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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

The Encampment for Citizenship, 1939-2009

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In 1946, following the chaos and horror of World War II and concerned by what they saw as the American education system’s failure, Algernon D. Black, a leader of the New York Society for Ethical Culture, and Alice Kohn Pollitzer, a prominent civic leader, began an experiment in democratic living. Inspired in part by the Civilian Conservation Corps and other work camps, the Encampment for Citizenship was a non-profit, non-partisan, non-sectarian summer residential camp for students.

Working with members of the American Ethical Union, Black and Pollitzer sought to create a life-changing experience. The student body would be racially, geographically and economically diverse. The educational program would be both intellectual and experiential.

The Encampment was founded on principles that had long been held and practiced by the AEU: a firm belief in the value and efficacy of education and the notion that one’s principles must be manifest in action. Education was seen as the first step toward solving many of the world’s most difficult problems.

During the 50 years following the Encampment’s inception more than 7,000 young people participated in annual summer sessions, year-round leadership training programs and various short-term projects in locations across the United States and Puerto Rico. Some notable alumni include: Gale Brewer, Ada Deer, Joseph O. Prewitt Diaz, Barney Frank, William Haddad, David Harris, Allard Lowenstein, Jean McGuire, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Charles Patterson, Miles S. Rapoport, David Rothenberg, Hal Sieber and Floyd “Red Crow” Westerman.

The Encampment for Citizenship collection is held in Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library. Materials include Encampment publications, program and recruitment brochures, correspondence and memoranda of staff and board members, letters and correspondence of students and alumni, alumni and staff directories, alumni newsletters and reunion materials, yearbooks, newspaper and magazine articles, fundraising and sponsorship materials, student and staff evaluation questionnaires, workshop materials, photographs and slides. The bulk of the materials date from 1946 to 1997, with concentrations in the collection’s holdings dating from the late 1970s to the early 1980s and from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s.

In 2016, as the Encampment marked its 70th anniversary, VCU Libraries presented materials from the Encampment Collection in its online gallery. It is the library’s hope that these photographs, documents and student publications serve as a digital scrapbook, revealing not only the organization’s history, but also some of its spirit.

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Finding Aid, Encampment for Citizenship Collection, 1939-2009  (M 391)

Online Exhibit: “Encampment for Citizenship: Education for Democratic Living”

By Alice W. Campbell, digital outreach and special projects librarian

Image: Encampers attend Dodgers game at Ebbets Field, 1950s, VCU Libraries Special Collections and Archives

Social Explorer: Current and historical demographic data

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Social Explorer provides quick and easy access to current and historical demographic data. Easy-to-use online tools help users create custom maps and reports to visualize, explore and understand the patterns behind the numbers. The latest version offers new ways to explore and present data from 1790 to the present, from U.S. neighborhoods to across the globe. Users can access more than 220 years of census data with tens of thousands of maps, hundreds of reports, over 400,000 variables and 40 billion data elements.

The core data library includes U.S. Census data from 1790 to 2010 and American Community Survey data from 2005 to 2014. Users can examine this wealth of demographic information at the national, state, county, census tract, metropolitan statistical area (MSA) and block group geographic levels (where available).

Specialized U.S. data resources include the FBI Uniform Crime Report data (2010 and 2012), American election results (1912 to 2014), Religious Congregations and Membership Study (1980 to 2010), Vulcan Project carbon emissions data (2002), and County Health Rankings and Roadmaps Program data (2010 to 2016).

International data resources include the United Kingdom Census (2011), Canadian Census (2011), Eurostat (1990, 2000, 2010 to 2013), World Development Indicators (2013), and Irish religion and population data (1911 to 2001).

Users can create detailed data reports with the Reporting Tools. Export one or thousands of variables and geographies quickly and easily. Excel, CSV, and other file formatting shortcuts allow you to work with data in a variety of software programs for further analysis.

Users are encouraged to create an account so that they are able to save their work and access it for later use.

