DPLS News, April 2006

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, Special Librarian
Contributors: Lu Chou, Senior Special Librarian, & Cindy Severt, Senior Special Librarian

PLEASE NOTE: DPLS will be closed:

  • Tuesday May 23 - Staff Development
  • Monday May 29 - Memorial Day
  • Tuesday July 4 - Independence Day

April 2006
(Visit our PDF edition as well!)


Table of Contents
Health Data: Thinking Outside the Social Science Box
A Fond Farewell to Jean Mindel
Allied Drive Story Time: How Many Animals?
Researcher's Notes
Travel Stipend for ICPSR Summer Program
New Studies at DPLS
Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2006 CD-ROM

Crossroads Corner, State Statistical Abstracts

Californial Department of Finance, Financial and Economic Data
New York Statistical Yearbook
Washington State Data Book
Wisconsin Blue Book


Health Data: Thinking Outside the Social Science Box
by Joanne Juhnke

This past month DPLS received an excellent opportunity to think “outside the box” beyond our primary audience in the social sciences. The Ebling Library (Health Sciences) here at UW-Madison invited me to speak to their desk service staff, as part of a training series on statistics-related resources. What might DPLS have to offer that would be of interest to UW-Madison’s health science librarians and their library users?

To a social science audience, the presence of health-related data in a social science data collection feels like part of the normal order of things. From a sociological perspective, health is a measurable—and survey-able—facet of human experience. In the political science realm, health issues are regular fodder for public opinion and political debate. Health-care cost and health insurance have their place under the banner of economics. And the question of health in public policy has an overlap with all three of the disciplines just mentioned.

On the other hand, for someone outside the social sciences seeking health-related data, it would make obvious sense to take the search to the health sciences library. And thanks to the Ebling Library’s proactive training efforts, the social science data resources of DPLS have now become part of the array of sources for Ebling staff to consider.

My presentation included several approaches for identifying health-related data at DPLS, including the catch-all approach of consulting with a DPLS librarian.

DPLS Online Catalog, at http://dpls.dacc.wisc.edu/newcatalog/index.asp
This searchable database, which is not included in the MADCAT online catalog, is the social science data collection physically located at DPLS, in Room 3308 of the Sewell Social Science Building. Try the “Medical and Health” subject heading for browsing the collection.

ICPSR, at http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/
DPLS holds the UW-Madison membership to the massive social science data archive that is ICPSR, at the University of Michigan. UW-Madison users may download data and documentation online. Useful subsets for browsing health data in the ICPSR collection include the Health & Medical Care Archive at http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/HMCA/ and the National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging at http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/NACDA/. Searching the main ICPSR catalog will cover the subsets as well.

Roper Center, at http://www.ropercenter.uconn.edu/
DPLS holds the UW-Madison membership to the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut. UW-Madison users may download public opinion data that originate from polling sources such as Gallup and Harris. Use the iPOLL feature of the site to search the archive by question.

Internet Crossroads in Social Science Data, at http://dpls.dacc.wisc.edu/newcrossroads/index.asp
DPLS’ own Internet Crossroads is our searchable annotated database of Internet resources in social science data. Try browsing the “Health” category.

The presentation, complete with dataset examples, can be viewed online at http://dpls.dacc.wisc.edu/PowerPoint/Ebling2006.htm.

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A Fond Farewell to Jean Mindel
by Cindy Severt

On April 3rd we bid a fond farewell to our longtime friend and Data & Computation Center (DACC) Administrator Jean Mindel, whose retirement is effective next month. Jean’s laughter graced the halls of Social Science before any of the current staff worked here, and her kindness and compassion live on.

As Jean has never been one to remain idle, retirement means more time for her to devote to other activities. We know she will find happiness and fulfillment in whatever her new roles may be because for Jean, “Every exit is an entrance to somewhere else.” (Tom Stoppard)

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Allied Drive Story Time: How Many Animals?
by Joanne Juhnke

Once a month throughout the school year, since Fall 2004, the Special Purpose Libraries at UW-Madison have taken turns presenting a Story Time for kindergarteners and first-graders at the Allied Drive Learning Center, a Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR) program. The Story Time project promotes literacy through dynamic read-aloud stories and related activities.

On March 27, DPLS and other Data & Computation Center staff joined in the fun with the theme “How Many Animals?” Exploring animal enumeration at a 5-to-7-year-old level, with plenty of audience response, we read aloud One Monkey Too Many, Mouse Count, and Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Then after an animal-cracker snack, and a craft project making animal puppets using discarded CD-ROMs, the group reconvened for an energetic rendition of Counting Crocodiles and One Duck Stuck. We concluded that there were just enough animals for a rollicking good time!

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Researcher's Notes
by David Rivers

I am a second-year PhD student in the economics department. This past fall I wrote a paper that attempts to measure the level of competition in export markets. Using data on the quantities and values of imports I was able to specifically analyze three distinct export markets. In order to do this I needed data on a variety of foreign macroeconomic control variables for my regressions including interest rates, wages, exchange rates, and others. Unfortunately I did not know what datasets the university had access to, so I visited the staff at DPLS. They were very helpful in not only showing me where to look for the specific data I needed, but also showing me the various data services that DPLS provided for researchers, which will help me with my future research.

In particular I made extensive use of the “Data Quick Picks” and the “Crossroads” aspects of the DPLS webpage. I found them very easy to navigate and they were quite useful in speeding up my research. The staff members were very helpful in showing me the capabilities of these features and even contacted one of the data providers on my behalf when one of the systems was not working in a user-friendly manner. It was good to have a voice in the feedback process, in addition to receiving the data I needed.

