The amount of statistical data produced in Latin America has mushroomed in recent years. Many government agencies, such as census bureaus, national statistics agencies, development ministries, and electoral institutes, now make a significant amount of this data available on the Web or on CD-ROM. A variety of international institutions, private firms, scholars, and nongovernmental organizations also collect and disseminate a range of statistical data, from surveys of public opinion to social development indicators. Unfortunately access to this data by researchers has been limited as the availability of electronic data sets from Latin America tends to be incomplete and short-lived.

The development of a Latin American Electronic Data Archive (LAEDA) will address methodologies and usage requirements to collect and preserve data sets while facilitating increased accessibility and functionality of these materials. The goal of LAEDA is to acquire and preserve data sets relevant to Latin American research and policy development and to make available via a user-friendly Web interface the microdata files for data extraction and analysis. LAEDA will seek to collect the electronic data sets held by individual researchers as well as originating public or private institutions in Latin America. The initial focus of LAEDA will be on electoral data, household survey microdata, and data relevant to social policy evaluation. LAEDA will serve scholars, students, and policy makers to enhance research and policy development.

LAEDA is a joint project of LANIC with the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) and the University of Texas Libraries. Faculty researchers participating in the project from the University of Texas are Raúl Madrid, Department of Government, Bryan Roberts and Leticia Marteleto, Department of Sociology, and Tom Mustillo, Department of Political Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Our institutional partner is the Secretaría de Educación Pública de México (SEP).

LAEDA will focus on three core activities involved in building and maintaining a data archive for microdata: data acquisition, preservation, and distribution. Project design will encompass acquisition, preservation, documentation and metadata, removal of personal identifiers, and access and distribution. LAEDA will work with both individual researchers and a national institution to develop methodologies for acquisition and delivery that are compatible with access to data sets under IRB policies and documentation requirements that address the responsibilities of both creators and users of digital research data. LANIC will develop the backend architecture and user interface for delivery services and the University of Texas Digital Repository will provide management of the research data for storage and long-term preservation. A central repository for data sets on Latin America will provide added granularity and depth of research materials. The ability to download and manipulate original data for analysis will allow scholars and students to reframe research questions and carry out quantitative as well as qualitative analysis. The objective of building a comprehensive collection over time will contribute to comparative and historical research. Use of LAEDA by scholars, researchers, policy makers, and students has the potential to contribute to more informed social development policies and actions.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Latin American Electronic Data Archive is to collect, preserve, and provide access to data sets relevant to Latin American research, policy analysis, and teaching. The focus of the collection is on electoral data, household surveys, and data relevant to public policy evaluation.