How do I use Data.gov?

You can search Data.gov from its catalog of government data from across the Federal Government. Once in the catalog, you can search or browse for data by entering key words in the search box or selecting the type of data you are looking for on the left side.

Once you find a dataset or tool of interest, click on the title and you will be taken to a page with more details on that specific dataset or tool. Some datasets are downloadable, while others are links to web sites or apps that help you access or use the data.  Datasets can be searched by key word, format, community, organization type, and or organization.

Please note that by accessing datasets or tools offered on Data.gov, you agree to the Data Policy, which you should read before accessing any data. If there are additional datasets that you would like to see included on this site, please suggest more datasets here.

How are the datasets in Data.gov collected?

Under the terms of President Obama’s Executive Order and the Administration’s Open Data Policy, all newly-generated government data are required to be made available in open, machine-readable formats, while continuing to ensure privacy and security.

Federal agencies are also required to:

  • Create a Single Agency Data Inventory. Agencies are required to catalogue their data assets, just like they would inventory computers or desk chairs, to better manage and use these resources.
  • Publish a Public Data Listing. On their agency.gov/data pages, agencies are required to publish a list of their data assets that are public, or could be made public.
  • Develop New Public Feedback Mechanisms. Agencies are required to set up feedback mechanisms to engage the public about where agencies should focus open data efforts, such as facilitating and prioritizing the release of datasets. Agencies are also required to identify public points of contacts for agency datasets.

Agency Public Data Listings, on agency.gov/data pages, are harvested into the central catalog for Data.gov.  Each agency is responsible for its own data.

How can I add my city, county, or state data the Data.gov catalog?

Any government agency or university can publish information about their open data on data.gov. The data remains on their platform, but information about the datasets – like the description and details about the data – is published in the data.gov catalog so people can discover open data from across the country.

To have your datasets listed on data.gov, you’ll coordinate with the data.gov team following these four steps:

  1. Contact the data.gov team to let them know you’d like to get started. Please include your site URL, your data policy, and information about the open data platform your site uses (Socrata, Junar, CKAN, DKAN, custom, etc).
  2. The data.gov team will create a new “harvester” that will automatically collect information about your datasets and update data.gov whenever changes are made on your data catalog. Depending on your platform creating this harvester might just be the a push of a button or it could take a little more work, but they’ll walk you through it in any case.
  3. The data.gov team will test to ensure the harvester works properly. If anything seems wrong, they’ll help you configure your data catalog so that data.gov can collect your datasets without any errors.
  4. Once the harvester has been tested successfully, data.gov will start automatically consuming information about your data sets (“harvesting”) and all the basic details of your datasets will be available on data.gov with links to the source and your open data policy.

 

Who developed Data.gov?

Data.gov is managed and hosted by the U.S. General Services Administration, Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.

What standards were used to develop the metadata displayed on Data.gov?

Data.gov follows the Project Open Data schema – a set of required fields (Title, Description, Tags, Last Update, Publisher, Contact Name, etc.) for every data set displayed on Data.gov.

Will my comments be read?

Yes.  Emails that you send will be sent to the relevant agency for review and/or responded to by the Data.gov team.

What if I am having difficulty downloading a dataset from the catalog?

Some web browser configurations, particularly those that are designed for high-security computing environments, can interfere with access to certain datasets from the catalog. This is most commonly related to government websites that use security certificates and end user browsers that are not configured to recognize those certificates as being authoritative. If you are having difficulty downloading one or more datasets from the Data.gov catalog, please contact your local IT support staff to determine whether browser configuration issues can be addressed for your workstation.

How does Data.gov maintain accessibility?

The commitment to accessibility for all is reflected on this site in our efforts to ensure all functionality and all content are accessible to all Data.gov users. The Data.gov site is routinely tested for compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act using a technical standards checklist, in-depth testing with screen readers, policy experts, and people with disabilities. For more information on Section 508 technical standards, please visit www.Section508.gov.

In addition, the Data.gov site is also routinely reviewed for alignment with the latest Web Accessibility Initiative Guidelines for W3C. The Web Accessibility Initiative Guidelines at www.W3.org/WAI/ define how browsers, media players, and other “user agents” support people with disabilities and work assistive technologies.

Images on the site contain “alt tags”, which aid users who listen to the content of the site by using a screen reader, rather than reading the site. Likewise, a “skip to” link provides these users with a method for bypassing the header and going directly to the main content each time a page is accessed. Text transcripts accompany audio clips, and closed captioning is available on videos.

Users can get information regarding the accessibility of Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files from the Access Adobe website.

The Data.gov website is being updated frequently to make it as accessible as possible. If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader, eye tracking device, or voice recognition software) and have difficulty accessing information on Data.gov, please contact us and provide the URL (web address) of the material you tried to access, the problem you experienced, and your contact information. A Data.gov team member will contact you and attempt to provide the information you are seeking.

What information is in the Agency Participation (metrics) area?

Metrics reporting on the following areas: Federal Agency participation and visitor statistics.