Thursday, December 24, 2009

How Wealthy We Are

Update: URLs checked and updated. 8/1/11

Question: Where does Alaska rank nationally in terms of wealth?

Answer: Wealth can have a number of meanings. Two common measures used by the federal government for wealth are “Gross Domestic Product by State” and “Personal Income per Capita” by state.

According to the Statistical Abstract of the United States 2009, Alaska ranks 45th in Gross Domestic Product by state in current (2007) dollars. See table at

In terms of Personal Income Per Capita, Alaska ranked 15th in 2007, the latest year available. Please see the table Personal Income Per Capita in Current and Constant (2000) Dollars by State at

More wealth tables from the Statistical Abstract can be found at

Friday, December 18, 2009

Libraries in the 21st Century

Update: The Mystery Photo blog linked below has ceased. Most of the other resources mentioned below, including much of this blog, are sporadically active at most. The School Librarian Handbook and the Alaska State Library twitter feed are both active. 8/1/11

Question: I'm doing some research on State Library activities. Could you provide a list of state library agencies in the US? Also, what is the Alaska State Library doing with social networking or Web 2.0 technologies?

Answer: To answer your questions in reverse: Some of the web 2.0 or social networking activities by the State Library include:
  • This blog.
  • Hidden Gems Mined by the Alaska State Library, a blog that highlights some of the paper and online resources we make available.
  • A Mystery Photo blog which gives the general public an opportunity to help us identify people and locations in our historical photographs.
  • An education wiki that pulls together materials from the classes we offer.
  • The Alaska School Librarian Handbook, made available via a wiki.
  • A Twitter feed, which has some live posts but mostly incorporates several automated feeds, including new book listings, Alaska-related articles, class offerings, and more.

In addition, several of our staff use other Web 2.0 services informally but related to our library work. These include flickr (photo sharing), Facebook, Twitter, blogging using various platforms, wikis, and more. We are still working on our delicious account (social bookmarking), and haven’t publicized it yet.

We use some additional social networking platforms for internal communications.

For information about other state library agencies, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has compiled a listing of state library websites at also has a listing at (please note that this listing includes two links for some states, which may have divided library services between agencies).

One extra note: This question came from outside of the US, and in the process, I found that I needed to translate an Asian language into English. I found that Google language was quite helpful for this. I just clicked on "Language Tools" to the right of the search box on the main Google page, the cut and pasted the text into the provided box and chose the appropriate languages. Handy!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Terrorism Statistics By Country

Question: I've heard that the US government publishes annual statistics on terrorism by country. Where can I find these statistics?

Answer: The State Department publishes an annual report called Country Reports on Terrorism which is available at As of this writing, the latest version is 2013. The country reports consist of a narrative about the environment for terrorist groups in each country. There are worldwide and Iraq/Afghanistan statistics contained in each year's Annex of Statistical Information. The Annex for 2013 can be found at

Another source of terrorism statistics is the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) at The GTD is a project of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism and is located at the University of Maryland. According to the GTD website, this database is: "an open-source database including information on terrorist events around the world from 1970 through 2007 (with annual updates planned for the future). Unlike many other event databases, the GTD includes systematic data on domestic as well as transnational and international terrorist incidents that have occurred during this time period and now includes more than 80,000 cases. For each GTD incident, information is available on the date and location of the incident, the weapons used and nature of the target, the number of casualties, and—when identifiable—the group or individual responsible."

Updated 4/10/15

Friday, December 4, 2009

Retirement Age for Social Security

Question: When can I start drawing my full Social Security benefit? When I'm 65?

Answer: It depends. Assuming you otherwise qualify for Social Security, they pay full benefits when you reach "Full Retirement Age." "Full Retirement Age" varies by when you were born. Below is a Q&A that was taken from the Social Security FAQ website at


What age can I begin receiving full retirement benefits?


Full-retirement age has been 65 for many years. However, beginning with people born in 1938 or later, that age will gradually increase until it reaches 67 for people born after 1959.

The following chart shows the steps in which the age will

Year of Birth / Full Retirement Age
1937 or earlier / 65
1938 / 65 and 2 months
1939 / 65 and 4 months
1940 / 65 and 6 months
1941 / 65 and 8 months
1942 / 65 and 10 months
1943--1954 / 66
1955 / 66 and 2 months
1956 / 66 and 4 months
1957 / 66 and 6 months
1958 / 66 and 8 months
1959 / 66 and 10 months
1960 and later / 67

Note: Persons born on January 1 of any year should refer to the full
retirement age for the previous year.

Specific questions about your Social Security benefits may be directed to your local Social Security office. Find your local office by visiting