Reflections on the Intermediate Data Structure (IDS)
The Intermediate Data Structure (IDS) encourages sharing historical life course data by storing data in a common format. To encompass the complexity of life histories, IDS relies on data structures that are unfamiliar to most social scientists. This article examines four features of IDS that make it flexible and expandable: the Entity-Attribute-Value model, the relational database model, embedded metadata, and the Chronicle file. I also consider IDS from the perspective of current discussions about sharing data across scientific domains. We can find parallels to IDS in other fields that may lead to future innovations.