Regional Report 1995-1996: United States

Report of the U.S. Regional Secretary

Laura Guy
Data and Program Library Service
University of Wisconsin, Madison
May 1996

The purpose of this report is to share members’ activites beyond the scope of IASSIST itself, including local, national and international activities.

  • Member Activities:
    • Chuck Humphrey moved down from his post on the ICPSR Council. Currently three members of IASSIST are on Council: Elizabeth Stephenson, Ann Gray, and Wendy Watkins.
    • Wendy Treadwell continues her involvement in APDU. She completed Doug Mills’ term on the APDU Board from October through December, and was then elected to a term on the ADPU Board in a member-at-large position. She chairs the Conference Committee in this capacity. She is currently also serving on the selection committee for the position of Executive Administrator (which will include a new administrative home for APDU). She was Program Co-Chair of the October 1995 Conference, and continues in that role. Members Laura Guy (University of Wiscosin) and Gregory Haley (Columbia University) presented a workshop on International Data Resources for APDU. The day-long session was very well attended, and brought in a number of non-North American participants. Other IASSIST members, including Denise Lievesley, Bill Bradley, Ed Spar, and Richard Rockwell contributed to the success of the conference. According to Wendy: “I think you should note that IASSIST REALLY made its presence felt at APDU95 in very positive way.”
    • The ICPSR Biennial Meeting was held in early October, and was, as usual, well-represented by IASSIST members. Jim Jacobs (UCSD) and Diane Geraci (SUNY-Binghamton) delivered a workshop on Working with ICPSR Services and Data. Members Judith Rowe, Laura Guy, Gregory Haley, Ilona Einowski, Elizabeth Stephenson, Ernie Boyko, Chris Davis, and Andrew Beveridge also made contributions.
    • Denise Lievesley, Chuck Humphrey, Jim Jacobs, and Diane Geraci taught in the ACSPRI 12th Summer Program in Social Research Methods and Research Technology at Australian National University in January 1996.
    • APLIC-I (Assoc for Population Libraries/Information Centers) is sponsoring an Internet Room at the annual meeting of the Population Assoc of America (PAA) in New Orleans May 9-11, 1996. APLIC members will provide seminars and one-on-one training in use of the Internet and its resources , along with handouts and suggestions for PAA members on improving thier access to and use of the Internet once they return to their institutions. Member Wendy Brand (UW-Madison) will be one of the information specialist offering assistance/training. Member Ruth Sandor (UW-Madison) helped with planning and practical details.
    • Laura Guy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, published a review in the Journal of Government Information (Vol. 23, No. 1) of CPS Utilities, produced by the Unicon Research Corporation.
    • Lynn Ackerman has left the Data Archivist at the Population Research Institute (PRI) at Penn State and taken a position with the PA Assoc of Non-Profit Homes for the Aging as a Research Analyst in Harrisburg, PA. The position is more closely related to her Masters in Public Administration. She reports that she’ll actually be using primary data now - data collected from the 250 members (non-profit nursing homes in PA).
    • Member extraordinaire Judith Rowe has completed her second third year term on the Census Advisory Committee as well as her term on the Depository Library Council.
    • The University of Pennsylvania has a campus data warehouse of academic information. Member Pat Hildebrand is part of a task force that is working on making access available through the Web (probably via Oracle WebServer) while maintaining the required security.
    • Two IASSIST members have been elected members of the 9 person Steering Committee for the national State Data Center program under the aegis of the U.S. Census Bureau. They are Annette Watters from Alabama and John Blodgett from Missouri. The Steering Committee will be working closely with the Census Bureau over the next months as budget cutbacks, electronic dissemination of information, and changing priorities start to shake the data world. They report having already begun to see differing points of view emerge.
    • Member Lisa Neidert, University of Michigan, was a focus group participant on the Census Bureau’s Data Access and Dissemination System (DADs), Washington, D.C., September 19, 1995. She is co-organizer of a conference to be held in Ann Arbor this summer: “Workshop on Using U.S. Census Data to Study the Elderly”, July 14-19, 1996. She also gave two talks: “Some thoughts on sharing data” Presentation made at a confrence on Population and Politics in South Africa, Ann Arbor, Michigan, February 2-4, 1995, and “Which is the Real Archive: PSC or PSID” Presentation made to the staff of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, Ann Arbor, Michigan, September 26, 1995. She also combined the 5% and 3% PUMS to create an 8% file of households with a respondent of 60+.
    • Member Tess Trost will be presenting a paper on “Managing a Data Archive at Texas Tech University” on Friday (26 April) at the Texas Library Association Annual Meeting in Houston. She has also also started to become active in the Law and Political Science Section of ACRL of ALA, where she reports that “no one seems to knows very much about data”.
    • Member Jean Stratford, UC Davis, continued her involvement with GODORT.
    • Ann Green (Yale), Pat Doyle (Census Bureau), and John Brandt (University of Michigan) continue their involvement on the ICPSR Committee to develop a codebook DTD for SGML. The draft DTD will be available for review at the ‘96 IASSIST Conference.
    • Jim Jacobs and Diane Geraci, along with Chuck Humphrey, continue their instruction of the ICPSR annual Course on Data Librarianship and Data Archives.
    • Activities of all IASSIST members at the Center for Electronic Records at the the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
