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DBAA: Community Database Online – THE Guide to Alaskan Communities

Today’s Alaska agency database from the Alaska page of State Agency Databases Across the Fifty States is:

  • Community Database Online – THE place to go for information about Alaska’s communities. Find population, history, municipal contact information and much more. Multiple communities can be selected and the information exported to Excel or other spreadsheet applications.

If you don’t pay attention to ANY other posting in this series, keep this one in mind. It’s too good for finding basic information about Alaska’s communities to ignore.

There are a number of sub resources on the Community Database Online page, but the three I want to highlight today are – Community Information Summaries, Detailed Community Information and Custom Data Queries.

Community Information Summaries (CIS) are one “page” descriptions of a community. It always starts out with the community highlighted on a map of Alaska along with population, borough and tax structure. This was VERY useful to me as a new librarian in Alaska in the late 1990s and continues to be today. After the map, the CIS includes the following sections:

  • Location and Climate (This is the section that I reproduce in my Three Books on … series)
  • History, Culture and Demographics
  • Facilities, Utilities, Schools and Health Care
  • Economy
  • Transportation
  • Organizations with Local Offices
  • Regional Organizations

Due to differences in the size and complexity in Alaskan towns, not every section is offered for every community. When the section appears, it will be from one to three paragraphs. I believe these Community Information Summaries would be a great first step prior to relocating to a town or planning a first visit. Look over the Juneau summary as an example.

Detailed Community Information allows deeper exploration of “blocks” of information for one or more communities. Blocks include:

  • General Overview
  • 2010 Population and Housing Characteristics
  • 2000 Population and Housing Characteristics
  • 1990 Population and Housing Characteristics
  • Economy, Income, Poverty and Employment
  • Facilities, Utilities and Services
  • Schools
  • Municipal Officials/Employees Directory
  • Community/Regional Contacts Information
  • Business Licenses (Rural Communities)
  • Capital Projects and Grants
  • ANCSA – Alaska Native Claims Settlement Status

For an example of the level of detail offered, see the Juneau schools information listing.

Custom Data Queries allow you to compare communities on over 90 different data points, including local taxation, land areas, population (1880-2010), etc. Choose your communities and your data points and either see an on screen display or download it in a spreadsheet format. Questions that can be meaningfully answered with Custom Data Queries and some spreadsheet manipulation include:

  • Which community(ies) in Alaska have the highest sales tax?
  • How many communities in Alaska don’t have a sales tax?
  • Which town had the highest population in 1920? 1980?
  • Which community is largest in terms of land area?

This function would be a gold mine for school projects or researchers comparing communities. I strongly encourage you to look over the Custom Data Queries screen and just scroll through the different available data areas.

Next week we’ll see a resource that shows you where state grant funds go.

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