DPLS News, May 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

May 2002


Table of Contents

Open Access and September 11
New Studies at DPLS
DPLS Staff News

Addition to DPLS On-Line Archive
Data Problems Continue for Palestinians
Using American Fact Finder to Mine Census 2000 Data

Internet Corner

Natural Bureau of Economic Research
Africa Household Survey Databank
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency AIRData
UNACTD-TRAINS (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Trade and Analysis Information System)


Open Access and September 11
Seeing eye computer

No tenet of the library profession is perhaps more important than the idea of intellectual freedom. Through intellectual freedom, librarians are able to disseminate controversial information to the public. In the wake of September 11, however, the ideal of open dissemination of information is being repeatedly challenged by Federal agencies.


These challeges to open access have been brought upon by the Federal Government in numerous ways. Joy Suh, a documents librarian at George Mason University, was recently issued a letter by the Justice Department asking her to destroy a CD-ROM that contained information on the nation’s water supply. Suh disposed of the controversial CD-ROM. Other librarians have been faced with similar letters from the Federal Government asking them to dispose of potentially dangerous material regarding the infrastructure of the U.S.

There has also been radical restructuring of the National Center for Education Statistics, or NCES. In the past, NCES offered a statutory guarantee of confidentiality to education records. Under the USA- PATRIOT (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) Act which was passed in October 2001, however, the Justice Department now has open access to NCES data. In the event the Justice Department wants access to student records, the NCES will have no grounds to argue against the injunction. To read a copy of the PATRIOT Act, go to http://www.eff.org/Privacy/Surveillance/Terrorism_militias/20011025_hr3162_usa_patriot_bill.html.


The PATRIOT Act also allows the Federal Government to look at web sites frequented by users. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s analysis of the PATRIOT Act (Available at http://www.eff.org/Privacy/Surveillance/Terrorism_militias/20011031_eff_usa_patriot_analysis.html), “The government may now spy on web surfing of innocent Americans, including terms entered into search engines, by merely telling a judge anywhere in the U.S. that the spying could lead to information that is ‘relevant’ to an ongoing criminal investigation. The person spied on does not have to be the target of the investigation. This application must be granted and the government is not obligated to report to the court or tell the person spied on what it has done.”

Laws such as the PATRIOT Act will substantially affect the role of intellectual freedom in the profession by curbing access to users and making controversial information less available to the public. Hopefully, librarians will still be able to provide relevant information to the public without constraint.

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New Studies at DPLS

ABC News/Washington Post Poll # 13986 (United States). (LA-150-007)
ABC News/Washington Post poll # 16647: Clinton legacy, priorities for George W. Bush. (LA-152-005)
ABC News/Washington Post poll # 16649: Finances, campaign finances. (LA-152-006)
ABC News/Washington Post poll # 17381: George W. Bush at 100 days. (LA-152-007)
Associated Press poll #843N: Congressional election (United States). (LA-151-002)
CBS News Poll # 2000-05A: Class of 2000—final survey (United States). (SA-053-001)
CBS/NYT Poll # 2000-05B: Election 2000/Guns/Social Security (United States). (LA-150-006)
CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll # 2000-16: Education/guns (United States). (LA-150-003)
Education at a glance: OECD Indicators, 2000. (QE-501-002)
Gallup News Service Poll # 2000-36: August wave 1 poll (United States). (LA-150-004)
Gallup News Service poll #2001-16: May wave 1. (LA-152-004)

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DPLS Staff News

Baby Please join us in welcoming the newest member of the DPLS family, Lydia Rose Oakleaf, born February 11, 2002 to proud parents Joanne Juhnke and Mike Oakleaf. After a 12-week maternity leave Joanne will return to DPLS in May to resume her duties providing reference, editing our Newsletter, and managing our web site.

As a baby name, “Lydia” appears to be part of a trend of old-fashioned female names that have made a comeback in recent years.  Those who watch the Top Ten baby-name lists that appear in newspapers and magazines every year may be interested to know that much more detailed baby-name numbers are available from the Social Security Administration.  Their website for baby names can be found at http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/NOTES/note139/note139.html.
In the first 8 months of 2001, based on a 1% sample of Social Security card applications for newborns, the name Lydia was ranked 102 in popularity for female names.  This represents a leap up the charts, as Lydia was ranked 152 in 1998, 151 in 1999, and 150 in 2000 (100% sample).


By decade, Lydia has not enjoyed such popularity as a name since the first decade of the century, when it was ranked 111 overall (5% sample). The Social Security Administration baby-name rankings include each unique spelling as a unique name (for example, Lidia is considered a separate name, and ranked 981 in the 1990s).  The data were not edited for coding errors.  In earlier decades, female applications were often mistakenly coded male, producing such odd results as the name Mary ranking 462 among male names in the 1910s.

