The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 13, 2004 - 5
Federal grant helps 'U'
preserve election data
By Rosle Goldensohn
Daily Staff Reporter
While public opinion polls and voter records contain valu-
able information for researchers, such data have frequently
been lost or destroyed over time.
But thanks to a grant of more than $2 million awarded
last month from the Library of Congress. the University
will be leading five other schools in a three-year project to
preserve such data.
The Inter-University Consortium for Social and Political
Research - a part of the University's Institute for Social
Research and one of the world's largest social science data
archives - is teaming up with five other institutions to pre-
serve the records.
Opinion polls, voting records and social science data from
surveys on topics such as family income, factory closings and
race relations will be preserved.
Political science Prof. Ken Kollman, interim director of
the Center for Political Studies at the Institute, said such
information will be important to social science researchers
in the future.
"People who ... want to study the 2004 election, for exam-
ple, would want to have a record of how the candidates were
raising money over the Web and the kind of websites that are
attracting a lot of attention.... That's going to be interesting
for historians," Kollman said.
The grant for preserving election data is part of a broader
Library of Congress plan for a network of institutions to store
a wide range of digital data. A total of nearly $15 million
was distributed among eight institutions for preserving data
ranging from Southern music at Emory University in Atlanta
to broadcasts of the public TV news program Frontline on
the PBS channel at the Educational Broadcasting Corporation
in New York. A panel from the National Endowment for the
Humanities selected the participating institutions.
Congress mandated that the Library set up a collabora-
tive network for preserving such digital content in December
2000, appropriating $99.8 million for the project.
Guy Lamolinara, spokesman for the Library of Congress,
said the program will avoid the redundancies of paper records
held at numerous libraries, while leaving each institution to
study what it does best. "There's no way that one institution,
even the Library of Congress, can reserve and collect all this
electronic information. We really do need a network of part-
ners who have defined roles."
Lamolinara said digital preservation poses specific chal-
lenges that libraries do not face when collecting published
material. He said that unlike books, whose content remains
unchanged over time, Internet data needs to be preserved in
its original form because websites are frequently updated.
"We really need to think about it at the moment of cre-
ation," he said.
Also, the media by which digital data are recorded change
with time as technology improves. "There's regular reformatting
of digital data because there are periodic changes in the way that
data is stored and distributed," said Information Prof. Margaret
Hedstrom, a member of the national project's strategy board.
The Inter-University Consortium will join the University
of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, the University of Connecti-
cut, Harvard's Radcliffe Institute, the National Archives and
Records Administration and the Harvard-MIT Data Center
in building a shared content catalog and developing standard-
ized methods for describing and preserving survey data.
Archiving the records
The University has received a grant of more
than $2 million from the Library of Congress to
preserve various types of election data
Among the records that will be preserved are
voting records, public opinion polls and surveys on
topics such as family income and race relations
Five other schools are teaming up with the
University to take part in the three-year project
The project is part of a broader program
funded by the Library of Congress to collect
various types of digital data ranging from music
to TV broadcasts
Sharon fights to overcome
deadlock, expand coalition
JERUSALEM (AP) - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon officials, in
renewed efforts yesterday to expand his embattled coalition the Gaza p]
government, declaring the current political deadlock unten- but talks ar
able after his Gaza pullout plan suffered an embarrassing Political
blow in parliament. with Labor,
Sharon dispatched Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz to parties.
meet with the spiritual leader of Shas, a religious opposition Dalia Itz
party that has so far withheld support for the Gaza plan. lawmakers
It was the first of many feelers Sharon is expected to plan to a vo
put out in the coming days as he tries to shore up his gov- join the gov
ernment, which has lost its parliamentary majority due to "If we se
opposition to the pullout. we'll help h
Also yesterday, an 11-year-old Palestinian girl was shot Sharon's
in the chest and critically wounded by Israeli gunfire as she adding Lab
stood outside a United Nations school in a southern Gaza gious parti
refugee camp, U.N. and Palestinian medical officials said. ron's main
The army said its troops had opened fire
in the area after being attacked by Pal- CC
estinian mortar shells, and said it was The current
investigating the shooting. siuaio
Sharon wants to pull all Israeli troops political situation
and settlers out of Gaza next year but Can't continue, bu
faces growing opposition by his tradi-
tional hard-line allies in parliament. I will do everythi
At Monday's opening of its winter
session, lawmakers rejected Sharon's to prevent early
state-of-the-nation policy speech, in
which he defended his Gaza plan. The elections."
