Princeton University has received a $1.9 million grant from the Philadelphia-based Pew Charitable Trusts to create a national data archive for policy and the arts. The new repository — the country's first electronic archive of research data on the arts and culture — will be made available to policymakers, researchers, journalists, and the public through the Internet.
"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, which will work with the school's library to implement 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 issues; and the lack of a coordinated method of publicizing findings or integrating different studies.
The new archive will help eliminate those barriers by providing a wide range of data on policy-relevant facets of the arts and culture in the U.S.; storing that information in an electronic format for easy retrieval and analysis; and actively disseminating it to students, researchers, and policymakers.
"Policy is only as good as the information and research that underlies it," said Stephen K. Urice, the program officer in charge of Pew's national culture initiative. "If we want to ensure that arts and culture are bolstered by informed policymaking, we must have comprehensive and credible data to make our case convincingly."
The archive is expected to begin operating in the spring of 2002.