Paper Maps & Rogue TIGERs: Using Government Documents to Digitize 1980 Census Blocks for IPUMS NHGIS
- Kate Knowles, Data Analyst, Institute for Social Research and Data Innovation, University of Minnesota
- Jonathan Schroeder, Research Scientist, Institute for Social Research and Data Innovation, University of Minnesota
- Jenny McBurney, Government Publications Librarian & Regional Depository Coordinator, University Libraries, University of Minnesota
The U.S. Census Bureau’s TIGER/Line Files provide digital definitions of the boundaries of census reporting areas, but the TIGER/Line data for 1980 census blocks (the smallest census reporting areas) are incomplete. For the IPUMS National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS), we are using paper maps from 1980 census publications to edit the TIGER/Line data and generate accurate digital 1980 blocks for every metro area in the country. We will share the challenges of this work, provide examples of the utility of block-level data for mapping and spatial analysis, and detail the important role of Government document librarians in our process.