DPLS News, March 1997

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

DPLS News
March 1997

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Stepping into the Datastream

NIA Research Grant

U.S. Import Data on CD-ROM

Researcher’s Notes by Steven Martin

Government Units Analysis Data, 1960: Urban Racial Disorders, 1961-1968. (JB-004-002-USA-DPLS-1960-1)

African American Panel Data

Internet Corner


Stepping into the Datastream

An exciting product recently acquired by a campus coalition that includes the DPLS, Datastream presents a vast resource of current international economic and financial data to university students, faculty and staff. Access is provided by using a proprietary Windows-based application available from user workstations at the DPLS.

Datastream for Windows is a set of programs designed specifically for navigating tremendous amounts of data: over 150,000 time series are accessible via unique identifier codes. Similarly, program codes correspond to different representations or methods of retrieving and displaying data. Finding these series and program codes can be the most difficult aspect of Datastream searching. Datastream for Windows provides access to and allows interaction with the Datastream International database server located in London. The interface is similar to many other Windows-based applications--commands may be passed to the program in three ways: menus, control panel buttons, and the command line.

The thousands of types of data that are maintained by Datastream are only manageable through the use of codes. Codes allow the user to specify with precision exactly what s/he wishes to obtain. Understanding codes and how they may be found is of the utmost importance in mastering the use of Datastream. A code is simply a number or mnemonic assigned to a type of data to promote a uniformity in methods of series identification. For instance, if you wanted to know about the stock of Novell on a particular day, you could not simply select a program and enter the word Novell at the search prompt. You would first have to look up the code for Novell’s stock, 729152. Finding the correct code must be done with care.

Programs--in combination with correct series codes--enable users of Datastream to obtain the specific information they need. After the user chooses the general format of output--Type of Request, and the general category of information--Type of Data, Datastream displays the programs available within those limits.

There are three basic ways of downloading Datastream data, depending on the desired end product. All three methods are available under the File menu in the main Datastream application window. The data are organized into the following databases: General, Equities, Fundementals, Economics, Indices, Interest Rates, Exchange Rates, Futures, Options, Commodities, Bonds, and U.K. Investment Trusts.

The Economics database contains over 50,000 time series covering about 140 countries. Included are data from National Governments, the OECD, the IMF, and Deutsche Bundesbank. The national government series include major economic indicators compiled from official statistical bulletins and published by the governments of 24 different countries. There are between 100 and 500 series for each country, except for the U.K., for which there are about 4000 series. They are grouped into sectors such as: Key indicators, National accounts, Labour, Personal sector, Overseas sector, Prices, Industrial activity and investment, and Monetary sector.

The OECD series includes information on major economic indicators for the 24 member countries of the OECD, such as: Main indicators, National accounts, or Industrial activity. The IMF series consists of major economic indicators for most countries plus information for about 150 commodity prices. The Deutsche Bundesbank series includes information on major economic indicators for Germany.

We encourage you to make use of this extremely rich resource of international data--certainly one of the best available. To learn more about Datastream, feel free to browse the print documentation in the library or talk to a librarian. Local documentation has been placed on our website at http://dpls.dacc.wisc.edu/datastream/index.htm.

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NIA Research Grant

A recent listserv post announced the NIA Small Research Grant (R03) Program: Secondary Analysis in Demography and Economics of Aging. "Applications in response to this PA are limited to 1 year in duration (but with an allowable 1 year no cost extension) and a maximum of $50,000 in direct costs. There is NO restriction on salary support for the PI." For more information on this and other programs, write to Martha W. Bonney at the following address: mbonney@MAXWELL.SYR.EDU.

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CD-ROM U.S. Import Data on CD-ROM

For many years international trade research focused on the theoretical because of a lack of easily accessible quantitative data. This situation changed in 1990 with the creation of the National Trade Data Bank (NTDB), the U.S. Government’s primary repository of trade related information. An important part of the NTDB is U.S. Import and Export statistics. Although the NTDB data are available at the Government Documents Library in the State Historical Society, they are not very user-friendly and have an extremely limited time frame (1990-present). To fill in the usability and time series gaps, plus solve other drawbacks to the federal data, the University of California at Davis has produced U.S. Imports, 1972-1994: Data and Concordances (xBase Edition).

This CD-ROM, which is available at the DPLS, contains annual import data available at the domestic SIC, SITC, TSUSA and HS levels for the entire 22 year period. In addition, concordances have been put into electronic format to assist users in dealing with frequent and confounding coding scheme changes. The xBase front end provides easy browsing and extraction of the data. A second CD-ROM containing the same data, but as large raw ASCII files (suitable for SAS), is also available.

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Researcher’s Notes by Steven Martin

I am a graduate student in Sociology who has been doing research on the pace of second and later births to young mothers. The center for Demography and Ecology and the Institute for Research on Poverty have provided support for this work. My data have come from 15 annual versions of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, which is on compact disks in the DPLS. Library staff have provided plenty of technical help in locating and extracting useful variables.

