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How to Locate Statistical Sources

Since so much statistical information is published each year, this handout can provide only a general overview of the sources that are available.  Government agencies and businesses offer an extensive array of statistical information.  In addition, newspapers and magazines often contain valuable statistics. See the guides, How to Locate Newspaper Articles and How to Locate Periodical Articles for more information. In addition, this guide and many others are available online from the Universities’ Web site at http://library.albany.edu/usered/findmore/index.html

Since statistical data vary greatly in quality, detail, and reliability, you should always carefully evaluate your statistics before incorporating them into your research.  The three R’s of statistics might help you in your evaluation.  They are:

  • a) relevancy (do the statistics really say what you want them to say?),
  • b) reliability (who compiled the statistics, and for what reason?), and
  • c) recency (when were the data compiled?).

INTERNET RESOURCES

An extensive and updated list of statistical websites can be found on the University Libraries’ Website.  From the Libraries’ homepage click on Online Reference and then select Statistical Sources.  Included are links to sites that provide statistics about health, government, population, economics and many other subjects.


SUBSCRIPTION DATABASES

The following are electronic databases to which the University subscribes. They offer a broad range of statistical information.

  • The American Statistics Index (ASI) indexes the statistical publications of the United States government, state governments, intergovernmental entities, and some associations. ASI Digital provides indexing and abstracts for these publications from 1973 to present. The full text of the source documents is available from 2003 to present. Selected older source documents are available in full text. Source documents may also be available in the University Libraries government documents collection.  ASI is also available in print–see Subject Categories for details.

  • The Current Index to Statistics (CIS), a bibliographic index to publications in statistics and related fields, is a joint venture of the American Statistical Association and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics. It currently indexes the entire contents of more than 162 core journals, selectively indexes an additional 1,200 journals, and indexes some 11,000 mathematical statistics books and conference proceedings. CIS is international in scope and covers subjects such as Bayesian mathematics, data analysis, Markov processes, Monte Carlo methods, probability, statistics, and stochastics.
  • Popline - This database provides worldwide coverage of population, family planning, and related health issues, including family planning technology and programs, fertility, and population law and policy. In addition, POPLINE focuses on particular developing-country issues including demography, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, maternal and child health, primary health care communication, and population and environment.

  • U.S. Government Data and Statistics - This database contains an extensive collection of business, economic, social and trade statistics.

STATISTICAL SOURCES BY SUBJECT AREA

Following are specific statistical sources that can be found in the University Libraries’ collection.  If the information is available online as well as in print, online information and addresses are indicated. 

  1. GENERAL INFORMATION
    1. The World Almanac and Book of Facts.  1923-current [Reference: AY 67 N5 W7] 
      Latest Issue in Ready Reference.  Also available through the FirstSearch database on the Universities’ Library web page under Databases .

    2. Time Almanac.  1999-current [University Library/Reference AY 64 I65]

  2. THE UNITED STATES
    1. Statistical Abstract of the United States (SAUS). 1878-2010 [University Library/Reference HA 202] 
      Also located in Dewey and Science Libraries.

    2. American Statistics Index (ASI). 1974-current [University Library/Reference Z 7554 U5 A46] 
      Also located in Dewey Library Reference section and online through American Statistics Index DigitalCollection on the University Libraries’ Web site under Databases.

  3. NEW YORK STATE
    1. New York State Statistical Yearbook. 1968-current [HA 544 A2] 
      Latest issue is shelved in the Reference section. Also located in University, Dewey and Science Libraries.  The latest online issues are linked at http://www.rockinst.org/nys_statistics/

    2. NYS Government Information Locator Service: Facts, Figures and Statistics from New York State http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/ils/topics/facts.htm

    3. Use Minerva, the Libraries’ online catalog, to find additional compilations of statistics on New York covering a variety of topics.  Use the search phrase: “New York Statistics” in a Title/Subject keyword search.  To locate statistics on a single topic include your topic in the search phrase.  For example: “Divorce New York State Statistics.”

  4. OTHER STATES
    1. Statistical Reference Index (SRI). 1980-current [University Library/Reference HA 195 Z99 S78x]
      Also located in the Dewey Library Reference section. SRI indexes American statistical publications from sources other than the U.S. Government including state and business publications (reports, magazines, pamphlets, etc.).  The library owns accompanying SRI fiche from 1980-current as well.

    2. Use Minerva to search for resources on a particular state.  See example described under “New York State” section above.  Substitute the state name for New York in your search phrase. 
      For example:  “Divorce Nebraska Statistics” as a Title/Subject keyword search.

