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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

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

Passport GMID: Global market information database

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Research global markets with Passport GMID.  From Euromonitor, a business intelligence company with more than 40 years of experience analyzing developed and emerging markets, Passport GMID provides in-depth analysis, statistics, surveys, and news for industries, consumer markets, and business environments all over the world. Find company and brand shares of leading companies; use dashboards and data to identify potential markets; and read full text market research reports for over 20 consumer product and services categories.

Passport Industrial research examines the industrial makeup of the 68 largest economies in the world. Each economy is broken down into 177 industries, providing cross country comparable data and analysis. Passport Industrial is our first major research effort of B2B markets. Data points include production, profitability, imports, exports, buyers, suppliers, etc. Reports are modeled after Porter’s Five Forces. In the near future, Euromonitor will be expanding its Industrial research to 20 additional countries. The added coverage will be a deeper extension of the current and well-received  Markets of the Future (MOTF) reports. The addition of these countries will bring Euromonitor’s premier research coverage to 98% of Global GDP and 91% of Global Population.

Passport Cities provides fully comparable data and in-depth analysis on 1,150 of the world’s largest cities. There are detailed reviews of 120 of the world’s major metropolitan areas. Datagraphics, opinion 1 pieces, and dashboards are also prominently featured.

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By Patricia Sobczak, business and public affairs collections librarian

Image: Creative Commons

VCU Libraries Leadership Resources

game-figure-598036_640Building leadership capacity in the public and nonprofit sectors is a major focus for the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Policy. In response to this emphasis, VCU Libraries has been working to ensure that our collections are in tune with the curricular and research needs of Wilder School students and faculty. The library holds more than 24,000 resources related to leadership of which over 22,000 are books and ebooks and 219 are journals.

Some notable book resources include seminal works such as:

More contemporary resources include:

Of course, every leadership collection should include:

Each of these resources offers a unique perspective on leadership and the challenges associated with the hard work and sacrifice needed to run effective public and nonprofit organizations. We welcome your comments about the leadership collection and encourage you to make suggestions for future additions. 

by Patricia Dillon Sobczak, business and public affairs collections librarian

Image: Creative Commons

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

CRL: Vast, rare, global primary sources

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VCU Libraries’ new membership in the Center for Research Libraries opens vast, rare, global primary sources to VCU.

The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) is an international consortium of more than 200 university, college and independent research libraries. Founded in 1949, the center supports original research and teaching in the humanities, sciences and social sciences. It preserves and makes available to scholars a wealth of rare and uncommon primary source materials from all world regions. After a hiatus of many years, VCU Libraries is again a member of CRL.

The diversity, global scope and primary evidence materials contained in CRL enable groundbreaking faculty and student research. Among its vast collections and digital resources is the largest circulating collection of newspapers in North America, including more than 1,800 U.S. ethnic titles and some of the earliest African-American papers. Researchers benefit from 38,000 foreign journals and 800,000-plus foreign dissertations, major microfilm and paper collections from Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, South Asia, and more.

Areas of distinction include:

  • Broad collections in the area of primary legal and government resources, with an emphasis on serial publications from central governments including legislative, administrative, financial, and statistical reports. CRL holds several hundred thousand volumes of publications from government agencies of more than 100 countries, including more than 1,750 official gazettes.
  • Holdings of more than 500,000 volumes of monographic and serial publications of U.S. state government agencies and legislatures from the earliest period through 1950, including financial reports and research studies.
  • Rich historical holdings of U.S. and foreign scientific and technical publications. Generally, its collections in science, technology and engineering emphasizes titles not commonly held by other major North American research libraries.
  • Many specialized groups of materials, including a reference book archive, college and university catalogs, primary and secondary textbooks, railroad publications, curriculum guides and foreign central bank publications. Also held are major microform sets in literature, art, theater, music, science, and other fields.

How to use Center for Research Libraries materials

Discover items by using the CRL Catalog or the link to Digital Collections

The Center for Research Libraries is also listed in the A-Z databases list. Physical items may be requested using VCU Interlibrary Loan services. Contact Shirley Thomas, srthomas@vcu.edu, (804) 828-1706 with questions. For more detailed information, please see the CRL Research Guide. 

