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Regional Report 2000-2001: United States

US IASSIST Regional Secretary's Report,
May 17, 2001

- Publications by US IASSISTers
- Other publications
- Individual activities and news
- Appendix

Publications (not including the IQ) by US IASSISTers

Encyclopedia of the U.S. Census, Margo J. Anderson, Editor in Chief (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2000). IASSIST (past and present) was well represented among the contributors to this volume. Among them, with their respective articles:

  • Albert F. Anderson and Lisa J. Neidert on, "Dissemination of data: electronic products;"
  • Patricia C. Becker on, "Enumeration: field procedures," "Housing," "1970 census," "1980 census," and "Tabulation geography;"
  • Constance F. Citro on, "Advisory committees," "Content," "Content detrmination," "Coverage improvement procedures," "Editing and imputation," "Enumeration: special populations," "Federal agency uses of census data," "Income and poverty measures," "Long form," "Population estimates and projections," "Related data sources," "Sampling for content," and "Sampling in the census." Connie was also a co-editor of the volume.
  • Pat Doyle on, "Federal household surveys;"
  • Deirdre Gaquin on, "Data dissemination and use," and "Summary Tape Files;"
  • Ann Gray on, "Dissemination of data: secondary products;"
  • Judith Rowe on, "Data products: evolution;" and
  • Steven Ruggles on, "IPUMS (Integrated Public Use Microdata Series)."
  • Margaret O. Adams prepared the entry on "National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)," on the basis of contributions from a number of NARA colleagues, including IASSISTer, Thomas E. Brown.

Of Significance is a new "topical journal" of the Association of Public Data Users (APDU), whose general editor is IASSISTer, Deirdre Gaquin. IASSIST members have been frequent contributors to this publication. For example:

  • Volume 1:1 (June 1999) on Statistical Literacy was guest-edited by Wendy Treadwell and included an "Introduction to Statistical Literacy" by Wendy Treadwell (pp. 5-8); an article on "Archivists and Statistical Literacy," for which Tom Southerly was co-author (with Linda Henry) (pp. 31-34); and "Statistical Literacy: A Selected Annotated Bibliography" by Jocelyn Tipton (pp. 57-xx).
  • Volume 1:2 (December 1999), guest-editor Janie Harris, represented the proceedings from the 1999 APDU annual conference. Presenters at the conference (and authors represented in this issue) included IASSISTers Lisa Neidert (with Stephen Dienstfrey), program chairs, on "Introduction to APDU99: Responsible Data Use" (pp. 1-2); Wendy Treadwell (APDU president) with opening remarks on "Responsible Data Use: Protecting the Future of Public Data" (p. 3); Judith Rowe on "Reflecting on the Past and Looking to the Future" (pp. 10-13); Wendy Treadwell (with Katherine Wallman, Marianne Zawitz, and Colleen Blessing) on "Making Things Add Up for the End User: Issues in Statistical Literacy" (pp. 14-16); Patrick Collins and Lisa Broniszewski (with Alvan Zarate) on "Respondent Disclosure in Surveys: Issues and Solutions" (p. 24); Albert Anderson who led a Roundtable Session on "Getting to Know Your Data with PDQ Explore" (p. 34); Patricia C. Becker (with Joseph J. Salvo) on "Post-Mortem Report: Address Review" (pp. 38-39); Ann Green, Wendy Treadwell, and Peter Joftis on "Metadata on Steroids" (pp. 40-41); Ann Green (with Cavan Capps and Mark Wallace) on "The Vision of Integrated Access to Statistics: the Data Web" (pp. 42-47); and Patricia C. Becker (with Joseph J. Salvo) on "Electronic Products for Census 2000" (p. 48).

  • Volume 2:1 (June 2000) on Confidentiality was guest-edited by IASSISTer Pat Doyle (with Gerald Gates and Laura Zayatz) and included an article by IASSISTer Steven Ruggles, "Foreward—A Data User’s Perspective on Confidentiality" (pp. 1-5).
  • Volume 2:2 (December 2000), on Preservation of Public Data and guest-edited by Theodore J. Hull included a number of contributions by IASSISTers. Among them were Judith Rowe, "Foreward—A Data User’s Perspective on Preservation" (pp. 1-3); Janet Vavra on "Preservation: Maintaining Information for the Future" (pp. 28-33); and, Wendy L. Treadwell (with William C. Block) on "Preserving and Enhancing Functional Access: The Development of a Generalized Resource Extraction Tool for Aggregate Data (GRETA) at the University of Minnesota" (pp. 39-42).
  • Volume 3:1 (June 2001) on "Effects of Changing Data Products," is being guest-edited by IASSISTer Ilona Einowski (with Amy West).

