Magazine article Information Today

Data-Planet Opens Up a Universe of Statistics to SAGE

Magazine article Information Today

Data-Planet Opens Up a Universe of Statistics to SAGE

Article excerpt

Beginning in 1878, the Statistical Abstract of the United States was the go-to title for information about all aspects of demographics in the country. In 2012, it ceased publication, and various private publishing agencies were left to fill in the gap. According to Richard Landry, founder and CEO of Conquest Systems, Inc., his company's Data-Planet repository (data-planet.com) already had 70% of the material in the Statistical Abstract, so it was well-positioned to carry that torch.

How It Started

Early in the 21st century, Conquest Systems was a government contractor, and the Data-Planet statistical database grew at a healthy rate. Then it was carried by LexisNexis, and with that association came its first experience with academic librarians. It was a happy convergence, as the librarians had lots of suggestions, and the company developed a reputation for a being good listener. Soon it had added citations and export options to Data-Planet. From 2010 to 2012, Data-Planet was distributed by ProQuest, and then it became a standalone operation for 5 years. In January 2018, it joined with SAGE, which Landry describes as a marriage made in heaven.

What's Inside

When using Data-Planet, you may search for data from any one of the affiliated providers. These include several of the core departments of the U.S. Government--such as Agriculture, Labor, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs--as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Office of Management and Budget, the Federal Reserve Board, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Federal Election Commission, among many other agencies. Commercial providers include Dow Jones, Standard & Poor's, and Zillow. International organizations include the China Data Center, the United Nations, the World Bank Group, and the European Commission. Major nonprofit entries are the National Cancer Institute and the National Science Foundation. Landry says that DataPlanet is maintaining a steady controlled growth, adding new sources each month.

The capabilities of containing all of this data in one standardized playing field lead to some impressive numbers. Data-Planet estimates that in the nearly 500 databases covered, there are more than 50 billion datapoints. If a library subscribes to statistical services not covered by Data-Planet, the company's Data Hosting Services option (data-planet.com/data-planet-datahosting-services) allows it to work with the provider to create a custom inclusion. Data-Planet also offers a streamlined interface to all subscribers, Data Planet Statistical Ready Reference (data-planet.com/data-planet-statistical-ready-reference). Another strategy for making this huge program manageable is the large selection of LibGuides available on its website (data-plan et.libguides.com) that give specific information about the major categories, such as Education, International Relations and Trade, and Population and Income.

Trying Out the Program

Taking advantage of a free preview, I was struck immediately by the clean look of the Data-Planet interface. On the left side of the screen, there are facets allowing you to pick datasets from sources or subjects. The preponderance of the information is U.S. data, but unlike the Statistical Abstract, there is substantial coverage for the entire world. …

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