New Guide Provides Best Sources for Data and Statistics

By Chris Heckman, Intern, Research Assistance and Instruction, Ekstrom Library

Do you need to know the rate of accidental gun deaths in the U.S. between 2006-2012? What about the voting records of your representatives in Congress, or the percentage of households with running water in a particular Afghan province?

Finding very specific data like this can be a significant challenge for both new and experienced researchers. That’s why the University Libraries offers research guides, or collections of curated links to useful journals, databases, and depositories of statistical data, organized by subject. These can be invaluable resources for students beginning the research process, as well as for faculty who want to impart research skills in their students.

Social Sciences and Outreach Librarian Sam McClellan has recently added a new research guide, Finding Data and Statistics,  which provides links to several databases and search engines for use with a variety of topics. For example, Zanran is a search engine specifically designed for finding statistics on the internet. A search as simple as “birth rate Somalia” returns over 2,700 relevant graphs, charts, and tables for a researcher to easily narrow down and comb through. You can find a link to this research guide in any of the social sciences subject guides.

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The Finding Data and Statistics guide also includes links to social science data archives from universities such Cornell, Princeton, and Northwestern, all freely available for students at University of Louisville to use.

The new guide allows for narrowing by topic, including criminal justice, economics, education, environment, health, politics and elections, labor and employment, public opinion, religion, and urban planning and housing. Selecting any of these topics takes the user to a collection of links to useful data sources. For example, narrowing by “health” yields links to over 50 different data sources along with descriptions of those sources. These data archives are selected because they are freely available (or available to anyone with a UofL Library account), and because they contain a wealth of information for researchers interested in health issues in the United States and abroad. From statistics on the prevalence and mortality rates of specific diseases to information on access to healthcare by region, a wide array of information is available here at a researcher’s fingertips.

Data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institute of Health (NIH) are available here, as well as data from international bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Bank. Broad research tools such as CDC Wonder, a search engine provided by the CDC for navigating the agency’s public records, or WHOSIS, the WHO’s statistical information system, can assist with research on a wide array of topics, but there are also databases for more narrowly focused research areas.  For example, the AIDS Public Information Dataset from the CDC provides data specifically on HIV/AIDS incidence in the U.S., while the Cancer Statistics resource from NIH provides data on cancer in the United States. You can find data from some current large-scale studies here as well. For example, results from Princeton University’s ongoing Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study are useful for research on children’s health, particularly among children with single parents.

Several resources provide information on mental health concerns (the NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health, the HHS’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), child and adolescent health concerns (Data Resource Center for Child & Adolescent Health, Monitoring the Future Series, The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, UNICEF Data: Monitoring the Situation of Children and Statistics, Guatemalan Survey of Family Health 1995), and healthcare cost and utilization (Health and Medical Care Archive @ ICPSR, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HHS), Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (HHS)).

The Health section of the Finding Data and Statistics guide contains many more avenues for researchers to explore subtopics in the health field, and health is just one of the topics available in the guide. Anyone conducting research at University of Louisville should consider giving the research guides a try!


Point of Care Tools @ Kornhauser

Kornhauser Library provides access to point-of-care tools such as DynaMedPlus, Essential Evidence Plus, and First Consult.  Effective Monday, September 4, 2017, Kornhauser  will no longer be able to offer access to UpToDate and understand this is a significant transition.  Kornhauser Librarians are here to help with the transition, and are can provide training sessions on these additional resources.

If you have any further comments or questions please direct them to our comment form at http://library.louisville.edu/forms/contact.


New Films – July 2017

SGA Collectionmovie poster for Logan

  • Broadchurch – season 2
  • She Gets What She Wants
  • Edge of Winter
  • Logan
  • A United Kingdom
  • Silent House
  • A Cure for Wellness
  • Primeval
  • Voice from the Stone
  • The Blackcoat’s Daughter
  • Before I Fall
  • Avatar
  • John Wick: Chapter 2
  • Miss Sloane
  • A Brilliant Young Mind
  • Money Monster
  • Game of Thrones – season 6
  • The Blues Brothers (Blu-ray)
  • The Blues Brothers
  • Empire – season 2
  • After.Life
  • The Guest
  • The Sea Wolves
  • To the Ends of the Earth
  • Lila & Eve
  • Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
  • Confessions of a Shopaholic
  • Haywire
  • Miss Meadows
  • The Beach
  • Small Island
  • Barbershop: The Next Cut
  • Big Game
  • Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (Blu-ray)
  • Trading Places
  • Khartoum
  • E.R. – season 6
  • Toy Story 2
  • Almost Christmas
  • Troop Beverly Hills
  • Unaccompanied Minors
  • You Again
  • The Duchess (Blu-ray)
  • Escape to Athena
  • Dark Places
  • Forever Strong
  • Hard to Kill
  • Blackbird
  • Bessie
  • The Basketball Diaries
  • Table 19
  • Dungeons and Dragons
  • The Island at the Top of the World
  • The Room

