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CODATA-DDI Training Webinars

CODATA hosts webinars on a variety of topics relating to our activities: data policy, data science and capacity mobilising in relation to data.  The CODATA-Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) Training Webinars series is a collaboration with the DDI to reach new audiences and provide ongoing value to existing users, by demonstrating the value of DDI tools, products and standards to those creating, managing and using research data within the social, behavioural, and economic sciences.

We deliver a webinar approximately every four to six weeks on relevant topics that appeal to audiences both within the DDI community and beyond it.  Each webinar is 45 – 90 minutes, and has a theme that connects different aspects of data-rich research practice with DDI products.  Time is allowed for questions to ensure participants have a chance to engage directly with the expert presenters.  Presentations are recorded to provide a lasting resource for those wishing to learn about the DDI suite of standards.


Webinars in the 2023 series

We have a comprehensive series of free webinars organised for 2023.

1: The DDI Variable Cascade: Describing Data to Optimize Reusability and Comparison. 9 March 2023, 15.00-16.30 UTC: view recording and presentation slides.

In the social, behavioural, and economic sciences, data is often described as sets of ‘variables’ – essentially the columns in a table or the answers, respondent-by-respondent, to a question in a survey. The term ‘variable’ is employed by researchers and data managers to describe a range of specific uses of this granular concept, often in ways that lack sufficient clarity to support automation. The DDI variable cascade is a more nuanced model which describes the stages of a variable from conception to its use in a data set. Drawing on other conceptual standards such as the Generic Statistical Information Model (GSIM), DDI provides an implementation mechanism for the increasingly common granular management and reuse of data. In this webinar, the model behind the variable cascade will be presented, along with the practical implementation of the various types.

2: Statistical Agencies Using DDI Metadata Standards: Promoting Transparency and Reusability of Data. 14 April 2023,14.00-15:30 UTC: *Registration now open!*

Statistical agencies are seeing a much more federated and complex data ecosystem where data flows from one organization to another. Metadata standards are key to facilitate this movement, including through greater automation to collect, manage, produce, and disseminate data. Metadata standards simplify sharing, reduce development time, and promote transparency across agencies, especially by ensuring that similar things are described the same way. In this webinar, we will present three practical implementations of how using DDI metadata standards has benefited large statistical agencies.

3: DDI, FAIR, and the Emergent Role of Active Metadata. A special event as part of the Research Data Alliance ‘Decade of Data’ celebrations. 4 May 2023, 14.00-16.00 UTC. *Registration now open!*

It is widely accepted that the FAIR data principles highlight the importance of metadata. The DDI community has decades of experience in supporting data production and reuse within the social, behavioural, and economic sciences through the publication and use of detailed, machine-actionable metadata specifications. This webinar explores the lessons that have been learned over that time, and how these lessons can be applied more broadly in the context of FAIR data sharing. The importance of granular metadata to data management practices is clear, but increasingly the ability to leverage metadata in an active capacity – to drive production, management, and dissemination – is growing in importance. With the advent of FAIR, the need for cross-domain exchange of metadata is also growing and the DDI specifications are evolving to meet that need. More than ever, alignment and coordination among metadata standards and models is needed. This webinar looks at how granular, active metadata can better support research data management both within and across and domains, and should be of interest to a broad set of the groups working within the Research Data Alliance.

4: ‘Engaging with DDI’: An Introduction to the Standards and Tools. September 2023.

The webinar will provide a general overview of the suite of DDI standards and related metadata products, supported by focused mini-tutorials and an overview of the tools. A free, virtual pre-event for the EDDI conference, to be held in Ljubliana, Slovenia in early December. More information:

5. Questions and Survey Instruments in DDI: Maximizing the Value of Your Metadata. December 2023.

Questions and the questionnaires in which they are used serve as an important focus when reusing data, but also serve as a resource which can be used to maximize comparability across studies, and to make the design of questionnaires more efficient. Further, a rigorous description of survey logic and flow can provide the basis for automation of the data collection process, heightening efficiencies for longitudinal and other repeated surveys. This webinar looks at the DDI structures for describing questions and survey instruments, and provides some examples of how this metadata can be leveraged to best effect.


Webinars in the 2022 series

1: DDI Working Together with Other Standards, Mon 28 March 2022: view recording and presentation slides

The different DDI metadata standards and how they relate to both each other and to other models and standards in common use in applications today, including, DCAT, and Dublin Core.

2: Vive les Métadonnées! (Les bases de DDI en français / DDI basics in French), Mon 13 June 2022: view presentation slides

Cet atelier a présenté les normes et les produits de l’Alliance DDI pour la collecte, la gestion et la diffusion des données, comme un excellent moyen de répondre aux demandes de données FAIR dans la recherche moderne.

3: Metadata Uplift – PDF/Excel to Structured DDI Documentation, Thu 16 June 2022: view recording and presentation slides

This webinar explores the ways in which organizations can take existing data documentation in typical formats and produce structured, machine-actionable XML metadata according to the DDI Codebook (DDI-C) and DDI Lifecycle (DDI-L) standards.

4: DDI Controlled Vocabularies, the CESSDA Workbench, SKOS and XKOS, Wed 12 Oct 2022: view recording and presentation slides

This webinar looks at how controlled vocabularies and similar types of concept schemes are used in and supported by the DDI standards.

5: Workshop at the European DDI User Conference (EDDI) – Introduction to DDI, Mon 28 Nov 2022: view recording and presentation slides.

The training event introduces DDI and describes the major specifications, DDI Codebook and DDI Lifecycle, as well as the upcoming DDI Cross-Domain Integration. In addition, DDI tool demonstrations show how DDI can be used in practice.


Webinars in the 2021 series

Please click the header for more information on the topic, and a video of the webinar.

1: Introduction to Metadata for Research Data Management: A Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) Perspective. 29 April 2021.

An overall definition and exploration of what metadata is and how it is used in data management, aimed at a broad audience and not only existing users of DDI.

2: Implementing FAIR: What DDI Can Do for You! 18 June 2021.

This presentation is aimed at audiences both inside and external to the DDI community.  It highlights where metadata is needed in terms of the FAIR principles and explains how different DDI products can help to support the implementation of FAIR.

3: Data Integration: Using DDI-CDI with Other Standards. 2 September 2021.

This webinar takes a cross-domain data integration example and shows how DDI-CDI, in combination with other standards, can facilitate the integration of disparate data. This includes the idea that data from different sources might be integrated in a largely automated fashion supported by the DDI-CDI description of the data structure and variables/datums.

4: Data Quality: Thinking about Quality and DDI Metadata. 18 November 2021.

Data quality is a topic which is often discussed and attracts a lot of interest, but the way in which it is approached varies widely.  This webinar examines different approaches in the use of metadata for describing data quality from the perspective of data producers in official statistics and in the scientific and research domains, and how DDI fits into this picture.

5. DDI Training Fair at the 2021 European DDI Users’ Conference. 26 and 29 November 2021.

The DDI Training Group organized a series of tutorials around the 2021 EDDI Users’ Conference. This includes a general overview of the DDI standards on 26 November 2021, followed by a series of more detailed tutorials on Monday 29 November, and a session describing the software tools and services available for implementing DDI.


Find out more

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Last updated: 2023-02-20.