The system, which will also aid child care providers, is being developed at the University of Michigan's Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), with the initial version of the Web site expected to be accessible by early 2004.
ICPSR, part of the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR), is developing the searchable, Web-based archive in collaboration with Columbia University as part of a new $7.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
"ICPSR is committed to providing online access to research data in the vital area of child care," said ICPSR director Myron Gutmann, who is principal investigator on the archive. "We are working with our partners at Columbia to create an easily searchable website that will serve as a valuable resource for information-based decision making by policy makers and parents who are interested in the best possible child care for America's children."
The grant is the latest example of a move to expand access to archived information by making data available to users beyond the academic community. Within the last year, ICPSR and other academic data archives have begun to offer instant, online data analysis of more than 100 data sets on topics from crime victimization to political attitudes and health behaviors, allowing the general public, teachers, journalists and policy analysts to generate color-coded tables showing frequencies, cross-tabs, even multiple regressions and comparisons of correlations---capacities which used to be the sole purview of academics with advanced statistical training.
For more information on online data analysis, visit the ICSPR Web site at www.icpsr.umich.edu.
Established in 1948, the Institute for Social Research (ISR) is among the world's oldest survey research organizations, and a world leader in the development and application of social science methodology. ISR conducts some of the most widely cited studies in the nation, including the Survey of Consumer Attitudes, the National Election Studies, the Monitoring the Future Study, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the Health and Retirement Study, the Columbia County Longitudinal Study and the National Survey of Black Americans. ISR researchers also collaborate with social scientists in more than 60 nations on the World Values Surveys and other projects, and the Institute has established formal ties with universities in Poland, China, and South Africa. Visit the ISR Web site at www.isr.umich.edu for more information. ISR is also home to the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), the world's largest computerized social science data archive.