The Timescapes Archive

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  • 1. The Timescapes Archive
    Incremental Project and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH)
    Digital Forum
    19 January 2011
    Libby Bishop
    University of Leeds – Timescapes
    University of Essex – UK Data Archive
  • 2. 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
  • 3. Projects that span the lifecourse
    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
    Qualitative longitudinal (10+ years) multi-media data
    400+ participants
  • 4.
  • 5. The Timescapes Programme structure
    Three strands braiding research, archiving and reuse
    Declared goal to engage researchers as stakeholders
  • 6. 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
  • 7.
  • 8. 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.
  • 9. 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.
  • 10. 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)
  • 11. 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
  • 12. 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)
  • 13. What worked well (mostly)
    • (mostly) standardised form , c. 95% consented
    • 14. 225 participants so far – 17 no consent/embargo
    Transcription and documentation
  • 15.
  • 16.
  • 17. 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 ##...
  • 18.
  • 19. 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)
  • 20. 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
  • 21. 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”
  • 22. The Timescapes Archive:
    ESDS Qualidata: