The storage and retrieval of microdata involve serious problems because of the complex documentation required. The changing computer technology and the complex data-manipulation are statistical procedures. At best, secondary use will remain expensive, and its funding a problem. Reductions in cost of access require investments in anticipation of later use which may be self justifying (by increasing that use) but cannot be funded by those future users. A stepwise procedure for access will probably involve securing and reading the initial published analysis, then securing volumes of printed documentation (code books are not enough) and ultimately securing a data file. Now there is a problem of knowing who else has worked, or is working, on the same data.
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- The Usefulness of Microdata and some Strategies for the Storing, Using, and Disposing of it
James N. Morgan
- Palgrave Macmillan UK