Show Your Love – Adopt a Dataset!
By Jutta Seibert
At long last, Love Data Week is here! Every year the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, better known as ICPSR, hosts Love Data Week in February and invites the academic community to adopt datasets to show their love for data-driven research.
At its core, ICPSR is a data archive that offers a range of value-added services such as online analysis, educational programs, and data management tools. Students, faculty, and staff associated with Villanova University have access to the complete menu of services and archived datasets. Questions regarding ICPSR should be directed to the University’s official ICPSR representative, Social Sciences Librarian Nicole Daly.
The sheer size of the archive is difficult to grasp for anyone not familiar with ICPSR. However, finding relevant data is amazingly easy. Search terms are matched not just to variables or dataset descriptions but also to data-related publications. Most important of all, ICPSR is not just for political scientists and sociologists, as its name may imply; humanists and historians are among the scholars who deposit qualitative as well as quantitative data. ICPSR hosts self-published replication data sets through openICPSR. Keep this in mind for the next time a research grant requires you to share your data for replication purposes.
To show my love of data I adopted the Berry Slave Value Database. Choosing one dataset from the multitude of data available on the topic of slavery was not easy. So many options and so little time. In the end it came down to a choice between Dr. Berry’s dataset, which offered historical sale and appraisal prices covering the years 1797 through 1865 from ten U.S. states, and the data archived by Drs. Fogel and Engerman, which include historical sale and appraisal prices covering the years 1775 through 1865 from eight southern states. I chose to adopt Dr. Berry’s dataset, which was submitted through the OpenICPSR program. OpenICPSR datasets can only be analyzed by downloading them from ICPSR into statistical software, whereas many of the ICPSR curated datasets can be analyzed online on the ICPSR website. The Berry Slave Value Database features research data that Dr. Berry collected for her monograph The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, From Womb to Grave, In the Building of a Nation, which is available at Falvey in print as well as electronically.
Falvey staff invites you to take a closer look at what ICPSR has to offer and to adopt a dataset this week whether you are a humanist or a social scientist. For more information about ICPSR and some of the other data resources Falvey offers, join us throughout the week in one of our lunch workshops. Join us online using the hashtag #LoveData23 to see how institutions around the world are celebrating Love Data 23.
Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.