterson (Chair), Walter Piovesan

Staff: JD Alford, Rita Bantom, Myron Gutmann

FY2007 Year End Projection

ICPSR has projected to end the fiscal year 2007 with a surplus of approximately $150K. The outcome of University of Michigan and CIC tuition payment negotiations is still uncertain.

FY2008 Budget

ICPSR staff presented and Council approved a balanced ($16K surplus) budget. Major changes to the proposed budget from the March Council meeting include adding revenue in the form of a sponsored project and removing expenses associated with hiring a leader for minority and outreach activities.

Council emphasized the importance of supporting professional development, especially considering the low turnover in ICPSR staff.

Council initiated a discussion on the direction of future technology expenses. Staff stated that there will be a continued need for more disk space. Partnerships with other institutions may be a viable way to keep ICPSR costs low while providing the needed disk space. The other technology-related expense is the need for more skilled programmers. ICPSR will not be able to fund these programmers with the normal recharge mechanism so alternative methods (i.e., sponsored projects) will be required.

Summer Program Fees for CIC Students

ICPSR has still not received payment from the University of Michigan for either UM students or CIC students who took courses for credit during the 2006 Summer Program. Negotiations for 2006 and 2007 payments continue. ICPSR staff proposed two key actions for the 2008 Summer Program:

  1. The Summer Program Director and Manager will construct a "realistic" budget. This will likely include eliminating the Summer Program library (plus staff) and the Summer Program computer support staff. It was noted that the instructor compensation philosophy will also need to be addressed.
  2. ICPSR will need to determine the appropriate tuition rate for the Summer Program. The present indications are that fees will double to approximately $2,500. Increasing the fees will require a more aggressive direct marketing campaign to maintain enrollment.

ICPSR also plans to attempt bilateral agreements with other CIC institutions. This would allow the Summer Program to receive tuition fees directly from these institutions and the students to still receive credit for their coursework. Through the offering of quantity tuition discounts, these institutions may be able to administer financial aid. Council requested that a document on the budget implications of Summer Program tuition be prepared for the October Council meeting.

Personnel Issues

ICPSR is pleased to have successfully filled the positions of Associate Director (George Alter) and Director of the Summer Program (William Jacoby). The candidates for the Summer Program Manager position have been narrowed down to two and a decision should be reached (and offer made) very shortly. As previously noted, due to the slow negotiation process of the University of Michigan, the minority data and outreach activities leadership position will likely not be filled in FY2008.

Nominating Committee

A list of proposed Council nominees and alternates was distributed during the meeting. ICPSR will contact the nominees to finalize commitments and make the official announcement later in the summer. Aletha Huston has agreed to take on the role of Council Chair for the next term.

Prizes Committee

This year's William H. Flanigan Award winner is Libbie Stephenson. There are three Warren E. Miller Award winners: Norval Glenn, M. Kent Jennings, and Barbara Everitt Bryant.

Grant Applications Submitted since March

The following grant applications are currently awaiting scores:

  • Quantitative Social Sciences Digital Library Pathway (QSSDL) - Myron Gutmann
  • Welfare, Children, and Families: A Study of Three Cities - Felicia LeClere
  • Neighborhood Processes and Risk for Suicide in Rural Areas - Felicia LeClere
  • The Preservation of the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhood Research and Human Subjects Materials - Chris Maxwell
  • Factors in Aging: Development Research Resources - Myron Gutmann

Collection Development Committee

Council: Charles Franklin, Aletha Huston, Paula Lackie

Staff: Peter Granda, Chris Maxwell, Amy Pienta, JoAnne O'Rourke

Visitors: Peter Doorn

Copyright Policy

Amy Pienta pointed out that the data deposit agreement is the appropriate reference document in which to address copyright issues. Because this form is being revamped, the broader discussion was carried over to the next meeting. However, the committee discussed related topics.

A depositor can have implicit and explicit copyright. The signature of the Principal Investigator (PI) is all that is required for deposit. The committee discussed including language regarding whether or not an Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved the data deposit, as well as collecting the IRB application and approvals for the data collection. Discussion included how difficult collecting this information likely would be. Therefore, rather than a requirement for all studies, in practice this would be gathered for some deposits only. The question of what ICPSR would do with the information was raised. This would be especially salient depending on what was included in the application regarding data dissemination. Some studies are exempt from IRB review and others are reviewed and approved by OMB. Should we also collect OMB approvals? It was noted that for NACJD studies, the Department of Justice holds the copyright.