Ekstrom Academic Collection

  • Orson Welles: King Lear
  • Richard III (1995)
  • Insiang (Blu-ray)
  • Insiang
  • Mysterious Object at Noon (Blu-ray)
  • Mysterious Object at Noon
  • Revenge (1989) (Blu-ray)
  • Revenge (1989)
  • Limite (Blu-ray)
  • Limite
  • Law of the Border (Blu-ray)
  • Law of the Border
  • Taipei Story (Blu-ray)
  • Taipei Story

“Storyteller Extraordinaire” who Mentored Hundreds of Students During Library Tenure Retires

When Ben King started working for the University Libraries in 1977, conveniences like computers, printers and scanners hadn’t yet made their way into the workplace. For instance, identifying labels with call numbers affixed to books’ spines had to be typewritten, and King remembers doing so painstakingly, on an old Remington typewriter.

“I’m so sorry I got rid of it,” King said. “It would be worth something now.”

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Ben King and his former student assistant Stacey Alvie stand in King’s decorated office in Ekstrom Library.

Now, book labels are generated automatically, students and researchers access books and materials online, and a Robotic Retrieval System in Ekstrom Library, installed in 2006, houses seldom-used materials to free up study space. And, following a satisfying and storied career with the Libraries’ Technical Services department, King is retiring. Sometime this Friday, it will have been exactly 40 years to the minute since he first started.

He’s seen many changes, from Belknap campus infrastructure, to library service, to Ekstrom Library, which opened in 1981, and to the faces of student assistants who helped him sort books and stock shelves over the years.

“I’ll leave with a ton of memories,” he said.

By far the best part of his job has been working with student assistants, King said. “I feel uniquely honored to have worked with some amazing students. The students were my life.”

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King mingles with co-workers at a retirement ceremony on June 24.

As a supervisor of shelf preparation, he has worked with UofL student assistants from over 11 countries, including India, Bangladesh, Libya, the Philippines, France, Iran, Belarus, South Korea, Viet Nam and Armenia.  Some have become like family.

“We’ve played laser tag, board games. I get invited to a lot of stuff, like birthday parties, graduation, etc. That’s why I came to work. A student said to me, ‘You’ve been more like a father than my real father.’”

One young student complained to King that her vacuum cleaner had broken. He had an extra one and brought it to work to give to her.  Five students made a tribute to him on YouTube.

“I probably have worked with a couple hundred students over the years.”

Stacie Alvey, a former student assistant who worked alongside King for over six years from 2010-2016, now works as a librarian for McFerran Preparatory Academy. Her choice of career arose largely as a result of having worked with King.

“I knew after working here with Ben that I wanted to do this as a career. Anybody who has ever worked for Ben remembers Ben. He’s a storyteller extraordinaire. I could repeat his life story. I loved it! He’s like family to me.”

“I feel the same way,” said King. “I was so glad she came to see me. I was so sorry when she left but really happy that she was able to work with JCPS, and nearby, too.”

Technical Services held a retirement ceremony for King on Monday morning, with donuts, coffee cake, fruit and lots of memories. Paying tribute to King, Technical Services Head Tyler Goldberg said, “We’ve all worked with you for many years, and we’re truly grateful for your many, many years of service.”

“And we want to welcome you to come back and volunteer with us at any time.”

candid words

“If I’d known we were going to have a ceremony, I wouldn’t have taken down all the stuff the students have given me over the years,” he said.

King said Alvey, the last student assistant he’s worked with, helped him research some of his family genealogy. While he knew much of his mother’s history (she is one of 13 kids), he knew little of his father’s background until Alvey’s research uncovered some interesting facts, including that he is one of six other paternal relatives named Benjamin Franklin King.

“I’ve been here through many natural disasters,” including the 1981 sewer explosion when Ralston Purina leaked hexane from its former soybean processing factory into the sewers around Old Louisville and the Belknap campus; after a car’s engine ignited the gas in the early morning, major explosions along the sewer lines decimated cars, streets, and buildings, but surprisingly left no casualties.

The Libraries administration gave King several gifts for his service: two vinyl record albums: one the newly remastered Sgt. Pepper’s album by the Beatles (first released the year King entered high school, 1967), Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, and, in an apparent reference to King’s timeliness, a UofL clock with the Cardinal bird’s wings pointing to the time.

King’s future plans include volunteer work with the Parklands of Floyds Fork and traveling with his family.

