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The UK's largest digital collection of social sciences and population research data


The project explored the feasibility of developing data exchange models and data conversion tools for primary research data collected in the course of empirical research.

It developed, refined and tested models for data exchange for both survey data and qualitative research data based on eXtensible Mark-up Language (XML)/Resource Description Framework (RDF) schema and developed tools for data import and export. The work also researched the feasibility of developing automated conversion procedures for legacy formats.

The data formats included are those that are commonly used in research such as SPSS, Stata, XML, Atlas-ti, MaxQDA and Nvivo. The test data selected for this project were from the social sciences, but these formats were typically found across all domains of primary research. A small scale evaluation of the models and tools were carried out in order to inform Jisc of the most viable options for future development in this area.

In 2003 the Archive's qualitative team developed a model for describing qualitative data collections, as an XML vocabulary and Document Type Definition (DTD) based on the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) for describing complex data structures. This project enabled this work to be further to create and publish an XML metadata schema, known as QuDEx (Qualitative Data Exchange), recommended for rich description of archival qualitative data.

QuDEx began its work with a comparison of the key core functionalities for the market-leading qualitative software packages in the hope of stimulating data exchange and import and export facilities between these softwares. It defined common denominator functions for documenting,organising and analysing qualitative data: coding, classifying, memoing, and relating and built these into the QuDEx schema/standard. QuDex is a software-neutral format for qualitative data that preserves annotations of, and relationships between, data and other related objects, and should be viewed as an optimal baseline data exchange model for the archiving and interchange of data and metadata.

Archive contribution

The UK Data Archive researched and developed qualitative and numeric data exchange and standard conversion metadata schema and tools , which were tested, evaluated and published as open source resources .

Principal Investigator: Louise Corti
Funder: Jisc Capital Repositories and Preservation Programme, Tools and Innovation Strand
Dates: January 2006 - March 2008
Contact: Louise Corti