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?

Federation will require some  coordination between the Data.gov team and representatives of the local government open data site. The data remains on the local government platform, but the catalog information is federated to the Data.gov catalog to allow people to discover government data from all across the nation.  To add a site to Cities.Data.gov:

Step 1. A city official sends a note to the Data.gov Team stating the URL of the official open data site, the data policy (see samples above), and a request to have the city data federated to Data.gov.

Step 2.  Depending on the open data platform being used…

If the local data site is using the Socrata Open Data Platform:

  1. Log in to your Socrata administration console
  2. Click on “Federation”
  3. For Cities: search for “cities-datagov.demo.socrata.com”; for Counties: search for “counties-datagov.demo.socrata.com”; for States: search for “states-datagov.demo.socrata.com”
  4. Click “Publish

If the local data site is using CKAN or Junar:

  1. In the note to the Data.gov team, include the catalog URL and indicate whether site is on CKAN or Junar
  2. The Data.gov team provides the federation

If the local data site has another open data solution

  1. In the note to the Data.gov team, include the URL for the publishing catalog information (e.g. http://YourDomain”/catalog.xml) and indicate whether catalog information is published in a DCAT-compliant format.
  2. The Data.gov team will work with you to help provide a DCAT-compliant format and a connector script for importing the catalog information.

Step 3.  Receive a notification that you are now part of the National Open Data Platform!

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 Common Core Metadata – 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.