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[This was originally posted on the blog "Free Government Information"] I thought I'd recount an interesting little research question I had yesterday that took me down a rabbit hole trying to answer. This student was looking for an edition of a 1913 publication called the "Immigration Laws and Rules" (WorldCat helpfully notes the uniform titles of "Laws, etc." and "Immigration Laws"!) but couldn’t find the right one in google books (go figure!).

Hi! I'm looking for copies of the "Immigration Laws and Rules," published by the D.C. Government Printing Office. Specifically, I'm interested in finding editions printed in 1913, because I'm researching a change in immigration policy that happened when an immigration rule was amended on June 16, 1913. I've found one edition on Google Books that reflects amendments made March 10, 1913. Modifying my search on Google Books hasn't produced the editions closest to that June date that I would be interested in. I'd really appreciate help finding those editions, either in print or online. Thanks!

Stanford library unfortunately does not have this title. I found other editions online (e.g. in the Internet Archive, Hathitrust, Harvard’s digital repository, and Proquest Congressional Publications subscription database, but not the specific edition that this student thought she wanted. The record is in WorldCat, so the student could get the correct edition via Interlibrary borrowing. But the best part of this was when I went to the Monthly Catalog to find the publishing history of this title. The July 1913 - June 1914 MoCat volume (btw, Internet Archive has a long run of the Monthly Catalogue online!) gave me a description of the publication along with this little gem of a quote on p.156:

A QUESTION OF EDITIONS

Immigration laws, rules of Nov. 15, 1911, was issued in January, 1912. The same publication, with amendments, 2d edition, appeared in May, 1912. A 3d edition, with amended footnotes, was published in August, 1912. Another print of this last-named publication, with amendments, and designated as 2d edition, was issued under the printed date Mar. 10, 1913, and entered in the April Monthly catalogue. The same publication, without amendment, was reprinted later in May, 1913, as 4th edition. A fifth issue, dated Sept. 9, 1913, is called 1st edition. The reason for calling this a 1st edition instead of a 5th edition is stated to be that it is the first publication of the Immigration laws made by authority of the present Commissioner General of Immigration. This seems a natural enough reason, but when it comes to be considered it will be seen that it amounts to numbering the official instead of the publication.

President Wilson did not find it necessary to start a new set of numbers for his proclamations and Executive orders. He continued the same series that had been begun by Presidents Roosevelt and Taft. President Taft's last proclamation is numbered 1236, President Wilson's first, 1237. President Taft's last Executive order is no. 1743, President Wilson's first, 1744.

The various editions of the Immigration laws are sent, by requirement of law to nearly 500 official libraries, which must arrange the publications received in such order that they may be readily found when wanted. With two 1st editions, one published in 1912 and the other in 1913, and two 2d editions, showing the same discrepancy, with a 1st edition of a later date than the 4th edition, and a 2d edition following the 3d edition, it will be seen that the work of the librarian remote from Washington, and consequently from official explanation, is made needlessly hard and confusing.

This is the only reason why the Monthly catalogue thinks it necessary to print this note. The Catalogue is the official medium between the depository libraries and the Government publishing bureaus, and the libraries look to the Catalogue to straighten out for them those things in the public documents which on the surface appear tangled and troublesome.

Government documents are hard, mkay?! That is all.

Question: Are there any official government resources where this information is published? I am looking for a statistic along the lines of "The government spends $___ million on cybersecurity." From what I have seen for biosecurity, for example, many departments have some money set aside for biosecurity, but there isn't one place where one large number is published (unless an outside person consolidates these budgets into a singular dollar amount as some sort of project).

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.

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