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Newsletters - Library Extension Program - LEP Newsletter 51 - February 2005
2005 Year Book Australia - ABS Centenary issue

All LEP libraries will have received their copy of the 2005 Year Book Australia. As ever, it provides a great overview of the economic and social conditions of Australia today. And, as ever, the Year Book is a user-friendly publication that can be the starting point in answering a myriad of queries that come across your library's reference desk. And, of course the Year Book and its earlier editions are also available free in full text in the Key Products section of the ABS home page.

The Year Book can help all sorts of library clients. School students will find it full of well presented accessible information whilst researchers appreciate it as an introduction to Australian statistics and for the context and background it provides on the understanding and interpretation of ABS statistics.

This 87th edition of the Year Book includes a number of special articles which mark the centenary of the national statistical service. These articles outline the development of the ABS and its predecessor, the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics over the past 100 years.

Other articles take a historic look at some of the ABS's major collections and the important impacts made by ABS statistics in public administration. This edition also maps the change in Australian key economic and demographic statistics in history, often stretching back 100 years.

Look for the CD ROM version inside the cover of the Year Book

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Welcome to our first issue for 2005, a particularly exciting year for the ABS, as it marks a century of service by the national statistical agency to the Australian community.

All LEP libraries receive the Year Book but you can expect to find a copy of the Year Book Australia in many other libraries too - even in some remote communities in the outback! The centenary edition contains many special articles to interest and inform library users.

Have you seen the new Population Pyramid of Australia on our web site? The NetNews article may whet your appetite to explore this great interactive tool. A word of caution - you may find yourself lingering longer than you may expect!

CURFs - what are they? Check out the special centre page spread to find out about CURFs - a veritable goldmine of statistics for researchers.

The Shortcuts section on page 8 reminds you about a good source of help to libraries - the LEP pages on the ABS web site.

Best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2005!

Kim Farley-Larmour
LEP National Manager

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The medium of the world wide web provides more opportunities than print to present information. The ABS, along with other national statistical bureaux, has been investigating how to take advantage of these opportunities.

The ABS has recently released an interactive and animated population pyramid on its web site.

This pyramid illustrates the changing age structure of Australia's population from 1971 to 2050.

In addition to showing the changing population structure, viewers can find out more detail about particular age groups (for any of the 80 years) by moving their mouse over the pyramid.

This population pyramid allows people to understand patterns in large quantities of numbers (24,000 in this case) with relative ease.

I recommend that you have a look at the pyramid - I think you will find the information fascinating, and easy to understand. It can be found under Australia's Population on the ABS web site home page.

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

Mano Georgopoulos
ABS Statistical Publishing Department

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A century of service to the Australian community

2005 is an important year for the ABS. It marks 100 years of service by the national statistical agency to Australian governments and the Australian community.
And libraries are part of the story. Libraries provide their communities with access to statistics produced by our national statistical agency. In addition, many LEP libraries have a special expertise in the help they can give their clients using ABS statistics. This expertise is supported by the training and advice offered by the LEP.

Libraries around Australia are promoting ABS statistics to their communities in 2005 with an ABS Centenary Display. Contact your LEP Coordinator at for promotional materials and ideas for how your library can be involved.

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New LEP faces in WA and SA

The LEP welcomes two new faces to our team and bids adieu to two of our dedicated, long-serving LEP Coordinators.

Maita Wilson is the new LEP Coordinator in Western Australia, taking over the reins from David Brown, who has just retired. David made a significant contribution to developing and extending the LEP program in WA and is well known by the WA library community. His dry sense of humour and his dedication to the LEP will certainly be missed in the future. Maita has worked with the ABS for nine years, gathering experience in various ABS subject areas, Statistical Consultancy, and in Client services and liaison. LEP clients will benefit from her wide experience in the ABS. Maita has a tertiary educational background in Psychology and French.

