Saturday, April 16, 2011

What you didn't know but could learn for free, you may have to pay for

From the Daily Kos:

It was felt that the popular Statistical Abstract of the United States—the “go to” reference for those who don’t know whether a statistic is available, let alone which agency/department is responsible for it—could be sacrificed. Staff will be moving to “Communications,” digitizing the data set. It is hoped that the private sector—commercial publishers---will see the benefit of publishing some version of the title in the future...

Some would argue that this is just one more round in a policy that began under Ronald Reagan in which access to government data became ever more restricted—some of it not being collected at all—or commodified: collected but accessible only from private sources for payment. Or maybe it's just the Census Bureau's opening salvo, the usual approach of any organization under budgetary siege, picking one of its more popular programs as an example of what will be lost if it has to cut back.

Whatever the case, if the Statistical Abstract is something you'd like to keep around, you can sign a petition about it started by Alesia MacManus here.

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