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Newsletters - Library Extension Program - LEP Newsletter 53 - August 2005

Many LEP libraries have been providing online access to ABS publications via the ABS web site. But, as of 1 July, the ABS is providing free access to electronic publications to everyone wherever they may be – home, business, school, or in their local library. eLEP subscribers no longer need to let us know about changes to their IP addresses as no special IT set up or passwords are required - just access to the Internet!

What's free?
  • All electronic publications in PDF and HTML format. Over 1,000 titles back to 1998.
  • Electronic tables in spreadsheet or data-cube format which contain publication tables.

And, most, if not all, of the remaining ABS standard priced products could be free from 1 January 2006, pending a final decision. This would include time series spreadsheets and data cubes.

Whilst your clients may not need to come into the library as often in order to access ABS publications, they will continue to need your library's expertise to help identify the ABS information they need. This is a great opportunity to raise your community’s awareness about the wealth of ABS information which is now freely available to them.

And the ABS Library Extension Program will continue to be there to support its members with selected free printed publications and with free training, advice and support.

Want more information? Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are provided on our web site at Select the trolley icon, 'Publications now free to download' link on the right hand side. Or email us at

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The theme for this issue could well be “ABS good news stories”!

  • Anyone with an Internet connection can now freely access the full text of ABS publications. See the story on page 1.
  • Our web team has been working hard to improve the usability of the ABS web site.
    - Advanced Search is back! See NetNews and Shortcuts on page 8 for more.
    - We unveil the new look AusStats – coming to our web site soon – see the Pull Out Guide on page 4. Use it at your Information Desk. Ask your LEP Coordinator for training to show you through the new look AusStats. And let us know what you think when you use it.
  • The LEP Excellence Award was launched during Library and Information Week. We’ve received some impressive entries, showcasing your promotional talent and dedication to informing library users. We’ll bring you the winning entry in our next issue.

Read on …

Pat Stracey
LEP National Manager (Acting)

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Searching the ABS web site

One way we can help people find the information they are looking for on the ABS web site is to improve our within-site search. Jacob Nielsen (1999), in Designing Web Usability asserts that more than half of all web users demonstrate 'search-dominant' tendencies by going straight to search when they first visit a web site. Other studies indicate that certain sites can be considered 'search-dominant', not users (Spool, 2001). In either case is it clear that within-site search is important.

Recently, the ABS web team have improved a number of elements of the within-site search available on the web site:

Advanced Search helps find specific information by narrowing the scope of a search request. This option is available from the 'Advanced' link in the top banner on most ABS web pages (next to the basic search field).

And Advanced Search also allows users to limit their search to specific areas of the web site, including Statistical Products (publications, spreadsheets, etc.), Corporate Information, School Education, etc.

For more detail check out the Shortcut on Advanced Search.

The information provided in lists of search results is also important.

Search results are now more informative including elements such as a catalogue number, product title, issue date and product type.
Further improvements to the ABS within-site site search engine are planned for the future.

If you would like to provide your feedback on the ABS web site, or for more information on the new AusStats design, please contact me at

Mano Georgopoulos
ABS Statistical Publishing Department
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Launch of the LEP Excellence Award a great success!

The LEP Excellence Award was launched during Library and Information Week in May by the Australian Statistician, Dennis Trewin. Guests included a wide cross-section of the Canberra and region library community and senior ABS staff.

The LEP Excellence Award recognises and rewards LEP libraries for excellence in raising their communities' awareness, understanding and use of ABS information.

Entries for this year's Award closed on 31 July 2005. Start thinking about entering for next year's Award. This is a great opportunity to showcase the great work your library is doing for your community. We have received some exciting entries, evidence that LEP libraries have been actively promoting ABS information to their users. The winner will be announced in September, presented with $1500 worth of ABS products or services, a trophy and featured in the next LEP Newsletter.

Photo: LEP Excellence Award Launch
Left to right: Jennefer Nicholson (Executive Director, ALIA), Karen Vitullo (Director, ABS Library and Extension Services), Dennis Trewin (Australian Statistician), Roger Norton (Mayor, Cooma-Monaro Shire Council), Roxanne Missingham (Assistant Director, General Resource Sharing Division, National Library of Australia), Jennifer Cheffers (Director, ABS Marketing), Steve Dangaard (Director, ABS Media and Public Relations).

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Australia's statistics through time...

With the public libraries in New South Wales celebrating History Week in September, and the ABS celebrating its Centenary year, this is a good opportunity for the LEP to feature ABS resources that contain historical information. Perhaps these sources could be used to mount a statistical display painting a historical picture of your local area.

Some ABS resources:

The microfiche and its catalogue are accessible in the State Libraries, National Library and many University Libraries.

Or contact your LEP Coordinator by phone or email to with your historical questions.

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Training news...