Council asked staff to make a minor change to the deposit form by inserting "if applicable" in the language related to IRBs. The committee also discussed which of the materials related to the original IRB submission we should require or request. An action item for October is additional information and/or a recommendation from staff regarding this. While we do not want to make it onerous to submit data, we do want to ensure that data are legitimately being submitted and are ready for submission.

Publications-Related Archive (PRA)

The PRA is for data and documentation submitted in "as is" format to permit replication of findings in associated publications. This provides a low cost way to provide these data. Granda provided examples from the PRA.

The PRA presents some preservation challenges because data in a format provided 10 years ago may not be usable today. The question was raised as to whether the PRA could be improved to collect additional information to make it more useful. There is a proposal (using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics [PSID]) to hyperlink program code, journal articles, and variables. Graphs, tables and other objects could also be linked in the PRA, and this has advantages for users. The PRA has about 280 collections, most of which are small and not in compressed format. The full deposit form is the preferred method of deposit, though PRA depositors currently are told they may skip (non-applicable) sections of the form. We could consider adding questions for PRA depositors, as pertinent, such as the language in which code is written.

Peter Doorn, our visitor from Denmark, noted that they are considering a user rating system. In addition to providing users an idea about data quality, this allows people to see who is using the data so that they can team. Also, the staff is evaluating effort spent on data that are not heavily used. Committee discussion included how this type of arrangement allows the building of user communities. For example, the selection of a journal article allows one to also link to programming code and to the data. Users can then opt into communities, for instance, to share recodes so that individuals do not have to redo them. This also provides a "self-correcting" mechanism. Staff discussed the Marz technical rating schema (NACJD) and the Eurobarometer listerv.

Council noted the benefit of easily linking articles and data, and the ease of accessibility. Charles Franklin further noted there was no need to proceed further in terms of staff investigation.

Geospatial Data

Chris Maxwell updated the Committee on a draft policy/statement regarding standards for distributing geospatial data: "The Lifecycle of Digital Geospatial Data at ICPSR," which was provided in the Council briefing book. Staff commented that ICPSR has distributed these data for several years and noted that key issues in distributing geospatial data include cross-walking data between different metadata standards such as the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) and federal standards. Staff are currently engaged in trying to resolve these types of problems, primarily on NACJD. Translation software exists between Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) and MapInfo that is helpful. Maxwell noted that the concluding paragraph of the document in the briefing book will become a Department of Justice regulation.

Committee discussion included issues such as whether ICPSR distributes the data as they are received, as well as the normalized version; whether we preserve intermediate files; and whether we retain the original and normalized file versions. Council also raised the question of whether instructional materials related to geospatial data were developed and desirable to acquire.

It was noted that the confidentiality issues with these data are large. Council raised the issue of obtaining names as an example and that you "cannot disclose what you do not have." Therefore, continued care should be taken when setting policy regarding precisely which geospatial data to accept. Doorn noted that his archive does not have a great deal of geospatial data. Council expressed support and asked to be briefed regarding changes to the document.

Confidentiality Training Report

JoAnne O'Rourke updated the committee on two items related to confidentiality training at ICPSR. At the October 2006 Council meeting, the "ICPSR Training Plan for Disclosure Risk Awareness, Disclosure Analysis, and Application of Disclosure Protection Measures" was distributed.

The plan describes five modules of staff training for ICPSR regarding disclosure risk awareness, disclosure analysis, and the application of disclosure protection measures. The overall plan had multiple purposes: to standardize training, to create new training, to increase staff knowledge regarding disclosure risk, to increase cross-project collaboration, synergies, and efficiencies, and to increase the protection level of the data we release. The training involves a layered approach, internal and external staff training, and the development of new tools. The plan also presents suggestions for training others, such as through the ICPSR Summer Program.

The Disclosure Work Group (DWG) began meeting at ICPSR in January 2007. This fits under Module 4 of the training plan, which are brownbag discussions. This was envisioned as a forum for discussing issues, topics, and solutions related to disclosure risks, including new research and research findings and debriefings from seminar or conference attendance. This will help staff stay abreast of new research in the field and continue to help ICPSR build its knowledge base around the topic of disclosure. O'Rourke provided examples of topics discussed, which included presentations about disclosure analyses conducted at ICPSR; definitions and issues involved in disclosure analyses; summaries and debriefings from conference attendance about disclosure risk and confidentiality protection; and research presentations.

