DPLS News, November 2003

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, Special Librarian
Contributors:Lu Chou, Senior Special Librarian, & Cindy Severt, Senior Special Librarian


November 2003


Table of Contents
2003 Meeting of ICPSR Official Representatives
New Studies at DPLS
DPLS Holiday Closings
IFS Online, Campus-Wide
IPUMS Positions Open
Worldscope Replaces Company Account in Datastream
Proposition 54 Defeated in California
California Data Librarian Receives Fulbright

Internet Corner

Windows on Urban Poverty
Fair Market Rents, 2004
Higher Education Statistics Agency, United Kingdom
MelissaData’s Lookup Directory



2003 Meeting of ICPSR Official Representatives
A Report From Your OR, Cindy Severt


As the UW-Madison Official Representative (OR) to the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), I recently attended the biennial OR meeting at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Established in 1962, and with over 500 member institutions, ICPSR is an integral part of the infrastructure of social science research, maintaining and providing access to a vast archive of social science data in addition to offering training in quantitative methods. To ensure that data resources are available to future generations of scholars, ICPSR preserves data, migrating them to new storage media as changes in technology warrant. In addition, ICPSR provides user support to assist researchers in identifying relevant data for analysis, and in conducting their research projects.

Every two years ORs from around the world convene at the University of Michigan to discuss issues related to the rapidly changing social science research community via a three-day program of sessions on a wide range of topics. This year’s program included sessions on Online Analysis at ICPSR (http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/access/sda.html); Data in the Classroom (http://www.online.csuhayward.edu/Ms/ICPSR-Panel.doc); Non-Traditional Data; New Data Gathering Methodologies; as well as sessions about international data, and, of special note, New Data Acquisitions for ICPSR. This session was of particular interest to me since data acquisitions decisions are an ongoing part of life at DPLS as well, and I was curious about how ICPSR identified which datasets to archive. The answer to that question turned out to be an interactive one with comments and responses between the audience, and Amy Pienta, ICSPR’s new Director of Data Acquisitions. I am pleased to report that Amy and the rest of the ICPSR staff were very receptive to OR needs for material such as business and financial data that are not within ICPSR’s traditional realm. Their responsiveness extended beyond lending a sympathetic ear to musing on viable methods of affording such acquisitions, which tend to be very expensive.


Most interesting to me on a personal level was a tour of ICPSR’s new headquarters in the Perry Building, an elementary school built in 1903 and purchased by the University of Michigan in 1963. Most academic data centers occupy spaces not originally intended for data dissemination and preservation. ICPSR is fortunate to have been able to retain the façade of a turn of the century building while remodeling the interior to its specifications, complete with climate controlled computer room. In this age of virtual reality, it was gratifying to see where the ICPSR data delivered directly to our desktops actually resides.


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New Studies at DPLS

  • Elections Canada 2002 Survey of Voters and Non-voters.
  • General Social Surveys, 1972-2002: [cumulative file].
  • International Financial Statistics, 1948-date [online].
  • Los Angeles Times poll #471: Catholic Priests in the United States.
  • National Household Education Surveys, 1999.
  • National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, Wave 3, 2001-2002.
  • National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, Main File and Event History File for Rounds 1-5: 1997-2001.
  • OECD Health Data 2003.
  • Schools and Staffing Surveys [Public and Private Schools]: 1987-1988, 1990-1991 and 1993-1994.
  • Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2002.
  • Survey of Program Dynamics (SPD), 2001 Minimally Edited Cross-sectional Data File.

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DPLS Holiday Closings


Happy Holidays! DPLS will be CLOSED:

Thu./Fri., Nov. 27 & 28, for Thanksgiving.

Wed./Thu./Fri., Dec. 24-26, for Christmas.

Wed./Thu., Dec. 31 & Jan.1, for New Years.

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IFS Online, Campus-Wide

DPLS is pleased to announce our new subscription to the online version of International Financial Statistics (IFS)! Up to five simultaneous users across UW-Madison can now have access to IFS any time of the day or night, from any campus computer or UW-Madison dial-in. Proxy access through the UW-Madison libraries pages is expected soon. The web address is http://ifs.apdi.net/imf/logon.aspx.

The online version of IFS provides the same data coverage as the monthly CD-ROM product, to which DPLS formerly subscribed. The web interface is remarkably similar as well. The online database contains approximately 32,000 time series dating from 1948 and covering more than 200 countries and areas; exchange rate series for all International Monetary Fund (IMF) member countries, plus Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles; major (IMF) accounts series; and most other world, area, and country series from the IFS World Tables. Output options include CSV, HTML, tab-delimited, or Excel.

DPLS has also recently received the paper copy of the 2003 IFS Yearbook and Country Notes, so you are welcome to visit us in person and take a look at those as well.


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IPUMS Positions Open

The Minnesota Population Center is recruiting graduate research assistants and postdoctoral research associates to help with new initiatives related to the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (http://ipums.org). Graduate research assistants must enroll in a relevant graduate program at the University of Minnesota, and deadlines for those programs are approaching rapidly. Postdocs may apply at any time, and applications will be reviewed until the positions are filled. Appointments can begin any time in 2004. Further information on the graduate student positions is at http://www.pop.umn.edu/jobs4grads.html, and for the postdocs at http://www.pop.umn.edu/jobs4research.html.

