The Library collects data sets and subscribes to sources of data for the use of UCSB faculty and students.  At this time, only requests from graduate students and faculty for the purchase of data will be considered.

Data sets will be selected for acquisition, and data sources will be selected for subscription, based on the following criteria:


  • Joint-purchases between the Library and researchers, departments, or research groups preferred*
  • Does not duplicate data that are already available through the library or open to the public


    • The source of the data must be credible and reliable
    • The quality of the data must be confirmed
    • The quality of the documentation and metadata must be confirmed

Format and Access


  • Data are in an accessible machine-readable format that can be read by our most heavily used statistical software packages, such as Excel, SPSS, SAS, Stata, R, and ArcGIS  
  • Access Methods Currently Supported:
    • Physical format (e.g. CD-ROM)
    • Mounted on library server with IP-access 
    • Online licensed databases with IP-access 
    • Online data repositories with institutional memberships (e.g. ICPSR)
    • Mounted on library server with dedicated terminal access 
    • Online licensed databases with dedicated terminal access (e.g. Datastream)

Scope and Relevance

  • Must be relevant to the curricular and research needs of the University
  • Data likely to be of interest to multiple users is preferred
  • Chronology: Both current and historical materials are collected
  • Geography: Materials of relevance to California and the United States, as well as international resources are all collected
  • Language: English preferred
  • Data that is used primarily with geospatial software is not a focus of the Social Science Data Collection, and requests for such materials should go through the Maps and Imagery Library


  • Data must be available to all current UCSB students, faculty, and staff
  • Considerations include availability of data to walk-in users and remote access
  • Confidential/restricted data is not acquired


  • Comes with all necessary documentation, such as the codebook and relevant metadata

*The Library will acquire only data whose license it can support. Any data that is purchased with supporting funds (of any amount) from the Library will have the license negotiated by the Library, and will be hosted by, or housed in, the Library for access.  Ongoing costs for resources acquired in joint-purchases will require ongoing financial support.

All requests for purchase should be directed to the Social Sciences Data Librarian.  All requests are considered on a case-by-case basis following the stipulations of this policy.  

Subject librarian: Stephanie Tulley
Policy Last Updated: January 2015