Social Science Review , published in the US, likewise carried articles authored by IASSISTers. For example:

  • Summer 2001, v 19 n 2, includes: "The Social Science Dream Machine: Resource Recovery, Analysis," by Jostein Ryssevik and Simon Musgrave.

Other Publications by US Members

Adams, Margaret O. and Thomas E. Brown. 2000. "Myths and Realities about the 1960 Census," Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration. 32:4 (Winter), pp. 266-270. Available online via the NARA homepage http://www.nara.gov/publications/prologue/gene1960.html. Based upon an earlier version that originally appeared in the Association of Public Data Users’ APDU NEWSLETTER, 22: September 1997, pp. 8-9, 16.

Anderson, A.F. 1997. "Application of high-performance computing to the management of social science and demographic data." Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers. 29:1 pp 86-98.

Green, Ann, JoAnn Dionne, and Martin Dennis (1999). Preserving the Whole: A Two-Track Approach to Rescuing Social Science Data and Metadata. Washington, DC: Council on Library and Information Resources (June).

US Members’ Individual Outreach or Related Professional Activities, and Institutional/Organizational News

Albert Anderson retired from the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan in 1996 and continues to work with Public Data Queries, Inc (PDQ). PDQ has focused on the development of data management and analysis applications based on high performance, parallel computing systems. The work to date has been supported in large part by small business grants from the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). While work on four projects is winding down, four new projects are now underway and others planned.

The early projects included the development of PDQ-Explore, a system capable of supporting interactive access to large census and survey data sets, along with an evaluation of hardware platforms and the development of user support materials. New projects are directed toward resampling, expert systems, the manipulation of data across data sets, and "living" electronic research reports. See: http://www.pdq.com.

Lisa Neidert and Al Anderson also presented a poster, "Public use census data and confidentiality: Is there a problem?," at the 2001 meeting of the Population Association of America (PAA). Anderson has participated with William Frey in workshops on the use of census data in the classroom. These workshops have been held in conjunction with PAA and American Sociological Association (ASA) meetings for several years, including 2000 and 2001.

Ilona Einowski has been involved in several professional ventures. They include: 1) COUNTING CALIFORNIA about which she reports that she has been working on a web based data delivery system called COUNTING CALIFORNIA http://countingcalifornia.cdlib.org. The prototype is currently available and we are getting ready for the second version release on May 15 (2001). One of the most interesting aspects of the project is that we are relying on the DDI DTD to create metadata in XML for the files. It has been a most interesting project in that it has given me a chance to truly "road test" the DDI and expand my XML skills. Ilona reported that she did a presentation on the project at the APDU conference last fall (2000) which was well received.

Ilona was also appointed to the ICPSR CENSUS 2000 ADVISORY COMMITTEE. The Committee’s charge was to advise ICPSR on the acquisition of data from Census 2000. The Committee met for the first time in May 2000 and after a very fruitful discussion, endorsed a set of activities revolving around acquiring, processing, preserving and enhancing 2000 Census files obtained from the Census Bureau.

Ilona also helped create the charge for the UC Berkeley Electronic Data Task Force. The Task Force is charged with assessing Berkeley's needs in the area of electronic data and proposing a set of principals and an initial set of specific actions to guide the campus. The Task Force will concentrate on five main issues: Acquisition, Funding, Access, Archiving, and Support. Ilona was appointed leader of the Inventory Work Group, which at the time she submitted her report was in the process of gathering information on the holdings of the various campus departments and individual researchers with the intention of assessing the scope of the "duplication of efforts" factor.

With IASSISTers Libbie Stephenson and Marty Pawlocki at UCLA, Ilona presented a one and a half day workshop on data services (April 26-27, 2001) sponsored by the UCLA Institute for Labor and Employment (ILE). Part of the mandate of the UCLA ILE is to support and promote labor and employment research that relies on micro-level survey, public use and administrative data. This workshop - ILE Data Services: Needs and Strategies for the University, Labor and Community - brought together university, labor and community researchers to discuss the current situation, assess the various group research needs and make recommendations to the ILE on collection development, archiving and support for research.

