Monthly Archives: September 2011

Citywide Agency Performance Reporting


How well are NYC’s agencies performing?  Look to

Citywide Performance Reporting (CPR)

for a collection of performance measures from more than 40 city agencies.  Search by agency or citywide theme to get performance measures data tables and pie charts.  New data is added once a month.

Earthquakes, Typhoons and Famine — Oh, My!


When disaster strikes across the globe, the countries affected take measures to relieve the suffering and aid those stricken by misfortune. But often local resources are not adequate, and that is when the international community springs into action. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies was founded in 1919, in response to the horrors of World War I. Today one of its key areas of activity is in disaster response and recovery. IFRC has just issued the World Disasters Report 2011, which focuses on the growing crisis of hunger and malnutrition.The IFRC is not alone — other agencies also work on disaster relief and hunger. The Bread for the World Institute issues an annual report on Hunger, the European Commission on Humanitarian Aid reports on its activities through its Annual Review, The United States provides humanitarian and disaster assistance via various programs, most notable by USAID and its Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, which is outlined in its Annual Report.


Intro to GIS


elevation mapThis Friday 9/23 we’re offering the first of two Intro GIS workshops from 10:30am – 12:30pm in 215 Lehman Library (DSSC Data Service).

The workshop will be repeated again next week on 9/30 at the same time.

Registration is now open;  the workshop will give a basic overview of GIS, data models, spatial analysis, projections, finding data, and working with your own data.

There are two hands-on exercises, both using ESRI ArcGIS software so everyone who attends will get a chance to use the software and explore some of what we cover in the talk.

The Intro workshop is meant for anyone who either has had no previous experience with GIS or for anyone needing a refresher.

Bloomberg Basics

lehman2009-03-09dsc_43911Bloomberg Basics will teach the basic navigation and searching skills necessary to begin using Bloomberg.  Instruction sessions are offered at the Digital Social Science Center in Lehman Library, and be sure to check out the Bloomberg Help Guide for navigation commands and tips.

  • October 7th, 10am ~ 11am
  • October 21st, 10am ~ 11am
  • November 4th, 10am ~ 11am

Register here – space is limited!  Can’t attend to one of the sessions above?  Request an individual or small group consultation.

UN General Assembly

The 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly opens today. As usual, there is a large number of items on the agenda. The UN’s Dag Hammerskjold Library maintains a useful Research Guide to General Assembly Documents. There is also a Columbia University Library guide to United Nations Resources, and we subscribe to a number of online databases useful for pursuing research on the UN, including AccessUN, the United Nations Treaty Collection, UNBISnet, UNdata, and UN Commtrade.




Today is the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. According to a Pew Research Center poll, 97% of Americans aged eight or older at the time of the event remember exactly where they were when it happened. The Columbia University Libraries has two websites about the destruction of the World Trade Center and its aftermath. For official government documents about the attack, you can use the research guide, The World Trade Center Attack: the Official Documents. For ind-depth interviews with people most directly affected by the attack, visit the website for the 9/11 Oral History Project. A new book has been published based on these interviews, After the Fall: New Yorkers Remember September 2011 and the Years That Followed.




Homeland Security Digital Library and 9/11


As we approach the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, you may want to find research materials related to the attack or to homeland security in general. One excellent source is the Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL), which is maintained by the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security. The HSDL contains over 92,700 documents related to homeland security policy, strategy, and organizational management from a wide variety of sources including federal, state and local governments; international governments and institutions; nonprofit organizations and private entities. It currently features a number of items commemorating 9/11 as well as key policy and strategy documents, including national strategy documents, presidential directives, key legislation, executive orders and Congressional Research Service reports.


Google Scholar Tips


Everybody is using Google Scholar to find relevant material for their research papers, right? *

But are you getting the most out of Google Scholar? Here are some tips:

1) Click on the link at the top right of the page, Scholar Preferences.

2) In the section called Library Links, type "Columbia" in the box and click on "Find Library." This brings up an option, "Columbia University in the City of New York – e-Link @ Columbia," which if you check it, will provide you with links to the full text of the articles that you find in Google Scholar, if Columbia provides you access to the full text of those journals.

3) A little farther down the page is a section called Bibliography Manager. If you use one of the bibliographic citation software packages that Columbia provides for you for free (and you should!), you can click on the button to activate a link for each item you find in Google Scholar which will allow you to download that citation into your bibliographic citation folder. Easy!

4) Click on Save Preferences and these options are now saved on that computer forevermore.


* Please don’t tell me that you’re using plain Google for serious research …. please …