Carla Bianco assumes the role of LEP Coordinator for South Australia, while Pam Balfour moves on to other career opportunities - fortunately, still within the ABS! Pam has made a significant contribution to designing and developing LEP training material and made many friends in the SA library community. Carla has had a varied career in the ABS, including working on the 2001 Census Social Atlas Project and as Team Leader and Manager in the SA ABS Information Consultancy Unit. Her skills are very welcome in the LEP. Carla's tertiary background is in Science and Legal Studies.

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Confidentialised Unit Record Files - CURFs

Lead your clients to a research goldmine!

  • Do your library's clients sometimes need more detailed ABS statistics than is available via AusStats?
  • Do they wish to run their own statistical investigation using detailed survey data? Or use it for microsimulation, modelling and detailed analyses?
  • Perhaps a statistics or social science teacher would like to show students how to do quantitative research analysis using a collection of detailed statistical information?
An ABS CURF could well be what they need!

So, what is a CURF?
A CURF (Confidentialised Unit Record File) is a file of records from an ABS survey that provides the most detailed information that can be released by the ABS. Whilst the data is very detailed it has had all information that may identify people or organisations removed. This is what is meant by 'confidentialised.'

More about CURFs...
  • CURFs cover a range of topics including crime, health, census, education and household income and expenditure. There are currently 63 CURFs available, and the ABS releases 4 or 5 new CURFs every year.
  • CURFs are used for a variety of statistical purposes by university, government and private sector researchers. Researchers run statistical queries against the CURF data using analytical languages such as SAS and SPSS. A list of research projects for which CURFs have been used is available on the ABS web site.

Accessing CURFs
  • Researchers in universities subscribing to the ABS/AVCC CURF Agreement can access CURFs free if this is for non-commercial research and teaching purposes.
  • CURFs are also available for approved clients outside the ABS/AVCC CURF Agreement for commercial purposes.
  • Basic CURFs are provided on CD-ROM, with more detailed CURFs available via the ABS Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL).
CURF data is released under strict conditions. Researchers who wish to use CURFs must sign a legal undertaking to access the data.

Want to find out more?
Web site, select 'Services We Provide' then Confidentialised Unit Record Files

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ABS/AVCC Agreements for universities continue to 2007

The ABS and the Australian Vice-Chancellors Committee (AVCC) have extended the very successful ABS/AVCC AusStats and CURF Agreements until December 2007. The agreements provide university staff and students with access to an extensive range of ABS data for non-commercial research and teaching purposes. 38 Australian universities participate in the AusStats Agreement and 32 in the CURF Agreement.

The AusStats Agreement allows staff and students in participating universities to download publications, time series spreadsheets, 2001 Census data, data cubes and more from AusStats on the ABS web site free of charge. The CURF Agreement enables researchers to easily access the ABS' most detailed data, Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs) on CD-ROM and/or via the ABS Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL).

More information about the ABS/AVCC Agreements is available on the ABS web site. From the home page, select 'Education Resources', then Services for Universities.

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Free CURF Research Workshops

The ABS CURF Management Unit will be conducting free research workshops in Australian capital cities in March, April and May 2005. The workshops aim to review CURF use, identify clients needs and promote more extensive use of CURF data, particularly via the ABS Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL).

The workshops will bring together both active and potential CURF users from the university, government and private sector to discuss their needs and the ABS future directions for release of CURFs.

Information about the workshops, including dates and venues, will be available on the Access to ABS CURFs page on the ABS web site in late February. If you would like to attend a workshop in your capital city, please email to register your interest.

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Training news...

Rendezvous with researchers
'Counting on the ABS: Making the most of statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics' - was the title of a workshop run for researchers from Canberra's universities in January.

