APLIC-International, The Communicator, Spring 1997, Issue #64

The U.S. Census Bureau

By Kay Willson, Manager of Information Services at The Futures Group International

One of the three participants in the session on "US Government Information in Electronic Formats" was Dr. John Kavaliunas of the US Census Bureau. One of the core group that in 1978 started the State Data Centers, John Kavaliunas is now responsible for Marketing and Promotions. The Internet is evolving into the primary means to disseminate Census information. Currently the Census site reports 1.9 million hits per week--the second most visited website in the US. Reflecting this trend, some print publications will be discontinued. The next major release of the 1997 Economic Censuses will be distributed in print, CD, and on the Internet with the greatest level of detail available on the Internet. New functionality will be built into the site with data access tools designed to use with microdatasets (e.g., Ferret). Another aspect of government dissemination is the need to recoup some costs. While there will probably always be free public access to US census data, fee-based enhanced access will be introduced, with geo-coding and look-up capabilities. The DADS (Data Access and Dissemination System) Project is in beta test now, prototypes are expected to be available in 1998 with the final system operational in 1999. In the future, the Census Bureau envisions making more historical databases available on the Internet. The goal is to have desktop access to all census data, in whatever form needed by researchers. Another complementary goal is to offer "Interagency One Stop Shopping for Federal Statistics" through FEDSTATS. The Census Bureau remains committed to working with libraries as partners on the common issues facing the information community.

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