Data archive

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Data archives are professional institutions for the acquisition, preparation, preservation, and dissemination of social and behavioral data. The term is also sometimes used about natural science institutions (e.g., CISL Research Data Archive, see Scientific data archiving and Borgman, 2007, p. 18[1]), but here seems data centers to be the most used term. Data archives in the social sciences evolved in the 1950s and has been perceived as an international movement:

By 1964 the International Social Science Council (ISSC) had sponsored a second conference on Social Science Data Archives and had a standing Committee on Social Science Data, both of which stimulated the data archives movement. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, most developed countries and some developing countries had organized formal and well-functioning national data archives. In addition, college and university campuses often have `data libraries' that make data available to their faculty, staff, and students; most of these bear minimal archival responsibility, relying for that function on a national institution (Rockwell, 2001, p. 3227).[2]


The databank movement in the social sciences has perpetuated the mistaken belief that mountains of data are worthwhile, and that if enough is collected, analysed, and stored, benefits will result and the social sciences will progress. This belief is mistaken: it is characteristic of alchemists, or mystics, rather than scientists" (Brittain, 1989, 99-100).[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Borgman, Christine L. (2007).Scholarship in the digital age: information, infrastructure and the internet. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
  2. ^ Rockwell, R. C. (2001). Data Archives: International. IN: Smelser, N. J. & Baltes, P. B. (eds.) International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (vol. 5, pp. 3225- 3230). Amsterdam: Elsevier
  3. ^ Brittain, J. M. (1989). Knowledge in the social sciences. International Journal of Information and Library Research, 1(2), 93-105

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