Author Archives: rterry

College athlete labor decision: a government document

Do you remember reading about college athletes in the news earlier this semester?

In August, news sources across the country reported on a decision about Northwestern University football players who petitioned to form a union and, essentially, to be recognized as employees. That decision came from the National Labor Relations Board, or NLRB.

You’ll find a record for electronically-published NLRB decisions in the Consortium Library catalog; that record provides links to the NLRB Cases & Decisions website. As a participant of the Federal Depository Library Program, the Consortium Library provides access to government publications such as NLRB decisions.

Why might you want to follow that link to view this kind of government document for yourself? This particular NLRB decision is 19 pages long, and it is a detailed document that can’t be fully represented by a 30-second news clip or a 300-word news article. There’s no substitute for reading the full text for yourself. Also, locating the full text from its original source can lead you to related sources — in this case, the many other documents NLRB has pertaining to this issue. Following these kinds of breadcrumbs is key to doing thorough research.

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Goodbye LexisNexis, Hello Westlaw

If you use LexisNexis to find business and legal information, there’s a change coming to our database lineup that you’ll want to know about. Our access to LexisNexis will end on July 31, 2015. Earlier this year, we purchased Westlaw, a database that also provides business and legal information. If you’ve been using LexisNexis for your research, give Westlaw a try. If you have any questions about using Westlaw (or any of our other databases, for that matter), you can call, email, or chat with a Reference Librarian by visiting

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Census Data Workshop

When I drove to work the other day, I was one of about 10,000 people in Anchorage who left for work between 8:30-8:59 AM. I chose not to leave home between 7:00-8:29 AM, when around 60,000 people in Anchorage travel to work, most of them in a vehicle that they drive alone. Good data can inform everything from your daily commute to salary negotiations for your first job after graduation. Tables B08301 and B08302 of the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, for example, provide information about work commutes for the geographic location of your choice.  You can search for this information through American FactFinder (AFF), one of the main tools for finding data from the US Census Bureau. AFF allows you to search for information about communities, housing, the economy, population, and much, much more.

If you’d like to learn more about Census Bureau data and the tools used to access it, reserve a seat for the Consortium Library’s census data workshop on Friday, April 24, 2015. A data dissemination specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau will lead the workshop in room 309 of the Consortium Library. There will be two sessions: Demographic and Household Data from 8:30 AM – 12 PM, and Economic and Business Data from 1:30 PM – 5 PM. You can attend one or both sessions in person or online through Blackboard Collaborate. Reserve your spot by April 22 using this link:

Session #1: Demographic and Household Data (8:30 a.m.–noon AKDT)

This session will highlight data from the main demographic programs of the Census Bureau, the Decennial Census and the American Community Survey. Topics include:

• How to start a data search

• Census Bureau demographic programs

• Census concepts

• Accessing the data

• Tips for grant writers

• Presenting the data

• Sources and resources

• DIY exercises (facilitated)

Session #2: Economic and Business Data (1:30–5 p.m. AKDT)

This session will cover the rich sources of economic and business data from the Census Bureau and will demonstrate how to combine economic and demographic data. Topics include:

• Economic concepts and terminology

• How economic data are organized

• Economic programs from the Census Bureau

• How data are used

• Data for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and researchers

• Resources

• DIY exercises (hands-on)

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