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For immediate release: March 7, 2001

Contact: Marilyn Marks (609) 258-3601

Princeton receives grant to create national data archive for policy and the arts

Princeton, N.J. -- Princeton University has received a $1.9 million grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts to create a national data archive for policy and the arts, the country’s first electronic archive of research data on the arts and culture. This rich new source of information, a repository of a vast range of research data that was previously difficult to access, will be available to policymakers, researchers, journalists and the public through the Internet.

The archive will offer a unique source of information on many facets of the arts and culture, including nonprofit cultural organizations, artist labor markets, trends in public and private support for the arts, arts participation in America, public opinion about the arts, conflict over the arts, and arts and urban development. It is expected to begin operating in the spring of 2002.

"Better information leads to better decision-making in such fields as education, health, and social services. But there is a long history of barriers to reliable data for research about the arts and culture," said Stanley N. Katz, director of Princeton’s Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies, a leader in advancing policy and research for the arts and humanities in America, which will work with the University’s library in implementing the project.

Those barriers include the time and money required to identify and gather data stored at research organizations throughout the United States; technical compatibility problems because individual electronic databases are maintained in a wide variety of formats; and the lack of a coordinated method of publicizing findings or integrating different studies. "These issues have long discouraged researchers and deprived decision-makers of the information they need to work effectively," noted Princeton University Librarian Karin Trainer.

The archive will help eliminate those barriers by providing a central archive containing a wide range of data on policy-relevant facets of the arts and culture in the United States; storing that information in an electronic machine-readable format for easy retrieval and analysis; and actively disseminating it to students, scholars and policymakers to encourage further research.

"The scholars and experts associated with our Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies, together with the extraordinary resources of Firestone Library, will assure that this critical new data archive has a broad impact on national research efforts," said Princeton President Harold T. Shapiro. "We are most grateful to The Pew Charitable Trusts for their foresight and generosity."

Heading the project for the library will be Ann S. Gray, data services reference librarian in the Princeton University Library’s Social Science Reference Center, which works extensively with digital data and supports reference, research and statistical data analysis in economics, politics, sociology and law. Gray will work with the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies as well as with a national group of advisers.

Establishing the data archive is an important component of The Pew Charitable Trusts national culture program, called "Optimizing America’s Cultural Resources." The five-year initiative is designed to strengthen policy and financial support for nonprofit culture.

"Policy is only as good as the information and research that underlies it," said Stephen K. Urice, the program officer in charge of the national culture initiative. "If we want to ensure that arts and culture are bolstered by informed policy-making, we must have comprehensive and credible data to make our case convincingly."

The Pew Charitable Trusts ( support nonprofit activities in the areas of culture, education, the environment, health and human services, public policy and religion. Based in Philadelphia, the trusts make strategic investments to help organizations and citizens develop practical solutions to difficult problems. In 2000, with approximately $4.8 billion in assets, the trusts committed more than $235 million to 302 nonprofit organizations. For further information about the archive or about The Pew Charitable Trusts, contact James Bornemeier, Public Affairs Manager, The Pew Charitable Trusts, 215-575-4818.