      • IASSIST members at the Center for Electronic Records, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration have had a very full year since the IASSIST meeting in Quebec. Among other things, Center staff have been participating in Archivist John Carlin’s strategic directions planning initiative. His new plan for the National Archives will be released in the summer, 1996. In addition, all staff coped with the uncertainties of the funding of the federal budget for FY 96, as did all our federal colleagues. The Center’s staff were placed on furlough from November 14-17, 1996. Despite the hiatus in our ability to do our jobs, staff received salary for this period. The FY 96 appropriation for the National Archives and Records Administration passed both houses of Congress and was signed by President Clinton as part of one of the omnibus spending bills that signaled the end to the first budget impasse of the fiscal year.
      • Two of the Center’s IASSIST members have received major honors during this past year. Fynnette Eaton was named a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists, elected chair of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, and selected for the 1996 Technology Excellence Award by the [federal] Interagency Committee on Information Resources Management for designing and implementing the Archival Preservation System. Mark Conrad was named a Fulbright Scholar in Ireland for the 1995-96 academic year. He is teaching archival studies with an emphasis on electronic records at University College Dublin. While we are at IASSIST, Mark will be visiting Finland under the auspices of the Finnish Fulbright Commission, where he will lecture on electronic records management at the Department of Information Studies at the University of Tampere, participate in a workshop to help faculty there add records management to their curriculum, and will also lecture on electronic records management at the Abo Akademi in Turku. Following this, he will spend a day at the Finnish National Archives, talking about electronic records issues with staff and then travel to Sweden where he will participate in a workshop on electronic records and authenticity. He also plans to visit the Swedish National Archives.
      • IASSISTers were among the many visitors to the Center for Electronic Records in this past year. They included Denise Lievesley, Director of the ESRC Archives at the University of Essex, United Kingdom, who met with us to discuss the new directions of both the archival and preservation programs in the Center. Alan Lubanski, London School of Economics, visited the Center as part of his survey of North American data service organizations. In addition, Judith Rowe and Doug Mills, Princeton University and Susan Adler of Rand met last July at the National Archives at College Park with Tom Brown, Peggy Adams, and Ted Hull of the Center and Pat Berman, Bureau of the Census, Karl Taueber of the University of Wisconsin, and Eric Austin of ICPSR to discuss the fate of 1970 Census of Population and Housing summary tape files. Ken Hannigan of the National Archives of Ireland participated in a SAA preconference practicum the Center hosted in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists.
      • During Ken Thibodeau’s six-month detail to the Department of Defense, June-December, 1995, Fynnette Eaton and Tom Brown each served as Director of the Center for Electronic Records for a three-month period. Last fall, Thibodeau, Brown, and Eaton visited the National Archives of Canada to discuss approaches to the archival administration of electronic records. Eaton and Brown represented the National Archives on the [U.S.] Government Printing Office’s Study to Identify Measures Necessary for a Successful Transition to a More Electronic Federal Depository Library Program. Peggy Adams represented the Center at the biennial meeting of Official Representatives of ICPSR in October, 1995. Tom Brown represents IASSIST at the quarterly meetings of COPAFS. Tom Southerly provided this representation for the September COPAFS meeting. Peggy Adams was appointed to the SAA Awards Committee and presented the Waldo Gifford Leland Award at the 1995 SAA meeting. Adams, Brown, and Eaton all participated in the seminar on electronic records that the Center hosted for a group of international archivists who met following the 1995 SAA meeting.
      • The Center has compiled a bibliography of publications and presentations by staff of the Center for Electronic Records. Copies are available upon request. Included from this past year’s activities by the Center’s IASSIST members are: Peggy Adams’ book review of Managing Electronic Records by William Saffady, American Archivist, Vol. 57, Summer 1994, pp. 560-562, appeared in the summer of 1995. Adams organized and participated on a panel at the 1995 annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists, “What’s All This About the Next Generation? A Practitioners’ Discussion of Electronic Records Issues.” She also gave a presentation on electronic records for Women’s Studies at the SAA Women’s Collection Roundtable. In March 1996, Adams spoke on “Adapting to New Technologies” for the Society for History in the Federal Government.”
      • Tom Brown chaired and offered comments for a session at the 1995 SAA meeting, “Toto, We Aren’t in Kansas Anymore: Issues of Access for Archives on the Internet.” He also led a practicum on accessioning electronic records as a SAA meeting preconference session.
      • Fynnette Eaton presented the keynote paper: “Ensuring Access to America’s Electronic Information” at the 12th Office Information Technology Conference in Augusta, GA in July 1995. She talked on “Automated Preservation of Electronic Records: A Case Study of the Archival Preservation System” at the 1995 SAA meeting. She also led a practicum on preservation of electronic records as a preconference SAA session. In September she presented a paper on the issues of technology obsolesence to the Virginia Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators and in March Fynnette was the after-dinner speaker at the 1996 DPMA (Data Processing Managers Association) Joint Chapters Meeting in Lanham, Maryland. Her talk focused on the holdings and preservation activities at the Center for Electronic Records.


