Data, Data, Everywhere

But How Do I Find What I Need?

Brookens Library provides access to a number of resources that contain data and statistics to aid researchers and students.  A vast amount of statistical data is produced by government agencies and freely available. These resources are not highlighted in this post which is focused on those resources to which the library subscribes.  Many of these resources draw upon government information, but provide additional support by summarizing the data, providing additional indexing, or enhanced search functionality. 

The library has six major statistical resources. We’ve highlighted them below with information that will help you determine which source will best meet your needs.  If you need statistics or data, check out these resources, and for assistance with your research, set-up an appointment with a librarian. 

Statistical Abstract of the United States 

Statistical Abstract of the United States provides a comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States, providing a snapshot of America and its people. These summaries also serve to lead users to other sources for more complete data related to their topic. This database has been updated annually by the federal government since 1878.  The Statistical Abstract of the United States is one of the best-known statistical reference publications and serves as both an answer book and a guide to statistical sources. This database Includes 1400+ individually indexed tables (with attached spreadsheets) that are searchable and browsable. 

Historical Statistics of the United States

Historical Statistics of the United States includes statistics about the United States from the colonial times up to the start of the 21st century. It provides U.S. population, economic, employment, governance and international relations data. You can even create and save custom tables.  It has long been the standard source for quantitative indicators of American history. Some of the additional topics include data on American Indians, slavery, outlying areas, poverty, nonprofit organizations, and the Confederate States of America. 

Statistical Insight

This database is designed to find and retrieve statistical content.  It provides access to tables and citations to statistics produced by the U.S. federal, state and local governments, international governmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations. It spans millions of full-text reports and more than 1 million published tables on thousands of different topics. It also offers broad perspectives and insight on long-term national trends and implications paired with the ability to narrow results. Whether you are looking for tables, statistical reports, publication abstracts, or datasets, results are ranked by relevance. Faceted search results can then be filtered by document type, source, date published, geographic area, and more.

Economist Intelligence Unit

The Economist Intelligence Unit is an excellent source for international statistical data especially related to economics, politics, and governmental information.  It provides full-text access to quantitative and qualitative data and forecasts political, economic, and business climates for various regions and up to 200 countries, as well as related news, analysis, and risk factor assessments. This database, produced by the research and analysis division of The Economist Group, was created in 1946 with the purposes of helping businesses, financial firms, and governments to understand how the world is changing and how that creates opportunities to be seized and risks to be managed. 

Sage Business Stats

SAGE Business Stats offers historic, current, and projected demographic and industry data points down to the zip-code level. Users can compare data within one variable or across variables using tables and line graphs; access interactive maps with timelines at the state, county, zip-code, city, and metropolitan statistical area levels; and export charts, graphs, and tables as well as the data itself.

ICPSR: Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research

UIS is an institutional member of the ICPSR which serves as the largest archive and repository of digital social science data. An integral part of the infrastructure of social science research, ICPSR maintains and provides access to a vast archive of social science data for research and instruction (over 8,000 discrete studies/surveys with more than 65,000 datasets).  ICPSR supports students, instructors, researchers, and policy makers who: conduct secondary research to support primary research findings or generate new findings; preserve and disseminate primary research data; study or teach statistical methods in quantitative analysis; and develop funding proposals for grants or contracts that require a data management plan.  ICPSR also encourages deposits of digital data. Deposits are made using a secure data deposit workspace to describe the data collection and upload content.  More information on the depositing of digital data can be found at https://deposit.icpsr.umich.edu/deposit/home.  ICPSR accepts replication datasets for researchers who need to publish their raw data in relation to a journal article, so that other researchers can replicate the findings. Because ICPSR does not approve or alter datasets in any way, studies archived as replication datasets tend to appear on their website more quickly.

Meet the Team: Campbell

Photo of Student Employee Campbell
Meet Campbell!

Name: Campbell

Major: History

Status: Sophomore

What is your favorite thing about being a student at UIS?   My favorite thing about being a student here at UIS is the closeness of the faculty and staff to the students. Because it is a smaller campus, you can build relationships with your professors and advisors easily, and they want to see all of their students succeed. This is not something that everyone in college experiences, and so I am thankful to have professors that care!

What are your goals for the semester? This semester, one of my goals is to read more books. Growing up I was an avid reader, but when I started college I found it harder to find time to read leisurely in my schedule. I also am hoping to be accepted into the Disney College Program for next semester. I have been spending a lot of time working toward that goal, and doing anything I can to make it a reality!

If there were a reality TV show of your life, what would it be called? Why? Oh goodness! If I had a reality show, it wouldn’t last very long because my life has more or less the same routine every day. My week consists of me working, going to class, doing chores, and Netflix when I get a free moment. So my show would be called “Busy and Boring” most likely.

