We are living in a data-centric age. Everyone is on the move to discover data, no matter how small it may be. The good news is there are thousands of data sources on the internet where anyone can go and extract data. These repositories provide free access to data from governments, private and public organizations. However, accessing and even using such data is not always a smooth ride, especially when you are dealing with thousands of data at a time.
Google Dataset Search
To make the task of accessing data repositories easier, Google has launched a new tool known as Dataset Search. This is a tool that scientists, geeks, journalists, and other people can use to find the exact data that they are looking for to back up their work.
The working mechanism of Dataset Search is quite similar to that of Google Scholar. It gives you the power to find datasets from whichever locations they are hosted. This can be from the organization’s website or from the personal website of an individual who published the data.
In order to facilitate seamless access of datasets, Google has created a set of guidelines that dataset providers can use to make their data accessible to Google search. The search engine should be able to understand the content of their data. Some of this information include:
- Brief information about the data
- The creator of the data
- The person who collected the data
- The methods that were used during data collection
- The date when it was published
- The terms for using the data
Using the above information, Google will analyze the data and collect a set of different versions of the same dataset that may be existing on the internet. It uses the schema.org standard which is an open standard for describing data on the internet. Data providers are encouraged to use the same standard to describe their data.
A variety of references
Dataset Search provides a wide source of references of any given dataset that it has collected. Although environmental and social sciences are some of the main sources of references, governments and news organizations are also the main sources of data. The fact that most of more data repositories are embracing the use of schema.org standards to describe their data means that Dataset Search is able to access lots of data at any given time. This also gives room for the growth of this tool.
Dataset Search is multilingual. There are plans to incorporate more languages into the tool. It also has a user-friendly interface making it easy to use. You simply need to type the information that you are looking for and the rest of the job will be done for you.
The launch of Dataset Search is one of the recent moves that Google has been making to improve the accessibility of data. Unlike other initiatives that focused on particular groups of people, Dataset Search targets a broader audience. It will be of great use to anyone who is looking for critical data from governments and news outlets. However, the availability of data depends on the metadata that the publishers provide.