DPLS News, May 1999

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: Kim Tully, Associate Special Librarian
Contributors: Lu Chou, Special Librarian &
Cindy Severt, Senior Special Librarian

May 1999

Table of Contents

DPLS Takes Part in Data Documentation Initiative

Public Radio Data

Student Paper Competition

Researcher's Notes

Recent CD-ROM Acquisitions

DPLS Staff News

Internet Corner


DPLS Takes Part in Data Documentation Initiative

DPLS has been selected by the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) and the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) Committee as one of thirteen funded sites to beta-test a new metadata standard for social science documentation. This standard, the Data Type Definition (DTD), developed by representatives from the international social science research community, is intended to fill the need for a structuredddi logo codebook that will serve as an interchange format, and permit the development of new web applications. It is based on a tag library of elements and attributes comprised of five main components: document description, study description, data files description, variable description, and other study-related materials. The DTD is compliant with XML (Extensible Markup Language). Like HTML, XML is one example of a Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML). Unlike HTML whose tags determine the style of a document, i.e. what it looks like when viewed with a browser, XML determines the contents of a document. It allows computer programs to distinguish the code for "principal investigator" from that of "funding agency", something the human eye can easily discern. The result is that XML documents can be linked and accessed through hypermedia tools; their contents can be used by other applications and queried as any database. It is for this reason that XML has been called "HTML on steroids".

DPLS’s participation in the project which runs from March 15 to July 15, 1999 involves converting the existing metadata for the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS) from HTML to the standards set forth in the DTD. From this activity we expect to learn the effectiveness of the DTD for analyzing metadata components: whether elements need to be added or removed, the level of expertise, cost, and time involved.

The DDI beta-test is truly an international effort whose other funded participants include the Centre for Comparative European Survey Data (London), the Danish Data Archive, the Data Archive at the University of Essex, Harvard-MIT Data Center, NIWI-Steinmetz Archive (The Netherlands), the Norwegian Social Science Data Services, the University of California-Berkeley Survey Research Center, the University of Giessen (Germany), the University of Ljubljana Social Science Data Archive (Slovenia), the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Harlan Hatcher Library, the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis Machine Readable Data Center, and the University of Warsaw Institute for Social Studies. Preliminary information on the project’s findings will be presented at the May 1999 IASSIST (International Association of Social Science Information, Service and Technology) conference in Toronto. Final results will be presented at the October APDU (Association of Public Data Users) conference in Alexandria, VA.

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Public Radio Data

Government Crowd-Out of Private Contributions to Public Radio: An Empirical Study (http://dpls.dacc.wisc.edu/radio/) is the newest addition to DPLS’ Online Data Archive. The principal investigator of this study is John Straub, UW-Madison economics graduate student.

Publicly available data from IRS Form 990 tax returns, which are required annradio logoually of all tax-exempt organizations, were used to construct a short panel of noncommercial radio stations.  The panel consists of 419 observations on 104 different stations located in the United States from 1990 - 1996.  Estimated "donative revenue functions" (DRFs) are included for different classes of stations.  These functions relate fund-raising expenditures to contributions from private individuals.   Estimated dependence of DRFs on government subsidization is also listed, allowing for study of "crowd out" effects of private contributions. Some of the variables include the call sign of the station, city in which the station is located, organization that holds the station’s license, direct public support, indirect public support, government contributions, membership dues and assessments, dividends and interest from securities, gross profit or loss from sales of inventory, expenses, and payments to affiliates.

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Student Paper Competition

The Institute for Research in Social Science at UNC-Chapel Hill invites submissions to the 1999 James W. Prothro Student Paper Competition. The competition, held in conjunction with the Southern Association for Public Opinion Research (SAPOR) conference, recognizes excellence in student-authored research related to public opinion, broadly defined, and survey research with a $250 award given to the best paper presented at the conference.

Papers using survey data to address theory, methods, or specific substantive issues in the areas of business, communication, economics, journalism, marketing, political science, psychology, sociology, survey methods, or related fields are welcome. Any student research, undergraduate or graduate, including that derived from work on theses or dissertations is eligible. Papers co-authored with faculty or other non-students, however, are not eligible for the student paper competition.

Papers should be of article length (20-25 pages). From the papers submitted, one winner and as many honorable mentions as appropriate may be selected for presentation to the annual SAPOR conference on October 7 & 8, 1999, in Raleigh, North Carolina. The winning paper must be presented at the conference by the author to be eligible for the $250 award.

When submitting your paper, please indicate whether you are a graduate or undergraduate student; include your name, academic department or program, school, postal address, email address, and telephone number; and mail four copies before June 15, 1999, to: Dr. Beverly Wiggins, Institute for Research in Social Science CB #3355, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3355 (email: bwiggins@irss.unc.edu; telephone: 919.966.2350).

The SAPOR website is located at http://www.irss.unc.edu/sapor/.