 


New Films – June 2017

SGA Collectioncover for I am not your negro

  • Aliens
  • xXx: Return of Xander Cage
  • Ben-Hur (2016)
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • The Great Wall
  • Vantage Point
  • The Space Between Us
  • Timecop
  • Ouija: Origin of Evil
  • Modern Family – season 6
  • Orange is the New Black – season 4
  • In the Mouth of Madness
  • The Wicker Tree
  • I Am Not Your Negro
  • Maggie
  • The Exploding Girl
  • Prince of Darkness
  • Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus
  • MacGruber
  • Ronin
  • Baby Mama
  • Get Out
  • They Live

Ekstrom Academic Collection

  • Waterloo (1970)
  • La Collectionneuse
  • La Haine
  • Renoir
  • The Innocents
  • La Chevre
  • Going Places
  • Augustine
  • Je t’aime, je t’aime
  • Strella

Then and Now in the Library: UofL Libraries Promo Video from 1986 Highlights Big Changes

Perhaps nothing terrifies a college student like the research paper: finding a topic, creating an original thesis, searching and vetting sources, reading thoroughly, writing meaningfully – all difficult, time consuming tasks requiring focus and perseverance.

cleocard

“Cleopatra” showing her Libraries card.

However, today’s technologically transformed library offers students tools that vastly simplify the research process. Sources emerge with a finger swipe, and incorporating them into a paper is simpler with an online library catalog. Compared with 30, even 20 years ago, searching and finding sources today has never been more streamlined, and academic research has benefited.

cleocardsnake

Accompanied by Yaz, the snake (at left), from the Louisville Zoo.

Students curious about library research methods pre-Internet – or promotional videos from the mid-‘80s – should see this quirky, parodical video, made in 1986 to feature Ekstrom Library, which had been built five years earlier. Unearthed recently by Anna Marie Johnson, UofL Libraries Head of Research Assistance and Instruction, the video is interspersed with tongue-in-cheek “ads” promoting various library resources (one features Cleopatra requesting information on asps, a large python curling nearby). It presents a pseudo-athletic event, held in Ekstrom library, in which two students compete to find information the fastest on an obscure subject (“squirrel cage motors” and “dancing mice”) using the various tools in the library.

In the video, students confront the difficult “athletic” challenge of conducting research, something intended as parody. However, compared with today’s research methods, the students’ tasks do indeed look athletic.

pervis and angela

The two “competitors” were UofL basketball (then) rising star Pervis Ellison, and (then) SGA President Angela McCormick (now a Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge).

“Conducting research was very different from today’s methods,” says Johnson. “In fact, back then the process of finding a scholarly journal article involved several time-consuming steps in three separate locations.”

“First, you had to find the right subject index. So, if you were looking for articles in psychology, you needed to know that there was such a thing as Psychological Abstracts and that those were located in the reference section of the library. In addition, if you wanted all the articles on your topic for the last five years, it would likely involve paging through multiple volumes of the Abstracts.”

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University Libraries Archivist Tom Owen (l) introduced the competition for viewers.

“Once you settled on some articles – which may have required you to also look up a journal abbreviation since the journal names were often abbreviated to save space – and wrote down the citations , you had to look at a printed list, which was often on a different table or shelf, of all the journals the library subscribed to in order to determine if the articles you wanted were in the library.”

“Remember, there were no cell phones handy to take pictures of your citations,” she added.

“Finally, you would take your list of citations upstairs to the journal stacks and choose the correct bound volume of the journal that you needed.”

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An erudite gorilla peruses a rare book in Archives and Special Collections’ research room.

“Contrast that with today,” Johnson goes on. “You probably are not even walking into the library, but you are accessing a database on the web that Ekstrom Library subscribes to, searching 50 years of those printed volumes, and with often one or two subsequent clicks, finding a PDF of the article you’re seeking, all without leaving your couch.”

So while we sympathize with students confronting their first college research paper, we can say this: researching a topic today is wildly more convenient than in years past, and as a result, the act of writing, research, and even thinking, can be deeper, better synthesized, and stronger.

You can see the video for yourself here.


New Films – May 2017

SGA CollectionOrange is the New Black season 3

  • Take Shelter
  • Shanghai Noon
  • Shanghai Knights
  • The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  • Home Alone 3
  • Frozen River
  • Blue Ruin
  • Rush Hour 3
  • The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
  • Jacob’s Ladder
  • Orange is the New Black – season 3
  • Modern Family – season 5
  • The Knick – season 2
  • Underworld: Blood Wars
  • Split
  • The Founder
  • Me Before You
  • Office Christmas Party
  • Rogue One
  • La La Land
  • The Keep
  • The Forger
  • Firestarter
  • 11.22.63
  • The Enemy Below
  • Wayne’s World
  • The Skulls
  • Medicine Man
  • Death Train
  • Bart Got a Room
  • Caltiki: The Immortal Horror
  • Anthropoid
  • A Monster Calls
  • Beyond the Gates
  • Lion

Ekstrom Academic Collection

  • Welcome to Shelbyville
  • The Devils
  • Notfilm