Thursday, August 6, 2009

Got the numbers...

Photo: Marie-Louise Siddle
Reflections at Chaffers Bay, Wellington Harbour
July 25, 2009
It goes without saying that statistics are an invaluable source for the information professional. They are also the most frustrating area to deal with, which is probably why many people working in international trade are happy to take any sets of figures they can find. Three points illustrate some of the difficulties faced.
1. I was checking all my links yesterday on the New Zealand School of Export website and discovered that the freely available Trade and Banking statistics that I had had for Russia no longer were available. In fact the Russian government doesn’t appear to provide any free statistical service. There are statistics available in other compilations and I will be using those.
2. Statistics New Zealand has just given its website a makeover and as a result has caused mayhem among New Zealand libraries with links to Statistics New Zealand pages. Even the Library at Statistics New Zealand has over 900 links to fix! Our website had only one – a measure perhaps of the fact that we haven’t come to terms with all the information that is offered there.
3. Today I had an information enquiry about exports from the Manawatu-Wanganui region. Locally we don’t have a port from which goods are exported so that has proved difficult. A report from BERL economics entitled: Economic Profile and Projections for the wider Manawatu Region:

has digested a lot of statistics and provides some help. Statistics New Zealand may have some way of tracking these figures but neither Table Builder or Infoshare on the revamped website have helped.

All in a day for the information trade professional I guess!

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