DPLS News, April 2001

Please note: Older issues of the newsletter are likely to contain
broken links -- the newsletter is presented here "as published."

DPLS News contains articles about local, national, and international data issues.
It is published twice a semester by the library staff.

Editor: Joanne Juhnke, Associate Special Librarian
Contributors: Lu Chou, Special Librarian & Cindy Severt, Senior Special Librarian

April 2001


Table of Contents

The Education of a Data Librarian
Addition to DPLS Online Data Archive
ICPSR Summer Program 2001

Spatial Analysis Summer Workshops
New Studies at DPLS
Census 2000 Data Release

Internet Corner
     Health Poll Search
     Agricultural Market Access Database (AMAD)
     Biz/Ed Data
     Puerto Rican Maternal and Infant Health Study (PRMIHS)


The Education of a Data Librarian

"For when you become a teacher by your pupils you'll be taught."
-- from The King and I, by Rodgers and Hammerstein

This summer Senior Special Librarian Cindy Severt has been contracted to teach LIS 839 Special Collections: Data Libraries, a four-week course for the School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) at UW-Madison. It marks the first time a member of the DPLS staff has been called upon to design an entire course on the subject of data librarianship.

Computer With Magnifying GlassThe course will examine the unusual specialization of data librarianship, a field for which there are only a few hundred practitioners in the United States. Not to be confused with digital collections, or web-based reference, data librarianship involves identifying, locating, acquiring, accessioning, disseminating, and sometimes preserving, hundreds of thousands of individual responses to survey questions for the purpose of secondary analysis. Because many of the surveys are federally funded, at times they can be politically charged. A prominent recent example was the decennial census in which public opinion regarding statistically adjusting for undercounted populations -- called sampling -- broke along party lines with Democrats favoring statistical adjustment, and Republicans favoring actual enumeration.

In addition to the Census Bureau there are many other federal agencies that provide survey data, such as the National Center for Health Statistics and the National Center for Education Statistics.

Survey data is also gathered by both commercial and non-profit entities, in diverse fields, both in the U.S. and internationally. There is also a wealth of public opinion data covering such topics as whether or not the public has the right to know if a candidate for public office has ever abused alcohol, to whether or not most people believe hip hop music contains too much violence. A virtual collection, a library without books, and a world of acronyms are just a few of the peculiarities of data librarianship.

One of the challenges of planning this course has been the lack of an established curriculum. Most data librarians have learned their job while on the job. However, the field is not without its resources, in this case the incalculably vast knowledge of professional colleagues. Special credit goes to Jim Jacobs (UC-San Diego), Diane Geraci (SUNY Binghamton) and Chuck Humphrey (University of Alberta) who have written a monograph titled Data Basics which will serve as the main text for the course.

Cindy has frequently been the guest lecturer for a number of SLIS classes, and is particularly delighted to be teaching at her alma mater (Class of '89). UW-Madison is especially rich in its data resources, and with any luck the debut of this class may help ensure a long tradition of qualified data librarians at DPLS.

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Addition to DPLS Online Data Archive

The online data archive at DPLS has been enlarged by the addition of the dataset, The Council on Foreign Relations: A Case Study of the Societal Bases of Foreign Policy Formation, 1922-1969. This data was collected by William M. Minter for a doctoral dissertation exploring the role of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) as an important organization linking the United States "owning class" with the formation of foreign policy.

The data file contains information on a sample of 267 members and directors serving on the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) between 1922 and 1969. The data includes area of residence and birth, year of birth, ethnic background, level of education, military service, occupation, median income of census tract of residence, directorships in major corporations, listing in the Social Register, and other variables. Data was collected from public sources available in libraries, such Poor's Register of Corporations, Directors, and Executives; Who's Who in America; Biography Index; and Dictionary of American Biography.

The dataset and further information are available at the DPLS Online Data Archive at http://dpls.dacc.wisc.edu/Council/.

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ICPSR Summer Program 2001

The ICPSR Summer Program 2001 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, offers a comprehensive, integrated program of studies in research design, statistics, data analysis, and social methodology. Basic methodological and technical training is offered along with opportunities for advanced work in specialized areas. The Program also provides active participatory data analytic experiences that complement formal lectures and discussions. This year's program consists of two sessions: June 25-July 20, and July 23-August 17. Visit their web site at http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/TRAINING/SUMMER2001/index.html.

DPLS will once again be awarding a travel stipend to a UW-Madison affiliate who participates in the program. The recipient is chosen randomly from a list of applicants. The only stipulations are that previous recipients are not eligible and no participant may be "double-funded" by ICPSR and/or their department. Interested applicants should contact DPLS to be considered for the stipend.

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Spatial Analysis Summer Workshops

The Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science (CSISS) at the University of California in Santa Barbara invites graduate students and junior faculty to apply for its summer workshops. These workshops focus on research methods in spatial patterns and processes. They will examine the role of space in human society. Cartographic visualization, geographic information systems (GIS), pattern recognition, spatially sensitive statistical analysis, and place-based search methodologies are some main research tools presented in these workshops. There is no registration fee for these workshops. CSISS also offers scholarships to defray the costs of attending the workshops. For more information, visit their web site, http://www.csiss.org/events/workshops/. The application deadline is May 1, 2001. Successful applicants will be notified by May 15, 2001.

