Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Great Things Happening at ICPSR

Hello again dataheads! The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research just held a webinar on their new site. Here is the quick and dirty.
  • New search engine: They have rebuilt the search engine completely. The best addition is faceted searching, which allows you to filter your search with additional terms like subject terms, geography, time period, and even study author. You also have easy and quick access to the ICPSR Thesaurus for more terms.
  • Study homepage changes: They have also changed the study homepages. If you enter into a study homepage you will see an option for Quick Download, which allows you to download all study files at one time. You will still need to log in to your personal account and to agree to the terms of use, but it is a lot quicker! In addition, they have condensed the info displayed, but provide links for more detail.
  • NO MORE DATA CARTS! The data cart is a thing of the past (Shame really. I loved the idea of a grocery bag full of data). Instead you will see all the various options for download displayed immediately. One note on this option: if the various options are grayed out, then just log in as a member and the arrows will be available for downloading data.
  • RSS Feeds: You can now create RSS feeds based on your search query. This is my fave feature by far! So, if I'm interested in data about crime in the US, then I can save my search query to my RSS reader. Super cool! Let me know if you have any questions about doing this!
  • Other stuff: They have expanded the Variable Database to cover about 20% of holdings minus Census data, so you can search for particular variables across a large number of studies. In addition they have started using Blogger and integrating Blogger posts into the ICPSR via RSS feeds. The ultimate goal for this integration is to (eventually) allow users to comment on parts of the website and maybe individually studies. I look forward to the possibility of the community sharing its vast knowledge about particular studies and more.

If you want to see all of this great stuff for yourself, check out the slides or recorded presentation. There are many more tutorials on a variety of topics available through the Data User Help Center, so check it out!

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