Magazine article Information Today

Infrastructure? It Was Just Here

Magazine article Information Today

Infrastructure? It Was Just Here

Article excerpt

It's funny the lessons life teaches us, but it's not so funny the ones it doesn't.

Recently, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that it was discontinuing publication of the Statistical Abstract of the United States or, as it's better known to its fans, StatAbs. I couldn't have been more shocked if I had heard that publication of the Bible had been discontinued.

For anyone who deals with statistics, StatAbs has always played a biblical role. It's not that StatAbs has all the answers, but it almost always seemed to have an essential lead about where to find all the answers. If you could find a statistical table anywhere in it that had a general relationship to a particular issue, you would find an annotation at the bottom of that table that identified the data source for the table. The source usually was a bibliographic citation for a larger publication that might have the details you needed. Just finding the identification of the federal agency that was interested in the issue would lead to an expert whom you could tap.

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Talk about the end of an era. It was an era that began in 1878 and is now ending with the 130th edition. (For more details, check out the NewsBreak: http://news breaks.infotoday.com/NewsBreaks/US-Census-Bureau -to-Eliminate-Strategic-Publications-Including-Statistical-Ab stracts-74588.asp.)

Tough times and dwindling budgets have led to the cuts, but the other cuts that are occurring are more worrisome. Many occur without the hoopla needed to warn interested members of the public. …

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