Author Archives: Hans Raum

About Hans Raum

Reference and Instruction Librarian; Government Documents Librarian; Library Liaison: United States History, European History, Medieval History, Classics and Geography

Where do your charitable donations go?

It’s dinner time and the telephone rings.  The caller is asking for a donation for a worthwhile charitable cause.  What you may not know is that some non-profit organizations hire professional fundraisers to solicit contributions on their behalf and the fundraisers typically receive a commission of more than half of the amount you pledge, and in some cases they get up to 90% of your pledge.  To provide detailed information on how funds are split between the charities and the professional fundraisers, the Vermont Atty. General’s office has published a helpful report at http://www.atg.state.vt.us/assets/files/WhereHaveAlltheDollarsGone2009.pdf

How does your favorite charity rate?

1940 Census records now available online

On April 2 the National Archives released online census records for 1940 and the site received more than 22 million hits in the first three hours, which temporarily crashed the website.  Individual records from a decennial census are made available every 10 years, as soon as the government’s legally mandated 72-year waiting period ends.  The nearly 4 million images of handwritten census pages provide information on person’s names, ages, addresses, marital status and number of children.  The website is at http://1940census.archives.gov/ and you need to first identify the enumeration district before you can find the names and addresses you are seeking.

The Davis Family Library also has individual family census records for 1790 to 1930 for Vermont on microfilm and the Genealogy Research Guide can provide more detailed information for researching family history.

Feds plan to close 1,200 Data Centers

The U. S. government is increasing its effort to consolidate its data centers and now expects to close at least 1,200 data centers, or about 40% of federal government IT facilities, as part of an effort to streamline its IT infrastructure.  According to Steven VanRoekel, the federal CIO, the data centers being closed or consolidated “represent billions in wasted capital that could be better used to improve upon critical services for American taxpayers.”

It is too soon to tell what impact, if any, these closures will have on the availability of government information resources that are relevant to our curriculum and student research interests.  A list of data centers targeted for closure is available at Data.gov

New federated search engine: MetaLib

                The U. S. Government Printing Office is hosting a new federated search engine, called MetaLib, that searches more than 50 government databases covering a broad range of subjects, including energy, the environment, health, defense, geodata and statistics.  The database retrieves reports, articles, and citations while providing direct links to selected resources available online.  Three search modes are available: basic, advanced and expert.

Open House for the Rutland Railroad Archives

On Saturday afternoon, April 30 our Special Collections hosted an Open House for members of the Rutland Railroad Historical Society as part of the 25th annual convention of the group.  The Open House provided an opportunity for society members to see some of the most interesting material that has been acquired for the archives in the past decade.

Rutland Railroad Archives Open House

Rutland Railroad Archives Open House on April 30, 2010

A two page summary of material in the Rutland Railroad Archives can be found at http://midddigital.middlebury.edu/rutland_railroad/Summary%20of%20holdings%20of%20the%20Rutland%20Railroad%20Archives.doc and a more detailed 25 page listing of holdings can be found at http://midddigital.middlebury.edu/rutland_railroad/RRAGuide.htm.  A two page gateway to other resources relating to the Rutland Railroad Archives can be found at http://midddigital.middlebury.edu/rutland_railroad/RutlandRailroadArchivesHandout.htm.

Hans Raum served as co-chair of the two day convention held at the Middlebury Inn, which drew attendees from as far away as California.  Greg Pahl, an expert on the Beldens Falls Branch Railroad (and Joy Pile’s partner) spoke about the railroad at a program on Saturday, in preparation for a field trip on Sunday morning to visit traces of the short-lived railroad which ran from Beldens Falls, north of Middlebury, to a marble quarry about four miles away, east of Middlebury.

EPA disapproves Lake Champlain cleanup plan

A front page article in the Burlington Free Press on January 25 announced the disapproval by the EPA of a 2002 plan to reduce phosphorus, the primary pollutant in Lake Champlain.  In the past nine years $100 million has been spent in the cleanup effort, which appears to not have had any significant impact.  Further information about the disapproval may be found online at http://www.epa.gov/region1/eco/tmdl/pdfs/vt/LakeChamplainTMDLDisapprovalDecision.pdf.

Income tax forms available

Copies of various state and federal income tax forms and booklets are now available in the display racks at the Information Desk in the Davis Family Library.  Many additional forms can be found online at the website of the Internal Revenue Service, at http://www.irs.gov/.  If your adjusted gross income was $58,000 or less in 2010, you can use new Free File software to prepare and e-mail your taxes online.  The software can be accessed at the IRS website.