The DLI, is arguably, one of the first attempts by the research and university library communty to make census data accessible to Canadians. The DLI cannot be considered an Open Data project since data are behind a paywall, irrespective, it was one of the first real lobby efforts to make data available, to work around StatCan’s (back in the day when we had a census) regressive cost recovery and data pricing policies. The paper provides an excellent review of the history of data advocacy in this community of practice, introduces the associations and also discusses early Internet FTP data transfer, standards, and the data consortium or group purchase model. Today the DLI serves thousands of faculty and students in research libraries, and its boot camps continue to provide ongoing education and builds capacity in Canadian Research Libraries. Many of the organizations mentioned remain actively involved in Research Data Canada, the creation of trusted digital repositories and work on the preservation of research data.
The Data Liberation Initiative (DLI) is a Canadian program aimed at providing Canadian post secondary institutions affordable access to Statistics Canada data resources. It is a partnership between Statistics Canada and the academic sector. While it initially focused on the dissemination of public use microdata files it now encompasses all publically-available data. This paper describes the background of this project and some of the key success factors so that other agencies may be able to determine its applicability for their own situations. It was written in the hopes that other agencies may find the Data Liberation project as a useful model to consider. It was also written for a Canadian audience that is interested in the history of this project which has now been in operation for over 16 years.
Ernie Boyko is a former staff member of Statistics Canada where he held a number of Directorships, including Agriculture, Corporate Planning, Electronic Publishing, and Operations for the 1991 Census. It was during his time at Statistics Canada that Wendy Watkins and he co-founded the Canadian Data Liberation Initiative. He is an active member of the Canadian Association of Public Data Users and the International Association for Social Science Information Services and Technology. He is currently an Adjunct Data Librarian at the Carleton University Data Centre and occasionally works on projects with the International Household Survey Network. .
Wendy Watkins is the Manager of the Carleton University Library Data Centre. Her inspiration for Data Liberation came while working at Statistics Canada for a two year period. She is a founding member of the Canadian Association of Public Data Users and active in the International Association for Social Science Information Services and Technology.