My job at GESIS includes responsability for the production of metadata about social science data. These data were generally created during research projects and the data archive for the social sciences at GESIS archives the data for secondary use and replication.
A prerequiste for reusing data is good metadata. Only if scholars have sound knowledge on how data have been created and stored they can use the data for secondary analysis. In addition, the description of the data has to be precise enough to allow for a good retriveal when users search in our data catalogue. This requires that we minimize both semantic and syntactic ambiguity in the metadata which is not a easy taks.
Indexing Social Science Data is a difficult task and only few studies from information science adress the question how this is best done (whereas for indexing literature there is plenty of research). In order to overcome this obvious gap in research on indexing, I started a projekt together with Tanja Friedrich (also from GESIS) to improve the indexing of data in social science. First results will be presented at the IASSIST conference in June 2014 in Toronto and at the ECDA-LIS in July 2014 in Bremen.
I will publish the presentations here once we are back from the conferences.