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Worldscope Replaces Company Account in Datastream

Datastream started to remove its Company Account database and replace it with Worldscope database in October of 2003. The core Worldscope data items are now available to all users. By February of 2004 Worldscope will completely replace Company Account. Worldscope is a more comprehensive database with financial statement data on public companies around the world. It currently holds data items on over 29,500 active companies in 53 countries -- almost 7,000 more companies than currently provided in the Company Account. The earliest data is from 1980 although coverage is much more extensive from around 1987. The data is provided in a standardized format to allow for variations in accounting policies and local accounting standards, even across countries. This means that Worldscope data is well suited for cross-border comparison.

The following general types of information are available from Worldscope. The level of detail available for each company may differ depending on update type and company type.

  • Company Profiles: address, officers, business descriptions, SIC codes, product segments, geographic segments, investor relations, auditors, and company status
  • Financial Statements: balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement
  • Historical Growth Rates & Valuation Ratios: growth, profitability, asset utilization, liquidity, and foreign business
  • Security and Market Data: stock data, stock prices, and stock performance
  • Other: exchange rates, global industry groups and key index membership

Worldscope provides researchers a rich resource for conducting sector analysis, comparing capital structures and financial strategies of corporations worldwide, and evaluating the efficiency of capital markets. Visit DPLS and try it out on our new public-use PCs!


Table of contents

Proposition 54 Defeated in California

With considerably less fanfare than the main attraction in the recent California gubernatorial recall election, the so-called Racial Privacy Initiative (Proposition 54) was defeated by an almost two-to-one margin.

Proposed by University of California Regent and affirmative action opponent Ward Connerly, the measure would have prohibited city, county and state government in California from collecting data on racial and ethnic groupings. Although certain exemptions for health and criminal justice agencies were included, Proposition 54 opponents argued that the exemptions could be interpreted too narrowly and would undermine health care. Academic researchers were also concerned that other race-related research under university auspices could be curtailed.

With the defeat of Proposition 54, data collection at all levels of California government can proceed as before.

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California Data Librarian Receives Fulbright

Collaboration in international data librarianship took an exciting step forward recently as Daniel C. Tsang, Social Sciences Data Librarian at the University of California, Irvine was awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to do research at the Institute of Sociology, National Center for Social Sciences and Humanities, in Hanoi, Vietnam. The award is for four months of the 2003-2004 academic year, during which time Tsang will be researching the extent and availability of social science data in Vietnam.

Tsang currently serves on the Administrative Committee of IASSIST, the social science data librarians/archivists professional association that will be holding its annual conference at UW-Madison in May 2004, hosted by DPLS.

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Internet Corner

Windows on Urban Poverty

The Windows on Urban Poverty site, hosted by the Bruton Center at the University of Texas at Dallas, takes Census data from 1970 through 2000 to map the geographic dimension of poverty in the United States. Users can select a city or metropolitan area, view the location of high-poverty census tracts, and observe the changes in high-poverty areas over time. The maps can also show race, ethnicity, population density, housing value and housing age.

The online interface is a simplified GIS system; for a more complex mapping tool covering the same data, come to DPLS and use the Census Neighborhood Change CD-ROM. Windows on Urban Poverty is on the web at http://www.urbanpoverty.net/.

Fair Market Rents, 2004

The latest Fair Market Rents data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development has been released on the HUD User web site, at http://www.huduser.org/datasets/fmr.html.

HUD surveys local housing prices for rentals that have recently changed hands, to create standards for housing assistance programs. Figures are available for apartments with different numbers of bedrooms (0-4), by non-metropolitan county or metropolitan area. Downloadable data goes back to 2001 on the site.

To navigate to state reports for 2004 in PDF via a clickable map, visit http://www.huduser.org/datasets/fmr/fmr2004F/2004map.html.

Higher Education Statistics Agency (United Kingdom)

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) has been the central agency for collecting and reporting statistics for higher education in the United Kingdom since 1993. The site features a statistics section with free public information annual tables back to 1994, available as HTML or as CSV download. These public tables include statistics on students (items such as gender, level of study, ethnicity, disability, and first destination after study), staff, and institutional finance.

Other HESA data and publications can be ordered for a fee. The agency is on the web at http://www.hesa.ac.uk/.

MelissaData’s Lookup Directory

This cleanly-presented collection of free look-up tools comes from MelissaData, a commercial firm that sells direct mail lists plus various software and data analysis services. The term “look-up” implies that you plug in a single request (e.g., a phone number or a ZIP code) and get the answer in return, as opposed to being able to download a database or retrieve large chunks of data.

MelissaData’s look-ups include plugging in a phone number or street address to get demographic information about the area; all the ZIP codes in a county or a particular radius; campaign contributors (with names and amounts) by ZIP code; and more. Find them online at http://www.melissadata.com/Lookups/index.htm.

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