Work is underway to develop Module 2 training for all Collection Development staff. A detailed outline has been written. This is the first-level disclosure risk training and will provide standardized training on ICPSR processes, including confidentiality reviews. Training on the elements of the survey research process (e.g., types of research designs, samples sizes, response rates, the Institutional Review Board [IRB) role] will also be included. This module includes an overview of disclosure analysis and training on various aspects of data processing, from data receipt to preservation of final files. Distribution of restricted data is also covered.

The Council members were supportive of this work and were pleased to see ICPSR move toward having staff engage in and prepare for more global training and upgrading of skills related to confidentiality and disclosure risk. Council as a whole echoed the enthusiasm of the Committee.

Membership and Marketing Committee

Council: Aletha Huston, Jim Oberly, Walter Piovesan (Chair)

Staff: Bree Gunter, Mary Morris

Membership Activity &Utilization Reports

The membership activity report shows 55 new members for this fiscal year, bringing the total number of members to 606. Four members dropped membership, two of which were for nonpayment of fees. The majority of new members were in the Masters and BA membership categories and many joined as parts of existing federations and national memberships.

Membership &Marketing Initiative Updates

The three winners of ICPSR's first Undergraduate Research Paper Competition have been notified and congratulated. Their abstracts and papers are on the ICPSR website and all 16 students who submitted papers were contacted and invited to send a poster of their research paper for the poster session at the 2007 OR Meeting. It was noted that the number of signatures required for the competition submission could be onerous and that possibly only the finalist should need to provide the full suite of signatures.

Spring membership drive activities included mailings to former members and individuals who had contacted ICPSR within the past two years, to institutions that had some relationship to current ICPSR federations, and to already established consortia or associations that might be interested in joining ICPSR as a federation.

Work to prepare content for the Online Learning Center is ongoing. Graduate students have been hired to prepare 20-30 guides in both sociology and political science and 10-15 in the methods/statistical areas by the soft launch of the OLC scheduled for October 2007. Some questions about the OLC were referred to staff member Lynette Hoelter, who is overseeing the preparation of materials.

The first phase of the "MyClass" concept has been developed and will be implemented on July 1. That phase allows faculty to mass register students for temporary MyData accounts, thus preserving classroom time for instruction.

The OR utilization tools have been updated to include online analysis usage as part of the summary statistics and summary reports for federations and national members. These reports present information for the federation/national membership as a whole and for the individual institutions within those federations/national memberships.

The OR Media Kit was launched and contains a collection of materials that ORs can use on their campuses to promote ICPSR resources. These materials include revamped promotional materials and templates, a promotion calendar and checklist, and workshop materials that can be easily customized to individual institutions and needs. The Publications and Promotional materials Web pages have also been redesigned for easier navigation and identification of materials. The use of the Media Kit and workshop materials will be demonstrated at the fall OR Meeting.

An online survey to gauge interest in an OR blog was send to all ORs recently. There is interest and Libbie Stephenson, the OR at UCLA, has volunteered to structure and populate the blog initially. ORs will access the blog at LiveJournal.com.

While the Miller Scholars Fund drive is being considered for fall 2007, ICPSR is also considering an annual fund drive. Staff met with the UM's Development group for ideas and suggestions and will continue to develop plans.

Since March, staff have exhibited at nine conferences, and nine more are scheduled though December of this year. Committee members suggested attending some of the developmental conferences and provided details for follow-up.

2007 OR Meeting

The program is set with speakers for all sessions and everything is on track. Thus far, 47 individuals have registered.

Preservation and Access Committee

Council: Paula Lackie (Chair), Kathleen Mullan Harris

Staff: George Alter, Bryan Beecher, Nancy McGovern, Mary Vardigan, Cole Whiteman

Visitor: Peter Doorn

OR Community Communication

Council requested the addition of this item to the agenda: a brief discussion of responding to the OR request for the capability to comment on and annotate information about digital content at ICPSR, especially studies and files. ORs would like to be able to share their expertise and knowledge with other users, for example. Staff reviewed the activities underway at ICPSR to address the OR's request. The OR blog will be launched this summer to provide a mechanism for communication and there will be a discussion of the OR blog at the OR meeting in October. The 2009 Web page will have more interactive features.

