Please note: Older issues of the newsletter are likely to contain
broken links -- the newsletter is presented here "as published."
DISC 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: Jack Solock, DISC Director; Cindy Severt, Senior Special Librarian
(Visit our PDF edition as well!)
Emerging out of a whirlwind of acronyms, a new organization is now providing social science data services at UW-Madison: the Data and Information Services Center (DISC).
The operations of the Data and Program Library Service (DPLS) have been merged with the data services operations formerly housed in the Center for Demography and Ecology (CDE) and the Center for Demography of Health and Aging (CDHA). The merged unit, DISC, is part of a newly-created Social Science Research Services unit reporting within the College of Letters and Science.
The combined staff of DISC will continue to provide all the services that were available prior to the merger, including reference, instruction, data archiving, and providing access to social science data resources. Additional services will be added, and highlighted in this publication, as DISC develops over time. For one such announcement, see page 2 to learn more about the Current Social Science Research Reports (CSSRR), now hosted on the DISC web site.
The former DPLS staff may be found in the same library room (3308 Sewell Social Sciences) and offices as before, joined by their new DISC colleagues in the same hall. The former DPLS phone number still applies, at 262-0750. The general e-mail address has been changed to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the DISC web pages can be found at http://www.disc.wisc.edu/. The newsletter has a new name as well: as of this issue, you are reading the DISC News!
Over the course of the next three issues, DISC News will be introducing or re-introducing all of the DISC staff (who have been affiliated with the organizations in parenthesis):
- Jack Solock, DISC Director, introduced this issue (CDE & CDHA)
- Cindy Severt, Senior Special Librarian, introduced this issue (DPLS)
- Charlie Fiss, Senior Information Manager (CDE & CDHA)
- Lu Chou, Senior Special Librarian (DPLS & CDHA)
- Janet Eisenhauer Smith, Data Analyst/Archivist (CDHA)
- Joanne Juhnke, Special Librarian (DPLS).
Several free Internet current awareness services are now offered under the auspices of DISC. We offer four weekly newsletters: Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) and Current Social Science Research Reports (CSSRR—pronounced “Caesar”) in the fields of Sociology, Health and Economics. In addition, we offer a daily electronic newspaper clippings service in the field of aging: CAAR E-Clippings.
The weekly reports keep subscribers up to date with the latest Internet releases in reports, articles, updated bibliographies, international/NGOs, U.S. and state-level government releases, working papers, scholarly journal tables of contents, conferences & seminars, legislation information updates, funding/employment opportunities, data releases, and website updates.
CAAR reports and e-clippings are sent directly in e-mail, the reports usually being released on Thursdays, the clippings usually at around noon Mondays through Fridays. CAAR reports are also archived on a website. E-clippings are not archived due to the temporary nature of Internet newspaper addresses. The CSSRR reports are a web-only based product, but interested readers can subscribe to notification that new reports are available. The three CSSRR reports are usually released on Tuesdays.
For more information and subscription information see:
Current Awareness in Aging Reports (CAAR):
Current Social Science Research Reports
(CSSRR—Sociology, Health, Economics):
As the new Director of the Data & Information Services Center, Jack has been involved in Data and Internet Librarianship for a long time. He worked from 1978-1995 in the UW Department of Agricultural Economics Library, working with data from the USDA, United Nations, State of Wisconsin, and US Agricultural Census, and also creating the Department’s first gopher and web sites. In 1995 he joined the Internet Scout Project, a National Science Foundation funded project charged with promoting the Internet to the research and higher education community. He edited first the general Scout Report newsletter and later, three subject-specific Scout Reports. Together those reports had a subscribership of about 30,000.
In 1998, Jack joined the UW Center for Demography and Ecology at UW-Madison, a National Institutes of Health funded Population Research Center. As data librarian for CDE, he has been responsible for their collection of some 1,800 datasets. In 1999, with the establishment of the UW Center for Demography of Health and Aging, he helped create and maintain two current awareness email newsletters: Current Awareness in Aging Research, and CAAR E-Clippings. Together the two services have about 2,500 subscribers. In 2003, he established and helped maintain the same type of current awareness newsletter for the CDE, called Current Demographic Research Report (CDERR), which has recently been re-formulated as a web-based service called Current Social Science Research Reports (for more information on the current awareness services, see the Current Awareness article elsewhere on this page). He has also taught Internet Librarianship at the Library and Information Schools of the Universities of Wisconsin and Tennessee.