Are you involved in any clubs/activities/sports on campus? Or what are your hobbies? I am currently involved with Christian Student Fellowship here at UIS, and serve as member on the CSF Welcome Team! As for hobbies, I am currently on a kick of playing card and board games all the time with my little brother. I also have a hobby of writing about different things that come to my mind sporadically. Most recent post I am working on is about the names that my fellow Southerners and I have for items compared to other regions of the US.

What have you learned since working at the library? Since I have been working at the library, I have learned how to be organized on a whole new level. I value the importance of maintaining a system to keep everything easier when you have to look for something!

What are your post-graduation plans? After I graduate, I plan to teach for a few years before I start my Master’s degree in order to gain experience in the classroom. I can see myself moving back to Kentucky, or another state down south to start my career. I also see a dog most definitely post-graduation as a present to myself!

What is your favorite item from the library of things collection?Board games are currently my favorite Library of Things item right now! There are so many options, which make for a fun time with friends. I hope they expand the collection of games!

Using Library Databases on the Job Hunt

You’ve used library databases for research papers before, but they can also help you as you search for jobs and internships – whether you are trying to find information on potential employers for the Career Connections Expo or want some extra talking points for a scheduled interview.  

If you want to know more about potential employers, and you want to go beyond what you can find on the company’s website and some quick Google searching, here are some suggestions for library resources that can help you get to better know a company. 

Research the companyBusiness Source Complete is a great place to start if looking for a basic overview of a public company (think large companies like Target, Boeing or Accenture). You can usually find a description of the company, financial information and executive biographies. Many profiles include SWOT reports, which summarize the strengths and weaknesses of a business and the opportunities and threats it faces.  

To find a company profile or SWOT analysis, type in the company name in the main search bar and see what pops up in the results. Alternatively, click on “Company Information” in the blue banner at the top and search for your company there. 

Know the industry. If you are planning to work in a specific industry, it can be useful to get to know what trends are driving progress within that sector. Business Source Complete provides free industry reports to help you get to know the top companies, see the market forecast and become familiar with the terminology being used within the industry.  

To find an industry profile, search for the industry and limit your search to the source type of “Industry Profiles.” For example, if you are going to work for a hospital or pharmaceutical company, run a search for “healthcare industry” and find a current industry report among the results for your chosen country.  

Read the news. While you can easily find recent company news on Google, you can also find both national and regional newspapers in the library’s databases. Not all newspapers can be accessed for free on the web so it can be useful to search Brookens Library’s newspaper databases, which include the New York Times and Newspaper Source

If you have any questions about using any of the library’s databases, ask one of our librarians

Meet the Team: Abriana

Photo of student employee Abriana.
Meet Abriana!

Name: Abriana

Major: Sociology and Anthropology

Status: Freshman

What is your favorite thing about being a student at UIS?   As a UIS student, I enjoy the small community feeling which allows for a smaller class size where I can have that one-on-one communication with my professors as well as my classmates. There are many opportunities that give students a chance to succeed whether it be internships, jobs, community service, and learning programs. UIS enables students to gain leadership experiences given the amount of activities for one to step out of their comfort zone.

What are your goals for the semester? My goals for the semester include improving my work ethic because last semester I didn’t do as well as I would’ve liked when it came to dedicating my time efficiently and hope to excel this semester. In addition, I want to spend more time diving into stippling art during my leisure time because I don’t want this hobby to take the back burner over the school year. In terms of class setting, I strive to be more of an active participant by voluntarily raising my hands to express my observations and opinions.

If there were a reality TV show of your life, what would it be called? Why? My reality TV show would be called, “Abriana and Her Antics” because I tend to do weird dances throughout the day. If I’m reading an enthralling fantasy book, I can’t help but react to the story line at times. At times, I blurt out the most random things and I also love impersonating Jim Carrey because he’s such a funny guy.

Are you involved in any clubs/activities/sports on campus? Or what are your hobbies? Reading is a big hobby of mine that I do about every single day. Reading a book is similar to stepping into a world full of dreams by allowing me to live in a thousand different realms, expand my imagination, and live a thousand different adventures. My favorite genres are fantasy, fiction, and thriller. If the weather permits, I like to go mountain biking with my dad at nearby trails because it’s a tradition that’s been established at a young age.

What have you learned since working at the library? Working at the library has given me the chance to strengthen my communication skills. Whenever I am unsure about a task, I can go straight to one of the staff/faculty members with ease because they are more than willing to give a helping hand. My attention to detail has increased immensely since I started working here due to the responsibilities that I have to take on which will help me later in life.

What are your post-graduation plans? I plan on going to graduate school to get my master’s in Sociology/Anthropology. By then, I will be secure in what career path I want to take. Right now I am just focusing on my interests and values that will lead me to finding the right answer for my potential career.

What is your favorite item from the library of things collection?My favorite thing from the library of things is their technology section which encompasses a variety of equipment that will help students whenever they are in need.

