“Good IT is invisible,” says MPC IT Core director Fran Fabrizio. “You want the users to have the idea that it’s a magic black box.” Though the intent is for the technology behind IPUMS and the other MPC data tools to seem effortless, Fabrizio understands the extent of the human work goes that goes into producing good technology. Getting 2.6 terabytes of data out to users each week requires no small amount of technology behind it.
If you are a student, faculty member, or researcher in the United States, you can learn about IPUMS data through an exhibit or workshop at professional conferences held on multiple occasions each year. Thousands of U.S. demographers, geographers, sociologists, economists, ecologists, health researchers, and others have learned about IPUMS through these events. But what if you are student, teacher, or researcher in Africa, where resources are far less plentiful?