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The Data Chronicles: A Repository for Social Science Metadata


The Data Grid is a key element of the e-social science project. Work within the Data Grid has hitherto aimed to facilitate access to different data sources and promote remote collaborative working. However, there are broader difficulties in accessing and using social data. Existing data archives do not generally include administrative data, produced by government departments and other agencies in the course of their work; researchers require ‘expert knowledge’ of a field in order to locate relevant data; and researchers require extensive knowledge of how data was gathered and concepts were defined in order to draw appropriate conclusions. Our project will investigate the feasibility of constructing a ‘Repository’ of metadata that could resolve these problems. Our proposed Repository represents an advance on existing archives in three respects. First, researchers need to be able to locate and utilise administrative data sources as well as survey data; the Repository will include metadata on these sources. Second, users will be able to search the Repository using either generic or specialised terms; users will not require expert knowledge of how terms are defined within data sources – or even whether sources exist – in order to find them. Third, the metadata to be held will include references to key debates, recognising that social science concepts cannot be defined ‘once and for all’.After consulting with topic area experts and archivists through a series of virtual seminars, we shall design and build a pilot Repository, focussing on data sources for two topic areas (‘drugs’ and ‘employment’). This will enable us to assess the feasibility of a long-term Repository of metadata covering the full range of social data sources, and how such a large scale project might be maintained and funded. It will also produce a resource to be made available through the Web, which will be useful to others with an interest in our topic areas of ‘drugs’ and ‘employment’

Maturity: Initial Research
Region: UK
Type: Small Grant
Grant Value: £54,966.00
Start Date: 01/08/2005
End Date: 31/10/2006
Project Status: completed
Funding Agency: EPSRC

Project Members
Ms Karen Clarke

Collaborating Organisations
University of Manchester

Component(s) Project Develops
This project is not associated with any components at present.

Application Area(s) associated with Project
This project is not associated with any application areas at present.


Last Updated: 22 Jun 12 11:02
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