The Consortium Library offers an increasing number of wonderful databases and information sources that cover the country, the world, and beyond, but what if your interests are a little more local? Like right down the street? Google provides the amazing Street View, but that doesn’t help much with more in-depth knowledge. (Unless, that is, all you’d like to do is use Google Earth to find the distance from your home to campus measured in Smoots – a Smoot being the length of one Oliver R. Smoot, Jr., an undergraduate and fraternity member who was used to measure the length of Harvard Bridge in 1958.) No, what you really want is Anchorage Indicators, updated in 2012 and available on the Municipality of Anchorage’s website as a pdf:
There’s information on demographics, education, economics, crime, labor, government, housing, and more in a 305-page document. And much of it can be directly compared with Anchorage Indicators reports from 2000, free downloads for which are available here in the Anchorage Indicators section:
In fact, some comparisons are provided in the appendices to Anchorage Indicators 2012. Unfortunately, the Municipality hasn’t updated the wonderful and even more focused Anchorage Indicators: Neighborhood Sourcebook since 1997, which provided extensive and easily compared neighborhood-by-neighborhood information; there’s no current link, so if you’d like a look, ask for it at the Reference Desk (REF HC108.A46 A525 1997).
The Municipality does offer the very localized My Neighborhood online fact finder:
but while useful, it doesn’t touch the depth or ability to compare neighborhoods of Neighborhood Sourcebook by a long shot. There is another site, Anchorage Live:
that can provide a surprising amount of detailed public information on an individual basis, but again, not on a neighborhood basis.
We have other local and historical information sources for Anchorage and Alaska, but Anchorage Indicators is always a good place to start. And for those of you who have decided that, all things considered, it actually sounds like a good idea to start measuring things in Smoots, you can find out more both at this website:
and in Smoot’s Ear: The Measure of Humanity by Robert Tavernor. We have that title in the General Collection at QA465.T38 2007. To measure using Smoots in Google Earth, just click on the measurement tool, choose Smoots in the dropdown menu, and start measuring away!