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by Patricia Sobczak, business and public affairs collections librarian

Access World News: New and current media

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Access World News contains materials from 9,688 sources spanning 160 countries, 1978 to the present. Content includes newspapers, newswires, journals, broadcast transcripts and videos. Searching can be limited to:

  • Country, state and territory, region, province or city
  • Decade, year, month, day, era or presidential era
  • Language

In addition to searching, users can use the Find a Topic feature to browse by topic. Twelve broad subject areas are broken down into lists of popular and current interest topics. Clicking a topic acts as a user-friendly starting point for related search terms.

Access World News also provides a “quick access” style list of special reports and hot topics. These items gather news reports of breaking events and popular social and cultural topics for ease of access. Users can find these lists under “Other Products” in the upper left corner of the search screen.

Coverage of the Richmond Times-Dispatch may be of particular interest to local scholars. The Richmond Times-Dispatch is covered from 1985–present. Additionally, Richmond Times-Dispatch blogs are covered from 2006–present. The Collegian from the University of Richmond (2007–current) and the Commonwealth Times from VCU (2003–current) are also indexed.

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By Stephani Rodgers, liaison to Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness

Image: Access World News

Black Freedom Struggle in the 20th Century

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VCU Libraries offers The Black Freedom Struggle in the 20th Century, a landmark digital collection for African-American studies. With this resource, researchers have access to historical analysis and context, original newspaper accounts and crucial first-person records of the experiences of those seeking greater political and cultural freedom in the turbulent 20th century.

Records reveal not only the efforts of those in power to oppose the civil rights movement, but the organizational efforts and everyday protests of individuals and groups united to end widespread restrictions to freedom for blacks in the United States.

The wealth of sources includes government records from the FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and H. W. Bush presidencies, as well as the activities of the FBI on civil rights leaders and participants. The records of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs (NACWC), Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) are available.

From the founding of the NACWC in the last decade of the 19th century to the riots that followed the verdict in the Rodney King trial in the 1990s, researchers will discover how these momentous events were experienced by those who lived them, and continue to influence American life, culture and politics today.

Of particular importance is the inclusion of vast records that describe events that may be less known now, but were crucial milestones in the struggles against oppression and toward equality. These include: the fight against forced labor in the first half of the 20th century (documented in the Peonage Files of the U.S. Department of Justice, 1901-1945); the migration of African-Americans to urban areas in search of work and equality; the East St. Louis Riot of 1917; the Scottsboro case and the passage of the anti-lynching laws; the heroism of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II; the FBI actions against the Black Panther Party, and the passage of the Civil Rights Act. These detailed and multi-layered perspectives on history await discovery in The Black Freedom Struggle in the 20th Century and will create innovative teaching and research for VCU.

Additional online scholarship available through VCU Libraries includes Black Historical Newspapers, Black Studies Center, Black Studies in Video, and Slavery and Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive.

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By Kevin Farley, humanities collections librarian

Image:  Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library. “William L. Patterson, executive director of the Civil Rights Congress, addressing the Bill of Rights Conference, circa 1940s.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1940 – 1949. 

Race and Violence Research: Charting the Literature

For much of the 20th century, librarians fielding questions relevant to the topic of race and violence guided researchers to historical and general social science resources.

Scholars found articles about people, court cases, or events in databases like America: History and Life, or Sociological Abstracts. Primary evidence might be most easily found in newspapers, and court records. Photographic records, personal and agency records, newsreels, and video have long been available, but until large-scale digitization efforts were underway,  these were not readily accessible outside of individual archives.

In 2016, the range and number of resources on race and violence, and their ease of access, looks quite different.

It’s possible to create quick searches that reveal compelling patterns of growth and change in disciplinary topic treatment. A sophisticated multi-disciplinary database, like Web of Science, allows a search that offers evidence for expanding perspectives. Comparing decades, and using a search on “race OR racial” and “violence”, an effort identifies:

  • 1970-1979, 11 scholarly articles;
  • 1980-1989, 18 scholarly articles;
  • 1990-1999, 381 scholarly articles;
  • 2000-2009, 1,003 scholarly articles.

