OR Handbook: Support

...data users and ICPSR in communications about the ICPSR resource on your campus

MyData Account

Each ICPSR data user must register by creating an ICPSR MyData account. The account consists of the user's e-mail address and a password. MyData users at ICPSR institutions can optionally provide their name and e-mail information to their OR. All MyData account holders can download documentation files and data files housed within the topical archives. A second level of authentication is necessary in order for MyData users to download members-only data. That second level of authentication uses the IP addresses member institutions supply to ICPSR. Users at member schools that have not submitted IP ranges will need to contact their Official Representative for access to members-only data.

Integrating ICPSR Metadata Records into Local OPACs

ICPSR shares its metadata records with the membership to promote wider awareness and use of ICPSR's social science data resources. In particular, we encourage members to integrate the records into local Online Public Access Catalogs (OPACs) intended primarily for the user of faculty, staff, and students. Note, though, that there are some stipulations on the use of our metadata records.

Bibliographic Citations

For each ICPSR study, the study description contains a bibliographic data citation to be used in manuscripts based on ICPSR data. Additionally, ICPSR appreciates receiving citations of publications utilizing ICPSR data. These citations become part of ICPSR's Bibliography of Data-Related Literature. This information also allows ICPSR to provide funding agencies with essential information about the use of archival resources and facilitates the exchange of information about the research activities of ICPSR members. Users can submit these citations via email . ORs should encourage researchers to submit citations.

Bibliography of Data-related Literature

The Bibliography of Data-related Literature is a database of citations to published and unpublished articles, books, dissertations, and conference presentations that have analyzed or significantly discussed ICPSR data. The Bibliography, with over 65,000 citations to date, is also available via the "Related Publications" link beneath the Table of Contents navigation on the study description pages.

Searching the Bibliography. Just as in the main ICPSR data catalog, you can explore the Bibliography using faceted searching. Note: ICPSR does not retain a copy of the publications listed in the Bibliography. Therefore, it is not a full-text search of a journal article or report, only a search of the elements of the citation, such as the title and author.

Getting full text. ICPSR provides links to the full text of publications where possible, but your access will be dependent upon your institution's subscriptions and/or the nature of the publication. Next to each citation in the Bibliography, you will see "Full Text Options" followed by one or more linked words. For journal articles, there will be a Worldcat link, as well as a Google Scholar link. The DOI (Digital Object Identifier) will also appear when it is available. For freely available reports, presentations, and other resources, the URL or PDF URL will appear when possible.

Exporting citations. If you want to export a citation from the Bibliography, you can click on the "Export Options" link below a given citation to export it directly to your reference management software, or save it in RIS format.

Submitting citations. If you are aware of any publications analyzing ICPSR data, and its citation is not yet appearing in the Bibliography, we encourage you to submit these citations via email .

Dissemination Formats

All ICPSR study files contain ASCII text data and documentation files. Many also contain setup files and portable ready-to-go files for three major statistical packages: SAS, SPSS, and Stata. A small number of data collections are still available in older formats like OSIRIS, EBCDIC, column binary, etc. There is an ongoing initiative to covert these file into the three major statistical packages.

Selected data collections at ICPSR are accessible through the Web-based Survey Documentation Analysis (SDA) tool. Users can explore and analyze the data on the Web without the need to download files or use another statistical software package. SDA provides access to a wide range of statistical capabilities (from contingency tables to multiple regression). The system also generates custom subset datasets that may be downloaded for use with traditional software packages.

On-Demand Creation of Setup Files

ICPSR strives to provide data in formats its users want. Although many setup files have been created routinely as ICPSR processed data, some older studies do not contain these "value-added" files. If you encounter such a study and need a setup file, please submit a request. We will make every effort to create the file for you in a timely fashion. Note, however, that as this is largely a manual process, the study must have unambiguous documentation and a manageable number of variables. The complexity of the study, number of variables, and condition of the documentation are all considered in determining whether a request for setup files can be added to the queue.

Deposit Data

ICPSR encourages researchers to deposit their data. The online form allows depositors to enter information about a submission using their Web browser and to upload files to ICPSR through a secure Internet connection. Users may save information they have entered in the form at any stage, and return to complete the form later at their convenience. The form can be accessed by multiple users, allowing collaboration and verification of deposit form information with colleagues and staff.

The Guide to Social Science Data Preparation and Archiving is available to assist data producers in preparing their collections for deposit. The Guide offers guidelines and suggestions that are useful for anyone creating digital data.

Secure Restricted Data

To obtain access to secure restricted data from ICPSR, the researcher must complete and submit an application, agreement form, data protection plan, curriculum vitae (CV) from all individuals who will be accessing the restricted data, approval from their Institutional Regulatory Board (IRB), and the necessary signatures from university administrators who have the authority to sign contracts on behalf of the university. Information on accessing these restricted data is found within the study description on our website. Currently the data are provided to the principal investigator on CD-ROM and sent via first-class mail, restricted delivery.

Run Utilization Reports

Accessed from the OR Site, the utilization reports tell of the usage of the ICPSR resources in several ways:

  • General Summary Statistics contain the web downloads and Survey Documentation Analysis (SDA) usage for the last three fiscal years,
  • Category Comparisons and Frequencies of Download Summary Statistics contains the basic downloads information for the last fiscal year,
  • User Statistics provides a list of users at your institution who have downloaded data,
  • Summer Program Participation Report provides information on the summer program participants for your institution for the year you specify

Communicating with ICPSR

ORs are encouraged to submit to ICPSR suggestions on new data to be acquired, comments on the quality of services received, and share information about problems encountered with data and documentation. ICPSR also welcomes proposals for new or additional services and tools that might be provided. On occasion, ICPSR staff will request specific information from ORs through mail, email, and web surveys and questionnaires. OR completion of these forms is very important since ICPSR uses the information for internal planning purposes including improved services to ICPSR members.

It is also very important that ICPSR be notified in writing of any changes in email addresses, phone numbers, or mailing addresses for current ORs. In order to better serve users at member campuses, ICPSR must also be promptly informed in writing of any changes in OR staff. All such notices should be accompanied by a complete mailing address, including building name, room number, and street address, for future mailings, and other contact information, such as voice and fax phone numbers, and email address. This information should be forwarded to the ICPSR Membership Coordinator.