ICPSR Anywhere and Shibboleth

Staff explained that ICPSR Anywhere represents a change for ICPSR services from authentication of institutions to authentication of individuals. ICPSR Anywhere is a step towards the future use of Shibboleth, a single sign-on middleware. The benefits and implications of implementing Shibboleth have been discussed extensively at recent Council meetings. There will be a July rollout of the new ICPSR Anywhere service. Users will then be able to log in once to their MyData account at a campus IP address and the system will retain that authentication as valid for six months from the time of each on-campus log-in; each on-campus log-in restarts the six-month clock.

This service addresses the difficulty MyData users have had in logging in from their home computers or while on the road. Prior to the implementation of ICPSR Anywhere, users had to use proxy or VPN log-ins to access their MyData accounts when not at an IP address on their campus. This solution has worked fine for some users and presented problems for others. For ICPSR, off-campus access lowers usage statistics because off-campus users who are not using a web proxy server or VPN service are not identified as members for downloads. Users may still have to use proxy and VPN for other services on their campuses, but not for MyData. ICPSR staff will be able to assist MyData users in situations where a member is not on campus for more than six months, for example. The number of user support requests stemming from unsuccessful log-ins should drop significantly once ICPSR Anywhere is in place.

Previous discussions of Shibboleth have noted that the take-up in the U.S. has been slow; there is an intention to use Shibboleth eventually, but, in practice, few institutions are. Peter Doorn confirmed that they intend to implement Shibboleth at some point, but have not yet. ICPSR Anywhere offers the potential for providing interoperable user services to CESSDA, the European consortium of data archives that is implementing Shibboleth. Council expressed enthusiasm for the implementation of ICPSR Anywhere and requested the development of an FAQ about the service for MyData users.

Digital Preservation Policy Framework

Council had a brief discussion of the ICPSR Digital Preservation Policy Framework. They expressed support for the approach and the content, requested the addition of the year in which the strategic plan (a document that is referenced in the framework) was approved, and agreed to recommend approval of the policy framework to the Council. The policy framework was approved by the full Council during the Committee Reports session.

Glossary of Digital Preservation Terms

Council expressed appreciation for the glossary, an action item from the March 2007 Council meeting. Staff noted that the glossary will be made available to members and other users as a component of the Digital Preservation at ICPSR website to be launched prior to the OR Meeting in October 2007.

Preservation and Access Technology Developments

Warm backup Web server: Staff explained that the server for the warm backup has been purchased and configured; the software, the content, and the database have been synchronized between the ICPSR server and the warm backup; and the co-location site (Minnesota Population Center) is ready to take delivery. A pending question about the warm backup concerns the search engine for the Web server. The replacement of the aging search engine for the ICPSR website was addressed as a separate project and problem to avoid holding up the launch of the 2007 version of the website. Staff members at ICPSR have been exploring options and it is possible that ICPSR will develop a new search engine internally. This should not hold up the establishment of the warm backup at Minnesota, but the search engine solution, once it is in place, will have to be synchronized in some way with the warm backup server. Testing of the warm backup server will proceed in June and July then the server will be delivered to Minnesota. This represents an important step in addressing business continuity requirements. Council suggested pursuing a signed agreement with the Population Center and adhering external labels to the server to be housed at Minnesota that will identify its purpose in case of staff change at Minnesota, for example.

New website post-launch: These activities were completed successfully: the move from the Sun/SPARC to the Dell/Intel server that supports the website, the move from Solaris 8 to Red Hat Linux 4 as the operating system for the Web server, the establishment of a staging server for previewing content, and the management of the content and supporting software for the website in a repository. The search engine is the biggest post-launch project. ICPSR tried the Google Search Appliance (GSA) as a replacement for the current search engine, but it failed qualification testing and was returned to Google (each GSA costs $25,000). The GSA is good at Web searches, but not at database searches; the ICPSR website integrates both kinds of searches. The search results for the GSA were limited to 500, presenting a problem for those searches where one really does want ALL of the results, no matter how many, such as a search on citations associated with a study. This limit was not disclosed by Google during the purchase phase. The GSA also failed at field searches. ICPSR has two options: buy or build a search engine. There will be an update on the status of the search engine at the October meeting.