By the latest half decade, from 2010-2015, the same search identified 1,386 scholarly articles.

This exercise reveals the information explosion in research. But, these sorts of carefully constructed searches can offer evidence to help us  quantify, and pinpoint these “explosions” in a field.  What may be more intriguing, if not entirely surprising, is that while the 11 articles from 1970-1980 spanned across four broad disciplinary areas, notably sociology and ethnic studies, by the most current five years, the 1,386  identified articles spanned 50 broad research areas. These 50 include predictable disciplines like history, psychology and urban studies, but also include research in fields like substance abuse, anthropology and international relations. The largest current disciplinary area for this research appears to be in criminal penology, with emerging  research in areas as diverse as surgery and linguistics.

Today, librarians will want  to understand more about your interests in race and violence to recommend additional databases, but here are some starting suggestions:

Because Web of Science is also a citation-tracing database, it is possible to reveal author connections, disciplinary crossovers and persistence of research findings through citation analysis. This sort of search in Web of Science can quickly identify leading and new scholars in a field like race and violence, or other areas. For help with crafting a search in Web of Science that can reveal a quick picture of growth in disciplines relevant to topics that interest you, contact Sara Williams, liaison to African American Studies.

By Sara Williams, Head, Academic Outreach

Image: Black Panther Demonstration, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, 1970, Black Studies Center

ICPSR: Source for data in all forms

ICPSR Source

The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) data contains data collections and data-related tools that can facilitate teaching or working with data in many different forms. Data sets can be downloaded in SPSS, SAS, Stata and ASCII.

In addition to the traditional political and social research data, the database also houses different types of data such as health data. Here are some examples of the data available:

For more information or help with access with the ICPSR data, please contact Irene Lubker at imlubker@vcu.edu or Nita Bryant at nbryant@vcu.edu.

By Irene Lubker, research and education librarian

Image: Measures of Effective Teaching Database

HeinOnline: Legal materials from the colonies forward

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VCU Libraries subscribes to HeinOnline, a searchable image-based database of legal research materials. What makes acquisition of this database exciting is its depth and its application to so many different disciplines and areas of study. While HeinOnline is an excellent resource for researchers looking for articles on legal issues of any kind, the collections have applicability to anyone studying history, political science, public policy and administration, homeland security, criminal justice, international relations, or any topic which involves those subjects.

At the heart of the database is the law journal collection which includes more than 2,000 publications, each provided from its first issue to the latest, subject to moving-wall restrictions. The historical collection of state statutes provides superseded statutes for all 50 states, some dating as far back as 1717.

The same “from inception” coverage, with various cut-off dates, applies to the Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Reports, and many other collections. Having older versions of laws and regulations is of great benefit for those researching the evolution of statutory and regulatory coverage of certain topics.

A few examples will provide an indication of how deep the collections are. The U.S. Treaties and Agreements Library contains not only all U.S. treaties, but also books and other texts such as Great European Treaties of the Nineteenth Century (1918), History of the Five Indian Nations of Canada (1755), and treaty guides and indexes such as Hertslet’s Commercial Treaties: A Complete Collection (Vols. 1-31). Foreign Relations of the United States covers every administration from Lincoln through Carter and also includes historical texts such as Trescot’s Diplomatic History of the Administration of Washington and Adams (1857) among many others. The U.S. Congressional Documents collection includes the Congressional Record (and its predecessors) from the 1st Congress to current, as well as Congressional Budget Office documents from 1976 to present, and what appears to be all of the unclassified Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports. Finally,the Session Laws collection for Virginia covers 1661-2013, thus extending our access significantly backward from December, 1861, the date of the first print volume in our collection.

Each page of every document has a permanent link. Click on the link icon to display the permanent link that can then be placed anywhere.

Citations for journal articles only may be exported to RefWorks; instructions are linked from the RefWorks guide. The combination of WestlawNext and HeinOnline provides access to legal, regulatory, and Congressional information from colonial times to the present day.

