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

Data.gov

Data.gov is a government website launched earlier this year to increase public access to high value, machine readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government.  Data.gov provides access to data in three ways: through the “raw” data catalog, the tool catalog and the geodata catalog.  Data.gov helps users to find, access, and download non-sensitive Government data and tools in a variety of formats.   Some of the many topics covered include the following: births, deaths, marriages and divorces; energy and utilities; geography and the environment; health and nutrition; income, expenditures, poverty and wealth; labor force, employment and earnings; natural resources, population, prices; social and human services; and transportation.

These datasets are potentially useful to students in a broad range of majors in the sciences and social sciences and potential uses as additional datasets are added.

http://data.gov

Recent additions to the Vermont Collection

Submitted by Hans Raum

Earlier this month I attended the annual convention of the Rutland Railroad Historical Society, held at the Vermont Marble Museum in Proctor on May 2-3.  I accepted donations of historical material from three members and took photographs of several marble quarries and railroad bridges that I visited during one of the field trips.  The oldest item that was donated to the Rutland Railroad Archives that is part of our Vermont Collection was an 1851 annual report of the Rutland & Burlington Railroad, which was the earliest ancestor of the Rutland Railroad. 

The advent of railroads in Vermont was crucial to the economic development of the state, including the marble, granite, slate, lumber and dairy industries.

 

Training session on Federal government information resources: past, present and future

Submitted by Hans Raum

On Wednesday morning, April 15 Hans will do a presentation at 9 am in room 105 for any staff members who would like to find out more about both printed and online information resources available from federal government agencies, from the CIA to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  This will be an opportunity to see some of the oldest and most interesting government publications we received early in the 1800′s to the some of the most useful websites created by various federal agencies.  The U. S. government is the largest publisher in the world and government agencies quickly took advantage of the potential of the Web to make their services and information resources more widely available.   Potential future developments will be discussed, along with their implications for our role as one of seven federal depository libraries in Vermont.

Federal website of the month:   http://recovery.gov

Access to Congressional Research Service Reports

Submitted by Hans Raum

Wikileaks recently released a comprehensive set of reports by the Congressional Research Service that had not previously been available to federal depository libraries or the general public.  The highly regarded and non-partisan reports had been previously available only to members of Congress and Wired magazine called their concealment “The biggest Congressional scandal of the digital age.”  Senator Patrick Leahy, who is a strong advocate of freedom of the press, has fought for years to make the reports public.

The Congressional Research Service is regarded as “Congress’s brain” and has a budget of over $100 million a year and the reports written by their experts cover a broad range of contentious issues, from the U. S. relationship with Israel to the financial collapse.  Public access to these reports is now available at http://www.wikileaks.org/wiki/Change_you_can_download:_a_billion_in_secret_Congressional_reports

Well over 2,000 reports have been updated in the past year and the oldest report goes back to 1990.  The recent release of these reports is an important milestone in the development of a more open and accountable government.

50,000 digitized maps available

Submitted by Hans Raum

Government Information Resources

More than 50,000 historical digitized maps are now available online at http://infoweb.newsbank.com/?db=SSMAP.  The original maps are part of the U. S. Congressional Serial Set and they include a broad range of themes and cover from the early 1800′s to about the 1950′s.  Early maps were created by expeditions that surveyed the American west, Alaska, and other parts of the world, as well as early surveys of cities, harbors and other geographic features for most of the country.  Among the maps of local interest are a 1904 soil survey of Addison County and maps of Silver Lake, Lake Dunmore, and Otter Creek.  Other maps provide detail of specific battles in the Civil War and some early city plans.  Although the maps may be of greatest interest to geography majors, they may also be useful in supporting student research in geology, American history, and ethnic studies, among other disciplines. 

Staff Information session on U. S. Serial Set & Federal statistical sources

Submitted by Hans Raum

There will be a staff information session on Wednesday morning, October 15 at 9 am in room 105 on the U. S. Congressional Serial Set, the American State Papers and the top ten federal statistical websites.  Anyone who is interested in the topics is welcome to attend.