 

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Addition to DPLS Online Data Archive

Lumbertowns in the Cutover: Economic Cross-Sections of 94 Wisconsin and Michigan Communities for 4 One-Decade Intervals, 1870-1930 is the newest addition to DPLS Online Data Archive from our library web site. This study contains economic data for 94 lumbertowns in Wisconsin and Michigan. The economic data were hand coded into IBM punch cards from microfilm copies of the Mercantile Agency Reference Books obtained from the Library of Congress. Variables included in this study are: city and county populations; latitude and longitude of city; date and amount of peak lumber production; per acre value of farm land in city and county; manufacturing: lumber and forest products, wood and metal using, sawmill machinery, shoe and leather, clothing and textile, brewing and bottling of alcoholic beverages, and miscellaneous; wholesale trade-including wholesale liquor and wholesale lumber; mines, mineral and farm product processing; retail trade and service-including retail liquor; transportation; number of out-of-town firms doing business in the city; bank capital in thousands of dollars; number of railroads entering the city. Users can view the codebook and methodology in PDF format and download the data as ASCII raw data files from this site, http://dpls.dacc.wisc.edu/lumbertown/index.html.

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Data Problems Continue for Palestinians


As profiled in the February 2002 DPLS newsletter, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics was raided on the night of December 5, 2001. During the week of April 15, the Palestinian Ministry of Education was scoured by Israeli soldiers. Other important facilities such as the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health were also ransacked by the Israeli Army. Hard drives from many of these institutions were reported missing, as well as disks that contained important information about the Palestinian Authority. International organizations that have helped finance the Palestinian government, such as the World Bank, have speculated that this is a direct attempt by Israel to create widespread chaos in the P.A.’s infrastructure.

The New York Times reported on April 15 that, “The damage to the ministries is only a fraction of the destruction up and down the West Bank from the Israeli incursion. But in contrast to the physical damage, the loss of data could create long-term complications. At the Finance Ministry, officials said all payroll data for the Palestinian Authority seemed to be gone, so paying salaries, benefits and insurance to teachers, hospital workers, civil servants and police officers would pose a serious problem.” DPLS will continue to follow the tribulations of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics as well as the impact that loss of data will have on the Palestinians.

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Using American FactFinder to Mine 2000 Census Data

Do you know that the Census Bureau has built a very friendly data-mining tool at their web site? All you have to do is use the “Search Geography” feature in American FactFinder (AFF), http://factfinder.census.gov. By pointing and clicking you can learn many population and housing characteristics of your neighborhood. You can also type in a street address and get an overview of the demographic summary from the 2000 Census down to the census track level. AFF allows users to create (1) Quick Tables which display population and housing characteristics by a specific geographic area and for a particular population group, (2) Geographic Comparison Tables which present the population and housing characteristics for a list of geographic areas, for example, all counties in a state, and (3) Detailed Tables for Population and Housing data from 2000 Census.

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 Internet Corner

National Bureau of Economic Research

The National Bureau of Economic Research Data site offers sources to various economic data. The site is broken down into categories, including Macro Data from Government Sources, General Macro Data, Industry Data, Individual Data, Patent Data and Other Data. Some of the more interesting links include the U.S. Antidumping database, Occupational Wages around the World, and Macro History Database. Users can also browse the home page as well as look at various publications of the National Bureau of Economic Research Data. The site is highly recommended for anyone looking to bookmark a page related to economic data. The National Bureau of Economic Research Data is available at http://www.nber.org/data/.

Africa Household Survey Databank


The World Bank Group hosts the Africa Household Survey Databank. The survey maintains poverty statistics in Africa and helps enhance the capacity of various African databanks. Users can utilize a search navigation that lists all of the surveys cataloged. There is also a document navigator that provides access to reports written about poverty in Africa, especially the Sub-Saharan region. Most surveys are available in PDF format. The Africa Household Survey Databank is available at http://www4.worldbank.org/afr/poverty/databank/default.cfm.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency AIRData


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s AIRData web site provides a comprehensive look at air pollution data in the United States. AIRData has three different summaries of EPA databases to support specific air pollution data. The first, the Aerometric Information Retrieval System (AIRS), looks at “air monitoring data - ambient concentrations of criteria air pollutants at monitoring sites, primarily in cities and towns.” The second database, NET (National Emissions Trends), provides data related to “annual emissions of criteria air pollutants from point, area, and mobile sources.” The third database, NTI (National Toxics Inventory), contains information related to “annual emissions of hazardous air pollutants from point, area, and mobile sources.” For those looking for data related to the air pollution in the U.S., AIRdata is highly recommended. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency AIRData is available at http://www.epa.gov/air/data/index.html.

UNCTAD-TRAINS (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Trade Analysis and Information System)

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Trade Analysis and Information System is a “comprehensive computerized information system at the HS-based tariff line level covering tariff, para-tariff and non-tariff measures as well as import flows by origin for more than 100 countries.” Although there is not much listed on the site, it does include information on the TRAINS CD-ROM version 8.0 that has just become available. The UNCTAD-TRAINS website is available at http://www.unctad.org/trains.htm.

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