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By Marilyn Scott, education research librarian

Image: Creative Commons

iPOLL: Comprehensive U.S. data from 1935 to today

iPoll (2)

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Drawn from every major polling organization in the United States, iPOLL offers comprehensive and up-to-date national and some international public opinion poll data. With more than 650,000 questions and answers dating to 1935, users can find public opinions on a variety of topics.

The database offers useful search features, including keyword, topic, organization and dates and also searching within a set of question results. iPOLL contains polling data on public policy issues ranging from elections to social security to religious status.

Special note may be made of the Topics at a Glance feature. Users may choose from a variety of topics found in the headlines, utilizing the pre-populated datasets, charts and issue briefs to get a quick overview of public opinion.

iPool is managed by The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, currently located at the University of Connecticut. According to its website: “It is one of the world’s leading archives of social science data, specializing in data from public opinion surveys. The Center’s mission is to collect, preserve, and disseminate public opinion data; to serve as a resource to help improve the practice of survey research; and to broaden the understanding of public opinion through the use of survey data in the United States and abroad. Founded in 1947, the Roper Center holds data ranging from the 1930s, when survey research was in its infancy, to the present. Its collection now includes over 22,000 datasets and adds hundreds more each year. In total, the archive contains responses from millions of individuals on a vast range of topics. …  The Roper Center has a strong presence in the public opinion community and maintains cooperative relationships with other archives around the world. Its Board of Directors contains representatives from both academic and commercial public opinion research.”

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Image: Creative Commons

by Nia Rodgers

Nonprofit Studies: Library research resources

nonprofit

People interested in careers in the nonprofit sector can pursue a degree or certificate at the undergraduate or graduate level through the Wilder School’s Nonprofit Studies Programs. These programs support the development of current and future executives, boards, staff and volunteers to become collaborative, thoughtful and ethical leaders in this growing field.

In support of the nonprofit studies curriculum, VCU Libraries offers a robust collection of books, ebooks, journals and electronic resources. An overview of these resources is listed below:

by Business and Public Affairs Collections Librarian Patricia Sobczak

 

Map It: Tools for research in the Wilder School

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Electronic mapping resources are fast becoming an important tool for researchers to visually communicate their scholarship. More and more VCU courses require the visualization of data to supplement academic efforts in effective and powerful ways. For example, while you can explain the concept of food deserts, having a way to visually show the large geographic areas that do not have access to a grocery store, paints a much more graphic reality. Or, when a nonprofit needs a list zip codes that meet a certain criteria for potential donors, looking at that data on an interactive map, enables you to change the data and make adjustments to better focus on exactly the areas you need to cover.

VCU Libraries has several mapping resources for a range of skill levels:

  • SimplyMap allows you to create thematic maps and reports using extensive demographic, business and marketing data. SimplyMap has all the data you need to answer key research questions, make sound business decisions and understand the socio-demographic and economic conditions of any geographic area in the United States. It offers more than 75,000 data variables related to demographics, employment, housing, market segments, businesses, consumer spending, brand preferences and public health. Find It
  • VCU Libraries owns many spatial and numeric data sets, most of which are produced by the Federal government. Use the VCU Libraries Search to search the collection, or browse a list of data collections.  Find It

To learn more about mapping resources and geographic information systems, the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs offers a graduate certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Also, as part of the Virginia higher education site license for ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute), VCU students, faculty and staff have free access to GIS courses offered via the ESRI Virtual Campus. For more information  and to register, please see the following:

by Business and Public Affairs Collections Librarian Patricia Sobczak

 

 

 

 

Data Project: Map illustrates roots of racism 1915-40

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Map of Klan projectJohn Kneebone, who chairs VCU’s Department of History, partnered with VCU Libraries to create “Mapping the Second Ku Klux Klan, 1915-1940.” This resource combines mapping, animation, information about primary sources, and an accompanying essay discussing the project. All of these aspects work together to present the story of the spread of the Klan across the entirety of the United States after 1915, along with context in which that spread happened. This project presents original research on an important topic in U.S. history in a format that shows dynamically the nature of the processes at work in the underlying story. It was designed to educate users, facilitate research and scholarship, and be useful in the classroom.

