DPLS News, February 2002

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, Senior Special Librarian, Jay Dougherty, Library Assistant, & Cindy Severt, Senior Special Librarian

February 2002


Table of Contents

National Statistics in Troubled Times
New Studies at DPLS
DPLS Staff News

Archive Your Data at DPLS!
Patriot Act Affects NESA Data
NORC Reports 2000 Election Findings
American National Election Studies Cumulative Data File, 1948-2000

Internet Corner

Center for the Study of Democracy
Center on Policy Attitudes
The GeoCommunicator
UK 2002-The Official Yearbook of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland


National Statistics in Troubled Times

In mid-December, word of a little-reported news story began to filter through the social science data world. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) headquarters in Ramallah, in the West Bank, had been raided by Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldiers on the night of December 5th.

The PCBS came into being in 1993 in the wake of the Oslo accords. The agency was founded with donations from the EU, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, and Sweden. The U.S. made a much smaller contribution. The agency has continued on donatedfunding, although thePalestinian Authority did provide 30% of funding in 1999 and 2000. Information about the PCBS and their work is available at their web site, at http://www.pcbs.org/.

From 1967 to 1993, the only source for census and social-survey information about Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza had been the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, online at http://www.cbs.gov.il/engindex.htm. The establishment of a national statistics bureau for the Palestinian Authority with multinational backing provided an important new source for describing Palestinian demography, economy, and society.

The overnight December 5th raid lasted six hours and involved every room of the five-story PCBS office headquarters. Israeli soldiers detained the Bureau’s guards for the length of the incident. Photographs of the aftermath are available on the PCBS website at http://www.pcbs.org/events/event4/photo.htm.

On December 7, the Jerusalem Post reported on the incident, saying, “Soldiers confiscated a large number of documents and computer discs showing the Palestinian Authority’s support of terrorism.” The PCBS strongly disputes the claim that any such evidence was found, calling for an independent commission to review the materials. A PCBS press release also expressed the belief that “the IDF was probably looking for confidential data on individuals, their addresses, background characteristics, and political orientations. The IDF might have wrongly assumed that such information is available at PCBS, being in charge of the Voter (sic) register, population register, and census records.”

International press coverage of the break-in was minimal with only the Agence France Presse among international news agencies reporting on the story. However, the incident does highlight the the strategic importance of impartial, confidential national data, which can be a tempting target from various angles. From the point of view of opposing forces, undercutting an opponent’s ability to describe and quantify themselves could be a heavy blow. Confidential government data can also come under pressure from internal forces, as described elsewhere in this newsletter.

In the coming months DPLS will continue to seek out and share information on statistical issues related to political unrest worldwide.

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New Studies at DPLS

Covered employment and wages, MSA levels:
Annual averages/totals through 4-digit SIC codes by ownership, 1988-1999 (private sector only).
Annual averages/totals through 4-digit SIC codes by ownership, 1984-1987 (private sector only).
Annual averages/totals through 2-digit SIC codes by ownership, 1975-1983 (private sector only).

Covered employment and wages, county levels:
Annual averages/totals through 4-digit SIC codes by ownership, 1994-1999.
Annual averages/totals through 4-digit SIC codes by ownership, 1988-1993.
Annual averages/totals through 4-digit SIC codes by ownership, 1984-1987.
Annual averages/totals through 2-digit SIC codes by ownership, 1975-1983.

Also recently acquired is the Cross-national time-series database (CNTS).

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DPLS Staff News

Please join us in welcoming our new Library Assistant, Jay Dougherty. Jay is a second semester graduate student at the School of Library and Information Studies. Prior to starting graduate school, he was an editorial assistant for Antique Trader Publications in Dubuque, Iowa and worked for Sysco Sports in Benton, Wisconsin doing catalog design for NFL merchandise. He is a 1999 graduate of Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa with a Bachelor of Art’s Degree in English.

Jay will be assuming some of the Webmaster and editor duties currently peformed by Associate Special Librarian Joanne Juhnke who will go on maternity leave at any moment! Congratulations, Joanne!

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Archive Your Data at DPLS

Are you a researcher whose projects result in machine-readable data? Based on the premise that high quality data, once generated, should be fully and effectively exploited by as many researchers as possible, many granting agencies require researchers to archive data collected as a result of funded projects. Whether or not your collected data is grant supported or the end result of a research project, DPLS can ensure its longevity.

DPLS has a long tradition of assisting investigators in the production and preservation of public use files so that the data can be distributed and used. Starting with a checklist inventory of items necessary for archiving, DPLS will take responsibility for the preservation of the data on external media. DPLS can then disseminate the data via its online archive, http://dpls.dacc.wisc.edu/archive.html or via some other method depending on access restrictions.

