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Q&A

Question: I want to compare the amounts spent by NCAA colleges and universities on their teams and various sports. Where's the best place to look?

Answer: The United States Department of Education maintains a data analysis site called Equity in Athletics Data Analysis Cutting Tool. This allows the user to generate "rapid customized reports for [questions] relating to equity in athletics data."

"The database consists of athletics data that are submitted annually as required by the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA), via a Web-based data collection, by all co-educational postsecondary institutions that receive Title IV funding (i.e., those that participate in federal student aid programs) and that have an intercollegiate athletics program."

Spending on teams and athletic programs can be compared between schools, regions, etc.

Question: Where can I find aircraft production statistics for the years just before and during World War II?

Answer: Proquest Statistical Insight (available only to Stanford users) is a good database to start your hunt for statistics. Using Statistical Insight, I used the search terms: (aircraft or airplane) and production.

One of the first five publications to appear in the results list was "Aerospace Facts and Figures". Proquest's digital holdings only went back to the early 1980's so I searched the title "Aerospace Facts and Figures" in Searchworks. I found we have print volumes in Green Stacks back to 1945. In addition if you use the "browse around" function in Searchworks, you will see that Aviation Week and Space Technology is nearby in the stacks, and this journal goes back to 1916, and they published production figures sporadically -- Since these old issues are not indexed, you just have to browse through the issues -- they probably pick one issue a month or year to report summary statistics.

Question: I need population figures for various countries starting at about 1850. Is there a resource I can check for such data?

Answer: You should start with B. R. Mitchell's International Historical Statistics: 1750-2005. It's shelved in the Information Center Statistics area and there are three volumes: 1) Africa, Asia and Oceania; 2) The Americas; 3) Europe.

You might also want take a look at databases like JSTOR and Project Muse to see what secondary literature is available on historical statistics.

Question: I'm looking for data on the average tariff levels of various countries from 1962-1989. Any version of the average tariff (weighted average) would be fine.

Answer: For any statistics question, the Library's Database page for Statistics and Numeric Data is a great place to start. From there, SourceOECD, the UN Common Database (UNCDB) (replaced in Feb. 2008 by a new site, UNdata), and the World Bank's World Development Indicators are good sources for international statistics.

In this particular case, however, you'll need to go outside of Stanford. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has kept trade statistics since 1964. Recently, UNCTAD, the World Bank, UN Statistics Division, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) combined resources to build the World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS), which gives access to the major trade and tariffs data compilations: the COMTRADE database (maintained by the UNSD); the "TRade Analysis and INformation System (TRAINS) (maintained by UNCTAD); the IDB and CTS databases (maintained by the WTO).

You can use TRAINS to get average tariff statistics. It provides online access to indicators of Trade Control Measures (Tariff, Para-tariff and Non-tariff measures), as well as imports by suppliers for over 150 countries. Registration is free at wits.worldbank.org. There is a registration link here.

TRAINS goes back to 1988. The World Bank has a page devoted to data on trade and import barriers. There's a helpful -- though incomplete -- dataset called "Trends in average applied tariff rates in developing and industrial countries, 1981-2005."

For data prior to the 1980s, search the journal and documents literature and/or do your own calculations for average tariffs. Worldwide Political Science Abstracts, EconLit, and the World Bank e-Library are good sources for journal articles about international trade.

Also check the following documents for possible leads and data tables:

 

Lastly, the library has a subscription to the International Customs Journal, published by the International Customs Tariffs Bureau (ICTB). This journal lists provisions of each country's customs tariff law and has detailed lists of items (steel, textiles, machinery, arms, etc.) and the tariff charged for each item, going back to 1891 in microfilm, print, and CDROM. More recently (2000-present), the ICTB has made that information accessible online here.

Question: I am looking for a test that might be used by a psychologist, educator, psychiatrist, or other social scientist, to measure some aspect of personality, behavior, cognition, perception, and other "mental measurements." (like Intelligence, Personality, Neuropsychological Functioning, Behavior, Speech, etc). How do I find descriptions and reviews?

Answer: Mental Measurement Yearbooks provide test users with descriptions of the various tests, references, and critical reviews of the tests. Criteria for inclusion in these volumes are that the tests either be new or recently revised, be available commercially, and be published in English. The year 2005 marked the publication of the 17th volume of the Mental Measurement Yearbook. Note that the Yearbook contains reviews only - not the tests themselves.

Buros Institute of Mental Measurements online keyword search allows you to Search by Keyword Anywhere for commercially published tests reviewed in the Mental Measurements Yearbooks, without having to look through each print volume. Results from the online search indicate which volume of Mental Measurements Yearbook provide scholarly reviews and summaries of the test. With that information you can find the reviews and summaries in the Mental Measurements Yearbooks, available in Green Information Center and Cubberley Education Library.

Question: How can I find one-act plays in the catalog?"

Answer: Use SearchWorks' default "Search Everything" option and enter terms "'one-act plays' and comedy" (or "'one-act plays' and drama"). "One-act plays" is also a Library of Congress Subject Heading, so you can change the search option to "Search Subject terms" and use "one-act plays" in quotation marks.

Question: I am doing research on the social security application (federal document #SS-5), and how it has changed over the years. Where can I look for historical versions of this document?

Answer: That's a tricky one since it says on the current form "Form SS-5 (08-2009) ef (08-2009) Destroy Prior Editions." The various editions of the Social Security Handbook include much information about the SSA's workings -- including about applying for social security with form SS-5 -- but does not include copies of forms.

So the next step is the Social Security Administration itself. The SSA has a History section that would no doubt be able to help, including 3 guides to SSA records. Lastly, you can contact the SSA historian to request copies of historic forms.

Question: Is there a way I can find old movie/film scripts?

Answer:

For older movie scripts:

For movies made any time:

For movies made in the 1990s and beyond:

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