User Support

Louise Corti


In considering "users" of social science data archives, the temptation is to count only those who are conducting secondary analysis of data. However, the definition of "users" can be widened to include any groups and individuals who have regular or systematic contact with a data archiving and dissemination service. In this paper I identify six distinct categories of users: data creators and potential depositors of data; depositors of data; those enquiring about re-using data; those who are re-using data; those who have re-used data; and those who have an interest in acquiring knowledge about the workings of or procedures used by a data archive. I discuss in turn the requirements for providing user support across each of these areas.
I conclude that a well-directed, managed, forward-thinking and monitored program of user support can enable a data archive to keep one step ahead of users' needs and to raise its own profile. As such, the pay off is a good reputation, a solid funding base, an enhanced culture of sharing and re-using qualitative data, the production of high quality incoming data and documentation and spin-off funding for new products and cross-national initiatives.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0502411


user support; social science data archives; qualitative data archives; secondary analysis of qualitative data; creating data; depositing data; support networks; teaching and learning support

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Copyright (c) 2005 Louise Corti

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