Ann Gray moved from Cornell to Princeton in June, 2000, as Judith Rowe retired at Princeton in 2000. In December 2000, Ann was awarded a grant from the Pew Charitable Trust to establish a topically-focussed data archive on public policy and the arts. The grant has the Princeton University Library collaborating with the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies of Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and the partners will create a fully searchable, digital archive containing policy-relevant information on arts and culture. The archive is intended for nonacademic as well as academic use. The archive will have four components: online storage, information retrieval, selective data access and downloading capabilities. See http://www.pewtrusts.com/Frame.cfm?Framesource=programs/cul/culindex.cfm

Carolyn Geda chaired a session at the annual Society of American Archivists meeting in August 2000 in Pittsburgh, which focussed on the 30-year history of the electronic records program at the U.S. National Archives. For the session Carolyn chaired, IASSISTer Thomas E. Brown presented a paper surveying the history of the NARA electronic records program, and former directors of the program reminisced and commented on their experiences. In a companion session, IASSISTer Peggy Adams presented a paper on the evolution of reference services for electronic records at the U.S. National Archives over its 30 years, and her NARA colleagues Linda Henry and Bruce Ambacher spoke on the 30-year experience of accessioning and preservation of electronic records at NARA, respectively. Former member of the NARA electronic records staff, and former IASSISTer Fynnette L. Eaton chaired this second historical overview session at the SAA 2000.

Ann Janda reported that Northwestern University and the University of Chicago co-hosted the IASSIST 2000 conference on Northwestern's campus in Evanston, Illinois, June 2000. Local conference organizers were Fay Booker (UC) and Ann Janda (NU) with Diane Geraci (SUNY- Binghamton) as Program Chair. The conference theme was "Data in the Digital Library: Charting the Future for Social, Spatial and Government Data Services." As the "best conference ever" in IASSIST parlance, it brought together about 160 data and library professionals from the U.S. and abroad, including distinguished guests such as Kenneth Prewitt, Director of the Bureau of Census and Daniel Greenstein, Director of the Digital Library Federation. Strong attendance by local library staff and administrators meant firsthand exposure to data issues and activities. Ann wrote that she felt that the goals of the conference theme were accomplished. She also reported that during the Fall quarter of academic year 2000-2001, Northwestern volunteered to be one of seven beta-testers for ICPSR's experiment in allowing people at ICPSR-member institutions to download data directly from ICPSR's website to the user's desktop. Over time, it will be interesting to see the effects of this new service on operations and on user needs -- particularly on local central storage, services needed by inexperienced vs seasoned researchers, and on maintaining records of local holdings. As noted by the ICPSR, the new service represents a quantum leap in data distribution, and writes Ann, "it's a welcome one."

Robert Johnston reported that on March 8, 2000, data experts from Princeton, Binghamton, Yale, Columbia, University of Toronto, University of Guelph, as well as Edward Spar of the (U.S.) Committee on Professional Associations for Federal Statistics (COPAFS) traveled to United Nations Headquarters in New York for a one-day evaluation and beta testing of three electronic data products prepared by the Statistics Division. These products were the Statistical Yearbook on CD-ROM, Monthly Bulletin of Statistics On-line and the UN Common Database for Internet. The evaluators took their assignment seriously and there was lively discussion and some back-and-forth with the developers and with the group leader at the end of the day. Substantial additional work was undertaken on the Common Database in particular in response to the comments and discussions. The result was released for public subscription on Internet in March (2001), http://www.unstats.un.org. Robert concluded his report by sending thanks to IASSISTers Diane Geraci, Ann Green, Greg Haley, Laine Ruus, Ed Spar, Jocelyn Tipton, Bo Wandschneider, who were among those who provided the UN with the benefit of their collective experience.

Julie Linden collaborated with Ann Green for the report from Yale; they noted that in September 2000, Julie was appointed to the position of Data & Electronic Services Librarian at the Social Science Libraries & Information Services, Yale University. Julie, Ann, and Steven Citron-Pousty of the Social Science Statistical Laboratory are working to migrate Yale's Social Science Data Archive web-based catalog from a mainframe-legacy format to a DDI-compliant SQL database. The new catalog, to be called StatCat, will provide more direct access to numeric data at Yale and beyond, regardless of media. The URL for the Social Science Libraries and Information Services is http://www.library.yale.edu/socsci, the URL for the Social Science Data Archive is http://statlab.stat.yale.edu/SSDA/ssda.html.