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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. 

USA Counties: County data and statistics

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USA Counties allows users to collect information pertaining to a particular county in the United States from a variety of sources.

With more than 6,600 data items, researchers are given a vast amount of information about various topics. Find data on resident total population or school enrollment just by clicking on a particular state in the United States.

Use the database to select tables, such as age, manufacturers and retail trade. Users can discover personal income, civilian labor force and private housing units authorized by building permits by using USA Counties.

The information provided contains data from the U.S. Census Bureau and  other federal agencies, which include, but are not limited to the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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By Katlyn Pierre, public relations intern. For more information about this resource or others

Image: Creative Commons

Governmentattic.org: FOIA requested docs posted online

 

FOIA

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Governmentattic.org is a non-commercial website that provides electronic copies of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) inquiries. The documents on the website were obtained legally, following the FOIA rules. Each document has an identified source. The site is funded by the site owners, and receives no outside funding. Governmentattic.org is organized into 11 categories, including Department of Justice documents, FBI documents, Legislative Agencies, Government Corporations and State Records. From the FBI records regarding Ike Turner and alleged check passing to files regarding electronic surveillance at the Department of Justice, there is something to interest everyone.

If you are curious about how many requests are fulfilled and denied, you might be interested in the data from foia.gov.  This site also explains the process for filing a FOIA request.

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By Stephani Rodgers, Liaison for Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness

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

Grey Literature: Resources beyond the library

“Public policy work increasingly relies on a wide range of resources — some are traditional scholarly publications, but the majority are ‘grey literature’. Reports, discussion papers, briefings, reviews and data sets produced by government, academic centres, NGOs, think tanks and companies are heavily used and highly valued in policy and practice work, forming a key part of the evidence base” (Lawrence, Houghton, Thomas & Weldon, 2014, p. 3).

Grey literature is academic work that is not published by commercial publishers. Examples include fact sheets, pre-prints, white papers, proceedings, patents, standards, newsletters, patents, bulletins, symposia, some surveys, some maps, and scholarly materials published in open access journals. With the rise of the internet, self-publishing has brought grey literature to researchers all over the world in a more timely fashion than traditional publishing. See this paper for more discussion on the value of grey literature: Find It

With the increase of electronic publishing opportunities, digitization efforts and emerging technologies, grey literature is now more available and more in demand by growing user communities.

by Nia Rodgers

Image: Grey Literature

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

collections2

 

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

 

 

 

 

Collections Librarians: Wilder School

Wilder School

VCU Libraries uses a team approach to serve schools and units. Outreach librarians, who support research, curricular and information literacy, work side-by-side with collection librarians who advise schools and faculty on materials and acquisitions to support teaching, research as well as new course and degree development.

In 2014, Pattie Sobczak joined the VCU Libraries faculty as the collections librarian for the Wilder School. Posted recently, a position for a Public Affairs Research Librarian is expected to be a part of the team in the 2015-16 academic year.

In the meantime, the Wilder School is being assisted by these professionals. In addition to Sobczak, liaisons are:

Image: L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

Social Entrepreneurship: Solutions to societal issues

Social entrepreneurship, simply put, is the attempt to draw upon business techniques to solve social problems. Entrepreneurship becomes a social endeavor when it transforms social capital in a way that affects society positively. This growing area for research and discovering is becoming a new focus for VCU Libraries collections.

Resources in the collection:

Image: Creative Commons

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

Chronicle of Higher Education: University faculty resource

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The Chronicle of Higher Education offers national and international news, job postings, advice, facts and figures and more for university faculty and administrators. It also offers forums on topics like “Tech Talk for Befuddled Academics,” “Diversity in the Workplace” and “The Administrative Track.”

VCU Libraries faculty and staff can access The Chronicle using an iPad, smart phone, tablet or any computer located anywhere in the world. Simply create a free account using your “@vcu.edu” email address at http://www.chronicle.com/. Account holders may download The Chronicle’s iPad editions at no cost.

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Image: Chronicle of Higher Education