DataVerse

DataVerse Network software allows organisations to host a storage and access system for research materials. The software creates self-contained ‘dataverses,’ each of which is designed to support individual researchers or research groups.

Data producers can take advantage of versioning systems, publish data sets with corresponding standardised citations, and choose levels of access for all materials. The Network host can also use a harvester to access remote information sources that have invited others to do so, using the OAI or Nesstar protocols.

The system was designed for Social Science data, but can be adapted for other scientific research materials.

Provider

Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University

Licensing and cost

Apache 2 License – free.

Development activity

Version 3.0 was released in May 2012. The current version (in August 2013) is 3.5.1.

The software is continually development, as revealed by an active issues tracking page.  The project is Harvard-sponsored, and appears to have support for the foreseeable future.

Platform and interoperability

The Dataverse Network makes use of the following components: Java Server Faces (JSF2); Enterprise Java Beans (EJB3); PostgreSQL; Lucene; and R and Zelig.

Prerequisites for installation include Sun/Oracle Java JDK 1.6+, a “virgin” installation of Glassfish v2.1+, preferably as part of the NetBeans Web Development bundle, PostgreSQL v8.3+, and R.

The software was designed to integrate reCAPTCHA, Google Analystics, ImageMagick, Handle, and LOCKSS if the installer so wishes.

Functional notes

DataVerses can be configured for two levels of access. An Open DataVerse allows all registered users to edit their own studies; a Wiki DataVerse allows users to edit all studies, although only a curator or administrator can release the changes.

A DataVerse will accept any format, but will only give full support to tabular data. SPSS and STATA are the preferred formats; data in these formats will be eligible for subsettable features, multiple formats for download, and a Universal Numerical Fingerprint (UNF).  GraphML is recommended for network data, and will be eligible for subsetting and pre-defined measurements.

A DataVerse Network has the capability to be registered as a handle.net server, which allows the Network to assign persistent identifiers to data sets.

Documentation and user support

The website contains extensive software documentation, including user, installer, and developer guides.  A new Users google group appears to be reasonably active.  Aside from a webform, contact information is not prominently advertised.

Usability

The DataVerse software provides a web-based interface for both administrators and users.

The package includes an installer, which is run through the command line; basic install is designed to be very quick. Comfort with command-line interface and general systems knowledge appear to be crucial for configuration and installation of any add-ons.

Expertise required

To take full advantage of the archival management features in the software, users should have a firm grasp on the metadata expectations for their field.

Standards compliance

The software supports numerous metadata standards, exporting as XML records in DDI, Dublin Core, FGDC, and Marc formats. The software is Z39.50 and OAI-PMH compliant, and has the ability to register information to Handle.net.

Influence and take-up

Current installations include Dataverse Networks at Harvard IQSS, ICPSR, the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, and the Utrecht University Library. The software's sourceforge page reports nearly 7000 downloads.

Last reviewed: 
9 August, 2013