OR Utilization reporting, MyClass, ICPSR Anywhere: Staff reported that version 2.0 of the OR Utilization reporting was launched with encouraging feedback from users - they love it. The report now includes usage statistics for SDA and improves national and federation membership reporting. MyClass version 1.0 is out, allowing instructors to create and manage batches of MyData accounts for the duration of a class. This is a step towards providing more online instructional support and services. The Online Learning Center utilizes MyClass, for example. Version 2.0 may be ready in Fall 2007. All of these services will be launched July 1. ICPSR Anywhere represents a change in how things are counted so it makes sense to make the change at the start of a fiscal year.

Archive moves from off-line to on-line storage: Staff reported that there has been significant progress since the March meeting in moving ICPSR's archival copies of digital content online. DLT IV tapes (a high-density magnetic storage tape commonly used for system backups) had been used for storing a master and backup copy of digital content (data files, documentation files, and associated files in digital format). There was no correct, comprehensive data base for the entire holdings. ICPSR was unable to produce on demand the number of bytes, the number of files, and other core metrics for archival storage. Legacy generations of storage media had been retained as a failsafe for archival storage.

To date, more than 250 DLT tapes have been read, resulting in more then 3.5 million files and more than 4 terabytes (TB) of digital content managed online. A status report on this project is available at: http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/INTRA/computing/dlt.html. ICPSR is managing multiple online copies of the digital files that have been copied in conformance with digital preservation requirements.

Staff are constructing a database that tracks the source tape from which files were copied, the file name, the file checksum (to monitor the integrity of the file over time), file format and type (by the end of the project), collection level information about original and processed files, and temporal information about when the files were archived. This database will allow the files to be managed in accordance with archival storage requirements and in support of ongoing processing.

The files are stored on the NAS (network attached storage) at Perry I (copy 1), on a special-purpose fileserver (copy 2) that gets synchronized weekly with the storage grid (copy 3) at the San Diego Supercomputing Center (SDSC), on an automated tape system at Perry II (copy 4), and at SDSC's partners in a storage project called Chronopolis (copy 5 and copy 6) once that project is in place.

The discussion confirmed that the issues of confidentiality and redundancy are being addressed as archival storage for digital preservation is formalized and synchronized. Archival storage can utilize the excess capacity of other institutions, such as the SDSC, though in-house technical capability and oversight to achieve effective archival storage are essential for digital preservation. There will be an update at the October meeting.

Data-PASS syndicated storage: Staff described a new Data-PASS project to achieve syndicated storage (effective redundancy that leverages the range in size and scale of participating institutions) for the partners: ICPSR, Odum Institute, Roper Institute, and the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard. The objectives of the project are to co-manage six preservation copies of each Archival Unit (the term for an aggregation of files to enable bulk management of digital files) using LOCKSS technology (an appliance and associated tools for managing digital files in a systematic and distributed manner that was developed at Stanford for library materials and is being applied to digital content of all kinds).

The committee meeting concluded with a discussion of confidentiality for digital content that culminated in a proposal to establish a sixth ICPSR Council committee on confidentiality. During the discussion in the committee reporting session with the full Council, the proposal to create a sixth committee on confidentiality was made and listed as an action item. On further consideration, Council decided to cancel the action item to allow time to look into the topic and its issues before taking action to establish a sixth committee on confidentiality.

Training and Instruction Committee

Council: Charles Franklin (Chair), Michael Haines, Ruth Peterson

Staff: Dieter Burrell, Hank Heitowit

The 2007 ICPSR Summer Program

This year's Summer Program looks very similar to those we have offered in recent years. The core four- to eight-week curriculum remains pretty much the same. New instructors added since last summer are Tom Pullum (Sociology, Texas), who will be the instructor for the Categorical Analysis course; Brad Jones (Political Science, University of California, Davis), who has been added to the team that teaches the Advanced MLE workshop; and Andres Martinez (Education, UM), who has been added to the team that teaches Intro Stat II.

The three- to five-day portion of the Program has added several new workshops:

  • Network Analysis: Theory and Methods
  • American Community Survey
  • Introduction to Spatial Analysis
  • Social and Economic Contexts of Childcare and Early Education
  • The Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys (CPES)
  • The National Long-term Care Surveys

2007 Summer Program Diversity

The 2007 Program will have ten scholars of color and 12 women on the faculty. The Program has about 60 instructors, so minorities represent about 17 percent and women about 20 percent of all teachers.

Last year for the first time the Program offered a course on Quantitative Research on Race and Ethnicity. That course was taught by Phil Bowman and Tyrone Forman, supplemented by several guest lecturers. This year Phil Bowman has altered the structure. Each of the four weeks will feature one co-instructor for a specific topic: Week one, Ray Massenburg will present an overview and general structure for the theory; Week two will feature John Garcia on Latino populations; Week three will have Angela Ebreo lecturing on Asian and Pacific populations; and Week four will feature Ty Forman on African American populations.

