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Newsletters - Library Extension Program - LEP Newsletter 58 - November 2006

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LEP Newsletter, 58, November 2006

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More than 4,000 new titles are being added to the ABS web siteSEIFA 2001 - Now free on the ABS web site
EditorialAustralia's Environment
NetNewsNew and forthcoming releases
CensusAtSchool Leads The Way!Local Government and ABS Newsletter
Census Roadshow - What's available at the moment?Shortcuts - Regional Statistics: new features, new content for the NRP
Training news...

More than 4,000 new titles are being added to ABS web site

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has added more than 4,000 extra publications to its collection of free online publications.

The set of mainly historical material includes all ABS publications, national and regional titles, released during 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997 including the Australia and State Year Books. With the addition of this set, the ABS web site will now hold all ABS publications released from 1994 to the present day.

This latest addition represents a 30% increase in the number of publications that people can view and download for free from the ABS web site at

Head of the ABS Information Services, Kerrie Duff said the addition of the material was a large step forward in the ABS mission to encourage informed decision making in the community by making statistics available to the public.

"It's a massive amount of new information that is available online," she said. "It represents four years of the work of the ABS and it will provide a rich resource for students of Australian social and economic history."

"In a real sense, with this move the digital age has captured some of the pre-digital past."

Some of these publications have been converted from older scanned images to pdf files. These historical publications will appear with all current publication pdf files and are treated as past issues when accessing them on the web site.


Wow, what a busy year! Free publications on the web, a Census year, new-look web site...and the LEP has been busy keeping you up-to-date with all of these changes. Last issue we also surveyed our readers to determine the effectiveness of this newsletter, and the results suggest it is time for a change of format and delivery. Next year we will be investigating new and timely ways of communicating the very latest ABS news to our clients.

What's in this issue? Mano has written about a couple of interesting developments in ABS web site functionality. While these might seem minor changes, they reflect the ABS continual commitment to improving web site access and usability.

And speaking of access, one of the growing areas of web development is in preserving the past. The ABS has a number of projects in progress to digitise historical publications. Expect to see a digitised version of the very first ABS Year Book from 1901 appearing on the web site soon.

Regional data fans will be happy to see an improved National Regional Profile section which now allows you to compare different regions and provides the user with sophisticated control over the data displayed, located in the 'Shortcuts' section.

Have a safe and enjoyable end-of-year celebration, and we look forward to working with you in 2007.

Michael Janssen-Gibson
LEP National Manager


What's new on the ABS Web site?
Breadcrumbs and Print Friendly options have now been added to the ABS web site.

You will have seen these on many other web sites (though you may not have known they are called breadcrumbs). This new feature will make navigating the ABS web site easier, as it displays the hierarchy of pages from the home page to your current screen, and allows you to return to any point along the 'path' by simply clicking on the link.

Image: Fig. 1: Follow this> catalouge number

Print friendly options:
This new feature will enhance printing functionality from all Statistical Products. By clicking the 'Print Friendly' link at the top right of the content on Summary and Explanatory Notes tabs, users will be presented with a display of the current content without the web navigation links.

Image: Print Friendly caption on web page

Together with your feedback and continued research into the latest web site functionality initiatives, the ABS will identify improvements and work to implement them on our site where appropriate.

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 Development

CensusAtSchool Leads The Way!

In the May issue of the LEP Newsletter the CensusAtSchool project was introduced. It is a non compulsory free classroom resource aimed at improving statistical literacy and promoting Census for students in Years 5 to 12. More than 112 000 students answered interesting and non-invasive questions about themselves and then investigated the data collected on a voluntary basis. This response compares very favourably to CensusAtSchool in other countries.

Questionnaire response data has now been released back to teachers and students as random samples, providing real, relevant data that students can directly relate to for use across the curriculum in all states and territories. The Random Sampler opened on 11 July 2006 enabling students to obtain random samples (up to a sample size of 200) from the CensusAtSchool database. To date over 35 000 random samples have been downloaded.

As well as promoting statistical literacy and the Census, widespread use of the data will enhance the profile of the ABS in the schools sector and encourage more use of ABS statistics in the classroom. Now students have access to real and relevant data about themselves and their peers from across Australia, as well as the infrastructure and support services to analyse this data.

An international conference of countries conducting the CensusAtSchool project is planned to be held in Melbourne in March 2007. It is hoped that one of the outcomes of the conference will be an international standard set of questions leading to Australian schools having access to both local and international CensusAtSchool data for analysis and comparison purposes in future collections.

Image: Census at SchoolsVisit the CensusAtSchool web page to find out more.

Census Roadshow

What's available at the moment?
Census experts are currently touring all the capital cities and selected regional areas of Australia. They are delivering Census information sessions to the public, talking about the various products both proposed and already available for census data. Check out the ABS web site for more information, but be quick as the roadshow is already in motion, go to,>Census User Information Sessions.

