About the Social Science Data Library
Background and Mission
Established in 1975, the Social Science Data Library (SSDL) serves as Temple University's centralized, interdisciplinary repository for computerized social science data and expertise in the analysis of such data. Currently, its holdings incorporate files on virtually subject of interest to social scientists. The files range from nineteenth century census data to health examination surveys of national samples to arrest records from the Paris Insurrection of 1848 to international economic statistics. SSDL also is a member of the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, which gives students and faculty access to thousands of other data files.
The primary mission of SSDL is to support research and instruction in the social sciences by making its holdings freely available to faculty and students, by creating special files tailored to the needs of specific courses or research projects, by offering classroom instruction and individual consultative assistance in the use of its holdings, by acquiring and creating new data sets in which there is likely to be instructional and research interest, and by introducing to Temple users new technologies which facilitate data analysis. Users come from 11 schools and colleges and 45 departments and programs.
SSDL staff also provide limited consulting on statistical and research methodology. For example, the staff may suggest statistical procedures appropriate to the nature of the data in a particular file, assist users in interpreting statistical results, suggest how best to organize data for analysis or presentation, or recommend appropriate software and hardware for a particular analytic problem.
SSDL, separately and jointly with other university groups, offers or sponsors occasional seminars, workshops, or colloquia on data files likely to have broad interest and on recent advances in research methodology.
SSDL provides significant amounts of service research to publics both inside and outside of the university. Such service ranges from providing information over the telephone to conducting an analysis on the economic impact of the university on the region to serving as expert witnesses in court cases.