I am responsible for purchasing Library materials and resources, such as books, journals, and data to support research and teaching in economics and political science. Contact me if you have questions about our economics, political science or social science data collections. I am Stanford's Representative to two Social Science Data Archives, the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) and the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research (Roper) and can help you access their collections and resources. I can assist you in preparing your research proposal's Data Management Plan (DMP) and can work with you to document and share your data with other researchers (http://data.stanford.edu/) and preserve it for the long-term in the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR).
Congressional campaign websites are valuable primary source material for historians, social scientists, and the public to better understand the evolution of political communication in the Web era. Campaign websites also afford unique opportunities for the mass collection of materials that would have been previously difficult to acquire outside of the candidate's district. While it is a truism that the Web is constantly changing and broken links are an inevitable outcome, campaign websites are predictably ephemeral given their time-limited purpose. Recognizing the at-risk nature of this content and its value to scholarship, the Stanford University Libraries (SUL) and the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS) are collaborating on a project conceived by researchers in the Department of Political Science, enabled by the Archive-It web archiving service, and since joined by political science researchers at two other institutions, to create a comprehensive and longitudinal web archive collection of 2014 congressional primary and general election candidate websites. The participating researchers are Karen Jusko, Allison Anoll, and Mackenzie Israel-Trummel at Stanford University; Michael Dougal and Ryan Hübert at the University of California, Berkeley; and Mike Parkin at Oberlin College. Examples of questions to be investigated with the dataset include how the location and types of campaign stops relate to the demographics of voter turnout and how incumbent Congress members speak differently with home constituencies. SUL is contributing web archiving expertise to the project, assisting in particular with technical challenges in collecting and faithfully re-presenting the archived web content. When the 2014 elections have concluded, the completed collection will continue to be a useful resource for future research as well as complement existing elections web archives, notably those created biannually by the Library of Congress since 2000.
In May, the creators of a new, unique data mining tool -- Enigma -- made a presentation to a group of Political Science Department graduate students. It would be safe to say that the demonstration generated some real interest and excitement. Based in great part on that response from students in the department, the Library has now arranged a long-term beta-test with Enigma for the entire Stanford community. The only other academic institution with this arrangement is the Harvard Business School. Enigma has ingested, and continues to ingest, digitized public records from the federal government, state governments, international organizations, and from some non-U.S. governments. They began amassing data by making a FOIA request for all U.S. government domain names and then scraped and ingested all of the data available on those sites. They continue to ingest new data every week. Enigma is very interested in engaging with Stanford scholars to get ideas for additional digital data sets to include in their database. In other words, they really want to hear from you about data that might be valuable to your research. So, as you use Enigma, please take advantage of the Chat function to make suggestions/requests. One caveat -- Enigma does not digitize data. However, they are pretty inventive in finding ways to obtain digital data that should be in the public domain. For example, they take in U.S Customs Service data regarding all containers that pass through U.S. ports. This data is only made available by the Customs Service on CD's, which Enigma uploads on a weekly basis. Enigma can be accessed by all members of the Stanford community through this link: https://stanford.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://www.enigma.com. Here is Enigma's own description of what they are trying to accomplish: Enigma is a search and discovery platform for big public data that exposes billions of public records across previously siloed datasets. Petabytes of pubic data are created by governments, companies, and independent institutions each year. However, as many of us know, it is tedious (if not impossible in some cases) to navigate and discover connections across these disconnected resources. Enigma empowers its users to search and manipulate these hidden datasets, creating priceless information needed to gain an edge and uncover a universe of untapped knowledge. Whether you are searching for people, companies, places, social, political, and economic trends, or broader topics, Enigma offers depth and resolution into these pools of data that are currently unavailable or underutilized by traditional search portals like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Let us know what you think of this new and powerful statistical tool.