Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Networked European Social Science Tools and Resources

The explosive growth of the Web has created many new opportunities for providers of 'content'. The social and economic data collected by government departments, research institutes and companies may consist of surveys, registers, censuses and aggregate statistics. Much of this data is made available for re-use, (either from the creators directly or via academic archives and commercial marketing partners) or could become so if the right tools were readily available. The project plan aimed to massively increase the use of this data by developing a set of generic tools that would both assist the publishers of data to make their resources available, and to the end users to find and exploit this data. Specifically, the project aimed to create the tools to allow the users (readers or publishers) to:

-Locate multiple data sources across organisational and national boundaries.
-Browse detailed information about this data, especially the descriptive and contextual information.
-Tabulate and visualise this data quickly and easily for both naive and experienced users.
-Disseminate this data and documentation, in whole or part, in forms suitable for immediate use.
-Convert data from existing sources into a Web friendly format.
-Control access to sensitive data and monitor and charge for usage.
-Manage a distributed data server with easy to use administrative tools.

Alongside the specific technical developments, the project was very aware of the need to publicise the developments. Firstly, it was important to ensure that the project work could be integrated with developments elsewhere, for example in electronic libraries. Secondly, it was necessary to ensure that data producers were aware of the emerging tools. As a result, several major government departments, international organisations and research institutions are in detailed discussion with the consortium to take advantage of the unique set of data discovery, browsing and retrieval tools.

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University of Essex
University of Essex
CO3 4HR Colchester
United Kingdom
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