September 17, 2015
Washington, D.C. —The Heritage Foundation’s digital version of its Index of Economic Freedom, which ranks the economies of 178 nations, has been named a top reference website by an arm of the American Library Association.
A committee composed of librarians from across America chose the Index, produced in partnership with The Wall Street Journal, as one of 17 outstanding sites for reference information in 2015, co-chairwomen Janice Wilson and Ashley Rosener said.
Terry Miller, a former ambassador to a United Nations economic panel who edits the Index as director of Heritage’s Center for Trade and Economics, said the honor “excited” his team.
“We strive to ensure the accuracy of the Index and to present the data in a manner that is clear and easily accessible by a variety of readers,” Miller said. “It is gratifying that librarians around the country have found it to be useful for ‘anyone who is concerned about the fundamental right to control his or her own labor and property.’ ”
The Index was recognized in the category of Best Free Reference Websites by the Emerging Technologies in Reference section of the library group’s Reference and User Services Association.
The committee said it considered criteria including quality, depth, and usefulness of content; ready reference; uniqueness of content; currency of content; authority of the producer; ease of use; customer service; efficiency; and appropriate use of the Web as a medium.
Among those sharing “best website” honors with Heritage’s Index of Economic Freedom: the FBI’s Crime Statistics; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Travelers Health; the New York Public Library’s African-American Migration Experience; and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ 360 Degrees of Financial Liberty.
Heritage, which first published the Index in 1995, has sought year by year to make the text and graphics more useful to policymakers, researchers, the media and the general public.
The 2015 edition ranks the United States at No. 12 among world economies, barely halting a five-year slide in the “mostly free” category.
Each of 178 countries graded is classified as “free,” “mostly free,” “moderately free,” “mostly unfree” or “repressed.”
Hong Kong retained the No. 1 slot for the freest economy, but Singapore was close on its heels among five nations ranked as “free.” North Korea landed at the bottom of the 178 rankings. (Go here to see what other nations made the Index’s “most free” and “least free” lists.)
The library organization’s citation for the Index of Economic Freedom reads:
This site provides an annual guide to raise awareness of economic freedom and opportunity in countries worldwide based on 10 measures or ‘freedoms’: Business, Trade, Fiscal, Monetary, Investment, Financial, Property, Freedom from Corruption, and Government Spending. Features include a heat map to show how countries stack up with each other, a highlighted list of countries with the highest overall rank along with a link to the entire list in rank order [and] a graphing feature to see data for up to three counties and one indicator from 1995 to present. A world average is shown for additional comparison. This site is useful for students, scholars, and the general public—anyone who is concerned about the fundamental right to control his or her own labor and property.
Miller also is Heritage’s Mark A. Kolokotrones fellow in economic freedom and director of its Center for Data Analysis. He was co-editor of the 2015 edition with Anthony B. Kim, senior policy analyst in the think tank’s Center for Trade and Economics.
In addition to the online Index, copies in book form (492 pages, $24.95) may be ordered here or by calling 1-800-975-8625.
Here is the complete list of the librarians’ honored reference websites.