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Health Resources Administration, National Center for Education Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics, National Institute of Education, Office for Civil Rights, and the Office of Education of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
Bureau of Mines
United States. It publishes data relating to public elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education covering enrollments, graduates and degrees granted, personnel, and school facilities and finances. It also collects information on adult education, including vocational education, and on public and school libraries.
Since 1962 the data obtained in NCES surveys, and much related education information, have been summarized in an annual publication entitled Digest of Educational Statistics. This publication provides information on a variety of subjects, including the number of schools and colleges, enrollment, teachers and other instructional staff, high school graduates and earned degrees conferred, revenues and expenditures of educational institutions, Federal funds for education, libraries, international education, and research and development. The Digest also serves as a guide to sources for those who want more detailed information in the field of education statistics.
Also since 1974, NCES has issued an annual report, The Condition of Education which provides a general overview of education. The 1977 edition provides summary statistics that document trends in participation, expenditures, and educational attainment levels. The report also contains more detailed data on the expansion of postsecondary education, the role of educational personnel, the history of elementary and secondary school finance, the relationships between education and work, and comparisons of education in the United States and other countries.
NCES has published the first edition (1976) of its Directory of Federal Agency Education Data Tapes. The Directory describes education and relevant statistical data bases available on magnetic computer tapes from 13 agencies of the Federal Government. The tapes contain information on elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education, and libraries and media centers as well as related demographic, vital, health, and welfare data; manpower supply and demand data; and Federal outlays for education. The Directory provides descriptions for 78 national data bases, consisting of more than 200 data files which include time-series as well as one-time data studies.
The Directory is an outgrowth of an interagency consortium composed of more than 40 agencies. The following agencies list tapes in the Directory: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census Bureau, Civil Service Commission, Energy Research and Development Administration, National Archives and Records Service, National Science Foundation, and from the
The Bureau of Mines has developed several data systems. In order to exploit fully the wealth of data collected in the many fuels surveys, and to combine data storage and retrieval capacities with flexible resource/reserve production and demand analytical capacity, the Bureau of Mines developed the Fuels Availability System (FAS). This computerized system includes information on coal, oil and gas production, oil refineries and bulk terminals, natural gas processing plants, fuel imports, well drilling, crude oil and natural gas analyses, State data, FPC data, reserve data, and other energy data groupings including a computerized Energy Balance for public access. Because of its scope and flexibility, this system is currently proving of great value to the Federal energy program.
In the hard minerals field, a computerized data system has been designed to deliver a decisionoriented supply/demand product. The Minerals Availabilaity System (MAS) combines qualitative and quantitative physical, economic, and geographic characteristics for individual mineral deposits. A basic data series on critical minerals is now in the process of being developed. Included in ihis group are copper, iron, lead, zinc, aluminum, nickel, asbestos, titanium, tungsten, manganese, fluorine, gold and silver. Potential operating grades assessed over a range of probability provide potential production ranges for each deposit. These ranges permit the construction of realistic market response supply/demand models for domestic mineral deposits. The system is capable of further analysis, employing additional data, various subsystems, analytical algorithms, production costs, capacity constraints, transportation modes and costs, manpower, environmental impacts, and demand considerations in short- and long-range context. The response time and sophistication of this system has really been improved. The coverage of foreign deposit and production data has also been extended. Data coverage and analytical systems on reserves, mining, processing, manpower, transportation, and taxes are being extended to a large number of commodities.
A subsystem of MAS is MILS (Minerals Industry Location System) which is designed to acquire and display location information for every mineral industry location in the United States, including
offshore mineral deposits in the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico. Its basic data derives from a portion of the data collected for MAS. A computer file for input and retrieval yields data printout in the form of tabulations by geographic subdivision down to a section (640 acres) classified by mine name, commodity, and other parameters, or on a computer plotted mylar overlay for several standard scale topographic maps.
The Bureau of Mines' data base tapes are currently available to other agencies such as the Federal Energy Administration, which has drawn excessively on the Bureau of Mines information.
Several data base tapes which are maintained at the Denver Office of the Bureau of Mines are available for sale. They include statistical data tapes on oil product imports, the coal reserve base in the United States, and State by State energy use. More tapes are being made available for sale.