In addition, I have often needed to coordinate information from different years’ surveys to create an accurate fertility history for the 6,000+ women in the NLSY. DPLS has all the documentation I have needed to integrate the surveys, including full copies of every interview instrument. I just completed my master’s thesis on this topic, and I will be presenting my findings at the American Sociological Association meetings this August. Without the support of the DPLS, it would have been difficult or impossible to do this research.

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Government Units Analysis Data, 1960:
Urban Racial Disorders, 1961-1968.

(JB-004-002-USA-DPLS-1960-1)

This study marks the latest archival dataset to be distributed via the DPLS website. Data consists of individual riot and riot summary information for civil disorders which occurred between 1961 and 1968 in cities with a 1960 population exceeding 25,000. The data cover disorders with at least 30 participants, which displayed some violence or destruction of property and which were not focused upon institutional conflicts (disorders in schools or union halls, for example). The disorders arose in a protest context (such as a civil rights demonstration) or were spontaneous in origin. Up to 28 riots were coded for each city. Data for each individual riot include date, number of days of rioting and type of origin. The total number of riots and the number characterized by Black aggression (broken down by year in the riot summary data) are available for each city. Data are available for 674 cities. See URL http://dpls.dacc.wisc.edu/archive.html for this and other online studies.

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African American Panel Data

The Program for Research on Black Americans (PRBA) was established in 1976 at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research by an interdisciplinary team of social scientists. For over two decades PRBA has engaged in collecting, analyzing, and interpreting empirical data on African Americans and international data on people of African descent. PRBA has conducted numerous studies to probe African Americans’ network of social support, health status, retirement, religion, stress, subjective well being and ways of coping. Two famous studies are the National Panel Survey of Black Americans Waves 1-4 (1979-80, 1987-88, 1988-89 and 1992) and Three-generation National Survey of Black Families. Both studies are national household probability samples of African Americans. Together, they are a unique data source for social research on African Americans.

PRBA has a Web site at http://www.isr.umich.edu/rcgd/prba. It lists their data sets, methodology, literature, publications, affiliates and training information.

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‘Data on the Net’ Website

An information retrieval service called Data on the Net at the University of California in San Diego allows users of data to search and browse 587 Internet sites that specifically distribute data.

You can do a content search on these sites or browse them by subcategories: data sites, catalogs from data libraries, archives, and data vendors, data distributors and Social Science Gateways. This is one of many resources at the UCSD Data Library’s WebSite: http://ssdc.ucsd.edu.

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Fishing for Data

Another general data finding source, by Leon L. Bourn and Stephen J. Turner, authors of Fishing for Data Using the 'Net, (McGraw Hill) "Fishing" deals exclusively with the search and acquisition of raw data available on the Internet. Point your browser to http://faculty.babson.edu/turner/fish.

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Internet Crossroads

In mentioning the above resources, we can’t help but toot our own horn, since our Crossroads site has continued to grow since its inception on the DPLS website in 1994. You’ll find updated links to data sources, or information sources about data, on the Internet organized by topic, and by source--i.e. government, non-government, national and international. No search for data on the Net should ignore this useful site. http://dpls.dacc.wisc.edu/newcrossroads/index.asp.

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'Uncover Reveal': A Current Awareness Gem

UnCover Reveal is an electronic mail table of contents and current awareness service. It is available as part of the CARL UnCover database. You can use it to receive table of contents information from any of the nearly 17,000 journal titles in the database. Reveal can also alert you to new articles and now, books, on topics of interest to you. The UnCover Reveal and Books-in-Reveal services are provided by the University of Wisconsin at no cost to its students, faculty and staff. Most of the journals indexed in UnCover are available in UW-Madison libraries. Check MadCat, the UW-Madison online catalog, for locations and call numbers. It is also possible to have articles sent to you from UnCover via fax, but the article delivery service is not free.

To learn how to set up a profile, read the instructions at http://www.library.wisc.edu/help/quickguide/unreveal.htm (from where the above information was copied). The database may also be searched without submitting a profile on the web at http://uncweb.carl.org.

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IRSS Public Opinion Item Index

The Institute for Research in Social Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill maintains a public opinion data archive. Its collection includes polls conducted by Louis Harris and Associates, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution/IRSS Southern Focus Polls and other Southern data, the Carolina Poll, and the National Network of State Polls archive. A new web-accessible database, the IRSS Public Opinion Poll Question Database, allows researchers to search IRSS’s public opinion holdings by question wording, date, or state, to identify questions of interest. The address is http://www.irss.unc.edu/data_archive/pollsearch.html. The database allows full-text keyword searching of the question text and displays the full question text and marginals for each item retrieved.

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End of March 1997 Newsletter.