Reference Publishing Discussion Forum


Vicki Bloom, Editor

About fifty librarians, publishers, and vendors attended the Reference Publishing Discussion Forum: “Life after the Statistical Abstract,” sponsored by RUSA/CODES Reference Publishing Advisory Committee.Moderated by Alesia McManus, owner of the “Save the US Statistical Abstract” Facebook page, Alesia McManus, along with Dan Coyle from ProQuest and Bruce Samuelson from Bernan Publishing spoke about what the proposed demise of the Statistical Abstract means for reference librarians and library users. Here are some highlights:

Dan Coyle from ProQuest remarked that all of the public domain content (90%) of the content is received at ProQuest. They ingest the data and use it in a variety of publications, including Statistical Insight. Coyle said that there is a possibility that Proquest will continue publishing Statistical Abstract with deeper indexing of the tables. Bruce Samuelson from Bernan Publishing stated that his company does publish the Statistical Abstract; in fact, it is the second largest title that they sold for years. Moving forward, Bernan is looking to publish it themselves but only in print. Librarians agree that Statistical Abstract has three great virtues—comprehensive data in one location, footnotes for further information, and low price. Plus it includes data collected from private sources. Whatever the end result, librarians don’t want a product that is too complicated.

Also discussed were open access and/or grant funding, the Statistics Canada model, and the advocacy role of ALA. While it hasn’t been updated in ages, perhaps librarians should visit the FedStats website and request newer information as an indication of interest. Perhaps those interested could use CapWiz, a legislative action center within ALA as an outlet. Alesia McManus plans to continue maintaining her Facebook page and is hoping to establish an ALA Connect group devoted to this issue.

Bill McHugh, Chair