Researchers studying history, homeland security, domestic terrorism, and cultural, ethnic, or American studies might want to examine the source material underlying “Mapping the Second Ku Klux Klan, 1915-1940.” The data underlying the project is available in CSV and SQL formats for download, and is licensed under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0). The data can be manipulated using a range of methods, from SQL queries to software designed to support data analysis.

Classroom projects incorporating “Mapping the Second Ku Klux Klan, 1915-1940” could take many forms in different fields. A set of introductory questions posted in the “Learn More” section of the resource may serve as a useful jumping-off point for creating assignments. The animation and data can be studied in a classroom setting or by individual students, whether studying 20th century homeland security or the history of hate crimes and prejudicial violence.

If “Mapping the Second Ku Klux Klan, 1915-1940” inspires you to research Klan activity in your area, or if you have additional sources or information to share, or if you have questions about the project, contact: librarylabs@vcu.edu.

News article on the project

The VCU News story about this project was one of the top 10 most-read articles for 2015.

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By John Glover, humanities research librarian

ICPSR: Social science archive

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The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research is a data archive of more than 500,000 files of research in the social sciences. It includes specialized collections of data in education, aging, criminal justice, substance abuse, terrorism and other fields.

VCU has an institutional membership to ICPSR which allows users to download most of the data sets. After setting up a personal MyData account on campus, users will be able to download data with just an email address and password.

Datasets archived at ICPSR are formatted for use with statistical software such as SPSS, SAS and Stata. Some datasets can be analyzed online through the Survey Documentation and Analysis (SDA) system.

Researchers and students use ICPSR to write articles, papers or theses using real research data and to conduct secondary research to support findings or current research, or to generate new findings. ICPSR data are also often used as introductory support material in grant proposals.

Data producers take advantage of ICPSR’s services to preserve and disseminate their primary research data and often to fulfill funder requirements for data management plans.

Instructors use ICPSR’s educational resources to introduce students to the principles and practices of data analysis in order to support quantitative literacy efforts.

Find out more in our ICPSR Research Guide.

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By Margaret Henderson, director of research data management

Image: ICPSR

Sykes Editorial Cartoon Collection: Political cartoon collection

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Ediorial cartoonist Charles Henry ‘Bill’ Sykes (1882-1942) drew barbed political cartoons often loaded with complex political commentary on Hitler, Churchill, Roosevelt, Germany and Japan and other major actors on the international stage in the years before the United States entered World War II. The Sykes Editorial Cartoon Collection contains almost 300 original cartoons of great value for students and researchers interested in history, political science, international affairs, art, art history and more.

Born in Alabama and graduated from Philadelphia’s Drexel Institute in 1904, Sykes drew as a freelancer and then worked for newspapers. In 1914, he became the first and only editorial cartoonist for the Evening Public Ledger. It ceased publication in 1942, the same year Sykes died. Sykes also had working relationships with Life, Colliers and The New York Evening Post.

Sykes’ cartoons focus on American reactions to the major events of World War II. They also offer insight into medium and method: he created early cartoons using the unusual patterns of coquille board for the shading effect and later transitioned to crayon-and-wash technique. The cartoons are available for view in Special Collections and Archives, or online in digital format, further augmenting access to Cabell’s outstanding collection of comic arts. The collection consists of 297 original editorial cartoons, three unfinished sketches, a U.S. War Bond poster and a U.S. Victory poster.

His most famous cartoon, “Madonna and Child A.D.1940,” depicts the ugliness of war. The image is of a mother and child wearing gas masks. It was published on August 13, 1940–the first day of the Battle of Britain.

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To view the collection in person, visit Special Collections and Archives on the fourth floor of Cabell Library.

Image: Sykes Editorial Cartoon Collection, VCU Libraries