Image: Fabien Barral via Unsplash
Wed 10 Feb 2021

Today we released an updated version of our flagship product, the CESSDA Data Catalogue.

It contains the metadata of data holdings of CESSDA’s Service Providers. It is a one-stop-shop for research and discovery, enabling access to extensive collections of data relevant to social science research, including issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CESSDA Data Catalogue (CDC) is also part of the EOSC marketplace.

The CDC covers a diverse range of data across Europe, including quantitative, qualitative and mixed modes, longitudinal and cross-sectional, national and cross-national data. It currently provides access to nearly 27,000 studies in ten languages held at our national Service Providers across Europe.

How does this new release of the CDC benefit our users?

The CESSDA Data Catalogue now has enhanced search options:

  • Search language selection next to the search box facilitates language choice.
  • Improved filtering options makes it easier to refine searches and find more relevant data.
  • Upgraded search engine brings improved stemming (e.g. vote, votes, voting, voted) and synonyms (e.g. teleworking, distance working, remote working) performance to search requests in each metadata language.
  • Highlighting search terms in the results makes them easier to find.
  • When the user clicks on a topic or a keyword in the detailed study view, the system carries out a search for other data that includes that term.

We also wanted to make sure that the CDC was accessible for users with disabilities and therefore made some accessibility improvements:

  • The study detail page now uses HTML sections, which divide parts of the study description, like the abstract, title and methodology, into logical sections.
  • It also uses headers and paragraphs giving each section a logical structure, with titles and content.
  • Both of these changes make it easier for screen readers to read out studies based on the logical structure of the page.

Other user-friendly improvements:

  • Better organisation and naming of information elements in the detailed study view, to facilitate browsing the information content.
  • More information and links to the controlled vocabularies and thesauri used in study descriptions.
  • Fully revised and extended User Guide in the ‘About’ section.

There is also a lot of work being done “behind the scenes” to maintain and update the user interface and the display of metadata collections.

Two other products that feed into the catalogue:

  • The CESSDA Controlled Vocabularies Service (CVS) secures consistency in the use of controlled vocabularies across archives. The service allows users to maintain, translate, browse and and download vocabularies used to describe social sciences data. The terminology used in the Methodology section of study description in the data catalogue is often based on DDI Alliance vocabularies managed in CVS: Time Method, Analysis Unit, Sampling Procedure and Mode of Collection. The topic terms are taken from CESSDA Topic Classification in many cases.
  • ELSST – European Language Social Science Thesaurus, is the online thesaurus showing definitions and relationships of keywords in the social sciences across fourteen languages. Many service providers use ELSST keywords for their study descriptions. The keywords are found at the bottom of the detailed study view.

Want to learn more about the CESSDA Data Catalogue?

Join the webinar in the coming weeks. More information will be published soon.

We have invited a content expert from a Service Provider to explain why and how to use the CESSDA Data Catalogue and a researcher to test it and provide a user's perspective.