MacEwan University Library Data Services Policy

The library facilitates access to subscription-based data sources and open data sources for students, faculty, and staff.

Access Restrictions

Use of subscription-based data resources is subject to relevant user and license agreements and is restricted to current students, faculty, and staff of MacEwan University. Members of the public or other educational institutions are permitted to access open data or other data content not governed by a license agreement.

Definitions

For the purposes of this policy, the following definitions apply:

  • Data File: Any file available in one of the library’s subscription databases that contains a series of encoded numbers corresponding to a survey, research project, administrative dataset, or geographic mapping file.
  • Data Liberation Initiative (DLI): A partnership between Statistics Canada and post-secondary institutions to improve access to numerical data, geographic files, and other products from Statistics Canada. 
  • Statistics Canada: The national statistics agency responsible for providing access to economic, social and census data.
  • GIS or Geospatial Data: Data with geographic information embedded in it, allowing the data to be associated with a physical location on the planet.
  • Open Data: Data that can be used, reused, and redistributed freely by anyone, with no restriction other than a requirement to provide attribution and share alike.

Provision of Data Services

The following data services are available to MacEwan University students, faculty, and staff:

  • Reference: Assistance is available via the library reference desks (in person and phone), IM chat, and email. Complex data or GIS related questions received by reference staff may be referred to the Data Services Librarian.
  • Research Consultations: Individual consultations for data related questions can be scheduled by contacting the Data Services Librarian.
  • Instructional Support: The Data Services Librarian is available to provide in-class instructional sessions or course-specific research guides on data and GIS resources. This can be arranged by contacting the Data Services Librarian.

Self-service: Most of the library’s data collections can be accessed from the library website by authenticated MacEwan University students, faculty, and staff. A few DLI files are accessible only through mediated-access which the Data Services Librarian can assist with.

The library does not provide advice or guidance on conducting statistical analysis or installing statistical or GIS software.

Data Collection Development

The library collects data files and data collections to support the research and teaching and learning needs of MacEwan University faculty and students. Requests for new data files and data collections are evaluated on a case-by-case basis using the following criteria:

  • Data are in an accessible format or interface and do not have limiting user restrictions.
  • Data come with supporting documentation, such as the codebooks and relevant metadata.
  • Data are in a format that can be read by common statistical software packages available on library computers, such as Excel, SPSS, and ArcGIS.
  • Data do not duplicate collections already available through the library or open to the public. 
  • The library can comply with any license restrictions associated with the data.

Requests for purchase should be directed to the Data Services Librarian.

Policy Authorship and Approval History

2008-11-28 Drafted by Roxy Garstad
2009-01 Approved by the Collections Development Committee
2018-08-03 Revised by Tara Stieglitz