DISC News, November 2010

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
Staff Contributors: Lu Chou, Senior Special Librarian; Cindy Severt, Senior Special Librarian


November 2010
(Visit our PDF edition as well!)


Table of Contents
Data and the Arts: Quantifying the Intangible
Hello UN COMTRADE, Goodbye STAT-USA
News from ICPSR
Statistical Software Blogs
New in the DISC Catalog

Crossroads Corner

State of Metropolitan America
Constituency-Level Elections Archive (CLEA)
Integrated Health Interview Series (IHIS)


Data and the Arts: Quantifying the Intangible
by Cindy Severt

September 2010 through August 2011 has been declared the Year of the Arts at UW-Madison, officially designated as such by Chancellor Carolyn “Biddy” Martin. The initiative was further endorsed on November 9, as Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and the Madison Common Council signed a proclamation promoting this effort “to spotlight the breadth, depth, power and purpose of artistic exploration and expression at UW-Madison” and encouraging “all residents to participate in the celebration of the arts on campus and throughout Madison.” The celebration was launched with the appearance of Rocco Landesman, UW alumnus and Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), at the Memorial Union Terrace on September 16. Over 300 artistic events are scheduled as part of the Year of the Arts.

Economic Impacts
All well and good, especially for arts lovers, but what have the arts to do with data?  Surprisingly much, starting with the sobering statistic that—assuming for the sake of argument, non-profit status notwithstanding, the arts are a public service similar to libraries—WI ranks in the bottom 20% with only $.43 per capita spent on funding for the arts.  The Midwest average is $1.26.  The national average is $.96.[1]  The increasingly argued flip side of this equation is that the arts (and other creative industries) are economically beneficial to their communities.  In addition to bringing in associative revenue via arts patrons’ expenditures on restaurants, hotels, etc.[2] there is evidence to suggest that the “creative class” fosters economic growth because it attracts a demographic with discretionary income to spend on the arts.[3]

Demographic Profile
And exactly who comprises the creative class?  What percentage of the population do they encompass?  Where do they live?  What is their average age? What is their professional life expectancy in their chosen field? What is their income, and is it supplemented? The answers to these and other questions can be found in the vast resources of the Cultural Policy & the Arts National Data Archive (CPANDA), http://www.cpanda.org.

The Intangibles
In the sphere of public opinion data, we can turn to the Federal Support for the Arts Survey (1990) in the iPOLL databank4 to discover that most people agree that the arts are essential to enhance our society; that they are important to one’s one life; even that America’s world leadership and competitiveness depend on the continued creativity of our citizens. But how? By improvising; one of the hallmarks of creativity. Art cannot be rushed; innovation cannot be measured; creativity cannot be forced.

[1]National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, FY 2010 Legislative Appropriations Annual Survey, January 2010. http://tinyurl.com/24y8xex

[2]Arts & Economic Prosperity III: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Culture Organizations and Their Audiences. http://tinyurl.com/p894nr.

[3]Emoting with their feet: Bohemian attraction to creative milieu, Journal of Economic Geography (7) 2007: 711–736, based on the 1990 Census of Population STF4. http://tinyurl.com/23cvf2s.

[4]Federal Support For The Arts, Mar. 1990. Retrieved 15-Nov-2010 from the iPOLL Databank, The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, University of Connecticut, http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.web/ipolld (UW-Madison subscription).

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Hello UN COMTRADE, Goodbye STAT-USA
by Joanne Juhnke

Hello (again): UN COMTRADE
UW-Madison has once again subscribed to the United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database, known as UN COMTRADE.

Available at http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.web/uncomtrade, the UN COMTRADE database covers over 170 countries, accounting for over 90% of world trade. These countries report their annual trade statistics data, detailed by commodity and partner country, to the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD). The UNSD then transforms the data for consistent coding and makes it available in multiple classification schemes. For many countries the data coverage starts as far back as 1962 and goes up to the most recent completed year.

More information about the database can be found at http://unstats.un.org/unsd/tradekb/Knowledgebase/What-is-UN-Comtrade.

Goodbye STAT-USA
A U.S. Department of Commerce resource of long standing has ceased operations: the STAT-USA database is no longer available, as of October 1, 2010. STAT-USA was created 25 years ago to collect and disseminate trade and economic information from U.S. federal agencies. As of July, the State of the Nation section of STAT-USA carried 50,000 U.S. statistical releases, state and regional analysis reports, forecasts, and financial data; the GLOBUS/National Trade Data Bank section carried 200,000 trade-related releases, international market research, country analysis, and trade and procurement leads.

The University of Central Florida Libraries have compiled a guide with links to many of the sources that contributed to the contents of STAT-USA. STAT-USA: Links to Sources can be found at http://libguides.lib.ucf.edu/statusa.