Kim Farley-Larmour, National Manager, Library Extension Program, and Pat Stracey, ACT Coordinator, Library Extension Program, showed the group of enthusiastic researchers some of the myriad paths to ABS information which could be useful in their research work. The spotlight was turned on the ABS web site, focusing on navigation, search tips and useful links. AusStats yielded its wealth of information as the wide range of material was sampled - from publications to data cubes. And participants were introduced to SuperTABLE, useful software used to manipulate data to produce tailored tables.

Carolyn Kennedy, Assistant Director, CURF/RADL Management Unit, and Donna Goodman, Client Manager, CURF/RADL Management Unit, introduced researchers to a statistical goldmine - CURFs (Confidentialised Unit Record Files).

Finally, students explored the ABS web site themselves during a hands-on session, using exercises (and answers!) provided.

Question: What do you get when you bring enthusiastic researchers and supportive ABS staff together?
Answer: In the words of a workshop participant: "I wish I'd done a course like this when I was researching for my Masters degree!"

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New title - Arts and Culture in Australia

6 million visited libraries in 2002!
How are Australians spending their free time? Find out in the new ABS title Arts and Culture in Australia: a Statistical Overview (Cat. no 4172.0).

Librarians will be pleased to discover that 6.1 million people visited libraries in 2002. This made libraries the second-most popular cultural venue to attend that year. Only cinemas were more visited.
Other fascinating highlights of this title:
87% of Australians watched TV for an average of just over 3 hours per day in 1997.
In a two-week period in 2003, some 82% of girls aged 5-14 years read for pleasure compared with 68% of boys.

Arts and Culture in Australia consolidates information from a number of sources, including non-ABS sources, to provide a statistical overview of culture in Australia. A range of topics is covered including employment in culture, time spent on cultural activities, attendance at cultural venues and events, expenditure on culture, and imports and exports of cultural goods and services. It also provides profiles of the cultural sectors, grouped according to the Australian Culture and Leisure Industry Classification (e.g. libraries and archives, performing arts).

AusStats and eLEP subscribers have access to these titles on the ABS web site as soon as they are released. Core List LEP libraries may request a copy by emailing

Interested in culture and recreation statistics? Read the NCCRS Newsletter on the ABS web site. Choose the 'News & Media' link on the ABS home page, then ABS Newsletters

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New eLEP subscribers

Nhulunbuy Community Library (NT)
Monaro Regional Library & Information Service (NSW)
Wollongong City Library (NSW)

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New and forthcoming releases

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

AusStats and eLEP subscribers have access to these titles on the ABS web site as soon as they are released. Core list LEP libraries may request a copy by emailing

Prisoners in Australia (Cat. no 4517.0)
Released 23 December 2004. Presents national statistics on prisoners in custody on 30 June 2004. These statistics describe the characteristics of prisoners, sentencing lengths, and offences for which offenders are imprisoned, and provide a basis for measuring change over time.

Involvement in Organised Sport and Physical Activity, Australia (Cat. no 6285.0)
Released 8 February 2005

Mature Age Persons Statistical Profile: Education and Training (Cat. no 4905.0.55.001)
Released 1 February 2005. This is the 6th in a series of seven monthly issues providing a comprehensive analysis of the characteristics of mature age persons, ie persons aged 45-64 years.

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LEP pages on the web

The LEP web pages are a good source of help for libraries.

Did you know....
... that the contact details for all LEP libraries are listed on our web pages?

And that the ABS products and services to which each library subscribes through the LEP are also shown?

Click on the map on the LEP home page and find your library's entry. Are your contact details up to date? If they are not, let us know!

What else will you find on the LEP web pages?

  • Advice on managing your ABS collection including guidelines on retention and future changes to ABS product numbering
  • Training materials for AusStats, the eLEP service and CLIB
  • Comprehensive information about the eLEP web service
  • The Historical Publications Index listing ABS national published output between 1907 and 1993
  • The full text of the LEP Partnership Accord which sets downs the privileges and obligations of LEP membership

Where can I find the LEP web pages?
From the ABS home page at click on 'Services we Provide', then Library Extension Program

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