Black History Month Resources

February is Black History Month.  This long-standing tradition evolved from the efforts of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) founded in 1915.  This organization sponsored Negro History week in 1926.  The fact that we celebrate Black History Month in the same month of Frederick Douglass’ and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays is not a coincidence.  By the late 1960s the week of recognition had evolved into a month of recognition and starting in 1976, beginning with President Gerald Ford, it has been recognized by every President since.  For a fuller history on the significance of Black History Month and its origins, check out the article, “Historical Significance of Black History Month” in Black History Bulletin, Jan-Jun 2002, Vol. 65, Issue ½, p 39-41.

To help our community celebrate the achievements of African Americans, Brookens Library has a plethora of materials to choose from.  Our African American Studies research guide: http://libguides.uis.edu/aas is a rich resource where you can locate documentaries, biographies, literature, history, and much more.  Explore the videos in our database, Black Studies in Video and partake of the original words of many Black Americans through the database, Black Thought & Culture, filled with primary source materials. 

Check out one of many DVD’s or streaming videos provided through Brookens Library that celebrate the achievements of African American Men & Women such as:

Meet the Team: Ed

Meet Ed!

Name: Ed

Major: Computer Science

Status: Freshman

What is your favorite thing about being a student at UIS?   The Shakespeare Garden is an awesome place to come to whenever you’re feeling bummed out on college life. Sometimes, you just need some alone time without the possibility of running into someone you know. It’s my go-to sanctuary when I need to recharge my batteries. Also, I feel like not enough people get how sweet the TRAC is. It’s no more than a 2 minute walk from the union, and if anyone has set a new year’s resolution to get in shape, there’s no better place to go.

What are your goals for the semester? My first semester actually went much better than I expected, so I’m hoping to replicate that as well as I can during the spring. However, I’d also like to get more involved in more things around campus and get better at some of my hobbies. Since I know a little bit more about how being a college student works, I don’t have to worry about finding places to study (hint: go to Brookens!) and other things like that.

If there were a reality TV show of your life, what would it be called? Why? Do you remember The Truman Show? Y’know, that movie where Jim Carrey’s day-to-day life is filmed and broadcast all over the world with like, a thousand cameras? Well, The Goyao Show would probably get cancelled after people get tired of watching some guy eat pizza and play video games. But I’d sure watch it!

Are you involved in any clubs/activities/sports on campus? Or what are your hobbies? I’m a pretty introverted person, so I usually stick to myself, and my hobbies reflect that. I like to run, draw, juggle, play video games, and I just learned how to longboard over winter break. However, all these things are a lot more fun with other people, so I try to always do these things away from the closed-off world of my dorm room. You may have seen me juggling around campus; it’s a super rewarding way to unwind and being able to show-off a useless talent to friends is always great. I do most of this stuff while listening to music: Green Day, Weezer, Nirvana, blink-182, MCR, and Paramore are some of my favorite bands that power me through the day.

What have you learned since working at the library? I actually never had a real job before getting hired at Brookens, so I’d have to say working efficiently with others. Everything we do at the library is to help patrons better utilize it, and the library has a great staff of student workers who are really fun to work with. It’s also really neat being able to see what goes on behind-the-scenes of the library, even if it mostly comprises of shelving books and running the front desk.

What are your post-graduation plans? As a first-year student, I honestly haven’t given this much thought. Right now, I’m just hoping to graduate on-time and being able to land some sort of internship or other job opportunity. I’d love to eventually live in a big city like Boston or Seattle, but I’m still figuring out what I want to do with my degree. I’ve been looking into web design, though; I think that it’s good to set some sort of goal to strive towards, even if you’re not 100% certain of what it entails.

What is your favorite item from the library of things collection?Definitely the drawing tablet. While I have my own, it’s great that anyone who’s even slightly interested in getting into digital art can start without having to shell out a ton of money for one. The GoPro is cool too, but I don’t have much use for it myself.

Research Help

As your semester gets underway, you can rest assured that Brookens offers a variety of ways to get help with your research.  

1. Research Guides 

This How-to Tuesday video discusses how to access our online Research Guides. When Taylor struggles with negative feedback she received from her professor regarding the sources she used for her research paper, what can she do? Where should she start? Surely the library has something that can help her with this problem. It does! They’re called Research Guides. Watch the video now to learn more. 

2. Set up a one-on-one appointment with one of our Librarians 

That’s right! All you need to do is go to our homepage – www.library.uis.edu – and click on Research Help followed by Contact a Librarian 

Image of the library website homepage.

You’ll click your area of research from the dropdown menu and information about your specific subject area Librarian will appear. Click on Make an Appointment with… to select a date and time that works for you. 

Image of the Contact a Librarian webpage.

3. Walk-In Research Help 

Beginning January 29, we will be offering walk-in research help from 3:00-6:00 PM every Tuesday and Wednesday. There is no need to make an appointment, just come on in and chat with one our of Librarians about your research questions. 

Image of a white board advertising drop-in research help.