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Monday, May 5, 2008

Our TRACFED Database

Jessica R. Alexander, Reference Librarian
My blog entry about authoritative sources for federal government statistics Are We a Nation of Prisoners, first posted on April 23, 2008, omitted mention of a database called TRACFED. The library has a subscription which can be accessed by the South Texas community through the alphabetical database list on our Stanley home page. (This database can also be accessed directly through their website by the public, although free access is more limited.)

This database publishes and analyzes government data gleaned from statistics that the federal government itself chooses to compile and from other sources such as Freedom of Information Act requests generated by the TRACFED experts.

For example, my blog entry referenced Inmate Count in U.S. Dwarfs Other Nations, a New York Times article about the rate of imprisonment in the United States. At TRACFED, a researcher can access a report on the number of prison sentences (per criminal offense) of one year or more handed down in January 2008.

For a researcher, TRACFED is a valuable resource. CAVEAT: For custom analysis, etc., an additional charge may apply.