Each summer there is at least one short workshop on data of special relevance to minority groups. For the last two summers there was a workshop on the Chicago Neighborhoods study (PHCDN). This summer (and next year as well) we will feature a five-day workshop on the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys (CPES): Investigating Cultural and Ethnic Influences on Mental Health.

Over the last several years the student body of the Program has been relatively diverse, with over 25 percent of the participants drawn from minority groups and over 50 percent female. While these seem like reasonable base-line numbers, we are constantly working to increase diversity from year to year. Under previous guidelines and procedures we would expect similar if not even more robust diversity for this year. However, with the recent passage of Proposal 2 in the State of Michigan, limiting certain kinds of affirmative action programs, we could have a different turnout this coming summer. About one third of the minority participants in a typical ICPSR Summer Program are graduate students at the University of Michigan. Almost all of them are funded under special diversity programs. All of these kinds of funding arrangements are now being seriously challenged and/or altered.

However, through some responsible innovations, the graduate school was able to maintain many of the diversity aspects of some of these activities. As a result, overall enrollments in the Summer Program of U-M minority students will probably not be adversely effected, at least for this year.

External Review of the Summer Program

Staff have begun the initial stages of planning for the Council-mandated external/programmatic review of the ICPSR Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research. There will be an external committee composed of leading and prominent scholars in the fields of quantitative methods in the disciplines of Political Science, Sociology, and Applied Statistics, as well as related fields. The committee size will be no less than three and no more than five individuals. The committee will for the most part review and evaluate the curriculum and instructional components of the Program. But it is also expected as an outcome that the committee will make recommendations on new and innovative directions for the organization.

At this point the time line for the review is expected to be the following:

  • Impanel the External Review Committee: late summer
  • Create supporting materials and reports: early Fall 2007
  • Self study and review by ICPSR staff: Fall/October 2007
  • Staff and the Summer Program Advisory Committee meet: end of October 2007
  • A final set of materials and reports to be sent to Review Committee: January 2008
  • External Review Committee meets in Ann Arbor: April 2008
  • External Review Committee visits the Summer Program: July and August 2008
  • Committee completes evaluation and review and submits final report: Fall 2008

Online Learning Center Update

In March staff presented the draft of an Online Learning Center (OLC) website focusing on data-driven learning guides (DDLGs). The plan over the next few months is to populate the site with 20-30 guides in sociology and political science, and an additional 10-15 in the math/statistics areas by next fall. A second activity in this area is the creation of "MyClass" which will allow faculty to reserve temporary collaboration space on ICPSR servers for class or group training using ICPSR data and resources.

Open Session

Guest Peter Doorn of the Dutch Data Archive and Networked Services (DANS) organization gave a presentation on the DANS Strategy and Work Plan 2007-2010. This was a timely addition to the program, as ICPSR begins a strategic planning effort of its own. Doorn observed that the Council sessions were intense in content, but the tone was positive and relaxed; and that the Council is supportive of the ICPSR organization rather than adversarial.

The Council thanked Doorn for his presence and observations and thanked Aletha Huston for accepting the role of chairperson, and for connecting ICPSR with Cambridge Concord Associates; Council also thanked staff for the many successes since the last meeting, notably in the areas of funding, presentations and publications, and personnel. Council renewed its promise to bring out the issues that are important for discussion during the strategic planning effort, and noted two areas were not much discussed in this session: diversity and training delivery.

In an earlier meeting, Council had been thinking about forming a sixth committee, on Confidentiality and Data Security. Council would now like to proceed further along the strategic planning process before determining the sixth committee, or otherwise changing the committee structure.

This is a good time for an external review of the Summer Program. Council is interested in hearing about the types of people whom ICPSR might propose to be on an external review committee. Council wants to ensure that the committee is informed about the strategic plan. Council discussed the matter of developing direct relationships with the individual universities of the CIC to replace the single CIC relationship. Council expressed concern over possible inequality of treatment. Myron Gutmann noted that ICPSR is not eager to create a multitude of models - perhaps one or two, driven by scale rather than identity. Council also lamented the situation with respect to diversity leadership, and would appreciate anything that ICPSR could do to resolve it more quickly.

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