Skip to main content

University of Michigan School of Information


UMSI faculty appreciate recognition as ICPSR is nominated for top IMLS honor

Tuesday, 03/12/2019

The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research is a finalist for the Institute of Museum and Library Service’s (IMLS) 2019 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

The award, given annually since 1994, is the nation’s highest honor for organizations that make significant contributions to their communities.

In a statement, IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew said that the finalists for this award “showcase the tremendous abilities of libraries and museums to serve as vital community resources.” 

ICPSR is an international consortium of 800 academic institutions and research organizations with a mission

focused on advancing and expanding social and behavioral research, acting as a global leader in data stewardship and providing rich data resources and responsive educational opportunities for present and future generations.

Housed within the U-M Institute for Social Research, ICPSR maintains a data archive of more than 250,000 files of research in the social and behavioral sciences. It hosts 21 specialized collections of data in education, aging, criminal justice, substance abuse, terrorism, and other fields.

In addition to making data available, ICPSR helps people in- and outside the research community develop the skills to make smart, sound use of data through the program’s summer program, data-driven learning guides, webinars, YouTube channel, and other educational programs. 

“We are also a leader in research that develops standards and practices for data stewardship,” says UMSI associate professor and ICPSR member Libby Hemphill. “Our work on privacy protection and secure data access, for instance, enable science while protecting individual's identities.”

Professors of information Paul Courant and Margaret Hedstrom are also members of ICPSR. UMSI research professor Margaret C. Levenstein is the organization’s director.

“ICPSR is extremely appreciative of this recognition from IMLS,” says Levenstein. “We live in a period in which it seems as though data are everywhere.  Making that data useful and accessible is ICPSR's core mission. We believe that meaningful data access is important to the functioning of our democracy and the advancement of knowledge. 

“We need to use data analysis to inform policy decisions, and we need to give the citizenry access to data so that they can participate in and understand the science that goes into policy decisions. The 800 members of the ICPSR consortium, our staff and instructors and sponsors and the University of Michigan all make this possible.”

- Jessica Webster, UMSI PR Specialist