ABOUT THE ECONOMIC GROWTH CENTER DIGITAL LIBRARY
Supporting Economic Development Research:
A Collaborative Project to Create Access to Statistical Sources Not Born Digital
Introduction to the Economic Growth Center Library Collection
The Economic Growth Center at Yale, founded in 1961 by faculty in the Economics Department,
studies and promotes understanding of economic development within low-income countries and how development is affected by
trade and financial relations between these countries and those that developed earlier.
The Economic Growth Center Library Collection (EGCLC) focuses on materials relating to
statistics, economics and planning in over 100 developing countries. The EGCLC, which
directly supports the activities of the Economic Growth Center, is one of the most comprehensive
collections of its kind in the United States. It provides an historical perspective to
current research in globalization, urban studies and development policies.
Faculty and students from a variety of disciplines, but especially economics and
political science, use the EGCLC statistical data for their research and teaching on
education, health, social expenditures, economic development and labor.
The collection, which has been painstakingly acquired over more than 40 years,
has unrealized potential for supporting interdisciplinary and global research and
collaboration not only at Yale but at other research institutions in the United States,
in the countries from which the data originated, and in countries throughout the world.
This project focuses on the EGCLC because it contains data that are useful to faculty and
students in doing comparative studies of demographic, social and economic characteristics
of developing countries, but are underutilized for research because of inadequate
mechanisms for identifying and locating specific data within the collection.
Many of the publications lack a table of contents and an index, are published at irregular
intervals, are printed on acidic paper and are deteriorating; and the series are
distributed among several libraries on campus.
Creating the Economic Growth Center Digital Library
This project, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, digitized
a selection of Mexican state statistical abstracts and a selection
of Nigerian commodity price statistics volumes from the Yale University
Library’s Economic Growth Center Library Collection.
Working together with faculty members, researchers and information
specialists from Yale and other universities, the Social Science
Research Services and Social Science Libraries and Information Services
built a prototype archive using standard digitization practices
and emerging metadata standards to open up this material to all
possible forms of academic enquiry.
This project initially focused on the annual state statistical
abstracts of Mexico, spanning the years 1994-2000 for all 31 Mexican
states. This subset of material was selected because it provides
annual data at the state and municipal level and covers a variety
of social and economic indicators including education level, employment,
agricultural and industrial production and service sector activity.
In addition to its contribution to scholarship in studying economic
development, the Mexican data used in this project serve as a test
bed for exploring and evaluating the usability of statistical resources
via the Internet, and to analyze, define, and develop the internal
metadata structures needed for the scholarly use of digitized versions
of table- and statistically-intensive materials.
The second phase of the EGCDL project involved digitizing volumes
of commodity price
statistics for Nigeria and 16 Nigerian states, spanning the years
19772000. These volumes, of markedly different paper and print
quality than the Mexico materials, provided a good comparative test
for the digitization standards, procedures, costs, and outputs
and metadata production processes used for the Mexican series.
The EGCDL will co-exist with the physical collection and will
inspire researchers to expand their vision of access to statistical
series from developing countries, to experiment with online statistical
resources in new ways, and to build instructional and research applications
from the materials we launch into this new digital knowledge base.
The system has been built so that additional series in other languages
and from other countries may be added over time.
Preservation and Sustainability
Yale will provide ongoing operational support to the EGC Digital
Library and will commit to the long-term preservation of the digital
If you intend to use the digital statistical abstracts collection of
Mexican states for commercial purpose, you will need to request a license
or permission from Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía e Informática (INEGI). Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for
The Principal Investigators for the project are: Ann Green, Director of Social Science
Research Services (SSRS); Sandra Peterson, Director of the Social Science Libraries
and Information Services (SSLIS); and Dr. Christopher Udry, Professor of Economics and
Director of the Economic Growth Center.
The social sciences at Yale have for decades benefited from coordinated service
support between SSLIS and the SSRS. Our collaborations range from technical support,
to shared networked resources and computing clusters, to joint teaching, research
in digital archiving, digital asset management, and scholarly consultation services.
This project will extend that collaboration into new arenas and inform the overall
development of a ‘digital landscape’ for the information technology architecture of
The SSRS/SSLIS team for this project is Steven Citron-Pousty,
Manager of SSRS, Julie Linden, Data and Government Information Librarian
(SSLIS), Ann Green, Director of SSRS, and Sandy Peterson, Director
of SSLIS. Other staff advisors include Edita Baradi, Economic Growth
Center Librarian, and the Library's Latin American Curator, César