Archiving Qualitative Data. Polish Practice vs. European Experiences
Institute of Philosophy and Sociology Polish Academy of Sciences Warsaw, Poland
Many qualitative researchers understand and strongly support the idea of qualitative data archiving. Although Polish sociology has great tradition of collecting and analyzing qualitative data (to mention only "The Polish Peasant in Europe and America" edited by F. Znaniecki and W.I. Thomas, 1918-1920) data sharing and/or archiving (especially) for re-use has never been a part of Polish research culture. However the core part of national policy on data archiving, namely Personal Data Protection Act from 1997 should not be treated as a barrier the social researchers could not break.
As a consequence the existing infrastructure is not impressive. The collections are spatially dispersed, very diversified (from pictures and materials from memoirs writing competitions to recorded interviews) and rarely digitalized. What needs to be stressed is that they function practically outside academia. The contacts between both sides are loose and based rather on individuals than inter-institutional cooperation.
The biggest Polish collection of autobiographical interviews belongs to an NGO called KARTA. Their collection is already impressive and soon will be available on the internet (open access). Comparing to KARTA, Qualitative Data Archive at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IPS PAS), one of the strongest Polish research institutes of an academic character, is at its initial stage of development struggling with the institutional practices (of NOT sharing data) and financial limitations.
The aim of the presentation is to critically present current state of development of the Polish archives of qualitative data and reflect upon the possibilities to draw on the experiences of much better developed European initiatives including International Association for Social Science Information Service and Technology (IASSIST) and Council of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA).