I am a woman of many hats, both real and metaphorical. The metaphorical hat that pays the bills is working on the soon-to-be-set-up Irish Qualitative Data Archive. IQDA invited Libby Bishop over to tell us about her experience working on Qualidata the UK Qualitative Data Archive. While here she told us about the new project she is working on. Timescapes is a qualitative longitudinal study of the life course. As the data produced it is being archived; the project has just launched so there isn’t much up, but already searching for “father”, will bring you photographs and show you that there is an interview that contains that word. In time, it will be possible for outside researchers to access the data. And the breath of the data is impressive.

Timescapes is made up of seven projects ; “two on young lives (siblings and friends, the changing lives of teenagers), three on mid lives (motherhood, fatherhood and work life balance) and two on older lives (grandparenthood and the oldest generation)”.

There is growing move towards digitising data to enable sharing of work among researchers – the Timescapes project seems to me a beautiful example of what the future of qualitative research might look like. Ewen you might be interested in a similar archive which focuses on experiences of health and illness. http://www.dipex.org (note: I had difficulty accessing it in firefox – someday I will blog about the problems technical challenges of digital archives).