DPLS News, October 1998

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

October 1998

Table of Contents

Falling Through the Net

Civil Disorder in Milwaukee

5th Annual GSS Student Paper Competition

DPLS Staff Changes

Marriage and Divorce Data

American FactFinder from the Census Bureau

Internet Corner


Falling Through the Net

"Falling Through the Net II: New Data on the Digital Divide" concludes that even though computer ownership and usage have increased in the last couple years, there is still a "digital divide" based on race, income, education, geographic areas, and other demographic characteristics. This report was released by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in July 1998, and it updates the NTIA’s findings from a July 1995 study titled, "Falling Through the Net: A Survey of the ‘Haves’ and ‘Have Nots’ in Rural and Urban America."

% of Households With a ComputerThis report ascertains that the "digital divide" between certain groups of Americans has increased so significantly between 1994 and 1997 that now there is an even greater disparity in computer ownership and usage within some income levels, demographic groups, and geographic areas. Even though all racial groups own more computers now than they did in 1994, Blacks and Hispanics are further behind Whites in their levels of PC ownership and online access. According to the report, White households are more than twice as likely (40.8%) to own a computer than Black (19.3%) or Hispanic households (19.4%).

Both income and education have a great affect on computer penetration levels as well. The report states that households below $35,000 in annual income have PC and online access levels below the national average. On the other hand, households earning more than $75,000 in urban areas have the highest PC ownership rates (76%) and online access rates (50.3%). Furthermore, education level affects computer penetration rates as much as income does. According to the report, those with a college education are almost ten times as likely to own a computer than those without any high school education (63.2% vs. 6.8%). Even those with a college degree are far more likely to have online access (38.4%) than those with a high school diploma (9.6%) and those without any high school education (1.8%).

Although PC ownership has generally increased among all Americans, there are still segments of the population like low-income, minorities, and the young who do not have computer access at home. This is especially true for those living in central cities as well as rural areas. As in the previous report, both central cities and rural areas are still far behind the national average for PC ownership and online access.

View "Falling Through the Net II" and the 1995 report online at: http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/net2/.

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Civil Disorder in Milwaukee

Democracy imageMilwaukee Study of Civil Disorder, 1967 (http://dpls.dacc.wisc.edu/Disorder67/) is the most recent addition to DPLS’ online data archive. This particular dataset contains information pertaining to the attitudes of Milwaukee residents during the civil disturbances of 1967 with regard to actions taken, opinion of news coverage, opinion of people who took part in the disturbance, opinions concerning the reasons for the disturbances, opinions concerning what should be done to correct the situation, personal reactions, personal opinion toward politicians, personal job information, and background information of those interviewed.

This report is based on data from 387 interviews conducted with Milwaukee County residents. For analysis purposes, the county was divided into three parts: (1) the "inner city," the area cordoned off by law enforcement officials which includes the Black ghetto; (2) the "outer city," the rest of the city of Milwaukee; and (3) the "suburbs," the county outside the city limits.

A probability sample of households was drawn from the Milwaukee City Directory and relevant suburban listings by the sampling section of the Wisconsin Survey Research Laboratory. In order to assure an adequate number of Black respondents, a higher sampling rate was utilized for the cordoned off area and one out of 975 for the remainder of the county.

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5th Annual GSS Student Paper Competition

The General Social Survey (GSS) Student Paper Competition has recently been announced by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago. The entry papers must: 1) be based on data from the 1972-1996 GSS or from the GSS’s cross-national component, the International Social Survey Program (any year or combination of years may be used), 2) represent original and unpublished work, and 3) be written by a student or students at an accredited college or university. Undergraduates and graduate students may enter and college graduates are eligible for one year after receiving their degree.

The papers will be judged on the basis of their: a) contribution to expanding understanding of contemporary American society, b) development and testing of social science models and theories, c) statistical and methodological sophistication, and d) clarity of writing and organization. Papers should be less than 40 pages in length (including tables, references, appendices, etc.) and should be double-spaced.

The GSS principal investigators, James A. Davis and Tom W. Smith will judge the papers with assistance from a group of leading scholars. Separate prizes will be awarded to the best undergraduate and best graduate-level entries. Entrants should indicate in which group they are competing. Winners will receive a cash prize of $250, a commemorative plaque, and the MicroCase Analysis System, including data from the 1972-1998 GSS (a $1,395 value).

Two copies of each paper must be received by February 15, 1999. The winner will be announced in late April, 1999. Send entries to: Tom W. Smith, General Social Survey, National Opinion Research Center, 1155 East 60th St., Chicago, IL 60637. For further information call: (773) 256-6288, fax: (773) 753-7886, or email: smitht@norcmail.uchicago.edu.

