META-SSS @ MTNA
Metadata for Long-standing Large-Scale Social Science Surveys

Welcome

Welcome to the ANES/GSS Metadata Portal, a collaboration among the General Social Survey at NORC at the University of Chicago, the American National Election Study at the University of Michigan, and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research with technical support provided by Metadata Technology North America.

The objectives of this pilot project, which is funded by the National Science Foundation (Collaborative Research: Metadata Portal for the Social Sciences, SES-1229957) under the Metadata for Long-standing Large-Scale Social Science Surveys (META-SSS) program, are:

The two-year project has resulted in enhanced study- and variable-level DDI markup for both data series as well as prototypes of several useful tools, including a robust search, a variable bank, a cross-study concept bank and tagging tool, and a tool that displays routing paths through a survey. Agreement was also reached to transition both data series to new workflows that enable the export of documentation in DDI format from computer-assisted interviewing systems.

Tools

The Metadata Portal project has created enhanced documentation marked up in DDI Codebook 2.5 format for all of the years of the ANES and GSS series and has developed a number of tools to leverage the structured documentation.

Two of the project partners – Metadata Technology North America (MTNA) and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) – have built prototypes of tools to facilitate data discovery and use. Based on the same DDI markup, these tools showcase the potential and the flexibility inherent in the structured metadata approach.

Metadata Portal Application
Built by MTNA

Variable Tools Suite
Built by ICPSR

GSS Citation Library
Built by NORC

Web Services / API

The core infrastructure to support the implementation of tools leveraging the newly created ANES and GSS DDI metadata includes two essential components:

Both are available over a standard REST API as described below.

BaseX XML Services
Examples
Solr Search Services
Examples

Download

Data

Copies of the master files for the American National Election Studies and the General Social Survey are available on the websites of these programs:
In addition, a fixed ASCII version of the GSS 1972-2012 data file has been prepared for use with the SAS, Stata, SPSS and R scripts/programs generated by our prototype META-SSS portal tool. The file is based on master SPSS file Version 6 of the GSS and can be retrieved in our download area.

Metadata

DDI-XML metadata, reports and other raw files produced during this project are available for download at http://metasss.mtna.us/download

FAQ

Q. How can I obtain the ANES/GSS master data files?
A. See Download section
Q. What is ANES?

A. See About section

Q. What is GSS?

A. See About section

Q. What is DDI?

A. The Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) is an effort to create an international standard for documenting data from the social, behavioral, and economic sciences. DDI has two development lines:

DDI Codebook: DDI-Codebook is the more light-weight version of the standard, intended primarily to document simple survey data. Originally DTD-based, DDI-C is now available as an XML Schema.

DDI Lifecycle: Encompassing all of the DDI-Codebook specification and extending it, DDI-Lifecycle is designed to document and manage data across the entire life cycle, from conceptualization to data publication and analysis and beyond. Based on XML Schemas, DDI-Lifecycle is modular and extensible.

DDI has also created RDF vocabularies for use with Linked Data and controlled vocabularies to facilitate machine-actionability.

The DDI Alliance is the organization that shapes and develops the DDI specifications. It is a self-sustaining membership organization whose members have a voice in the development of the DDI standards.

Q. Which version of DDI was used for the Metadata Portal Project?

A. All of the ANES and GSS metadata were marked up according to DDI 2.5 in the DDI Codebook line. The decision to use DDI Codebook was made to enable the project to coordinate with markup that ICPSR had generated previously. Version 2.5 was chosen because it positions the project to move to DDI Lifecycle in the future.

Q. How can I create tools built on the structured XML metadata available for ANES and GSS?
A. See Services section

About

The Metadata Portal is a collaboration among the General Social Survey at NORC at the University of Chicago, the American National Election Study at the University of Michigan, and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research with technical support provided by Metadata Technology North America.

This two-year project was funded by the National Science Foundation (Collaborative Research: Metadata Portal for the Social Sciences, SES-1229957) under the Metadata for Long-standing Large-Scale Social Science Surveys (META-SSS) program.

American National Election Studies (ANES)

The mission of the American National Election Studies (ANES) is to inform explanations of election outcomes by providing data that support rich hypothesis testing, maximize methodological excellence, measure many variables, and promote comparisons across people, contexts, and time. The ANES carries out this mission by providing researchers with a view of the political world through the eyes of ordinary citizens. Such data are critical, because these citizens’ actions determine election outcomes.

ANES Time Series studies have been conducted since 1948, typically through in-person interviewing, during years of biennial national elections. Topics cover voting behavior and the elections, together with questions on public opinion and attitudes of the electorate. In all Time Series studies, an interview is completed just after the election (the Post-election or “Post” interview); during years of Presidential elections an interview is also completed just before the election (the Pre-election or “Pre” interview). Pilot Studies are normally conducted in the off-years when there is no national election. Pilot Studies are designed to test new, or to refine existing, instrumentation and study designs in order to improve the Time Series.

ANES is based in the Center for Political Studies at the Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan.

General Social Survey (GSS)

The General Social Survey (GSS) conducts basic scientific research on the structure and development of American society with a data collection program designed to both monitor societal change within the United States and compare the United States to other nations.

The GSS contains a standard “core” of demographic, behavioral, and attitudinal questions, plus topics of special interest. Many of the core questions have remained unchanged since the series began in 1972 to facilitate time-trend studies as well as replication of earlier findings. The GSS takes the pulse of America, and is a unique and valuable resource. It has tracked the opinions of Americans over the last four decades. The GSS is distributed as one cumulative file spanning 1972 to the most current wave.

The GSS is carried out by NORC at the University of Chicago The Roper Center at the University of Connecticut also distributes the GSS.

Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)

The mission of the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is to advance and expand social and behavioral research, acting as a global leader in data stewardship and providing rich data resources and responsive educational opportunities for present and future generations.

An international membership-based consortium of more than 700 academic institutions and research organizations, ICPSR serves as a domain repository for the social and behavioral sciences. Its data span many disciplines, including sociology, political science, demography, aging, criminal justice, public health, substance abuse, education, international relations, and more.

ICPSR’s educational activities include the Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research, a comprehensive curriculum of intensive courses in research design, statistics, data analysis, and social methodology. ICPSR also leads several initiatives that encourage use of data in teaching, particularly in undergraduate instruction.

ICPSR is a unit within the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan and maintains its office in Ann Arbor.

Metadata Technology North America (MTNA)

Metadata Technology North America (MTNA) is a privately owned eGovernment data management and information technology solution provider. Its mission is to facilitate production of and open access to statistical and scientific data, and to improve their quality

MTNA specializes in products and services leveraging XML technology, metadata standards, and related best practices. Its key personnel include globally recognized experts in SDMX, DDI, and statistical data management. The company senior experts and staff have been involved in data and metadata management for over a decade, collaborating with national statistical agencies, international organizations, and other statistical and research institutions around the globe. MTNA focus is on metadata and data management solutions for the collection and production of statistics, as well as on solutions for data archiving and secure microdata access.

Contributors

Individual contributors to the Metadata Portal Project include: