ICPSR Director Richard Rockwell launched this effort to establish an international standard for the content and exchange of social science documentation. In 2003 the informal working group charged with developing the specification transformed itself into the self-sustaining DDI Alliance, which now has 32 domestic and foreign member institutions. Version 3 of the XML specification, which documents the full data life cycle, was published in 2008, and has since been adopted by a significant number of social science archives and research projects worldwide.

Featherman, a social psychologist and sociologist, was a former sociology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and past president of the New York City-based Social Science Research Council. His research interests include demography, social psychology, human development, and gerontology.

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