Missed out? Contact your State LEP Coordinator today to arrange a demonstration for you and your colleagues, or email Census for an information pack,
Training news...

Professional development workshop @ Albury TAFE
The LEP was pleased to be invited to run ABS training for ALIA Riverina earlier this year. Anne Freer, NSW LEP Coordinator ran training sessions at Wagga Wagga TAFE in April, and at La Trobe University in Wodonga in May. Attendees came from a number of different sectors, including public, university, TAFE, school, and Government Department library staff (some of whom had never attended ABS training before).

The organisers were Jennifer Vaughan, Manager Library & Information Services, TAFE NSW Riverina Institute and Tim Eggleston, Information Services Librarian, Albury-Wodonga Campus Library, Charles Sturt University. Tim said, "It was great to get an update on the web site and the census, and gave us a great opportunity to get together as librarians from different sectors."

The training was well received, with the most valuable areas of the training being the overview of navigating the ABS web site, and information on census data. One participant remarked that they particularly liked "Being shown how to navigate the site by someone who was a great speaker. It was all good."

Photo: Professional Development Workshop at Albury TAFE

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) 2006 Biennial Conference
Click06: 'Create, Lead, Innovate, Connect, Knowledge - was held at the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre from 19-22 September. It attracted 750 delegates from across Australia and internationally. The ABS was a very visible sponsor of, and exhibitor at, the conference. Hundreds of information professionals visited the ABS exhibition stand and spoke with the ABS staff about ABS data, in particular census data and the upcoming 2006 output. It was great to meet so many of our clients at the conference. Delegates were overwhelmingly positive about the ABS as an organisation and its data dissemination. Not surprisingly, everyone was extremely pleased about the free availability of the extended range of data via the ABS web site.

The Metropolitan Public Libraries Association (MPLA) 2006 Conference
Ever Ready and Powered Up was the theme of this year's conference, attracting over 250 delegates. The ABS exhibition stand staff received great feedback about the web site and the layout of the 2001 census data, with lots of interest in the 2006 census data. It was a great opportunity for NSW LEP Coordinator, Anne Freer and ACT LEP Coordinator, Dianne Walton-Sonda to promote the upcoming 2006 Census Information Sessions in Newcastle, Sydney and Canberra. Delegates were keen to organise training on the ABS web site and Census data. Congratulations to our hamper competition winner: Kemal Serdar, Multicultural Services Librarian at Auburn Council Library.

Spreading the word on the ABS Web Site in Queensland
The Queensland LEP Consultant, Kim Goodwin, took to the road to promote the new look ABS web site to the Wide Bay-Burnett region recently. "The focus for all the libraries I visited was on finding local statistics", Kim said. "The most common request for ABS data that community libraries receive is for local area statistics, so showing librarians how and where to access regional and small area data on the new site was very satisfying."

The sessions covered web site navigation strategies, search facilities and the new Census products. Feedback was very positive about the new site. The new Census products were a big hit providing, as they do, a wealth of information as well as the ability to choose the product that best suits the client's needs.

Kim was impressed that the Hervey Bay Library recognised the value of local statistics and had recently printed and bound the community profiles to be shelved with the rest of the ABS collection. This strategy has the added benefit of reducing the demand for computer time - always a popular library resource.

Would your library like LEP training? Contact your LEP Coordinator to find out when the next round of training is available.

SEIFA 2001 - Now free on ABS web site
Socio Economic Indexes for Areas, Australia 2001 is now available free of charge on the ABS web site. SEIFA consists of four summary measures, or indexes, derived from the 2001 Census of Population and Housing, to measure different aspects of socio-economic conditions by all Census geographic areas.

The 2001 Census of Population and Housing provides information on a broad range of social and economic aspects of the Australian population. Nearly 50 questions of social and economic interest are asked in the Census. People using census data are often not just interested in these items taken one at a time, but in an overview or summary of a number of related items. Statistical techniques are used to provide the SEIFA indexes.

There are four indexes:
  • Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage - A low index score indicates an area has many low income families and people with little training and in unskilled occupations.
  • Index of Relative Socio-Economic Advantage/Disadvantage - A higher index score indicates an area has attributes such as a relatively high proportion of people with high incomes or a skilled workforce. It also means an area has a low proportion of people with low incomes and relatively few unskilled people in the workforce.
  • Index of Economic Resources - This index reflects the economic resources of families within an area. The census variables summarised by this index reflect the income and expenditure of families such as income and rent. Variables such as dwelling size which indicate wealth are also included in this index.
  • Index of Education & Occupation - This index reflects the educational and occupational structure of communities. An area with a high score on this index would have a high concentration of people with higher education qualifications or undergoing further education, with a high percentage of people employed in more skilled occupations.
All Indexes have been constructed so that relatively disadvantaged areas have low index numbers.