vote was symbolic, but reflected the sig-
nificant opposition he faces. Roughly a - Ariel Sha
quarter of lawmakers from Sharon's
Likud Party voted against the speech. Israeli Prime Mim
Over the heckling of hard-line law-
makers, Sharon said he would present the pullout plan for tary operati
approval Oct. 25 and then would bring a bill for compen- Sharon lI
sating the 8,500 settlers to be evacuated. if security d
Israeli officials and analysts said Monday's vote would force Sharon's
Sharon to court opposition parties or call early parliamentary beginning o
elections. The next elections are scheduled for 2006. deep ideolo
Sharon said yesterday he wants to avoid elections. the new par
"The current political situation can't continue, but I will Hanan C
do everything to prevent early elections," he said at a meet- said Sharon
ing with Justice Minister Joseph Lapid. engagemen
Mofaz, a close confidant of Sharon, met yesterday with He estim
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Shas's spiritual leader, and other party parliament
a bid to persuade the Orthodox party to support
Ian. The two sides did not reach an agreement,
e expected to continue.
officials said Sharon would also hold meetings
, the main opposition party, and other religious
ik, a senior Labor lawmaker, said the party's 21
will support Sharon when he brings the Gaza
ote. She also said the party would be willing to
vernment to avoid new elections.
ee that he won't have a government without us,
im," she said in an interview.
options are limited. Likud has voted against
bor to the government, while bringing in reli-
ts would alienate the secular Shinui, now Sha-
Sharon plans to dismantle all 21 Jew-
ish settlements in Gaza and four small
enclaves in the West Bank. After four
years of fighting with the Palestinians,
Sharon says the plan will boost security
It and rally international support.
The evacuation is to begin next sum-
n1g mer and last about 12 weeks, according
to a government timetable, but Sharon's
government might not survive that long.
Sharon said Israel still accepts the
wider ranging U.S.-backed "road map"
peace plan, but the Palestinians have
karon scuttled it by failing to stop militants
from attacking Israelis and refusing to
ister reform their administration. Palestin-
ians charge Israeli occupation and mili-
ions are perpetuating the violence.
eft open the option of changing the pullout plan
hard-line critics fear the Gaza plan is just the
of a larger withdrawal from the West Bank. The
ogical disagreements are expected to dominate
rystal, Israel Radio's political commentator,
will likely muster enough votes to push the dis-
t plan through parliament.
nated some 70 lawmakers in the 120-member
support the plan.
CNN Documentary explores challenges
of our education system by following
four new Teach For America teachers
working in some of the nation's
LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) - Nigerians
angry at rising fuel prices expanded a
nationwide strike yesterday that has
helped push world oil prices to record
There was no immediate impact on
the flow of oil from this volatile West
African nation, the continent's larg-
est oil producer and the fifth-biggest
source of U.S. oil imports.
Streets in the normally bustling com-
mercial capital of Lagos were deserted
for a second day as police with assault
rifles guarded major intersections.
"The strike is going on. It is entering its
second day," said Owei Lekeimfa, spokes-
man for the Nigeria Labor Congress, the
country's biggest labor federation. The
work stoppage is to last four days.
"Production is not affected," said a
Udom Inoyo, a spokesman for Mobil
Producing Nigeria Unlimited, a sub-
sidiary of ExxonMobil, the second big-
gest producer in Nigeria. He declined to
elaborate on staffing levels at the firm.
An official for Royal Dutch/Shell,
which accounts for roughly half of Nige-
ria's oil exports, said its executive offices
in Lagos were roughly "40 percent"
staffed, and that the company has put in
"measures to downplay the effect,"
Other major cities were shut down