Lifespan Research & Data Archive Repository (RADAR) project - plans for an electronic archive for the Lifespan Collection


Project Overview

Lifespan Research Group (Department of Health And Social Care) was funded originally from JISC- Capital Programme for Repositories Start-up, to support the development, preservation and future accessibility of its valuable collection of life histories. This has provided the foundations for exploring the requirements for an information environment for research data collections through university e-repositories.The project scoped a digitisation strategy that embraced and defined best-practice solutions for long-term digital data preservation and the processes of creating, submitting and accessing current and future critical datasets in all fields of enquiry. This also scoped compliance with data security, copyright legislation, licensing, and associated audit functions. The Lifespan RADAR project provides an initiative to meet with the demands of university knowledge exchange and forward-looking information environments generally, and hopes to become a hub for future nationwide social science research activity through the preservation and preparation for re-use of a unique data set held within the Lifespan group at the Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies at Middlesex University.


The Lifespan Collection

The Lifespan Collection consists of an intergenerational sample of over 500 family members living in North London in the 1990s, who gave their life stories from childhood to the present day in taped interviews. There are around 3,400 hours of audio taped interviews, rated schedules in the form of paper records, and an electronic quantitative data set that need to be fully archived and made available for future research. To date, this unique data set has been the source of many research publications into topics such as childhood neglect/abuse; adult stress and coping; attachment style; self-esteem; relationship with partner and parenting behaviour as well as lifetime psychiatric disorders both affective and behavioural. However, the qualitative aspects are as yet largely untapped and additional analyses still wait to be undertaken. With a diverse team (including researchers from psychology, oral history, history and musicology) working on the project, the long-term aim is to release the collection’s interdisciplinary potential for a wider research community.


Aims and Objectives of RADAR

  • To explore an information environment suitable to the research group’s needs for digitising and cataloguing the collection for future shared access.
  • Research best-practice preservation solutions with appropriate legal and ethical considerations.
  • Explore options for use in new research projects and create appropriate networks.
  • Lay the groundwork for and explore the potential use in e-learning and teaching.
  • Create communication layer that incorporates future interoperability with similar projects in the social sciences (specifically in the interest of Lifespan).


NEWS -- January 2014
Competitive funding from Middlesex University Psychology Department research funds has been provided for pilot secondary analysis of the Lifespan Collection within RADAR: Meanings of Lifespan Development for Women and their Families living in London Principal.

Read about the project here.

If you wish to find out more about this work, or any other aspect of RADAR or Lifespan Archive Collection please contact us at


JISC funded RADAR project --- final report – 2010 (pdf)


Researchers associated with RADAR

Dr Nollaig Frost (Middlesex University)
-intergenerational sample

Dr Andrea Oskis (Middlesex University) & Catherine Loveday (University of Westminster)
-older age sample

Angelina Kovacheva & Jess Prior (Kingston University)
-young people sample



Five hundred people recall their life story… all kept  in one collection

Memories of childhood and of adult life: adversity, support relationships ...

Reports of coping style,
self esteem,
relating styles,
psychological disorders ...