Miscellanea, Electronic Data Collection at the National Center for Education Statistics: Successes in the Collection of Library Data
Carrol Benner Kindel
The U.S. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) collects and disseminates statistical information on public, academic (i.e., college and university), and elementary and secondary school libraries. Nationwide public and academic library statistics are collected by state data coordinators annually for public libraries and biennially for academic libraries using PC software packages. This software, called DECTOP for the public library data collection and IDEALS for the academic library data collection, uses Borland's (Ashton-Tate's) dBASE IV and Nantucket's Clipper data base application. In DECTOP, all data collection and processing are done through the software system. Entry of the nearly forty data elements is accomplished through two simple data entry screens. DECTOP also offers respondents several different ways to import and convert data from their state dBASE, Lotus 1-2-3, and ASCII files. Currently, IDEALS allows coordinators in each state to send data to NCES on hard copy, or on diskette. Starting with the 1992 survey, the academic library data will be collected by the U.S. Census Bureau as part of the larger data collection effort on the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).
Survey; processing; diskette; PC software; methods.