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

Qualitative data

We introduced object- and paragraph-level citation for texts, using the APA citation format in our online data access system, QualiBank.

QualiBank enables searching and browsing of qualitative data, interviews and open-ended questions. For our within-text citations, we are not explicitly using DataCite DOIs, although our textual citation refers to the higher level UK Data Service collection DOI to which the text belong.

Each text fragment has a persistent GUID, prefixed with "q-" in the QualiBank system. When the user selects one or more fragments in the user interface, these fragment GUIDs (and the parent text document GUID) are assembled by JavaScript into an HTTP GET. This invokes an XQuery on the citation XML database via a RESTful API and passes the text fragment GUIDs plus the parent text document GUID as parameters in the URL.

The XQuery:

  1. creates a persistent citation identifier and concatenates a citation URL
  2. looks up the DOI of the parent dataset of the text document GUID
  3. looks up other DDI2.5 metadata associated with the dataset
  4. concatenates readable citation text using the above values
  5. inserts an xml citation record into the database (including all of the original text fragment GUIDs)
  6. returns a JSON response to the UI, including citation text for the user to cite - this includes the DOI of the dataset and a citation URL to enable a user to return to and highlight the relevant text fragments later

It's important to note that the DOI itself is not generated by this process and is retrieved from elsewhere as a pre-existing identifier for the parent dataset. It's also important to note that the DOI is *not* the same as the citation identifier in this system.

The structured metadata for each citation created on the fly is as follows:






Thompson, P., University of Essex. Department of Sociology, Lummis, T., University of Essex. Interview with Mr. Patridge. [Interview transcript] (paragraphs 619-622). In Family Life and Work Experience Before 1918, 1870-1973 [data collection] UK Data Service. SN:2000,


<utteranceguid para="619">q-9f5184a9-7efb-e211-b501- 000bdb5cc6d5</utteranceguid>

<utteranceguid para="620">q-a05184a9-7efb-e211-b501- 000bdb5cc6d5</utteranceguid>

<utteranceguid para="621">q-a15184a9-7efb-e211-b501- 000bdb5cc6d5</utteranceguid>

<utteranceguid para="622">q-a25184a9-7efb-e211-b501- 000bdb5cc6d5</utteranceguid>