Having trouble logging in to your G: drive?

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Some of you have experienced a strange mystery with your G: drive here in the lab.  We apologize for the inconvenience and we’re getting that fixed asap. In the meantime, we’ve got a temporary solution for you.

After you log into the computer with your user name and password you might not be able to see your G drive. Instead you just see this:

We are also 😦 that you're having trouble

What to do?  Go to the bottom right of the desktop and click on the upper arrow to launch the Novell client (that N in red, which is our magic key to access the American University network).

Now if you do a right click on the red N you can login again into the system.  (We know it is not ideal to make you login again but while our technicians fix this problem, this is the easiest fix).

When you login again is good practice to click on advanced settings to see if the Tree and Context are correct.  Novell should capture this information as soon as you type your user name, but sometimes it could have short delays in displaying it.  By the way, your context is something else that identifies you as a user of the AU network and typically starts with the first letter of your user name.  If you ever need to find it you can login to my.american.edu and retrieve it from your account.

This should do the trick.   But if it doesn’t, please contact one of the consultants at the lab for more help.

One common problem is that after doing all this you still get a window with an “X” for your G drive.  Do not panic, if you double click on your drive you still can access it.

Again, sorry that you are experiencing this problem. We ask you to please be patient while we work on correcting it!!


Fun with Wordle

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So you’ve been working like crazy on your most recent research project and you’re almost done, but you have one more step left. You think to yourself, “I’m looking for an eye-catching and fun way to convey the main ideas of my project so people will understand it at a glance. Can there possibly be a solution to this problem?”

The answer, of course, is yes.

Wordle.net is a data visualization tool that allows you to create word clouds out of any body of text that you like, and it’s easy and fun to do! Your first step will be to click on “Create” at the top of the page and enter the source text from which you want your Wordle to be created.

You have a few options when choosing what source text to use. If you have your own text that you want to work with, enter it into the text box at the top of the page. If there’s a blog that you want to Wordle-ize, enter its URL into the second space on the page. Then click “Go” and let Wordle work its magic! The more prominent a word is in the source text that you entered, the bigger it will appear in the word cloud.

Once you have the word cloud on the screen in front of you, it may not be formatted the way you want it, so you’ll want to play around with the tools at the top left:


The “Language” tab will help you control the case of the words and allow you to remove common words like “the” and “and” that you may not want in your cloud (as well as common words from specific foreign languages if you’re not working in English). The “Font” tab will let you change the font of the words to whatever style you like. The “Layout” tab allows you to specify whether you want your cloud to be rounded or straight around the edges and whether you want your words to be horizontal, vertical, some combination of the two, or any crazy way. The “Color” tab gives you some options for default color palettes for you to choose from, or you can scroll down to “Edit Custom Palette” and specify each individual color you want.

When you’re done customizing your Wordle (and you’re done playing around with all the crazy color combinations and silly fonts), you can print it using the Print button at the bottom or you can click on “Save to public gallery”. When you click this button, your Wordle becomes public and you’ll receive an HTML code to copy so you can embed the Wordle into your own blog posts!

Some things to remember:

  • If you click on “Save to public gallery”, your Wordle WILL be made public and everyone who visits the site will be able to see it.
  • Sadly, a Wordle cannot be downloaded and saved as an image on your computer. Your only options are to print it or save it to the public gallery and use the HTML code to embed it.
  • If you change the edges and specify whether you want the words horizontal or vertical and you STILL don’t like the way your Wordle is laid out, you can click on the “Layout” tab and select “Re-layout with current settings”. Your settings will be preserved but the actual words will be rearranged.
  • The same concept applies to the color of the words. If you think your Wordle is just too blue, you can click on “Color” and select “Recolor” to redistribute the coloring of the words.
If you’re looking for inspiration before you start, check out the gallery by clicking on “Gallery” at the top of the page. You can see some Wordles that other people have created and get some ideas for how to customize your own! And as always, if you have any questions or need some help, please stop by the lab and ask a consultant!

Research Discussion Luncheon on Sept 29

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The SSRL Research Discussion/Luncheon series continues this fall! We are celebrating the spirit of academic research this fall by promoting and sharing the research work of our fellows, staff, and visiting scholars. To show our support of our AU scholars, SSRL will host a series of research discussion luncheons. This year’s series kicks off with Leanne Roncolato’s presentation on regional patterns and global trends in productivity and employment growth.

Structure Matters: Regional Patterns and Global Trends in Productivity and Employment Growth

 Leanne will present her most recent work with David Kucera who examines the role of structural change in the development process and addresses concerns with regard to the declining employment intensity of growth. Specifically the paper investigates the nexus among labor productivity, employment, and economic growth for a large sample of developed, transition, and developing countries, using data disaggregated into seven industries. Movement between sectors, such as employment shifts from agriculture to manufacturing as well as productivity growth within sectors will be considered in the process of promoting sustained economic growth. The analysis reveals characteristics of the most successful late developers, distinctive regional patterns, and global trends in structural change.

We look forward to seeing you on Thursday!

