Canada as a case study for data library services: a twenty-year experiment
Lessons learned from Canada
General observations about forces shaping data library services
Data and other digital collections
The data “continuum of access” in collection development
Data reference and technical services
Planning levels of service for data libraries
Applying a data stewardship lifecycle model
The Canadian experience 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 Introduction of public use data products from the 1971 Census in digital format A set of the 1981 Census data products cost~$12,000 The cost of 1986 Census data products > $200,000 CARL Census Data Consortium was formed in 1989 The “Modern” Census Era
1989 is a benchmark year in the development of data library services in Canada, which arose out of a response to Statistics Canada’s new pricing policy mandated by the Conservative government in power.
1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 CARL Census Data Consortium was formed in 1989
Changes between 1989 and 1998 CARL Census Data Consortium, 1989 CARL General Social Survey Microdata Consortium,1991 COPPUL/ICPSR Federation, 1993 CARL Data Consortium for the 1991 Census, 1994 Data Liberation Initiative Pilot Launched, 1996 Annual COPPUL Data Service Training Workshops, 1992 Ontario-Quebec/ICPSR Federation, 1994 DLI Regional Training Workshops, 1997 1989 1994 1999 2004 2009
Changes between 1999 and 2009 1999 2004 2009 Research Data Centre Network, 2000 National Data Archive Consultation, 2001-2002 Consultation on Access to Scientific Research Data, 2005 Research Data Strategy Working Group, 2008 DLI Train the Trainers Workshop, 2004 Canadian Digital Information Strategy, 2007
National consultations and international pressures have made data a well-discussed topic in this decade but have failed to make data a political priority.
While everyone seems to be talking about data, few are actually doing anything to address concerns about data access and preservation.
Part of the inability to mobilise a collective response to data access and preservation in Canada is the absence of a forum for data people to plan and coordinate work together. The Research Data Strategy Working Group is a first attempt at this.
Data collections are part of a growing number of digital collections being managed in today’s libraries.
Libraries face buying or leasing these collections, producing their own through digitisation projects, or serving as stewards for collections that are entrusted with them.
In Canada, data collections have tended to be leased. Most data licenses require that the producer’s data must be destroyed once a lease is terminated. One result is that these leases have become long-term commitments by libraries.
With leased data, the role of a data librarian becomes one of managing the contractual relationship between data producers and her or his local institution.
Collection development consists of choosing data producers that have data corresponding to patron needs on campus. Often these omnibus collections have a mix of data that will support a variety of research interests. One can characterise these as “collections of access.”
One strategy in Canada has been to select data collections that support a continuum of access to products.
Continuum of access Open access Free access Published statistics Restricted access Expensive access Confidential data Conditional access Fees for access Anonymised data Aggregate databases
Continuum of access Web Access Data Enclave Access Web and in person Access Open access Free access Published statistics Restricted access Expensive access Confidential data Conditional access Fees for access Anonymised data Aggregate databases
Unlike many other countries that have national data archives, Canada is without an institution providing stewardship for the long-term preservation of and access to data.
This institutional gap in Canada is now being addressed by proposals to establish trusted data repositories in some universities. The goal is to build a network of repositories nationally to preserve data collections.
Data libraries, to a limited extent, have helped fill the gap in the absence of a national data archive.