Skip to main content

Copy the text below to embed this resource

Setting up an ethnographic data archive: challenges, strategies, experiences
Main contributor
Wolfgang Kraus (University of Vienna)
The notion of Open Data rests on two main assumptions. First, data reflect the real world independently of the research context in which they are collected. They can be used to verify research results and are unproblematic to reuse. Second, once funding money has been invested, data become assets that cannot be owned by the researcher. It is obvious that such assumptions cannot hold independently of disciplinary conditions. I argue that ethnographic research provides a striking example of how mistaken they can be. The Ethnographic Data Archive (EDA) that we established in Vienna is based on a different set of assumptions. (1) Ethnographic data are not collected but co-constructed in dialog with our research subjects. (2) Thus, they also belong to the research subjects and their communities. (3) Ethnographic data have an interest beyond the immediate research context because they are usually too rich to be fully exploited in the first place and because, being situated in time and space, they are historical by nature. (4) There are good reasons to make ethnographic data accessible and reusable but they should never be treated as independent of their original research context. (4) The dialogic character of ethnography and the access to personal lifeworlds raises important issues of confidentiality, privacy and reciprocity. This means that ethnographic data can never be fully opened. (
Ehler Voss
Panel V | Opening Data: Policies and practices of RDM
SFB 1187 Jahrestagung 2019
SFB 1187
Other Identifier
MEDIAS: 47243_19