Digital files in varying formats are acquired for the Carleton University Library collection by the Data Centre to support academic programs and research interests as well as individual-researcher deposits and data rescues. Data rescues typically involve acquiring data that have been orphaned by virtue of the closing of government departments or the defunding of NGOs. These data are generally made available to the wider academic and research community for non-commercial use. Data users outside the OCUL umbrella can access these files directly from our Nesstar server.

Much of the data are acquired through consortium arrangements that involve cost-sharing among academic institutions. We also have a bi-lateral agreement with the University of Ottawa to obtain the Americas Barometer for use in both institutions.

We routinely obtain data from Statistics Canada (through the Data Liberation Initiative) and from the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research via annual subscriptions. While access to Statistics Canada’s Census, CANSIM and Trade data are freely available via the agency, we continue to subscribe to the CHASS Data Service at the University of Toronto, as these data are in a much more user-friendly format. In addition, Statistics Canada routinely removes older census and other data, while CHASS provides a much fuller historical record.

Since Carleton University is responsible for the Canadian portion of the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP), we acquire all national files from the Carleton Survey Centre and international files from the ISSP.

We actively pursue other data that are relevant to Carleton’s social science programs. These include collections from GallupCanada, Communications Canada and the Millennium Scholarship Foundation, among others. Because of copyright restrictions, we no longer supply POLLARA data as an on-line resource. Any files where we own exclusive or non-exclusive rights to academic and non-commercial research are stored with the <odesi> project at Scholars Portal ( and on our Nesstar server for users outside the province.

Other data sources include the International Federation of Data Organisations, other educational institutions, national data archives in a number of countries and various government and private sources, again largely on request.

Requests for specific data sets are evaluated for acquisition according to their relevance to the teaching and research needs of the university. Such requests from researchers are filled where possible; decisions to not acquire are affected by availability, cost, dependability of the data producer, data management issues and licensing restrictions.

Data Formats

Survey and polling data are collected in the format in which they are produced but, where possible, are supplied to the researcher in the statistical package of his/her choice through the use of StatTransfer.


Data management and statistical software are available, including SPSS, SAS, STATA, NESSTAR, StatTransfer, B2020 and Excel.