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New Studies at DPLS

DPLS has obtained the following new studies:

  • National Pre-election Survey 7, August 1994 [Mexico]
  • National Post-Election Survey, September 1994 [Mexico]
  • Politics and Elections, April 1995 [Peru]
  • Roper Social and Political Trends Data, 1973-1994
  • Impact of Technology on Society, 1983
  • Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey, 2000
  • Migration and settlement in the Cape Metropolitan Area (CMA), 1999 [South Africa]

The Roper Social and Political Trends dataset includes items from 207 public opinion surveys conducted as part of the Roper Reports series by the Roper Organization between 1973 and 1994. It is one of the primary datasets used in the research reported in a recent book, Bowling Alone: Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert D. Putnam at Harvard University.

Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey, 2000 is the largest-ever study on the civic engagement of Americans. It comprises both a national sample of some 3,000 respondents and community respondents in 41 communities nationwide (across 29 states) covering an additional 26,700 respondents. The survey questions probed items such as: levels of giving blood, hanging out with friends, participating in various groups and associations, levels of trust, participation in group arts and group sports, and the diversity of American friendship patterns.

Migration and Settlement in the Cape Metropolitan Area (CMA), 1999 [South Africa] is obtained from the South Africa Data Archive. It tracks population movements and their impacts on the local economy and spatial planning in the Cape Town metropolitan region.

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Census 2000 Data Release

Census 2000 has begun to release data products, on a schedule that extends into 2003. Much of the data will be made available on the Internet, via the American Fact Finder interface, at http://factfinder.census.gov. One interesting new service, slated to be released from September to December 2001 (pending policy decisions on access and confidentiality), is an online Advanced Query Function where users will be able to make tabulations from the full microdata file. Other releases include:

Demographic Profile (May-July 2001), population totals and selected population and housing characteristics in a single table to the "place" geographic level. [Internet, CD-ROM, DVD, paper]

Summary File 1 / SF 1
States: June-September 2001, to block level.
Final National: May-June 2002, to block/census tract level.
Population counts for 63 race categories and Hispanic or Latino, and selected population and housing characteristics. [Internet, CD-ROM, DVD]

Summary File 2 / SF 2
States: September to December 2001.
Final National: June-July 2002.
Population and housing characteristics iterated for many detailed race and Hispanic and Latino categories, and American Indian and Alaska Native tribes. [Internet, CD-ROM, DVD]

Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) Files
1% sample (2002): information for the nation and states, as well as substate areas where appropriate [CD-ROM, DVD]
5% sample (2003): information for state and substate areas [CD-ROM, DVD]

Further information on Census 2000 data products release can be found at http://www.census.gov/population/www/censusdata/c2kproducts.html.

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 Internet Corner

Health Poll Search

A partnership between Kaiser Family Foundation and the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research has brought about this free database of questions and results from public opinion polls on health. The database includes over 350,000 public opinion questions from multiple sources, dating back as far as 1935 and as recent as last month.

Users may browse through specified topic area ("Search by Topics"), or may choose "Advanced Search Options" to do a keyword search of the questions. Results include the text of the question, the percentage of respondents choosing each answer, and additional information about the survey (sponsor, date, and sample size).

Visit the Health Poll Search at http://www.kaisernetwork.org/health_poll.


Agricultural Market Access Database (AMAD)

According to the AMAD website, the purpose of the database is to "provide a common data set on tariffs, TRQs and imports, as well as the tools for researchers, policymakers, and others to use in analyzing levels of tariff protection in agriculture among WTO Members." Originally released in 2000, the site's collaborating organizations (including the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the World Bank, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) intend to update the database annually. Currently the database contains information on 50 countries, all members of the World Trade Organization. The data is in Excel format, downloaded as a self-extracting zip file. Documentation is available in a User's Guide (a PDF file).

The AMAD site is online at http://www.amad.org/files/index.htm.

Biz/Ed Data

Biz/Ed logoThe Biz/Ed data site, offered by the University of Bristol, provides educational data in business and economics with a British emphasis. Data available include: sample datasets from the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS), basic financial accounts for 500 leading companies in the UK, Penn World Data to 1992, and summary international demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Data format varies: some items are in HTML, some in spreadsheet format, and in some cases the user has a choice.

Visit the Biz/Ed data site at http://www.bized.ac.uk/dataserv/datahome.htm.

Puerto Rican Maternal and Infant Health Study (PRMIHS)

The PRMIHS is a cross-sectional study designed to provide information on the determinants of infant health among Puerto Ricans. Personal interview data was collected from 2,763 mothers of Puerto Rican infants sampled from the 1994 and 1995 birth and infant death records of six U.S. vital statistics reporting areas (Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York City, Pennsylvania) and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. In 1994 and 1995, 72.3% of all births to mainland Puerto Rican women occurred in the included U.S. states.

While data is made available without charge, an application process is required and users are asked to indicate what use they plan to make of the data.

The site is enhanced by 1940s-vintage black-and-white photos of Puerto Rican women and children. Visit the PRMIHS site at http://www.pop.psu.edu/prmihs/prmihs.html.

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