USIA Office of Research Surveys, 1952-99NARA – Roper Center Collaboration: An Update Lois Timms-Ferrara The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research and Margaret O. Adams National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) IASSIST Conference 2010, Ithaca, NY
Common Focus, Different Perspectives • Focus of collaboration: recover, preserve, document and make accessible the U.S. Information Agency’s Office of Research surveys, 1952-1999 • NARA preserves and makes accessible permanently valuable US federal government records, including data records • Roper Center (est. 1947) preserves and provides access to public opinion survey data
USIA Survey Data Collection • Estimate over 2,000 surveys conducted 1950s-1990s • Media surveys and attitude surveys • Subjects span wide range of international issues • Survey results contributed to formulation of US foreign and defense policy • Some represent the only available opinion surveys from specific countries
USIA Survey Data Collection • Electronic data files containing the coded responses of individuals to survey questions • Questionnaires or codebooks that provide a type of ‘map’ to the data file contents • Methodological reports • Survey reports, summary tables, instructions and notes • Correspondence
USIA Survey Data Collection • Over the years collection distributed to numerous places: • NARA • Roper Center • Academic research centers and libraries • Functions of former USIA Office of Research reverted to Dept of State in 2000
Leveraging Relative Strengths NARA provides: • Structure for working with the State Department to identify and plan for the disposition of permanent federal records, incl. survey data • Permanent preservation, management, and file-level access for the data and documentation of USIA surveys • Access to other permanent, nonelectronic USIA records, reports, as well as related federal government records of all types and media • Roper Center provides: • Active migration and management of data • Exposure to academic researchers via membership • More streamlined access to data-based materials • Access to related public opinion survey data from the private sector and non-federal public sector
Basic Outcome of the Collaboration Both the Roper Center and the U.S. National Archives now preserve and make available a much more complete set of the USIA Research Data Collection than either institution had pre-Data-PASS.
Outcome: Discoveries within the Archives Attention to reprocessing and reformatting early studies in Roper’s collection for NARA revealed missing/incomplete documentation resulting in 151 fewer studies in complete form than originally anticipated
After the Collaboration: Outcome: Archives’ Collaboration Exposes Metadata • 1,150 USIA Studies Catalogued at the Roper Center • Complete Documentation is download ready • 801 studies were provided to the Center by NARA • Another 112 survey parts identified through the exchange • 1,544 USIA Studies (includes media surveys) and their documentation are preserved, described, and available on removable media from NARA • 234 attitude studies were provided to NARA by Roper Outcome: Archives’ Collaboration Locates Missing Pieces The UC Data Archive at Berkeley provided data and documentation for 4 studies that did not exist at NARA or Roper and documentation for 4 others; better quality codebooks for 30+ other surveys
More than half of the 801 studies NARA has shared with Roper have been fully processed and are available for Roper Center members. • In addition to 112 parts of studies attained from NARA, the Center has another 308 stray pieces of either documentation or data.
The Roper Center members accessed 5 times as many USIA datasets in the last three years as in the prior six years. • Documentation downloads currently average 976 each year up from 109 in the years prior to Data-PASS.
Going Forward • Track-down Missing Pieces 420 Studies are identified in part • Continue search for other possible repositories • Consult with State Department concerning USIA data or doc not yet transferred • Process the USIA Collection More Completely • Continue reformatting of data upon request by members 3. Adding to the Collection • Cultivate contacts with State Department, encouraging transfer of post-2000 survey data • Encourage release of data by providing access services
Conclusion • Enhanced access to multiple dimensions of the collection is the main advantage of the collaboration • Allows for stronger, richer and more complete collections then would otherwise be available • Provides opportunities for various synergies such as coordinated acquisitions, processing and upgraded electronic versions • Both institutions learned a great deal through the process