Cindy is a Senior Special Librarian at the newly-forged Data & Information Services Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. From 1998-2006 she was Director of the Data & Program Library Service. Her exposure to data began in 1990 as a brand new accidental Data Librarian at the Center for Demography & Ecology. An active IASSIST member since 1990, she served on the Administrative Committee from 2001-2004, and was Local Arrangements Chair for the 1992 and 2004 conferences which brought hundreds of international delegates to Madison. In 1999 she submitted a proposal to ICPSR which resulted in DPLS being one of 13 sites selected to beta-test a new metadata standard for Social Science documentation now known as the Data Documentation Initiative.
Two of her most rewarding professional accomplishments have been, in conjunction with her staff and colleagues, establishing DPLS as a major player on the international field of data providers and consultants; and participating in tangible projects that reach beyond the university such as the Allied Drive Story Hour Program.
In addition to being the campus representative to ICPSR and the Roper Center, Cindy has been instrumental in getting the word out to non-traditional data users that numeric data can indeed be applicable to their research. As the unofficial UW Data Ambassador she is often contacted by faculty and library staff to give data presentations.
In January DISC was invited to speak at the winter UW-Madison Reference Retreat. Held semi-annually in January and July, the Reference Retreat is a day long occasion for campus library staff to recharge their professional batteries in the warmth of the sunny 13th floor of the Educational Sciences Building.
Among the varied program offerings were sessions on Podcasting, Chat and IM services, and Second Life—a massive online virtual environment with the potential to support higher education. Speaking to an audience not familiar with data, Cindy Severt conducted a well-received session appropriately titled Data Doesn’t Have to be Difficult.
The invitation to participate in the Reference Retreat was one of many opportunities to acquaint new users with data resources. In the past year DISC staff have conducted presentations for classes in Economics, Journalism & Mass Communication, Health Sciences, and the WI Association of Academic Libraries, emphasizing that information literacy is more than just letters and numbers!
ICPSR is once again offering its Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research, held in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The classes cover research design, statistics, data analysis, and social science methodology. A detailed syllabus and online registration will be available starting in late February at http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/training/summer/. The two 4-week Summer Program sessions will be held June 25-July 20 and July 23-August 17.
One travel stipend—approximately the cost of round-trip airfare from Madison to Detroit—is available through DISC for defraying the cost of travel to Ann Arbor. The stipend is limited to UW-Madison, and preference will be given to students. To be considered for the travel stipend, contact your ICPSR Official Representative at DISC, Cindy Severt: email@example.com or 262-0750.
by Joanne Juhnke
Crossroads Corner highlights web sites recently added to the searchable Internet Crossroads in Social Science Data on the DISC web site.
An old standby source from the U.S. Census Bureau has received its first update since the 1997/98 edition: the State & Metropolitan Area Data Book, 2006. This data compendium provides a useful complement to the annual Statistical Abstract of the United States by breaking out the numbers by states and metropolitan statistical areas. The data, presented in Excel files and PDF, covers topical areas from agriculture to veterans. Sources include various federal statistical bureaus and other government agencies, foundations and associations, and private research organizations.
The files can be downloaded from the site at http://www.census.gov/compendia/smadb/; a paper copy is also available in the DISC library.
The Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) has announced a new map-based data extractor called Países@ (“Países” translates to “Countries”). This Flash-based ready reference tool contains basic population, social indicator, economic, technological, land use, and United Nations Millenium Development Goals information for each of the 192 United Nations members for the latest year available.
To use the extractor, select a country from the World Map on the Países@ main page, http://www.ibge.gov.br/paisesat/. Basic information about the country will appear (in Portuguese, the only currently-available language for Países@). Select a category of indicators for that country, then click the globe icon next to an individual indicator to get a sortable listing for that indicator for all countries in the database. Additional information for each country includes a political map, a short slide show featuring photographic highlights of the country, and a link to a Google satellite map.
Note: For geographically-small countries, users may have to use the magnifying glass icon (+) several times, in conjunction with the arrow keys, until the country becomes large enough to click on.
This annotated guide to public opinion websites focuses on sites concerning general public opinion polls, with an emphasis on those providing results in “usable formats.” Categories include:
- major U.S. media polls
- major U.S. commercial and nonprofit polling organization sites
- polling data archives and searchable databases
- multinational and foreign polls
- U.S. state and regional polls
- major professional organizations
- blogs/electronic lists
The list does not include polling sites that focus predominantly on political campaigns or elections. The guide, online at http://www.ala.org/ala/acrl/acrlpubs/crlnews/backissues2006/october06/opinionpoll.htm, was written by librarians Gary Thompson and Sean Conley, and published in the October 2006 issue of C&RL News, a publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries of the American Library Association (ALA).