Julie also reported that New Haven Health, originally funded through a grant from the National Library of Medicine is a publicly accessible web site that provides information about the past and present health of the greater New Haven, Connecticut community. This project is a repository of numerical and statistical health data, electronic publications, and photographs, a guide to local public health resources, and a forum for local public health researchers. The site includes dozens of historical documents, health surveys, consumer health publications, and six years of New Haven Health Department annual reports and vital statistics. Their website is http://info.med.yale.edu/newhavenhealth/. Yale also has worked closely and successfully with Luna Imaging, Inc. in the development of classroom applications and in the creation of an image database currently containing material from the Imaging America Project, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and the Yale Visual Resources Collection (6000 records in all). For further information, see http://www.library.yale.edu/pubstation/databases/luna.htm. Finally, the Yale University Library and Elsevier Science are working together on a year-long planning process for the creation of a digital archive for the 1,100 journals published electronically by Elsevier Science. The project will investigate the uses a digital archive supports and the extent to which it is possible to differentiate between content -- the long-term integrity of which must be preserved -- and the options for rendering and using that content. Various formats for encoding digital content will be studied to determine which are likely to remain relatively stable over time and to be good anchors for preservation. Project planners will establish an infrastructure for processing digital objects selected for the archive. The one-year planning work is supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Ron Nakao reported that in June, 2000, Paul Zarins was appointed the Digital Library Program Officer for the Stanford University Libraries.

Sharon Neary let us know that she would be leaving the University of Calgary in the summer, 2001 to assume the position of Data Librarian at the University of Notre Dame.

Lisa Neidert continued to be on the Board of Directors of Association of Public Data Users (APDU) as Treasurer and continued to be on APDU’s Census 2000 Product Review group. This also included attendance in the "Census 2000 Users' Conference on Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) Files." In both of these roles, I am providing input to the Census Bureau on the content and format of public-use data products. While I didn't necessarily like some of the P.L. 94-171 product release (3 parts and minimal technical documentation), note that one of the choices was ASCII. (See entry for Anderson, for reference to the PAA poster session presented jointly by Neidert and Anderson.)

Thomas M. Parris let us know that he is no longer at Harvard, and that his new position is Research Scientist & Executive Director, Boston Office, ISCIENCES, LLC, 685 Centre Street, Suite 207,Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; parris@isciences.com; http://www.isciences.com/ and http://www.terraviva.net/.

Tom Piazza wrote on behalf of himself and Merrill Shanks to tell us that they were awarded the AAPOR 2000 Innovators Award in May 2000 by the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) as respectively, head of the General Social Survey and author of the SDA Web site, for providing online data documentation and analysis capabilities. The ICPSR Web site also shared the AAPOR award. In September 2000 the American Political Science Association (APSA) presented SDA with their 2000 "Best Instructional Software Award" at their annual meeting in Washington D.C. The SDA Web site is at: http://sda.berkeley.edu.

Wendy (Treadwell) Thomas reported that she had been appointed Data Archivist at the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota where she would be working with the IPUMS, International IPUMS, and the new NHGIS (National Historical Geographic Information System).

Tess Trost noted that in March 2001, the Board of Regents of Texas Tech University approved a promotion for her and that starting September 2001, she would assume the moniker of Librarian, noting that she has been one for over 25 years! In addition to her Data Library duties, Tess is also the Patent Librarian for Texas Tech and in that capacity she had applied for and received a Big 12 Faculty Fellowship grant to visit a patent library at another university which she will use to visit two patent libraries. (Tess adds that the Big 12 is the Athletic Conference to which Texas Tech belongs.)

Patrick M. Yott, at the time he submitted his 2001 report to IASSIST, told us that he had been appointed Director, Digital Services Integration, University of Virginia Library. In the year or so preceding, he had taught ARL (Association for Research Libraries) workshops on Interactive Data Websites; had been participating on the DDI (Data Documentation Initiative) committee and was working on developing xml/xsl instances for DDI objects; had designed XML appliances for library functions; and had participated in DLF (Digital Library Federation) Registry Planning.