  • Issues (Ethnocentric and Others):
    • Attempt by Princeton administration to save operating expenses by eliminating Data and Statistical Services which had been housed for many years in the CIT facility; protests on the part of faculty and students as well as by such outside supporters as the 40 IASSIST members who signed a joint letter has resulted in some effort to preserve these services.
    • U.S. Government Shutdowns and Budget Slashing
    • Threats to NSF and General Uncertainty over Research Funding
    • IASSIST members and colleagues from Columbia, Cornell, CUNY (Baruch, Queens, and CUNY Central), NYU, and Yale have established a regional interest group called the Tri-State Data Archive Planning Committee. The purpose of the group is to exchange information about issues such as: data rescue projects, online data documentation, data extract programs, and joint acquisitions. A test data-holdings catalog was produced by Lynn Jacobsen and Greg Haley at Columbia, with holdings information from 3 of the universities.
    • Changes to the GPO Depository Library Program including increasing reliance on information provision via the Internet and such portable electronic media as CD’s.
    • Initiation of the US Census program to make extracts from an increasing number of their data products available from their home page as well as more limited programs at Harvard and the University of Virginia.
    • Availability of “home-grown” data sets from web pages at the Universities of Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin-Madison, among others. (All of these efforts are publicly available, unlike several other efforts limited to internal users).
    • Changes at the ICPSR: media, delivery, etc.
    • Decreasing Budgets at all Levels.
    • Technological changes; Impact of the increased use of the Internet for provision of Services.