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Patriot Act Affects NESA data

On October 26 of 2001, President Bush signed into law the USA-PATRIOT Act, short for “Uniting and Strengthening America By Providing Appropriate Tools Required To Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.” The 376-page document was broadly described as allowing authorities to use more overseas intelligence information, allowing for longer detentions of suspects who are not U.S. citizens and expanding wiretapping authority.

Among the expanded authorities granted by the act is a little-publicized clause that amends confidentiality requirements for statistical databases of student information. Section 508 of the USA-PATRIOT Act allows law enforcement to access the student data collected for the purpose of statistical research under the National Education Statistics Act (NESA), impacting data held by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The new standard requires a simple court order, to be issued based on a certification that the records are relevant to an investigation.

To date the new standards for NESA data have not been used, and it may prove that the subject will not come up. However, given the bad memories of the misuse of U.S. census data for internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II, it will be important to monitor the extent to which “confidential” retains its meaning with regard to government survey data.

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NORC Reports 2000 Election Findings

Since the events of September 11, a number of formerly pressing issues have been put on the proverbial backburner. One of these issues, the controversy over the 2000 Presidential Election, is still in the minds of many Americans. Recently, NORC (National Opinion Research Center) based at the University of Chicago released the results of their findings regarding the election. NORC was contracted by a number of major media organizations, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post Co., Tribune Publishing, CNN, Associated Press, St. Petersburg Times and The Palm Beach Post, to provide a fair and impartial inventory of all uncounted votes in Florida in the 2000 Election.

The data archive, now available at http://www.norc.org/fl/results/index.html, contains files available in SAS, SPSS, and ASCII. There is also a Florida Vote Tabulator in MS-Access. Users can check out the overall NORC web site concerning the 2000 Presidential election at http://www.norc.org/fl/index.asp.

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American National Election Studies Cumulative Data File, 1948-2000

The ANES National Election Studies Cumulative Data File, 1948-2000 can be downloaded from the NES web site at http://www.umich.edu/~nes. This collection pools common variables from each of the biennial National Election Studies conducted since 1948. The file is still limited to the Time-Series data collections, including the pre-/post-Election study in presidential election years and the Post-Election study in midterm years.

The NES staff has recoded the variables so that the same question asked over the years has the same variable number and the same coding scheme for each of the election studies. The election studies are designed to present data on Americans’ social backgrounds, enduring political predispositions, social and political values, perceptions and evaluations of groups and candidates, opinions on questions of public policy, and participation in political life.

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 Internet Corner

Center for the Study of Democracy

The Center for the Study of Democracy provides a unique look into social attitudes throughout the world as well as various election surveys. The web site contains the first national, scientifically sampled survey regarding political and social attitudes in Vietnam which the center conducted in conjunction with the Institute for Human Studies. Other studies on the site include The World Values Survey which polled people in 50 different nations about basic values and beliefs. It also includes the 1996 American Black Election Survey regarding African-American political beliefs. Studies are available through Excel spreadsheets as well as a variety of downloadable portable formats including SPSS.

The Center for the Study of Democracy main page is available at http://hypatia.ss.uci.edu/democ/archive.htm.

Center on Policy Attitudes

The Center on Policy Attitudes lists their mission as to “give the public a greater voice.” Through carefully worded surveys and rigorous analysis, the Center on Policy Attitudes provides a service that cuts to the essence of American public opinions on foreign and domestic issues. Reports include attitudes of American’s toward health care, funding for the International Monetary Fund, global warming, and a variety of other issues. A recent study of American attitudes towards the war on terrorism is also included. Reports are availabledirectly through the site. The main page of the Center on Policy Attitudes is located at http://www.policyattitudes.org.

The GeoCommunicator

For those interested in obtaining and trading data related to land management and land records, the GeoCommunicator web site is an excellent resource. Provided by the United States Bureau of Land Management, the GeoCommunicator offers features such as a communication forum in which interested parties can find and share data related to land management and records. Also included in the site are a geocom explorer which allows users to access a wide variety of geographic information. Search capability allows users to look up information about various areas of land through a variety of means, and lets the user narrow the search to their liking. It also provides various maps as well as a means to publish data through forums on the web site.

The GeoCommunicator main page is available at www.geocommunicator.gov.

UK 2002 - The Official Yearbook of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

UK2002-The Official Yearbook of the United Kingdom offers a plethora of information concerning Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Included in the site are maps (available in PDF) and a variety of information related to demographics within the U.K. The site also includes summaries of the government’s policy on a range of U.K. issues including agriculture, the environment, trade, social policy, etc. The yearbook is available in PDF. Maps and spreadsheets can be downloaded separately, but the yearbook is only available as one document.

The main page of UK 2002-The Official Yearbook of the United Kingdom is located at http://www.statistics.gov.uk/statbase/Product.asp?vlnk=5703&More=N.

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