B-Eye-Network, by Dr. Ramon Barquin, Sep 13, 2011
All good things must come to an end, they say. But why kill something truly useful and important when you don't really have to? So let me add my voice to the growing clamor to spare what has been the nation's most important source of data and statistics for almost one and a half centuries: the Statistical Abstract of the United States.
First published in 1878 by the U.S. Census Bureau, it quickly became, according to the Bureau's website, "the authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States."
So why is it now on death row? It is the result of the pressures to cut government spending. In President Obama's 2012 Budget Request to Congress the so-called "Estimates" for the Census Bureau call for the termination of the Statistical Compendia Branch, the organization within the Census Bureau that compiles the Statistical Abstract as well as other similar statistical tables and reports. The 2012 edition is slated to be the last.
Mind you, there is a chorus of opposition to ending the Statistical Abstract. The librarian community in particular is incensed and the American Library Association (ALA) has strongly opposed its demise.
... You can join Save the US Statistical Abstract! - the Facebook page with more than 1000 members and growing.
A more impassioned plea comes from noted economics columnist Robert Samuelson, who wrote an article in August of this year titled: "Don't kill America's databook."
The business intelligence community should be just as concerned as the librarians, economists and educators. No one needs data sources as much as the BI practitioner, and when a lot of useful data can be found in the same location, carefully cleansed, vetted and often integrated with other relevant data, that is real value to business intelligence.