Up to date with ABS at Fairfield City Library
The LEP has been part of a Reference Training program at Fairfield City Library since November 2004. The program aims to increase staff skills with training in all aspects of reference services - including making best use of ABS information to assist library clients. Jennifer Wilson, Training and Development Librarian structured a week long intensive program for library staff. This included a half day training session from the NSW LEP Coordinator Anne Freer. Jennifer says that the LEP involvement in the training program has been very useful for library staff, and has increased their understanding of accessing and using ABS statistics.

Photo: NSW LEP Coordinator, Anne Freer and Fairfield Library staff.

A winter's day in Bendigo
On a crisp winter day in July Helen Leary (the Victorian LEP Coordinator) travelled to Bendigo for training at Goldfields Regional Library. Morning and afternoon sessions were attended by staff from across the branches and feedback was very positive.

Helen reports that there was a keen interest in CLIB to obtain population data for local and small areas, although in the past census geography caused a few problems. Vivien Newton, the Information and Education Services Manager at Goldfields said that learning more about the SLA Maps was invaluable. These give more detail on roads, rivers and other significant features than is available in the CLIB. The SLA Maps are particularly helpful when assisting with requests for information about other regions.

Photo: Goldfields Regional Library staff attending LEP Training

Terrific in Tasmania

During Australian Library Week 2005, the State Library of Tasmania's Reference Service took the opportunity to promote the ABS. Staff are pictured here in front of the impressive ABS display which formed the centre piece of the promotion. To build on interest generated by the display, members of the public were able to book into Internet sessions with library staff to explore the ABS web site in greater depth with the guidance of an expert user.

Photo: Library staff of the State Library of Tasmania pictured infront of the Statistics Across Australia display.
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Social trends unveiled

The ever popular Australian Social Trends 2005 (Cat. no 4102.0) was released in June, with a print copy sent to all LEP libraries.

AST opens a window to Australia's social conditions, blending statistics and analysis to paint an information rich landscape. Want to know more? Read your copy to discover why this is one of the ABS' most popular annual publications.

What's new in this issue?

  • The number of people living alone is projected to increase from 1.8 million in 2001 to between 2.8 million and 3.7 million in 2026.
  • A vast majority of households in 2004 (90%) reported conserving water by using water saving devices.
  • The social circumstances of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have improved since 1994 with increases in educational attainment, employment and home ownership.
  • Babies born to women aged 30 years or more accounted for half (51%) of Australia's total fertility rate in 2003.
  • From grandparents ... Many grandparents play a caring role for their grandchildren, providing almost a third of the total hours of child care in 2002...
  • ... To people in their twenties: What a difference a generation makes! Life for people in their twenties in 2001 has changed a lot since 1976.

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New and forthcoming releases

These titles are a selection of what the ABS is currently releasing this quarter. Full information on Releases is available from the link on the centre of the ABS homepage. These titles are also now available free on the ABS web site. Keep up to date by subscribing to the free ABS Email Notification Service.

New South Wales in Focus (Cat. no 1338.1). This publication provides extensive statistical data on people, economy and the environment of New South Wales. Sent in print to NSW LEP libraries.

Aging Well, Persons Aged Fifty Years And Over, Queensland (Cat. no 4409.3 ). This new title includes specific data of persons aged 50 years and over in Queensland. Released 21st July 2005.

Job Vacancies, Australia (Cat. no 6354.0) is another valuable title for libraries. It contains estimates of the number of job vacancies with State and Territory and industry dissections in a spreadsheet format. Released 30 June 2005.

The June 2005 issue of the Local Government and ABS Newsletter includes:
  • How fast is the population of your region growing?
  • New information about the operations of local government libraries
  • What's happening in Local Government Finance?

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Tips for using Advanced Search on the ABS web site

Use the Advanced Search option to refine and control your search for more precise results.

1. Select the option from the top banner of most web pages:

Graphic: example of location of Advanced search link

2. Type your search terms in one or more of the boxes provided:
  • With all the words - will narrow your search to find only items with all the words (Boolean AND)
  • With any of the words - will broaden your search to find items with any or all of the words (Boolean OR)
  • With the exact phrase - will restrict results to items with the words next to each other
  • Without the words - narrows your results, excluding the words entered (Boolean NOT)

3. Consider limiting your search to one or more parts of the ABS web site for more relevant results. Check the boxes to limit the search:
    • Statistical products – for publications, spreadsheets, data cubes, etc.
    • Non-Statistical products – for feature articles, information and research papers, etc.

4. Use wildcard symbols ‘?’ or ‘*’ before or after a text string to find all variations of a word. For example, school? will find school and schools, as well as schooling.
Try this search: if you want to find information about schooling during Federation, but do not want information on primary schools and only want information in the school and education reference area, your search would look like:
graphic: Advanced Search

Click on Search Tips to find out more about how you can refine or broaden your search results.

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