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Research Data Services


Format and Quality

Format and Access:

  • Supported access methods:
    • Mounted on Library server with IP-access (e.g., Dave Leip Election Data)
    • Mounted on Library server with dedicated terminal access (e.g., Geolytics)
    • Online licensed databases with IP-access (e.g., Social Explorer, Cambridge Structure Database)
    • Online data repositories with institutional memberships (e.g., ICPSR)
    • Online licensed databases with dedicated terminal access (e.g., Datastream)
    • Physical format (e.g., CD-ROM)
    • Freely available online resources
  • Preference is given to data that can be stored online and remotely accessed. (e.g., ICPSR)
  • Preference is given to software-independent (“standard”) formats. If not software independent, the interface must offer ease of use. (e.g. txt, csv)


  • Data do not require frequent or costly updates. Data are from a credible and reliable source.
  • The vendor is a reliable business partner, and provides adequate and immediately accessible documentation.


  • Joint purchases between the Library, researchers, and/or departments, are encouraged;  in most cases, the library will manage and administer these purchases.
  • At the same time, we strive to be flexible; an expensive dataset or database that has high value – broad impact across research and/or instruction at Boston College – will be considered. Supplemental funding on the part of the researcher or schools are especially welcome in these cases.


  • Data must be accompanied by adequate documentation and metadata.


  • Long-term access to and retention of data will be provided at the Library’s discretion.

Decision Making Authority

  • Acquisition decisions will include the Data Librarian, the relevant Liaison Librarian(s), and Collections Management within the Library.