In November 2000, the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration and the University of Maryland co-sponsored a one-day conference called, "Digital Strategies – 2000." IASSISTer Peggy Adams was on the program committee for the conference and chaired a panel discussion on "Digital Data" on which IASSISTer Cavan Capps of the U.S. Bureau of the Census participated. Attendees came from throughout the eastern U.S. and included IASSISTer Ann Green of Yale University.

In October 2000, IASSISTers attending the annual Association of Public Data Users (APDU) meeting came together for an informal IASSIST U.S. regional meeting. Ann Gray prepared a summary of the discussion and her report is attached as an appendix to this report.

Respectfully,

Margaret O. Adams, U.S. Regional Secretary

Appendix to US IASSIST 2001 Regional Secretary’s Report

October 23, 2000
Arlington, Va.

Informal meeting of IASSIST members at APDU Annual Conference

Attending:
- Ann Gray
- Albert Anderson
- Patty Becker
- Ilona Einowski
- Tom Brown
- Pat Doyle
- Peggy Adams
- Jocelyn Tipton
- Jack Solock
- Judith Rowe
- Steven McClaskie
- Cheryl Stadel-Bevins
- Wendy Treadwell
- Lisa Neidert

Peggy Adams, US Regional Secretary, queried the group about the USA Regional Report, in particular, what should go into the USAReport. Tom Brown stated that the USA report should include the contributions of individual USA members, such as publications, and other activities. This was expanded to include workshops, papers given at conferences, etc. The existing form (on the IASSIST web page) did not solicit a great deal of self-reporting of activities. Peggy needs a list of USA members and a new request for information needs to be sent. The report itself can be a synthesis of activities, but it could also include a selection of issues of importance to USA members.

Peggy raised a question regarding what IASSIST USA should be doing and how IASSIST could address issues. IASSIST operates through Action Groups. Should there be an "action group" on USA issues? Should IASSIST USA act as a separate entity or should it share its discussions with the entire membership? What type of "action" would the group take?

Here followed a very loose discussion with much back-and-forth on various aspects of the USA IASSIST issues. Tom volunteered to highlight issues from COPAFS, it was suggested that the action group could seek information from international members, but for what purpose was lost on this note taker - could it have been to identify international issues or gage the response of international members to the USA issues? Judith liked the idea of having an informal bibliography of US member's publications (see USA report above) and requested that when positions (jobs) are posted to the IASSIST List, the institution report back to us when it is filled and by whom. Jocelyn noted that it is important that new members, or persons new to the profession, understand why issues are important. The IASSIST Web site could be used to display and keep information about the importance of issues, as well as to note the new hires.

Those attending then turned to the question of if the discussion of issues should be a USA only activity. It was the opinion of most, but not all, that the Europeans are interested in USA issues. Wendy pointed out that the USA federal structure is similar to that of the EU. Not all USA members expressed an interest in European & Canadian issues, but most did.

Wendy also informed us that the new IASSIST FY runs from June to June and not from January to January, so the FY 2000 will be an 18 month FY.

The members of the action group were identified as being: Tom - COPAFS news Patty - Census Bureau Issues Someone from Depository Library Program.

The Action Group can serve to inform the members of issues that are important in our lives and members can alert the group to new issues. The Group can attempt to determine if there is a consensus among the membership that some action is needed. If so, the US Secretary can initiate such action. The formation of this group and its workings need to be discussed with the IASSIST Admin Committee. While this Action Group deals only with the US, Tom pointed out that if the Europeans or Canadians wanted to have a similar group, they could do so. That is how COPAFS was funded - with the understanding that if there was a similar European association, IASSIST would fund it also. In any event, the International perspective remains important.

The meeting was summed up as follows:

  • Action Group on Issues Mission: Inform members, respond to members concerns, collection information. Members of the group would represent various issue-intensive groups: COPAFS, Census, GODART, BRASS (Heather McMillian) and Legal (Copyright).
  • Tom will provide summary of COPAFS to the members. If a position is posted on IASSIST-L, we will be informed when the position is filled. The IASSIST Web page should include organizational profiles of other organizations, e.g. APDU, COPAFS, and some information on why issues are important. Peggy should report to the IASSIST Admin Committee regarding this new Action Group.

Notes taken by Ann Gray.

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