The overarching objectives of the project can be summarized hereafter: The development of an integrated and effective distributed social science portal to facilitate access to a range of data archives and disparate resources. The employment of a multi-lingual thesaurus to break the language barriers to the discovery of key resources. The development of specific add-ons to existing virtual data library technologies, in particular, data location technologies and a metadata standard for scientific empirical material. An extensive programme to add content, both at the data/information and knowledge levels. Extensive training of data providers and users to encourage the continuous growth of the infrastructure.

The portal provides access to an unprecedented quantity of social sciences quantitative datasets using an easy to use Web interface. It harvests statistical datasets and variables published on the Semantic Web from all the largest European social sciences data archives, organizes them using a set of multilingual thesauri and taxonomies and makes them available through a responsive and highly customizable Web interface. The overall goal of the MADIERA project is to develop an effective infrastructure for the European social science community by integrating data with other tools, resources and products of the research process. The Madiera project has provided a common integrated interface to the resources of the majority of the existing 20+ social science data archives in Europe. The infrastructure will, as the Web itself, have the capacity to grow and diversify even after the initial construction period. Indeed, one of the main objectives of the project is to create a sustainable system, nurtured by the collective energy of the data and knowledge producing communities of the European Research Area.
The Madiera project is funded by the European Commission under the Fifth Framework program. Duration: 2002-2005. Coordinator: Norwegian Social Science Data Services (NSD)-Norway, Partners: seven Archives for Social science data-CESSDA members: UK Data Archive (UK_DA) -UK, Danish Data Archive (DDA) –Denmark, Finnish Social Science Data Archive (FSD) –Finland, SIDOS –Switzerland, GSDB/EKKE -Greece, Zentralarchiv (ZA) –Germany as well as Nesstar Limited.