The Timescapes Archive Incremental Project and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) Digital Forum 19 January 2011 Cambridge Libby Bishop University of Leeds – Timescapes University of Essex – UK Data Archive
Timescapes Themes Relationships, identities, family life, intimacy, care and support The dynamics of personal lives : key turning points and transitions People’s biographies set against a backdrop of inter-generational and historical change
Projects that span the lifecourse Projects: Siblings and Friends: children’s lateral relationships Young Lives and Times: teen to adulthood transitions The Dynamics of Motherhood: an intergenerational project Masculinities, Identities and Risk: lives of men and fathers Work and Family Lives: the changing experiences of ‘young’ families Intergenerational Exchange: grandparents, exclusion and health The Oldest Generation: events, relationships identities in later life Data: Qualitative longitudinal (10+ years) multi-media data 400+ participants
The Timescapes Programme structure Three strands braiding research, archiving and reuse Declared goal to engage researchers as stakeholders
Distinctive aspects of the Timescapes Archive Integration of research, archiving and reuse Multi-media, longitudinal data with documentation Explicit focus on ethical reuse of QL data Accessible and secure Linkages with other longitudinal data Striving to engage researchers as stakeholders
The data is from three waves of interviews with the respondent and includes transcripts and photographs taken by the respondent. If you click on the fourth entry for Wave Three you see this image. The viewer allows you to zoom in and out of the image, rotate left and right and to see the image at its full size or as a best fit for the screen. Going back to the results will allow you to access more information about the data.
These essays can be matched to the NCDS survey data of 11 year olds done in 1969. Extensive quantitative data is available, along with the young people’s essays.
Is it ethical to reuse data? Depends in part on confidentiality and agreements made at the time of data collection Archived data should always conform to ethical and legal guidelines with respect to not disclosing participants’ identity when this has been requested by informants Achieve this by various strategies: consent for archiving (as well as participant, publication) editing the original data (e.g., anonymisation) controlling access (e.g., licences, case-by-case basis)
Why ask researchers to engage with archiving? Early, informed consent from participants to share data Consistent data management-transcription, anonymisation Rich and extensive contextual documentation Researchers as partners in design of access system-to ensure proper balance of sharing and protection Collaborative models for reuse rather than “handoff” To give participants greater voice To ensure precious, hard-to-collect data is used
Seemed like good ideas at the time… 6: Can I ask a, I mean, I’m absolutely fascinated by this whole idea that you archive as you go along. I mean, I couldn’t begin to imagine doing that. 4: Neither can we. (Member of Timescapes team)
What worked well (mostly) Consent
(mostly) standardised form , c. 95% consented
225 participants so far – 17 no consent/embargo
Transcription and documentation
Anonymisation – mixed picture… Guidelines jointly developed, but Uneven implementation. Revised system for marking sensitive and anonymised text-PLEASE READ These guidelines document an important shift from the previous (18 April version) for marking anonymised text. The previous version called for use of an XML tag “<seg>”. That system is no longer recommended and a new system has replaced it. Timescapes recommends using the following system to indicate anonymised text. At the start of the text to be anonymised, use the punctuation marks @@. At the end of the text, use the marks ##...
What worked (less) well “I think at the moment the issue for me, for us, is that we didn’t anticipate how long it would take to prepare the data for archiving. And because… it is current and we’re aware that the data that we’re working with, are people’s current situations, that makes us even more concerned about anonymising, perhaps. ..But because of the time-consuming process, it can feel like a lot of our time is preparing the data for other people to use, rather than us, who collected the data, getting the chance to work on it, which is not really what we, the kind of situation that we want to be in.” (Timescapes researcher)
Stakeholder model has pros and cons Some very real costs Triple burden – collection, archiving, reuse Burden fell disproportionately on early career researchers But major successes as well Consent – high success rate with difficult data Demonstrated key role for fine-grained access controls Innovations in researchers’ engagement with archiving Working papers; researchers’ accounts in the archive
Emerging bright spots… Practices to address researcher exposure: Growth in more powerful access control tools Archive “parallel” accounts from researchers, in addition to other contextual documentation Accounts can also help to showcase under-acknowledged skills of preparing data for archiving Finally, just as participants don’t (usually) reveal more than they want to, researchers may learn skills from “the other side of the microphone”
The Timescapes Archive: http://ludos.leeds.ac.uk/ludos/ ESDS Qualidata: http://www.esds.ac.uk/qualidata/