The Bureau of Mines has a growing commitment to develop computerized data banks on fuels, metals and minerals. Considerable funds and manpower are currently being channeled into this effort.
1960's, most of the records preserved and made available for use were paper records. With the development of computer technology and magnetic tape, NARS began to make a complete survey of magnetic tape libraries in all Federal agencies and Departments, to develop an inventory of all magnetic tape record files, and to identify the files of possible archival value. By the end of 1977 NARS had acquired 1,500 magnetic tape files.
The Catalog of Machine-Readable Records in the National Archives of the United States describes the magnetic tape holdings of NARS and how they may be obtained. The Executive Departments indexed in this catalog include: Treasury (IRS); Agriculture (Foreign Agricultural Service and Economic Research Service); Health, Education and Welfare (Social Security Administration); and Labor (Employment and Training Administration). The following independent agencies are indexed: Civil Aeronautics Board, Federal Home Loan Bank Board, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Community Services Administration, and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The overall organization of the material in the catalog follows that of the recently published Guide to the National Archives of the United States (1974), in which record groups are the basic organizational unit (e.g., records of the Internal Revenue Service).
Law Enforcement Assistance Administration
The Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) of the Department of Justice has awarded a grant to DUALabs to distribute and technically support new uses of the National Crime Survey victimization tape files. DUALabs is presently: reformatting, checking, and correcting the Bureau of Census files and developing technical documentation in hardcopy and machine-readable forms.
These products and services will be of special value to data users within the criminal justice system. LEAA is considering, as part of an effort toward compilation of criminal justice baseline statistics, whether there are data from any other of its surveys which could be made available on tape. If so, then appropriate technical documentation and guides for using these tape files will also be developed. In addition, LEAA has work underway toward the establishment of a national criminal justice data archive to promote utilization of machine readable criminal justice data.
NARS is a depository for both paper and magnetic
records. As noted earlier, most agencies engaged in statistical activities use computers for this work. Many of these tape files contain valuable information which should be archived when the files become inactive. This will assure that the tape file will be available to researchers. NARS should work with the agencies to identify currently active tape files of archival value. As their collection of data files increases, their Catalog should be updated accordingly.
NARS is also charged with responsibility for assisting agencies in complying with requirements of the Code of Federal Regulations (Federal Property Management Regulations) for effective management of all records including computerized data files. Since these requirements (CFR 41, Chapter 101-11.210) call for file-by-file inventories, adequate technical documentation, and appropriate disposition of ADP records, NARS can assist agencies in taking significant steps toward both improved access to data and compliance with Federal regulations. Since disposition schedules for machine-readable data on a file-by-file basis are submitted to NARS for approval and deposit, it is conceivable that NARS could serve
National Archives and Record Service
The National Archives and Records Service (NARS) in the General Services Administration preserves Federal agency records deemed to be permanently valuable and assists as many researchers as possible in using the records. Until the early
as a focus for user inquiries regarding data access on a government-wide basis.
NARS has also recently initiated a program to accept from agencies machine-readable records of high current research interest, which may not be of long term value. NARS stores, provides reference for, and cites such records in its Catalog of MachineReadable Records. Files in this category will remain in agency legal custody, but will be deposited with NARS when storage and reference activity through NARS is more cost-effective than when performed by the originating agency.
Summary and Recommendations The Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards has responsibility for improving the dissemination of statistical information on a timely basis. Data dissemination comprises all activities concerned with promoting widespread distribution and use of the results of statistical surveys. Improving access to information in data files will facilitate its dissemination. Once the agencies have taken an inventory of their computerized data files and have indexed them, or otherwise developed guides to using them, the information will be more readily accessible and dissemination easier. It is hoped that this Framework for Planning U.S. Federal Statistics for the 1980's will improve the organization of Federal statistical operations, and thereby the accessibility of statistical information.
What is needed at present is an inventory of the computerized statistical data files by each agency having such files. These files should then be indexed, especially those files which are available for public use. In order for the indexing to be of maximum use, the Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards should develop a set of cataloging standards and procedures and one agency should be designated as the focal point for assuring that cataloging and documentation proceed on an orderly timetable. The agencies should provide adequate technical documentation for these files and a detailed description of the contents of the tape file. Such documentation would aid in accessing and disseminating the data, as well as agency sharing and transfer of data where permissible. Provisions that agencies perform all of these requirements, except indexing, are a part of the FPMR (CFR 41, Chapters 101-11.210).
The Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards should provide overall policy guidance so that data stored in computerized files can be more readily accessible and hence available for dissemination
to the public. Policy guidance should cover the following areas: 1. Developing and enforcing standards for
technical documentation for ADP systems and files. This should include periodic checks and updates for documentation in terms of
reasonable user needs; 2. Encouraging agencies to establish centralized
data users service organizations which, in addition to processing requests for data, would maintain contact with users and users organizations and provide input to agency policy on
ADP systems, plans, and products; 3. Encouraging more uniformity, government
wide, regarding both charges for data and systems to handle payments from users. Agencies, for instance, should institute cost sharing plans for multiple users desiring special data products (as the Census Bureau does for
special tabulations); 4. Encouraging agencies to publicize their data
more effectively by:
and/or subject oriented directories of files
from several agencies; c. Publishing periodic bulletins or newsletters to
inform users of new data and services, other
users' needs, problems with data, etc.; d. Compiling, maintaining and sharing mailing
lists of users by which to distribute directories
and bulletins. e. Using the facilities of the National Technical
Information Service to assure wide dissemination of basic data files where a high level of technical support or interpretation is
not needed; 5. Taking measures to insure that all Federal
contracts include provisions to insure that all data collected and processed pursuant to the work contracted will be treated as Federal records in terms of custody and disposition (These standards would include (a) documenting the data, (b) placing a hard copy version of the technical documentation at a central location such as NARS or NTIS, and (c) distributing the data);
6. Taking measures to insure that records to be
created by all new ADP systems and files are
problem. All data to be entered would have to be subject to certain edits during the storage operation. Resolution of any inconsistencies in the data might also involve additional research and cost. Safeguards with respect to confidentiality of data would have to be observed.
A national data service, despite its high initial investment and ongoing operational costs, offers the potential to increase productivity of all statisticians and economists. A reduction in research costs might also result since one of the largest expenses in research is the preparation of data for further analysis. Further, through more efficient management of data files, there should be improved timeliness, efficiency and lower cost in the disseminating of information.
inventoried and scheduled for disposition through NARS procedures, preferably no later
than the final planning stage; 7. Designating an agency to serve as a depository
for inventories of all Federal data systems and as an initial point of contact for inquiries about data availability. Such an organization would serve as a clearinghouse to analyze user needs and direct users to agencies which offer access to relevant data. Since NARS is charged with enforcing those Federal regulations which require inventories of machine-readable records and has begun accumulating such information that agency is a logical candidate to
assume the clearinghouse function; and 8. Conducting a thorough survey of current and
potential users of Federal data to collect more comprehensive and detailed information on
user needs. It is obvious that the Federal Government cannot possibly meet all needs of users of Federal statistics when it comes to analyzing data. What the Federal Government can do is to make readily available to the users summary and public-use data tapes along with any necessary documentation.
The foregoing has discussed the need for improving access to data files in the context of our present statistical system. Since the U.S. statistical system is decentralized, a decentralized system of computerized data files, as now exists, is a natural outgrowth of the statistical activities of the various agencies.
There are a number of advantages that could be derived from a computerized national data service. First, since such a service would include published statistics from the various Federal agencies, it would be a central source of data dissemination. An initial sizeable investment would be required for the original entry of the data in order to develop such a service. Having data which is error free would be a major
To work out the specific details of a computerized national data service, it is recommended that an interagency committee be created and chaired by the Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards. At a minimum the data service would be a central place for answering inquiries about the existence of specific kinds of statistical data. The Federal statistical agencies represented on this Committee would explore the potential advantages and disadvantages of such a service and how it could be related to their ongoing activities. It should conceive of the task as a long-range effort to coordinate the various agency dissemination activities. For example, the committee should investigate the feasibility of establishing standard formats to help access files with the service agency providing a common initiating network to provide access. In this way the collecting agency would retain control over the validity and integrity of their data. The user would have the simplicity of a single access procedure. This and other approaches will require considerable investigation and analysis. Members of the public who are users of Federal statistics would also have to be contacted so that their demands for machine-readable information are taken into account.