Full-Length Paper

Active Curation of Large Longitudinal Surveys: A Case Study

  • Inna Kouper (Indiana University)
  • Karen L Tucker (Center for Survey Research, Indiana University)
  • Kevin Tharp (Center for Survey Research, Indiana University)
  • Mary Ellen van Booven (Center for Survey Research, Indiana University)
  • Ashley Clark (Center for Survey Research, Indiana University)


In this paper we take an in-depth look at the curation of a large longitudinal survey and activities and procedures involved in moving the data from its generation to the state that is needed to conduct scientific analysis. Using a case study approach, we describe how large surveys generate a range of data assets that require many decisions well before the data is considered for analysis and publication. We use the notion of active curation to describe activities and decisions about the data objects that are “live,” i.e., when they are still being collected and processed for the later stages of the data lifecycle. Our efforts illustrate a gap in the existing discussions on curation. On one hand, there is an acknowledged need for active or upstream curation as an engagement of curators close to the point of data creation. On the other hand, the recommendations on how to do that are scattered across multiple domain-oriented data efforts.

In describing the complexities of active curation of survey data and providing general recommendations we aim to draw attention to the practices of active curation, stimulate the development of interoperable tools, standards, and techniques needed at the initial stages of research projects, and encourage collaborations between libraries and other academic units.

Keywords: active curation, data management, longitudinal survey, survey research, data lifecycle, DCN

How to Cite:

Kouper, I., Tucker, K. L., Tharp, K., van Booven, M. & Clark, A., (2021) “Active Curation of Large Longitudinal Surveys: A Case Study”, Journal of eScience Librarianship 10(3): 11. doi: https://doi.org/10.7191/jeslib.2021.1210

Rights: © 2021 Kouper et al. This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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Published on
11 Aug 2021