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What data are held in the Center?
How can the data be used?
What conditions govern access to the data?
What are the user's responsibilities with regard to the data?
How are the data provided?
Charges and Costs

What data are held in the ISDC?

Users of the ISDC have at their disposal a large body of machine-readable data covering a broad range of research in the social sciences. The ISDC holdings contain mainly microdata files from the Central Bureau of Statistics and other sources. However, a few macro databases are also accessible through the Web. The data collection covers research areas such as population, health, labour and unemployment, economic behavior, elders, social and economic inequality, transportation, education, elections, immigration, political and other attitudes, multi-national comparative databases. The best way of finding out whether the ISDC has data suitable for your research purposes is to consult the on-line catalogue. Or the list of datasets. Another source of information about the ISDC's latest holdings is DATANET listserver to which you can subscribe by submitting your E-mail address. Additionally, you are prompted to ask the ISDC staff for further information by e-mail, by fax: 972-2-5883004 or by phone: 972-2-5881170 / 5883007.

How can the data be used?

ISDC holdings can be used for many purposes :
  • To obtain specific information about the attributes, attitudes or behavior of contemporary or historic populations
  • To undertake comparisons over time and between countries, regions and communities
  • To test or re-test theories and hypotheses
  • To pilot questions and techniques
  • To undertake methodological research on appropriately structured data
  • To obtain case material for teaching purposes
The wide scope of the data collection encourages secondary analysis of data for purposes quite different from those for which the data were originally collected. Users may find it helpful to acquire a copy of the documentation before requesting the actual data in order to determine the relevance of a particular dataset or subset to their own research or teaching. The ISDC strongly discourages the use of data without the appropriate user guide (Metadata).

What conditions govern access to the data?

A few datasets are subdued to further limits assigned by their original producers. These producers may determine the conditions that govern the availability of the data. Each dataset in the ISDC is classified by one of the following Access Modes, which represent conditions placed on data access by its producer:
  1. Standard access conditions apply. No other restrictions on access. See Confirmation Form;
  2. Users are required to sign special undertakings on conditions of use, which are specific to the dataset in question. The depositor will be informed about the usage. This access mode applies to the majority of the CBS datasets;
  3. Written permission of the depositor is required, in addition to standard access conditions;
  4. Access is held up until the depositor accomplishes his research work and releases the dataset (Up to 12 months);
  5. Access open only to users from the affiliated academic institutions
  6. CBS_MUC: Usage is restricted to senior faculty members in Israeli academic institutions

What are the user's responsibilities with regard to the data?

Before a copy of a dataset is released by the ISDC or permission is given to access it, the user is requested to sign an undertaking on conditions of use. In signing that form the user agrees to abide by conditions stipulated by the ISDC and the data producer with regard to the use of the data. A standard undertaking form covers most data, but certain datasets have special conditions reflecting the depositor's requirements (see access category 2,3 and 6 above). In most cases the user undertakes:
  • Not to use the data for any purpose other than that stated above
  • Not to make an attempt to identify individuals, households and firms in the dataset
  • Not to give, sell or transfer, in any way, the data, or part of it, to anyone else
  • To keep all related materials (files, documentation, magnetic, optic media etc.) in a place and manner so that no one, except the applicant, will have access to it
  • To make a reference, in every publication related to this data, to the Social Sciences Data Center (ISDC) at the Hebrew University as the data distributor
Where data are used for teaching purposes it is the responsibility of the teacher to sign the Undertaking Form and then to ensure that all students given access to the data sign the same Undertaking Form and that these forms are returned to the ISDC.

When a written permission of a data producer is required (access mode=3,6), the ISDC approaches the depositor on behalf of the user. Users should note that re-use of data already supplied, for a purpose not covered by the original application, requires the submitting of new application and undertaking forms.

How are the data provided?

Datasets are usually available in ASCII format and they come with a SAS, SPSS or STATA program that reads the ASCII file and converts it to a software system-file with variable and value labels. Macrodata are often available in MS EXCEL format. Other formats may be available on request.

The ISDC provides data in several modes and platforms. The most accessible platform of delivery is the Internet through which the ISDC provides quite a few macro databases: Economic Time Series for Israel (ETSI), Geobase and Judicial Statistics. Furthermore, a few micro datasets are also available for download through the ISDC web-site. See list of datasets, datasets marked with (*). In addition to the Internet, the main media for data transfer are:

FTP: The ISDC maintains an Anonymous FTP server for transferring data to users in Israel as well as in foreign countries. Once the user's data request is approved, the required files (datasets, documentation, codebooks, etc.) are written on a USER sub-directory and a related e-mail message instructs him/her how to download the files. Large files are compressed prior to their writing on the FTP server and may be extracted using WinZip software. The USER sub-directory is then available to the user for 7 days, before it is automatically deleted.

Compact Disks (CD-ROM): The ISDC distributes large volumes of data on CD-ROM. Several high-demanded CD-ROM products have been recently pre-prepared in order to facilitate data transfer and use.

Floppy Disks: Small files are still provided on floppy disks. These files are usually compressed and may be extracted using WinZip software.

Charges and Costs

Users from the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Hebrew University and from affiliated institutions do not pay for using the ISDC data collection.

Other users are charged according to the following criteria:
Cost of the required dataset to the ISDC
Size of the required dataset
User status: academic / student / non-academic /

Obviously, these administrative charges do not cover statistical analyses, which is frequently performed by ISDC upon request.

 
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