How do I use Data.gov?
Data.gov includes a searchable catalog that provides access to government data from across the federal government.
Once in the catalog, click on the "name" (i.e, the name of the dataset or tool of interest) and you will be taken to a page with more details and metadata on that specific dataset or tool. Some datasets are downloadable, while others are extraction tools or widgets. Datasets can be searched by key word, agency, and/or data format. 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.
What is data?
Data are values or sets of values representing a specific concept or concepts. Data become "information" when analyzed and possibly combined with other data in order to extract meaning, and to provide context. The meaning of data can vary according to its context (Source: Federal Enterprise Architecture Data Reference Model).
How were the datasets in Data.gov selected?
Data.gov was initially launched in May 2009 with a limited number of Federal datasets and tools. These initial entries in the catalog were nominated by Executive Branch agencies as examples of datasets that already enjoy a high degree of consensus around definitions, are in formats that are readily usable, include the availability of metadata, and provide support for machine-to-machine data transfer. With the release of the new Executive Order of Open Data on May 9. 2013, Data.gov will grow exponentially as federal agencies comply with the Executive Order and accompanying Open Data Policy and make much more of their data holdings publicly available in open and machine-readable formats.
Who developed Data.gov?
Data.gov was developed by the Federal CIO Council as an interagency Federal initiative and is 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?
Pursuant to the new Open Data Policy, Data.gov follows the Common Core Metadata found in Project Open Data.
What are metadata?
Metadata is "data about data." Metadata include data associated with either an information system or an information object for purposes of description, administration, legal requirements, technical functionality, use and usage, and preservation (Source: Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI)).
Will my comments be read?
Emails that you send through the 'contact us' page of Data.gov and dataset suggestions will be sent to the relevant agency for review.
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 check-list, in-depth testing with screen readers, policy experts, and person 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, voice recognition software, etc.) 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're seeking.
What information is in the METRICS area?
Metrics reporting on the following areas: Federal Agency Participation as part of the Open Government Directive, Datasets published by Agency per month, and Visitor Statistics.