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DPLS Staff Changes

And there’s a hand, my trusty fere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak’ a right gude-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.
(Robert Burns, Auld Lang Syne)

DPLS is pleased to announce some groundbreaking changes in its staff effective fall semester 1998. In a small, specialized library such as ours we are fortunate to have a staff with overlapping responsibilities, yet individual areas of expertise.

Special Librarian Robin Rice will be taking a one year leave of absence to join the Data Library team at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland where she will participate in the development of data library services for the University’s research and teaching communities including provision of local online access. We wish her much success as she learns about British data, scholarship, and the occasional haggis.

Kim Tully has been appointed Associate Special Librarian. Kim started working at DPLS in the fall of 1996 when she began the graduate program in Library and Information Studies at UW-Madison. In addition to taking over Robin’s duties, Kim will continue her role as DPLS’ webmaster by keeping our electronic presence up-to-date and user-friendly.

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Marriage and Divorce Data

This CD-ROM, now available at DPLS, contains marriage and divorce statistics for all 50 states from 1989 -1995. The marriage file provides information about the date of marriage; race, age and state residence of the bride and the groom; their marriage history and previous marital status. The divorce file contains data on date of divorce; state of residence; date couple separated; number of marriages; number of children; race; age; awarded custody; and duration of the marriage. Users can use the Statistical Export and Tabulation System (SETS) software to query the raw data and generate tables.

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American FactFinder from the Census Bureau

(Press Release from the Public Information Office, October 6, 1998)

The Commerce Department’s Census Bureau today announced a new Internet data-delivery system that will significantly expand user access to the agency’s vast data resources as part of the Clinton Administration’s initiative to make government more efficient and accessible to the public. The Census Bureau plans to have the system operational by early 1999.

"This new system will complement the Census Bureau’s existing Internet site by giving the public online access for the first time to our largest data collection programs," said James F. Holmes, acting Census Bureau director.

The first data released via the new system will be preliminary reports from the 1997 Economic Census, 1990 Census of Population and Housing files, American Community Survey test and demonstration data and results of the Census 2000 Dress Rehearsal conducted this year.

The full range of Census 2000 data products will become available via the American FactFinder system beginning in January 2001, with the release of the state population totals for reapportionment and the detailed population totals (to the census block level) for redistricting.

One objective of the American FactFinder will be to permit users to define custom tabulations, contingent on meeting strict confidentiality protections. The Census Bureau guarantees the confidentiality of individual responses for 72 years.

Editor’s Note: A detailed description of the new system is available at the Census Bureau’s public Internet site (http://www.census.gov/dads/www/).

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Internet Corner

DPLS Web Page Has a New Look!

DPLS imageDPLS staff have recently changed the organizational structure of our home page as well as the Internet Crossroads page. The home page still has the same buttons which enable users to easily access the various sections of our web site. However, "What’s New" is now located on the initial home page, so that users have easy access to the most current information on our site.

The Internet Crossroads page also been updated to provide easier access to the 630 annotated links located within this section. All of these annotated links are now alphabetized, so users can access them quickly and easily. The URL for the DPLS home page is http://dpls.dacc.wisc.edu/.

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ENTERWeb image The Enterprise Development Website

ENTERWeb is a comprehensive and up-to-date annotated meta-index and global information clearinghouse. Specific topics of interest include resources on small business, finance, international trade, entrepreneurship, enterprise development, and economics for developed and developing countries.

The author of ENTERWeb, Jean-Claude Lorin, evaluates the contents of every new site and ranks each one according to its usefulness and quality. An average of 15-20 new Internet sites are added monthly. The URL for ENTERWeb is http://www.enterweb.org/.

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Sociological Data Archive in Czech Republic

The Sociological Data Archive was founded at the Institute of Sociology at the Czech Academy of Sciences in September 1998. The collection is small but growing, and it’s accessible via keyword or a title search. Some questionnaires and codebooks are downloadable from the Internet. To order data files, users need to fill out an order form and pay a fee. This site is available in both Czech and English. Its URL is http://archiv.soc.cas.cz/.

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Global Reproductive Health Forum at Harvard

GRHF imageThe Global Reproductive Health Forum (GRHF) is an Internet networking project developed by the Harvard School of Public Health. The purpose of the GRHF web site (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/Organizations/healthnet/) is to provide a forum for discussing issues about gender, rights, and reproductive health. The site contains a wealth of information on the following topics: gender, biology and technology; reproduction rights; HIV/AIDS; sexually transmitted diseases/RTI; contraception; abortion; population and family planning; and maternal health.

A new addition to this site is the database on law and population which locates excerpts or summaries of legislation, constitutions, court decisions, and other official government documents from many countries relating to population policies, reproductive health, women’s rights, and related topics. Another highlight of the GRHF site is the South Asia Project, a discussion list on topics like sex trafficking, gender and women’s health in South Asia.

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End of October 1998 Newsletter.