A new government Web site, Data.gov, may prove to be a good tool for locating existing data from federal agencies, particularly for those of us doing needs or community assessment. The Web site is the public’s “one-stop shop” for raw data from economic, healthcare, environmental, and other government agencies. Along with raw data, the site provides tools for compiling raw data into more analyzable formats (e.g. tables, maps) and widgets (interactive tools with single-service purposes, like showing users the latest news). My quick browsing of the Web site gives me the impression that it is a work in progress. However, the “about” page says that the catalog of datasets will continue to grow and that the site will be improved based on public feedback.
Here is a link to the blog entry about Data.gov from the Office of Management and Budget: www.whitehouse.gov/omb/blog/09/05/21/DemocratizingData/