How to build fancier bubbles in Google Earth

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In Google Earth, you figured out how to create place marks and create descriptions to go in the little bubble that appears after you hover over them.  But for some reason, the bubbles don’t look fancy enough to you. How can you add a photo to the bubble or change the background color? What if you want to have scrolling text on the side? How did those people in the Google Earth gallery make their bubbles so darn awesome?

Google has the answer for that (are you surprised?). If you want to make your bubble look a bit more professional, you can download one of the templates provided by the Google Earth team at Google.

Warning: There is a wee bit of coding involved. If you have prior knowledge to HTML, using the template will be easy, because the templates are basically HTML code that you embed in the description section of your bubble. (If you don’t have any HTML knowledge and are determined to learn this to create the best Google Earth bubble ever, please do not hesitate to contact the lab for assistance!)

Google provided an easy-to-follow video to accompany the templates. After you paste the template into your bubble, you’ll just need to edit the code the way you want it.


Again, if you have an interest in creating these bubbles and need help doing, please let a consultant know and we’ll help make your Google Earth bubbles unique for your data visualization!

Highlight on ICPSR

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A quick note on this extensive database of over 500,000 research files in the field of social sciences. It is a very resourceful website that you can access through the AU Library database catalog and http://www.icpsr.umich.edu.

American University is a member institute in the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan. ICPSR gathers, maintains and disburses a large number of data sets to users interested in Social Science research. This data is available to the entire university community for research purposes. The manager of the SSRL serves as an official ICPSR representative.

These are two interesting examples where ICPSR recently added new data sets to their database from past studies and surveys:

1. CBS News/Vanity Fair Monthly Poll, March 2010
This is a public opinion survey on the president and several political and social issues, such as the health care reform bill.

2. International Dating Violence Study, 2001-2006
This study interviews perpetrators and victims of violence in 32 countries. The data is downloadable in SAS, SPSS and STATA format for your convenience.

To access the ICPSR data, you will need to create an account with them. This is completely free, and you can use your AU account information to register. Once you’re in, you have access to the multitude of data sets of various topics. Many of the data sets are downloadable in SAS, SPSS, STATA, or Excel format, depending on the source of the data.

If you have any questions about downloading this information – please ask one of the consultants in the lab!

Statistics in Public Databases for Research

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Hunting for statistics for your case study or research project? No worries. Here are a few hints that may help.

If you are new to AU, you are about to discover that AU is very generous in putting together resources for students and faculty members doing what you are doing.

SSRL proudly presents this following link that will give you access to many public databases built by organizations, such as the UN and the IMF, under these categories below. You can enjoy FREE access to these resources.


SSRL Data Resources

In addition to the databases above, you can also go the AU Library website (http://www.american.edu/library/) and search in their databases not only for statistics, but also for books, scholarly journals, or periodicals that may help your research. As seen below, the link is on the right (circled in RED) to ‘Search Databases’. This will bring you to the Library Subject Guides. Once you get to there, the resources will be sorted alphabetically, and you can type in the name of specific organizations or literature that you have in mind in the search engine at the top right of the page.

American University Library

American University is also a member institute in the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan. ICPSR gathers, maintains and disburses a large number of data sets to users interested in Social Science research. We can link you to this “database of databases” and help you download your data if you need it.

Please enjoy the wealth of data that we have shared with you and good luck with your work!

Fall 2011 Drop-In Tutorial Schedule Now Available

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Our tutorial schedule - now in technicolor!

Get your agendas ready…because the lab’s drop-in tutorial schedule for this fall is now available!

Why should you care about the lab’s drop-in tutorial schedule, you might ponder. Well, dear reader, if you need help learning a specific quantitative or qualitative software that the lab supports, you can use the schedule to find out the day and time the tutorial is offered (..for this semester. The schedule will change every semester.) You can find the Fall 2011 Drop-In Tutorial schedule on the CTRL website.  It is also located on the bulletin board outside of the lab (It will likely be the most colorful thing tacked on there).

There are several great advantages to these tutorials:

  • They are generally one-on-one, so if you have a burning question that you didn’t want to ask in class, you can ask one of our consultants without the pressure of your classmates surrounding you
  • You get your individual questions answered, and we’ll work at your pace so that you can understand the software better
  • Most exciting part: they are ABSOLUTELY FREE and appointments are not required!

This semester you will find more software tutorial options than we have had in the past. We have experts not only on the popular SPSS, STATA, and SAS – you can get help on Mathematica, R, Dreamweaver, Matlab, Python, Google Earth, EViews, NVivo and ArcGIS. Come in if you need a refresher on any of these programs, have a specific question, or just need a quick tutorial on how to get started. We will work with you no matter the level of your experience with these programs.

Although making an appointment is not required for any of the tutorials, you may call or email us to confirm your arrival if you’d like.  Also remember that the schedule reflects guaranteed times an expert on that software will be available. If you have a software question but can’t make the tutorial, you can still drop by one of the labs anytime and a consultant on duty will assist you.

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