    3. FedStats: State Statistics compiled by the Federal government http://www.fedstats.gov/

  5. HISTORICAL STATISTICS FOR THE UNITED STATES
    1. Historical Statistics of the United States from Colonial Times to 1970[HA 202 B872X 1997]
      Available on CD from the University Library Circulation Desk
      Or available online through Minerva [Online/GovDoc: J 85 C 3.2:H 62/5] or directly at [http://purl.access.gpo.gov/GPO/LPS55561]

    2. International Historical Statistics: The Americas 1750-2005 [University Library/Reference HA 175 M55 2007]

    3. Statistical Abstract of the United States (SAUS) 1878-current. (see The United States section above for details)

  6. BUSINESS STATISTICS
    1. The Business page of the University Libraries’ virtual library contains links to a number of resources. 

    2. American Statistics Index (ASI) (see United States section above)

    3. Statistical Reference Index (SRI) 1980-current [University Library/Reference HA 195 Z99 S78X]
      Also located in Dewey Library Reference section.

    4. The Wall Street Journal Almanac 1988-current [University Library/Reference AY 67 N5 W35] 

    5. Handbook of International Economic Statistics 1992-current [University Library/GovDoc: J PREX 3.16]  Also available online [http://purl.access.gpo.gov/GPO/LPS2917].  This is a product of the Central Intelligence Agency.

  7. WORLD STATISTICS AND FOREIGN NATIONS
    1. Index to International Statistics (IIS). 1983-current[University Library/Reference HA 154 I53x] The library owns accompanying SRI fiche as well, located in the Periodicals room of the University Library.

    2. Illustrated Book of World Rankings. [University Library/Reference HA 155 K87 2001]

    3. International Historical Statistics. (Individual books address a variety of World Regions)  Can be found in the University Library/Reference section within the ‘HA’ Subject Classification.

    4. International Marketing Data & Statistics. 1983-current [University Library/Reference HA 42 I56]
      Latest issue shelved in Reference, all others in Oversized Section.

    5. Statistical Yearbook (United Nations Statistical Division). 1993-current
      [University Library/Reference HA 12.5 U63] Latest 5 issues shelved in Reference section, all others in Oversized.  Dewey Library also retains latest issue in Reference section.

    Two popular foreign almanacs include:

    1. The Canadian Almanac and Directory. 1992-current [University Library/Reference AY 414 C2] Dewey Library also maintains the latest issue in Reference.

    2. Whitaker’s (British) Almanack. 1960-current [University Library/Reference HA 754 W5] Latest issue shelved in Reference

    You can also find statistical information on foreign countries by searching in Minerva.  Search by Title/Subject keyword and enter the country name and statistics.  For example search for “France statistics” to find information on France.

  8. U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLICATIONS

Many U.S. Government Publications contain detailed statistical information.  The quickest way to access this information is through the ASI Index (see the United States Section).  The library subscribes to many statistical publications published by the federal government.  These are also included in the ASI index and the ASI microfiche collection.  Some of the more heavily used government publications are:

  1. Monthly Labor Review. 1934-current [University Library/Periodical HD 8051 A78] 
    Located in the Per iodicals Room.  Also located in the Dewey Library, and online through subscription databases.  The Monthly Labor Review details statistics on business growth, production and employment.

  2. Survey of Current Business (SCB). [University Library/GovDoc: J 85 C 59.11:]  Provided on CD-ROM. 
    Also available on the Web at [http://purl.access.gpo.gov/GPO/LPS1730]
    SCB provides information about wages, employment, taxes, import and export activities, business growth, etc.

  3. Uniform Crime Reports for the United States (UCR). 1945-current [University Library/GovDoc: J 85 J 1.14/7:] 
    Some issues missing.  Also available online at [http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm]  Published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

  4. Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics. [http://www.albany.edu/sourcebook/]
    Published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics through the University at Albany, this contains more than 1000 tables of criminal justice statistics.

  5. The Government Information page of the University Libraries’ virtual library contains links to a number of resources.  From the Libraries’ homepage go to Research by Subject and select Government Information.  Internet resources, databases and research guides can be found here.

TIPS

  • Search for any of these titles in Minerva to find additional or updated location information.
  • Ask a reference librarian for assistance in developing search phrases for Minerva, the subscription databases or web-based resources.  Strong search phrases will help you target exactly the type of resources you need for your project.
  • The United Nations provides very detailed international statistics and many of their print resources can be found in the University Library, although they are often several years behind in publication.  Also search for United Nations resources online.  Be sure to confirm your Web sources as authentic! 


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