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Travel Stipend for ICPSR Summer Program
by Cindy Severt

Although the deadline for registering for the 2006 ICPSR Summer Program has expired (with a few exceptions), a travel stipend -- approximately the cost of round trip air fare from Madison to Detroit -- is still available for defraying the cost of one individual traveling to Ann Arbor. The stipend is limited to UW-Madison, and preference will be given to students. The convenience of online registration for the ICPSR Summer Program means that your ICPSR Official Representative does not know who has applied. To be considered for the travel stipend, you must contact Cindy Severt at cdsevert@wisc.edu, or 262-0750 by May 12th.

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New Studies at DPLS

  • Area resource file (A.R.F.), 2005.
  • Early childhood longitudinal study: kindergarten class of 1998-99, base year through third grade [public use version]
  • County business patterns: U.S. summary, state and county data annual files, 2000-2002
  • Education longitudinal study 2002/2004, base year and first followup data [public use version]
  • Gallup/CNN/USA Today/Red Cross Poll # 2005-45: Hurricane Katrina Survivors
  • General social surveys, 1972-2004 [cumulative file] and 2004 individual year survey
  • KLD STATS, 1991-2005
  • National Annenberg election survey: 2000 presidential election
  • National survey of families and households (NSFH): NSFA wave III, 2001-2002
  • Open doors: report on international education exchange, 1948-2004
  • Statistical abstract of the United States, 2004-2005
  • Statistical abstract of the United States, 2006
  • Survey of program dynamics (SPD), 2000 minimally edited cross-sectional data file

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Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2006 CD-ROM
by Lu Chou

The Statistical Abstract is the national data book of the United States. Its 125th edition was issued in February of 2006. Since 1878 the Statistical Abstract has provided the standard summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. It can also be used as a reference guide to other statistical publications and sources. A guide to sources of statistics and guides to state and international statistical abstracts may be found in Appendix I.

Historical tables are included as special features in the beginning of each section to highlight related data when they first appeared in earlier editions. In addition, 80 new tables have been introduced in the 2006 edition. Topics for new tables include: select family-planning and medical services, asthma incidence among children under 18 years of age, public schools with broadband and wireless connections, state trends in identity theft, hazardous waste by state, retail gasoline prices by selected areas, and a profile of second-home buyers.

Data on the CD-ROM is in Microsoft Excel spreadsheet format and PDF, and may be used at DPLS public workstations. The Abstract is also available in PDF online, at http://www.census.gov/statab/www/. Please note that a few copyrighted tables for which the Census Bureau did not receive permission to release in PDF and Excel formats are only available in the paper copy of the Abstract.

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Crossroads Corner
by Joanne Juhnke

Crossroads Corner highlights web sites recently added to the searchable Internet Crossroads in Social Science Data on the DPLS web site. In honor of the arrival of the 2006 edition of the Statistical Abstract of the United States on CD-ROM, we are adding state statistical abstract sites to Crossroads. Not every state publishes a statistical abstract, and not all of those are available in a web-based format. Here, however, are some of the state sites that include a statistical abstract online. To explore the full range of state sites yourself, visit the U.S. Census Bureau’s complete list at http://www.census.gov/statab/www/stateabs.html.

California Department of Finance, Financial and Economic Data

Due to budget constraints, the state of California has ceased producing a hard-copy Statistical Abstract, substituting an entirely-online version. The 2005 edition was released January 2006 and features PDF and Excel versions of all the tables. Previous annual editions (2000-2004) are on the site as PDF documents only. Besides the Statistical Abstract, the site also includes Excel files of time series on California employment, income, construction and trade; economic forecasts; quarterly economic indicators back to 1998; and an interesting chronology of significant economic events since 1956. The address for the site is http://www.dof.ca.gov/HTML/FS_DATA/Fs_home.asp.

New York State Statistical Yearbook

Hosted by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, the New York State Statistical Yearbook still relies more heavily on its print version, in its 30th edition in 2005. At this writing, the 2002, 2003, and 2004 editions are available online in PDF and .WK1 spreadsheet files at http://www.nysstatistics.org/yearbook/index.html, with the 2005 online edition “coming soon.” The hard-copy versions of the 1998 to 2005 editions may be ordered from the web site.

Washington State Data Book

The 2005 Washington State Data Book resides on the web site of the Office of Financial Management Forecasting Division for the state of Washington, at http://www.ofm.wa.gov/forecasting/default.asp.

Washington only posts its most recent State Data Book (the 2005 edition was posted in January 2006) and recommends that its users follow up on the specific sources of the data to get the absolute latest figures. The State Data Book tables display in HTML but may be downloaded as PDF or Excel files. Also of interest on the OFM Forecasting Division site are a Criminal Justice Data Book and an Employer Health Insurance Data Book for the state of Washington. In addition, Washington conducts a biennial State Population Survey, with downloadable data posted on the site for 1998 through 2004.

Wisconsin Blue Book

Wisconsin’s answer to the statistical abstract is the Blue Book, published by the Legislative Reference Bureau and online at http://www.legis.state.wi.us/lrb/bb/.

The 2005-2006 edition is 87th in a series that began in 1853 and is currently published on a biennial basis. The statistical section of the Blue Book is just one chapter of twelve, comprising about a quarter of the total. The Blue Book also includes biographies and photos of Wisconsin elected officials, the text of the Wisconsin state constitution, and in-depth description of Wisconsin governmental structure and function. Older editions back to 1995-1996 are available from the site as well. Unfortunately the online version is available solely in PDF, but print copies are distributed for free to Wisconsin libraries and schools, and the cost to individuals wishing their own print copy is remarkably low.

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