Wednesday, June 18, 2008

State’s Statistical Register Goes Online

Curious about how many votes George Busbee received when he ran for governor in 1974? Wondering how many times Mickey Mouse has been written in as a candidate for office? Answers to those questions and a plethora of others are available via computer now that the Georgia Official and Statistical Register is available online. It contains a wealth of information not easily accessible elsewhere for today’s historians.

The register is the main source of election statistics for the state. Its content and length have varied over the years of its publication (1923 -1990), though in general the register has provided information on categories such as:

- state executive offices, boards and commissions

- the state legislature and legislators, including short biographies with photos

- elections

- the state judiciary

- Georgia's federal representation

- the University System of Georgia

- county officers and data

- miscellaneous (e.g. flag, song, state symbols, poets laureate)

The electronic version was digitized by the Digital Library of Georgia from the print volumes, which are available in the UGA main library Georgia government documents collection. Users are able to search across the text of all the volumes (about 28,000 pages). The register can be accessed at http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/statregister.

“The register has become an historical resource of particular interest to genealogists, but it also lists, for example, all the banks, public libraries and newspapers in each county and the poets laureates for the state,” said Susan Tuggle, a reference librarian who coordinates the Georgia government publications site in the Digital Library of Georgia. “It cumulates elected officials so you can see who was in office at a given time.”

Compiled every two years by the Georgia Archives (formerly the Department of Archives and History), it was not a handbook that explained the workings of the state government for the uninitiated, but rather a kind of directory or state of the state with a concentration on the officials who guided it.

Legislator and other official biographies included photos beginning in 1951. The amount of information was reducing starting with the 1979-1980 volume and the projected ended with the 1989-1990 volume.

“I’ve wanted to digitize it for years – it is the biggest project yet in the Georgia Government Publications Program, and it took more than a year to produce because we are offering it in three formats (JPG, PDF and DjVu),” Tuggle said.

Post-1990 information is best obtained from state government web sites and the Georgia Government Publications database at http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/ggp.

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