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Data Sources

Data are the raw materials for producing statistical information, of which statistics are a specific type.*

News

Introducing the Congress.gov API

 by Margaret Wood and Andrew Weber.

Congress.gov is a fantastic source of legislative information, and a marvelous source for investigating specific legislation and exploring the legislative history of a bill. Congress.gov also contains large amounts of data and various users have expressed interest in having additional access to download this data. Certain entities or persons have “scraped” the website over the years and the Government Publishing Office (GPO) has also offered bulk data downloads for some collections, but these have all been somewhat imperfect measures. However, today we are introducing the beta Congress.gov API which will provide access to accurate and structured congressional data. We are very excited about this release and a great deal of hard work has gone on behind the scenes this year to make this happen.

PLOS Accessible Data Feature

The Public Library of Science (PLOS) is testing an experimental open science feature intended to promote data sharing and reuse. A subset of PLOS articles that link to shared research data in a repository will now display a prominent visual cue designed to help researchers find accessible data. Sharing research data that support published articles is considered a best practice as it promotes data discovery and reuse, and aligns with the Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) data principles. The ‘Accessible Data’ feature is deployed on articles that link to research data in one of several repositories. The feature will appear on more than 3,000 PLOS articles. It will also appear on newly published articles that qualify for the feature during the experiment, which is expected to run until the end of 2022.

Social Explorer

Social Explorer provides quick and easy access to current and historical census data and demographic information. The interface lets users create maps and reports to illustrate, analyze, and understand demography and social change.

Contents include:

  • The entire US Census from 1790 to 2010.
  • The entire American Community Survey (ACS) from 2005 to 2014.
  • All annual updates from the American Community Survey.
  • InfoGroup data on religious congregations in the United States for 2009 and 2010, including maps for counties and special census areas, as well as point maps of the actual congregation locations.
  • The Religious Congregations and Membership Study (RCMS) from 1980 to 2010.
  • Carbon Emissions Data for 2002 from the Vulcan Project.
Accessing Social Explorer

Memorial Library provides full access to Social Explorer. Sign up for an individual account while connected to the campus network, then access the database anywhere. If you don't see the banner and green flag in the top right indicating that the Professional Edition is provided by Berry College, make sure you are logged into the Berry network. Once you have an account, log in and start building!

ProQuest Statistical Insight

Powerful search engine to pinpoint association, governmental and other published data sources. Some data is available to download directly from the site in Excel or PDF format or as tables in GIF format. Contains U.S. federal, regional and international sources.

Open Data Portals

Some government entities make their data available to the public using open data portals. These portals may contain geospatial data sets to download. Search for these in your favorite internet search engine - try searching for the name of the place and "open data" or "open data portal". 

Examples of Open Data Portals

Data Repositories

Data repositories host research and other data for long-term preservation and archiving. They may be hosted by universities/colleges, non-profit organizations, for-profit companies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), etc. They might be broad in scope, or they might organized around a specific area of reseach. 

Selected Humanities Data Sources

Selected Science Data Sources

Selected Social Science Data Sources

Data Journals

Data journals are scholarly journals that publish datasets or data papers. According to Geoscience Data Journal, "a data paper describes a dataset, giving details of its collection, processing, software, file formats etc, without the requirement of novel analyses or ground breaking conclusions. It allows the reader to understand the when, how and why data was collected and what the data-product is."