"What Is This Archive All About?" and Other Challenges for Information Services
Helena Laaksonen 23.6.2005
The Finnish Social Science Data Archive has a growing number of clients. Every year a few new data depositors join the group of existing ones and there is a steady rise in the number of re-users and released data. In order to ensure that the growth will continue and that the culture of sharing research data would take root in the Finnish scientific community, the good word about data archives has to be spread tirelessly and in various forms.
FSD's own information channels, web site, online newsletter and e-mail list (only in Finnish), reach a good part of potential and existing clientele. The staff also write each year general presentations on the archive's services, data presentations and other articles connected with archiving to different online and printed publications. These kind of presentations are also in demand at training events, seminars and conferences. Sometimes we resort to allocated letters and e-mail newsletters.
In spite of all the effort we put into informing people about FSD, we still come upon people who have never even heard about it. "What is this archive all about?" we are asked. And we tell them, again and again.
Because FSD has gradually established itself we can write more articles on specific issues or present data to certain target groups. However, we can never completely abandon general presentations. New students and researchers are often the most favourable object for the archive's purposes. Besides, repetition is the mother of all learning, even when it comes to veterans of archiving.
The international organisation of professionals working in data services (IASSIST) held a conference in May. The event provided several occasions for FSD representatives to share their experiences of data acquisition and user services. The problems, and often solutions too, in other archives are familiar to FSD. We noticed that information is also essential in data acquisition.
Some of our presentation materials and writings can be found on the Internet or in printed publications. We have also attached a list of publications to our annual reports (available only in Finnish). Suggestions for new publication forums are more than welcome.
There is more information on the IASSIST conference and FSD's activities in other articles of this bulletin.