To read more details on how the SEIFA indexes are calculated, please consult ABS Catalogue Number 2039.0, Information Paper, Census of Population and Housing, Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas, Australia, 2001.

The use of SEIFA indexes can be used for a range of research and business planning. For example a retail organisation wants to know where to set up a new boutique. The Index of Relative Socio Economic Advantage/Disadvantage could be used to pinpoint suburbs with high advantage, which will help the organisation to identify suitable locations. SEIFA 2001 Indexes are presented on the ABS web site by separate States. The ABS Catalogue Number is 2033.x.55.001 (x = State).

Australia's Environment
The latest snapshot of Australia's environment will be released 10 November, with a range of statistics collected by the ABS and other sources presented in a format that is easy-to-read and understand.

Australia's Environment: Issues and Trends, 2006 (ABS cat. no. 4613.0), contains a feature article called Solid Waste in Australia. The Trends section of the publication covers major trends of relevance to Australia's environment. These are divided into: population and urban trends, human activity trends (including energy use and waste), atmosphere trends, water trends, and landscape trends.

The 2006 edition is the third in a series that presents a broad selection of environmental statistics and information on topical environmental issues. It features a useful cumulative topic index at the back which shows all the topics that have been featured in this and previous editions.

New and forthcoming releases
These titles are a selection of what the ABS is currently releasing this quarter. They are available free on the ABS web site. Keep up to date by subscribing to the free ABS Email Notification Service.

Water Access Entitlements, Allocations and Trading (ABS cat. no. 4610.0.55.003) released 13 October 2006.
Estimates of Regional Water Use (4610.0.55.002) release due December 2006.
With water management and water reforms currently key issues for Australia, these two new publications provide useful data in this area. The first presents data on the number of water access entitlements, the volume of water allocated to water access entitlements, and water trading in Australia. The second publication presents water use data at a regional level for the first time.

A Guide to the House Price Index 2006 (ABS cat. no. 6464.0) released 8 November 2006.
Need timely accurate data on the housing industry? Want to know how the new ABS House Price Index works? At the end of 2005 the ABS revamped the quarterly House Price Index to improve the timeliness, reliability and consistency of house price information. Now this easy to read guide explains the House Price Index (HPI) for general users. With this title you will be able to answer: What is the HPI? How is it calculated? How is the HPI used? and more.

Pregnancy and Employment Transitions, Australia (ABS cat. no. 4913.0) released 23 October 2006.
What are women's current working experiences while pregnant and after returning to paid work? The ABS has conducted a new survey to find out. This publication contains data on the employment circumstances of women who had a child under two years of age. It includes aspects of women's working experiences while pregnant and after returning to paid work, as well as the use of leave by women and their partners following the birth of a child.

Local Government Newsletter:
The September 2006 issue of the Local Government and ABS Newsletter includes:
  • Update on the latest version of the National Regional Profile
  • How is total water use estimated for regional areas? Water issues are often localised in nature, so a new methodology has been developed to enable collection of water use data at lower geographic levels.
  • Key statistics for use of computers and the internet on farms


Regional Statistics: new features, new content for the NRP

The latest version of the National Regional Profiles (NRP) was released in September 2006.
It now caters for:
  • users who want a brief snapshot of their region.
  • those who want more detailed regional data.
  • and those who want to compare regions.

What is the National Regional Profile?
  • First released in 2004, the NRP is an easy to use facility for locating 5 years of data at various geographical levels, including Local Government Areas.
  • You can find brief statistical summaries of key economic and social information from a variety of ABS and non-ABS sources.
  • Data includes Estimated Resident Population, some Census data, births and deaths, unemployment, income support customers, taxable income, building approvals, motor vehicle sales, and agriculture.

What's new in 2006
The NRP now includes:
  • Local Government Finance.
  • Indigenous population estimates.
  • Some 2001 Census data - including persons born overseas, persons speaking a language other than English, qualifications, occupation, families, households.

New features include:
  • Summary web pages for regions - four web pages of data available under the topic headings of Economy, Population/People, Industry and Environment/Energy. Users will be able to view one region at a time with this feature.
  • SuperTABLE datacubes - allows users to view and compare data for many regions.

How to access the NRP?
The National Regional Profile is available from the 'Regional Statistics' links on the ABS home page.
  • Users can select a region by name or drill-down to the area they want using maps.
  • Remember: keep clicking on the twistie or map region until the required geographic level is reached.

The Profile is available for most Statistical Local Areas, most Local Government Areas, Statistical Subdivisions, Statistical Divisions, states and territories and Australia.

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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