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Researcher's Notes

As a graduate student in political science, I have begun a project examining the effects that different political systems in the United States have on various facets of political life, including such things as voter turnout and the differential rates of minority political incorporation. This project will most likely involve the combination of survey and aggregate data from different data sets.

Some of these data sets have proven to be more difficult to obtain than others. Yet the staff at DPLS has been very helpful in my efforts so far. One data set that they helped me acquire is a survey on the form of government of municipalities across the Untied States. An organization in Washington, D.C., the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), conducts a survey every five years that gathers information on municipalities across the country. ICMA sends their survey out to city clerks of every municipality recognized by the Census. The response rate to their survey usually yields a final sample of approximately 5,000 U.S. municipalities. This unique survey gathers information on municipalities’ form of election (nonpartisan versus partisan ballot; district, at-large, or mixed elections), the social characteristics of mayors and city council members, whether elected officials have a professional staff at their disposal, and if any referendums have been proposed and passed that have changed some form of the municipalities’ government.

Unfortunately, ICMA’s Form of Government survey is not freely available to the public. However, with the help of DPLS and a number of other sources on campus, I was able to purchase the ICMA survey from 1986 and 1991. DPLS and its staff have proven quite indispensable for my research project, as I am sure they will prove to be in the future.

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CD-ROM logoRecent CD-ROM Acquisitions

NLSY 97

The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 is the newest survey in the National Longitudinal Surveys program. NLSY97 documents the transition from school to the labor market and into adulthood for a group of 9,022 respondents born between 1980 and 1984. This new survey collects extensive information on the cohorts’ educational experiences and labor market behavior. Data on their family and community background are included as well. Youths’ knowledge and skills in reading and mathematics were measured by the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery.

World Development Indicators, 1998

This CD-ROM provides a comprehensive statistical survey of world development. WDI contains over 800 indicators from 1965-1996. Users can view and export country tables with key indicators, social indicators, economic time-series, and population projections. The data can also be displayed using mapping and graphing features. The contents are grouped under six headings: world view, people, environment, economy, states and markets, and global links.

CPS Utilities, 1962-1998

The Current Population Survey is administered monthly by the Bureau of the Census to over 50,000 households. These surveys gather information on the education, labor force status, demographics, and other aspects of the U.S. population. The March surveys are especially important as they contain the Annual Demographic File and the Income File. Some of the variables and their codes have been modified by Unicon to make them more consistent over the years. These two CD-ROMs contain the March data from 1962 through 1998. The utilities program, which was developed by Unicon, allows users to view the questionnaire, search variables, select specific variables and create data subsets.

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DPLS Staff News

DPLS is pleased to announce that Kim Tully, Associate Special Librarian, was recently appointed Information Specialist at Battelle, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in the Tri-Cities area of eastern Washington. Kim started working at DPLS in 1996 as a School of Library and Information Studies student hourly. Last fall Kim took over Robin Rice’s duties when Robin took a one-year leave of absence to develop data library services at the University of Edinburgh.

Kim was also recently named 1998 Outstanding Student of the Year by the UW-Madison School of Library and Information Studies for her outstanding class participation, outside activities, and professional promise. We congratulate Kim on her well-deserved honors, and wish her much success in her new position.

The DPLS staff would like to introduce our new Library Assistant, Emily Bounds, a graduate student at the School of Library and Information Studies.

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Internet Corner

National Election Studies, 1998 Pilot Study

The National Election Studies just released their 1998 NES Pilot study. The study is a pre-election telephone survey conducted in California, Illinois and Georgia. Telephone interviews were selected by random digit dialing. This is the first NES pilot study that has been run during an election season. This study provides researchers an opportunity to gather information on electoral behavior and the impact of campaigns. This dataset is available from the NES website: http://www.umich.edu/~nes/studyres/nespil98/nespil98.htm. Users can download the ASCII data file, SAS and SPSS data definition files, the SAS transport file or the SPSS transport file.

Mexican Migration Project

The Mexican Migration Project (MMP), a binational research effort, was created in 1982 by an interdisciplinary team of researchers to further understanding Mexican Migration Project logoof the Mexican migration to the United States. Since the beginning, MMP’s focus has been on social as well as economic information relating to Mexican-US migration. This data has been compiled in a comprehensive database that is available to the public for research and educational purposes. The database is comprised of 52 communities with more than 7,000 households surveyed in Mexico and more than 500 households surveyed in the United States. The data is available in ASCII and SPSS portable files, and the documentation is available in PDF. The web address for this site is: http://lexis.pop.upenn.edu/mexmig/welcome.html.

Religion Data Archive

The American Religion Data Archive (ARDA), located in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Purdue University, collects quantitative datasets about the study of American religion that are free for downloading. The data is organized into four general subject categories: surveys of the general population, surveys of selected religious groups, surveys of religious professionals, and aggregate data files. The data is available as ASCII and SPSS portable files, and the codebook can be viewed online or downloaded. The web site address for this site is: http://www.arda.tm/ardahome.htm.

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End of May 1999 Newsletter.