New ICPSR project will improve metadata for two major national studies

Researchers will have access to improved metadata and new tools to search through and analyze the General Social Survey and the American National Election Studies under a new joint initiative launched by ICPSR, the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, and several partners.

Supported by a collaborative research grant from the National Science Foundation, ICPSR, together with the American National Election Studies program in the Center for Political Studies at UM's Institute for Social Research and NORC, will carry out the two-year "Metadata Portal for the Social Sciences" project. Technical support will be provided by Metadata Technology North America and Integrated Data Management Services

The first phase of the project will involve bringing the metadata for the existing GSS and ANES datasets up to the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) standard using XML. For a sample of the surveys, the project will also capture enhanced metadata on questionnaire flow and variable transformations. 

The second part of the project will create a metadata portal on the Web to demonstrate some of the prototype tools that can be built with the new structured metadata -- for example, survey catalogs and documentation libraries, question and classification banks, dynamic codebooks customized to user specifications, and tools for harmonization and comparison. These innovations will be broadly applicable to all survey data.

Thirdly, the project will develop new metadata-driven workflows and best practices to capture metadata early in the data production process so that it can be reused across the research lifecycle. 

"We are thrilled to be able to work toward improving the GSS and ANES metadata to create tools that both experts and novices can use to better understand these foundational studies of American society," said Principal Investigator George Alter, Director of ICPSR. "We hope these advances can serve as models for future research as well."

Tom W. Smith, GSS Principal Investigator, said: "NORC is pleased to link its capacity with that of ICPSR to provide the social science community with new and innovative products to facilitate the use of the GSS and ANES."

Oct 23, 2012

View other headlines