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News from ICPSR
by Joanne Juhnke

2011 Research Paper Competitions
ICPSR (http://www.icpsr.umich.edu) and the Research Center for Minority Data (http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/RCMD) are holding their annual Research Paper Competitions. There are three competitions in 2011: two at the undergraduate level and one at the master’s level.

The competitions serve to highlight student research papers that use RCMD or ICPSR data. To be eligible for the competition, a student must submit a paper that critically analyzes a topic in the social sciences by means of quantitative analysis of data from the ICPSR or RCMD archives. One of the undergraduate competitions must use data from the RCMD archive, while the other may use data from any ICPSR archive. The master’s competition may also use data from any ICPSR archive.

Each of the three competitions carries a $1000 award for first place and $750 for second place. The submission deadline is January 31, 2011. Submission guidelines, more information, and award-winning papers from past years are available at http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/ICPSR/prize/index.jsp.

Social Sciences Data Fair
From November 8-11, ICPSR hosted a virtual data fair in the social sciences, a series of webinars that brought together representatives, practitioners, and users of various social sciences data organizations. The presentations provided in-depth examinations of various data issues as well as data and teaching resources. Monday’s offerings focused on Data Management; Tuesday was devoted to North American data; Wednesday’s theme was international data; and Thursday focused on social science data and teaching.
Slides and video from the data fair webinar sessions are online at http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/ICPSR/datafair/program.jsp.

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Statistical Software Blogs

The statistical software package Stata now has an official blog called Not Elsewhere Classified, at http://blog.stata.com/, for tips and product announcements. The blog joins existing resources from other statistical software companies. SPSS has the Inside Out blog at http://insideout.spss.com/, devoted to SPSS tips and tricks, while SAS has a whole list of blogs at http://blogs.sas.com/, including The SAS Dummy and The SAS Training Post.

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New in the DISC Catalog

  • American National Election Studies Cumulative Data Files, 1948-2008.
  • American National Election Studies Panel Study, 2008-2009.
  • Bureau of Health Professions Area Resource File (A.R.F.), 2009-2010.
  • Direction of Trade Statistics: 1960 to Present [Datastream].
  • Early Childhood Longitudinal Study: Kindergarten Class of 1998-99, Longitudinal Base Year Through Eighth Grade [public use version].
  • Education Longitudinal Study 2002-2006, Base Year, First and Second Followup Data [public use EDAT version].
  • National Home Health Aide Survey (NHHAS), 2007.
  • The School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS), 2007-2008 [public-use data file].

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Crossroads Corner
by Joanne Juhnke

Crossroads Corner highlights web sites recently added to the searchable Internet Crossroads in Social Science Data on the DISC web site.

State of Metropolitan America
The State of Metropolitan America is an interactive website from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program aimed at allowing users to analyze demographic and social trends that affect the United States’ largest metropolitan areas. The site’s major subject areas, with over 300 indicators in all, are: population and migration, race and ethnicity, immigration, age, households and families, educational attainment, work, income and poverty, and commuting. The data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau, and includes the 2000 Census as well as data from the American Community Survey since 2006.

The site, at http://www.brookings.edu/metro/StateOfMetroAmerica, lets users display, map, and download data for the 50 U.S. states (plus the District of Columbia) and the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. From the interactive map, users can download a CSV file that includes all years of data for a given indicator, or a ZIP file that includes all years of data for all indicators in a given subject area. From the profile page for any given geographic area on the indicator map, users can download a CSV file that includes the geography type, year, and indicator currently in view; a CSV file that includes the same indicator for all geographies and all years; or a ZIP file that includes all indicators in the subject area for all geographies and all years.

Constituency-Level Elections Archive (CLEA)
Constituency-Level Elections Archive (CLEA), http://www.electiondataarchive.org/, is a repository of election results from lower-house legislative elections in 49 countries. Researchers at the University of Michigan, the College of William and Mary, and the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland) gathered the data from a variety of sources, focusing on votes received by each candidate or party, total votes cast, and number of eligible voters. The latest data release, as of February 2010, covers 785 elections from 1788 to 2007.

The data file download comes in SPSS portable, Stata and raw ASCII formats. The site also carries a subsetting tool that allows users to download data limited to a specific time period and a region or country.

Integrated Health Interview Series
The claim to fame of the Integrated Health Interview Series (IHIS) is “harmonizing the leading source of information on the health of the U.S. population.” That leading source is the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), a long-running cross-sectional household interview survey from the National Center for Health Statistics. To create the IHIS, online at http://www.ihis.us/ihis/, the Minnesota Population Center has harmonized a selected set of microdata based on the public-use files of the NHIS from 1969 onward. The data are re-coded to increase consistency and allow for better comparisons across time.

The IHIS site features a data extraction system (free registration required) which allows users to select record type, years and variables to create custom subsets, that can then be downloaded to use for analysis with a statistical software package.

Since variable names are changed in the harmonizing process, the original public-use NHIS files contain different variable names than the IHIS variables. The IHIS site carries thorough documentation about the data and the re-coding.

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