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All mappable SABINS data are delivered through our SABINS/NHGIS data extraction system. Users select the data tables and GIS school boundary files they are interested in, and the system creates a custom-made extract containing this information. Data are generated on our server, and the system sends out an email message to the user when the extract is completed. The user must download the extract and analyze it on their local machine.
Users need to register for a free account with SABINS before they can submit an extract request. Users do not, however, need to login or register prior to building an extract request. Detailed information on using the data extraction system can be found on the User’s Guide page.
The key to these unique column names is found in the Codebook file that was automatically included in your data extract. Look for the .txt file in the zipped file you downloaded, and it will shed some light on your data.
Absolutely not! Any spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel will work fine, and even that is not technically required. Statistical software may make it easier to analyze large amounts of data, and SABINS does provide data with a command file specific to each of these major software packages.
There are lots of reasons why something may seem wrong with your data. Typically (but not always), the issue stems from trying to use the incorrect data format for your software or by not being aware of the many, many odd quirks that exist with older census data. Review the information on the User’s Guide and Data Documentation pages for additional information. Of course, always feel free to contact SABINS User Support at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have!
You might not realize how much data that really is (into the terabytes…)! Users frequently ask for this, thinking it will save them time if they have every file we have; trust us, it won’t. Sifting through over ten thousand tables and hundreds of thousands of fields is not an easy task. Data hungry researchers are free to email SABINS if they have a unique situation regarding the need to have data delivered outside of the website data extraction system. Honoring said requests, however, is at the discretion of SABINS staff.
SABINS and NHGIS do not have international data. Other projects of the Minnesota Population Center do contain an international element, yet are microdata rather than aggregate data based. These include IPUMS-International and NAPP.
There are several options for those who do not have access to Esri ArcGIS. A number of open source GIS programs are available, including GRASS and QGIS. In addition, the website www.socialexplorer.com allows online mapping of select SABINS data. Another option students often use is the free student licenses provided by Esri that can often be had through the GIS or Geography department for class purposes, or by purchasing select books from the Esri Press. Student licenses vary in length, but are typically 6 or 12 months.
SABINS has made it as easy as possible to join data tables to their respective GIS boundary files. Under Public School Data you will find association tables that contain a column called SABINSID and another column called NCESSCH. The variable SABINSID corresponds to the column of the same name in the GIS boundary file. The variable NCESSCH is a unique school identifier with a corresponding column in CCD data. Additional information on using these association tables can be found under the heading User's Guide.
Unfortunately, the maximum number of columns in a .csv file that Esri ArcGIS can normally import is 256 and any additional fields are truncated. This is a known issue to Esri and Microsoft and is outside the control of SABINS. Using the Quick Import tool that is part of the Data Interoperability extension to ArcGIS is the easiest workaround but not everyone has it available. Other solutions do exist and additional information on the issue, along with instructions on using the Quick Import tool, can be found on the User’s Guide page. In addition, be advised that older versions of Microsoft Excel (pre-2007) have this same 256 column limitation as Esri ArcGIS.
Data for the contiguous US is projected in Albers Equal Area Conic projection. Hawaii shapefiles are projected in Hawaii Albers Equal Area Conic projection. Alaska shapefiles are projected in the Alaska Albers Equal Area Conic projection.
The initial release of the SABINS data extract system provides access to data, both spatial and non-spatial, for all school attendance boundaries in the database. This design provides academic scholars with access to the large amounts of data required for their research. Future releases of the data extract system will allow users to obtain data for school attendance boundaries in a given state or set of states.
The time needed to make an extract differs depending on the size of the data extract requested, and the load on our server. Extracts can take from a few seconds to an hour or more. The system sends an email when the extract is completed, so there is no need to stay active on the SABINS site while the extract is being made. If you users wish, however, they can stay on the Extracts History page following an extract request. Refreshing the web browser will allow the user to see progress being made on the extract request.
SABINS provides several data files with each download to help the user. When downloading the fixed width format, users will receive command files that are used with SPSS, SAS, and Stata.
Data for many people compiled together to create totals per a geography like school attendance boundaries. No individual records, with or without personally identifiable information, is included anywhere in SABINS (or NHGIS). So it is not possible to determine if a specific child attends a particular school.
SABINS data come from a variety of sources. The GIS files are created using information provided by individual schools, districts, and states in combination with TIGER/Line census block data that the US Census Bureau creates. Demographic data comes from the US Census Bureau, and school data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics.