Author: Renaine Julian

Associate Director of STEM Libraries at Florida State University

Immigration: An interdisciplinary symposium

The University Libraries has a rich tradition of hosting interdisciplinary symposia. In the past, faculty members and students from across the disciplines have come together at the Libraries to explore topics such as water, open education, academic publishing, coffee, ethnography, and climate science.  On Thursday, November 7, 2019, the University Libraries will continue this tradition by hosting a symposium on the topic of immigration

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Attendees gather for a presentation at last year’s Climate Science Symposium

The event will be held in the Bradley Reading Room in Strozier Library and is sponsored by the FSU Civil Rights Institute as well as the College of Social Sciences & Public Policy. Coffee, pastries, and lunch will be provided. Everyone is welcome to attend. 

Throughout the day, different presenters will look at the topic of immigration from the perspective of their particular disciplines. The schedule has been structured to allow for numerous presentations and perspectives, as well as dialog and conversation. A primary objective of the symposium is to model critical thinking and civil discourse in a positive environment.

Terry Coonan, director of the Center for the Advancement of Human Rights, and Darby Scott, director of the FSU Immigration Law Project, will kick off the day by talking about current issues, recent policy changes, and legal battles.  They will discuss topics like diminishing protections for refugees and asylum-seekers, changes to DACA, birthright citizenship, and family separation. Suanne Sinke, Professor of History, will examine the role of family in three different groups in three different time periods of U.S. immigration. Justin Vos, also from History, will look specifically at how letters are used to encounter the first-hand perspective of immigrants, and Professor of English, Virgil Suarez, will share how his own poetry is witness and record to his family’s immigrant experience. From an anthropological perspective, Vincent Joos (Modern Languages) will discuss the brutal repression of migrants in northern France and the persistence of those migrants to rebuild their lives in the U.K. Javier Ramos, from Criminology, will then examine the link between immigration and recidivism. Ramos’ research considers the impact of legal status and nationality on the tendency to reoffend. The next two presenters, Miguel Hernandez, the co-interim director of the Center for Leadership & Social Change, and Luciana Hornung, Associate General Counsel, will both look at the impact of immigation policies on our own FSU community. Hernandez will talk about the efforts FSU has taken over the past two decades to support students that are unauthorized residents, and Hornung will discuss hot topics in employment-based immigration cases, immigrant visas, and the role of in-house counsel. Finally, Matt Hauer, a sociologist and demographer, will talk about his research on forced migration due to sea-level rise and how that migration could reshape the U.S. population distribution.  

We hope that you will be able to join us for an day of collaboration and engagement around this very important topic. A detailed schedule of the day can be found at this site: https://www.lib.fsu.edu/immigration

The 2014 Election and the power of open data!

I spend a considerable portion of my time convincing researchers of the benefits associated with publishing their data online in open repositories. Bringing up things like reproducibility of research and the idea of others using their original data sets to advance scholarship in their field or another are my usual selling points. Academics produce vast amounts of data that has value well beyond the scope of their original project. That being said, government agencies produce endless amounts of data and information as they conduct their day to day business. There are obvious products that have mounds of useful information in them, like the U.S. Census or the American Community Survey. Governments rely on information in all sorts of formats to perform countless tasks on a day to day basis. For example, many local governments rely on spatial data of their infrastructure (roads, sewers, power lines) to set maintenance schedules or to select an ideal space for new residential development.

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What is a Census Research Data Center and Why Should You Care?

This semester, FSU became the newest consortial member of Atlanta’s Census Research Data Center. Funded primarily by the College of Social Sciences and the Office of Research, the Florida State community can now use Census micro-data without paying lab fees, which can range upwards of $15,000 per project.  There are currently 18 Census Research Data Centers in the United States, and outside of North Carolina’s Research Triangle the only one located in the southeastern United States is The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

So, what is a Census Research Data Center? The Center for Economic Studies defines Census Research Data Centers (RDCs) as U.S. Census Bureau facilities, staffed by a Census Bureau employee, which meet all physical and computer security requirements for access to restricted–use data. At RDCs, qualified researchers with approved projects receive restricted access to selected non–public Census Bureau data files.

Where do college graduates work? Visualization based on 2012 Census data.

Where do college graduates work? Visualization based on 2012 Census data.

To understand the true value of doing research with non-public data from the RDC, it’s important to note the difference between micro data and macro data, which is often referred to as aggregate data. When most of us use datasets for research or analysis, we’re looking at summary figures. For example, if you extract Census data for analysis, you’re typically looking at some sort of summary or aggregation for a specific geographic unit. These geographic units range from state, county, city as well as much smaller units such as census tracts and block groups. Regardless of unit of analysis, the data itself is a summarization of individual survey responses for participants in that specific area.

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