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Archive | October, 2017

ICPSR: Consortium for Political and Social Research

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Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is an international consortium of more than 750 academic institutions and research organizations. It provides leadership and training in data access, curation and methods of analysis for the social science research community.

ICPSR maintains a data archive of more than 250,000 files of research in the social and behavioral sciences. It hosts 21 specialized collections of data in education, political and social behavior, aging, criminal justice, substance abuse, history, terrorism, economics and other fields.

ICPSR collaborates with a number of funders including U.S. statistical agencies and foundations, to create archives organized around specific topics. Thematic collections and the new services created for them bring a dynamism to ICPSR from which the broader social science research community benefits. The funders provide new data, in most cases free to everyone, and this stimulates more research. The funded archives and ICPSR collaborate to build additional infrastructure for effective data use and discovery.

For a breakdown of some of the types of data collected

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by Pattie Sobczak, business and public policy collections librarian

Image: Measures of Effective Teaching Database

Disasters touch many Wilder School interests

The moment a fire breaks out, a hurricane makes landfall, a tornado touches down, or a trickle turns to a flood, the clock starts on response, recovery and mitigation of the current disaster as well as planning for future events.

At the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Policy, each discipline has a role to play in disaster management and mitigation.

Emergency preparedness plays an important port in mitigating the effects of any disaster. Immediate response teams are set up using the principles of incident management command. Start with the Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness guide that will lead you to these library databases to study after action reports: Homeland Security Digital Library , Web of Science, and Academic Search Complete.

In the first hour(s), maintenance of order and law enforcement become vital as regular legal structures may fail. Additionally, infrastructure complications can arise from failed power or incompatibility among first responders. To study the criminal justice aspects and police and other legal responses, the Criminal Justice Research Guide organizes databases such as Criminal Justice Abstracts , PsychINFO, and WestLawNext. Best databases to study failures in communications include Web of Science and Communications and Mass Media Complete.

Beyond the first responses, nonprofits play critical roles in immediate disaster relief and ongoing support. This often creates a sense of urgency to donate, however, it is important to note that not all nonprofit organizations are the same and some might operate in a less than ethical way. Nonprofits are not held to the same guidelines as publicly held companies; their tax exempt status is regulated by the federal government’s Internal Revenue Service under IRS Exempt Organizations, so there are some reporting requirements. This information is intended to help people make good donation choices, but it can also be used for research purposes. The Nonprofit Research Guide provides numerous resources for researching nonprofit organizations. These include Charity Navigator, Guidestar and Center on Philanthropy as well as Public Administration Abstracts and Social Services Abstracts.

From the disaster’s first day and well beyond. Issues related to public policy and administration factor in. Public policy, as set by local officials, will determine the speed of normalization as recovery progresses. Studying the best practices in returning children to school, normalizing the traffic flows, and making government function outside disaster mode can improve the response in the future. The Public Administration Research Guide is a good place to start. Databases for studying these public policy effects including ABI/INFORM, Business Source Complete and Public Administration Abstracts.

Disasters also raise issues about Urban and Regional Studies. Disasters expose the weaknesses of populated infrastructures. Although the costs of catastrophes are often measured in loss of life or property, the impacts go far beyond that in terms of restoring an area to its former state. Urban and Regional Planning research about disasters can be found in the  Urban Planning Research Guide and in these databases: Urban Studies Abstracts, Index to Current Urban Documents and Access World News.

by Pattie Sobczak, business and public policy collections librarian and Stephani Rodgers, Iiaison to homeland security and emergency preparedness 

Image: Hurricane Maria Makes Landfall in Puerto Rico from Wikimedia Commons

Merck Index Online: for research and everyday

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Merck Index Online is an authoritative source of information on chemicals, drugs and biologicals. You an search or browse its more than 11,000 monographs (chemical compounds) that can be explored for research and everyday practical purposes. Ideal for quick searches to reveal the properties of compounds and biologicals, Merck Index Online provides identifiers such as CAS Registry Number and structure. It also gives the molecular formula, molecular weight and melting point as well as Trademark names.

Structure search is simplified by the ‘convert’ feature, which allows for inserting a compound name and then converting it to a structure to enable a substructure or exact structure search. It has more than 500 organic named reactions (ONR) which have been recognized and referred to by name within the chemistry community, for example, the Ehrlich-Sachs Reaction (1899). Attached to each ONR are relevant references including that of the original description. All references are from scholarly journals, encyclopedias and handbooks. Apart from properties, all records have appropriate sections that describe them, depending on the type of compound. One example is the “Therapeutic Category” under Classifications, which is useful for identifying uses of compounds and their derivatives in healing, re: Glybuzole – Trademark name – Gludiase as an antidiabetic. The database is further enhanced by its 28 reference tables.

Merck Index Online is valuable to researchers, faculty and students in basic science, chemistry, pharmacy, chemical and life science engineering, biomedical sciences, dentistry, allied health, and medicine. It is also useful for everyday practical purposes such as information on additives or components, nutrients, minerals, and proteins. For example, get all the information for the cooking spice, nutmeg, its uses in flavoring food and beverages, nutmeg oil as a fragrance in soaps, detergents, creams, lotions, perfumes, and candles.

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By Ibironke Lawal, engineering and science collections librarian

Image: First issue, titled Merck’s Index

IBISWorld Procurement Research Reports

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IBISWorld Procurement Research Reports provides valuable insight and analysis on almost 1,000 goods and services purchased by businesses every day. IBISWorld’s Procurement research was specifically designed to help purchasing, supply chain management and strategic sourcing students, faculty and researchers to identify price drivers and market characteristics that impact buying decisions. IBISWorld reports are designed to quickly and effectively answer the questions that arise while sourcing new and existing products and services.

Business students and faculty as well as entrepreneurs and consultants use the reports to enhance early-stage consultations with internal departments and execute thoroughly researched purchasing decisions.

Students and faculty of supply chain management and logistics programs find great value in IBISWorld’s procurement data, as the reports’ table of contents directly correlates to the curriculum including Supply Chain Dynamics and Risk, RFP Development, Negotiations and Price Forecasting as well as Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Product Development coursework. IBISWorld Procurement Research Reports are an invaluable tools for students researching market trends. Market data on environment pricing environment, supply chain, vendor statistics – and analysis of the strategies these companies pursue – help students understand real-world applications

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By Patricia Sobczak, Business and Public Affairs Collections Librarian